Strata communities a growing trend

Moving into autumn we have managed to truly up the ante by delivering a two-day symposium that not only fulfilled its purpose as an educational event for members but also reflected the new path for our organisation.

The key to a successful industry conference is energetic, knowledgeable and inspiring program presenters. However, the memorable part of a conference is the atmosphere and what you as an individual gain from being there. To that extent, SCA (Qld) has succeeded with more than 200 attendees learning about professional development with a touch of strata.

Very encouraging for us as an organisation was the local media attention we received. The conversations we have with the media reinforce our agenda to educate the public about the industry as we head into a future where we expect major growth in strata community living. The media is our most direct voice to consumers and current and future strata residents.

We have to continue our effective communication in times when the attorney general and the Newman government call our industry one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy, it is more than satisfying to get Queenslanders thinking about the reasons for living in strata communities and the convenience of doing so. As opposed to home owners, strata residents have the added bonus that they can have the scheme managed by professionals ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation.

The latest ABS census figures reflect the shift in living arrangements and the need for our sector to grow and mature. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there has been a 37% rise in the numbers of apartments and units approved in December 2012 compared to the same month in 2011. That is a significant increase that will have a huge impact on the economy and the lives of Queenslanders.

The newly released draft City Plan for Brisbane, for example, outlines development plans covering the next 20 years and of course we are not surprised to see that zoning and neighbourhood plans are a big part of this plan. The key message in this plan is ‘growth’ – infrastructure, public transport, housing and employment. The Brisbane plan states that “the city’s leadership in civic governance will develop active and healthy communities” and that is indeed good news as we are still shaking off economic downturns and unprecedented weather events. Queensland is the third largest strata industry in Australia at present, not only because Brisbane has been Australia’s fastest growing city for both employment and population growth but because the metropolitan regions in Queensland have also changed significantly contributing to the 2% growth of the strata market every year.

Looking at all this growth – how do we prepare for the scenario of half of all Queenslanders living in strata communities? The key is to provide a liveable environment. Naturally, we are governed by legislation and have to work towards its limitations to achieve the goal of creating vibrant communities that people enjoy living in. However, there is also lots of opportunity for a membership organisation to help shape this future and we are constantly talking to the attorney general to deliver our key reason for being here.

The combined power of our more than 500 members enables us to make our intentions and our wishes known to government and the public and we are gaining a lot of credibility with our expertise and professionalism. As individuals we wouldn’t have the same gates opening so we are more than prepared to keep on pushing with the reforms on behalf of all of our members. Our agenda, where giving back to members is at the forefront, is accepted well. It is vital that we have a voice and we can combine all the many individual voices and form a strong organisation that drives the industry, drives legislation and growth towards our needs.

The board is keen to continue to make decisions that are in the interests of the sector and we use our industry body wisely to return tangible benefits to members.

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