Strata’s Future Reform in Queensland

SCA (Qld) continues to be very active in pursuing a strong advocacy agenda to ensure that the strata sector has its voice heard.

As a result of a strong SCA (Qld) advocacy campaign in the lead up to the last state election, the Queensland Government committed to a Community Titles Legislation Working Group in order to progress ideas for reform of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act (BCCMA) 1997 in its next term of government. This working group has been tasked with a holistic and sweeping review of the entire Act, with a view to ensuring a modern, fit for purpose regime that balances all of the competing interests in the strata sector.

At the time of its creation the BCCMA was world leading legislation which was designed to facilitate the growth of strata titled properties to ensure the easy housing of new migrants to the State of Queensland. 25 years on and there has been relatively little change to this legislation, despite vast changes to our cities, our laws and more broadly our values and preferences for living. Strata is no longer seen as a cheaper alternative to detached housing but rather a preferred choice for many.

This means the Act which governs strata must reflect the desires and lifestyles of a rapidly growing proportion of our population, that already stands at approximately one in five Queenslanders. greater swathe of the community. A large part of the working group process will be to ensure that community autonomy and evolving preferences are part of any potential reforms.

We are pleased to have created the opportunity to undertake the reform process and are committed to driving the Government to not only take action but take the most appropriate actions. SCA (Qld) is committed to reform of the entire Act, to make strata living more flexible, autonomous and desirable into the rest of the 21st Century. We will use this opportunity to ensure we have a strata sector that is attractive to owners, investors, professionals and businesses. These reforms will shape the strata sector and the millions of Queenslanders affected by its myriad regulation, legislation and objectives immediately, but more importantly for decades to come.

Given the growth of strata, as well as changing demographics and expectations for housing the Act must undergo significant change to ensure that people’s autonomy and choice is not undermined by excessive or poorly applied regulation. Despite the often complex changes that have emerged for Queenslanders, and indeed Australians over the last several decades, freedom and choice must remain within how people choose to live in their own homes and interact within their individual communities, especially if strata living is to continue its exponential growth as a preferred living option for so many. change in the way people live, there is no reason that this generation or the next generation of Queenslanders will want any less freedom in how they live.

The Working Group is to be an all-encompassing review of how bodies corporate are governed in Queensland. During the Parliamentary Estimates process the Attorney General noted that she was hoping to proceed with a bill as early as next year. We are pleased with this aspiration from the Attorney and hope that she is able to follow through on this commitment. SCA (Qld) will push hard to ensure that a high-quality set of reforms are what ultimately makes it into law.

SCA (Qld) has been continuously engaging and informing government throughout the process but providing multiple submissions and reference documents. Topics are varied and include changes to by-laws, management rights, bullying and harassment in schemes, as well as critically, licensing of body corporate managers. We are particularly committed also to important consumer protection reforms including licensing of Body Corporate Managers and ensuring there is an appropriate and fair framework for management rights. This whole of sector review will be incredibly important to shaping the future of the industry. The broad nature of areas proposed to be reformed means this can be a transformative moment for the industry.

As a collaborative, consumer focused body from the outset of this process we have been working closely with other affected stakeholders to ensure industry consensus including ARAMA, the REIQ, ACSL, the UOAQ and the Cancer Council. All of the affected parties within the industry are members of the Working Group and some bodies, such as the Cancer Council have status to discuss particular issues.

SCA (Qld) will work tireless to ensure that the outcomes of the Working Group will include more community control over by-laws, communities with more power to enforce those by-laws, licensing for body corporate managers and appropriate consumer protection for service providers. The reformed sector at the end of this process will be one which represents the goals and aims of SCA (Qld) and is significantly more professional and contemporary than present.

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