VIC State Recap – Winter 2020

Strata Community Australia (VIC), SCA (VIC), has successfully transitioned to the new normal created through the impact of COVID-19 and has, like so many of our members adapted to the on-line delivery of meetings, events and training. The response from members to the new environment was so successful we had to increase our Zoom licence from 100 to 500 in the second week!

Declaring a National Emergency and the rollout of restrictions has certainly emphasized the lack of understanding by many Government Departments and agencies of what Strata is and the functions/responsibilities/obligations placed on strata Committees and Managers through legislation.

Like all business, COVID-19 demanded SCA (VIC) to rethink how we conduct business. We undertook a thorough review of our business structure, expenditure, income and service delivery which led to the decision to downsize our secretariat for the foreseeable future in light of potential falling income. The focal point of our introspection required us to consider our fundamental reasons for existence which led us to focus on our core strategies of Advocacy, Education, Member Services, Governance to continue to provide our membership with the support and direction they rightly expect. This comprehensive review identified potential avenues to maintain delivery whilst improving efficiencies through an increased integration with the national office. We were not on our own as the other States were faced with the same challenges. The need for greater synergies has enabled the National office to consider implementing structural changes to help meet the shared needs of the states. We are currently working closely with national to explore the allocation of tasks. Some of which have already transitioned, and we hope to have a clear pathway finalised by the end of July 2020.

An unexpected outcome of our review identified a gap in documented policies and procedures for general governance. So not only have we been busy adjusting to the COVID-19 demands but formally documenting and developing policies for Sponsorship, Complaints, Education and Membership from many years of SCA (VIC) Board resolutions. As soon as we have completed this task, we will publish the policies in the Members area of the website.

As restrictions start to ease (or not!), we are turning our minds to what the rest of the year will look like for future events and are considering the idea of celebrating our 30th anniversary with a face to face event in regional Victoria, along with holding an on-line Symposium event. We will keep you posted in our regular Member Updates with a ‘save the date’ shortly.

COVID-19 has not halted everything. Law reform and looming compliance deadlines have still occurred, demanding our attention. Changes to key legislation that has an impact on Strata includes:

⧁ Public Health and Well Being Act and Regulations – Water Quality Guidelines

⧁ Occupational Health & Safety – Workplace Manslaughter Amendment

⧁ Building Regulations – Registration of pools and spas & barrier inspections

SCA (VIC) is continuing to lobby the Department of Health & Human Services as to the deleterious impact of the new pool testing requirements included in the Public Health and Well Being Regulations and is currently developing resources for Owners Corporations with pools or spas. What 

Of course, the changes arising from COVID-19 has not diminished our anticipation of the long-awaited strata legislation reforms, which will hopefully be debated in Parliament’s spring session and become the focus of our online Strata in Motion Symposium.

In the meantime, and ongoing, is our advocacy to represent both Managers and Strata Owners at as many government and local government forums, including:

⧁ Critical Incident Protocol for Residential Tenancies Office of the Commissioner for Residential Tenancies

⧁ Building Confidence Report – Australian Building Codes Board

⧁ ESM Enhancement Program – VBA

⧁ Cost Benefit analysis banning combustible cladding – DELWP

⧁ Review of COVID-19 support & resources for apartments – Future Melbourne Committee

⧁ Round Table COVID-19 response and new multi dwelling guide – DHHS

Education, as a fundamental pillar, has remained front of mind and we are pleased to announce that the completion of our Strata Workforce Competency Framework (SWCF) is imminent and will be released in the coming months. Including three digital learning modules; Meetings Foundation, Resilience and Time Management. You will find these courses available through the national eLearning platform, PointsBuild.

To further our capacity to deliver much needed educational resources we have also commenced discussions with Box Hill Institute for delivery of the Certificate IV in Strata and Diploma qualifications in many varying formats, ranging from Traineeship to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and from Online to Face to Face modes of delivery. We’ll also utilise our digital learning courses, developed in line with the SWCF as part of the RPL process to attain microcredentialing. That way no matter where you are on the learning journey, you can receive recognition for your commitment and effort to maintain and improve your knowledge and skills as a Professional SCA (VIC) Member.

To date, 2020 has been a year of turmoil, requiring significant dedication and time from the SCA (VIC) Board and secretariat to ensure we deliver to you, our Members, the structure, guidance and resources you deserve.

Together we will “Change the Game” and seize the opportunities to build a stronger, more efficient SCA (VIC) for us all.

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