Preparing for change

In our 30th year as the peak strata industry body, we are seeing the fruits of our labour and are more than ever looking to change our industry for the better.

We have set the best course to navigate the last two pieces of the property review, holding further member brainstorming sessions to identify the biggest issues to tackle when the new discussion paper is released. Our role has increased dramatically over the last decade, the best indicator being our successful relationships with the relevant stakeholders at the Department of Justice. Just recently the acting commissioner Ingrid Rosemann has opened our national convention and we are also meeting with the attorney-general this month to gauge the future advisory role of our industry body.

Representing now more than 70 per cent of the 405,000 strata titled lots in Queensland, we have learned that we must provide the appropriate tools to our members to be able to professionally manage bodies corporate. In order to prepare ourselves for the bigger role we are playing, there are a few steps we needed to take.

Step one, move to a new, larger office space that enables us to host more functions on-site and deliver better member services. Our new office is only a stone’s throw away from our old office in Spring Hill and will serve as the venue to discuss and develop strategies to support the Department of Justice in identifying our industry’s key issues. The mini boom we are experiencing is unlikely to wean off too quickly and we are confident that the government will continue to focus on our sector and its expansion. Looking at the Brisbane City Plan certainly highlights the expected growth just in this corner of Queensland and there will be more strata title developments in the next five years. Most of the plans still need signing off by council, however, by mid next year we will have a clear vision of where we are heading.

Step two, shaping the growing sector into a well developed network of professionals who service the body corporate committees exceptionally well. As of this year, we are proud to have an accreditation pathway in place that sets objective criteria for strata manager’s qualifications and provides consumer confidence. That is not all we are doing, SCA representatives have been appointed to the National Occupational Licencing Authority and Occupational Licensing Advisory Committee which, as of December 2013, no longer deliberate. However, SCA members also have a seat on the Construction & Property Services Industry Skills Council who represents the workforce training and skills development needs of the construction and property services industries.

This council is critical in the development of new qualifications such as the updated Certificate IV in Property Management (Strata) that is currently being undertaken. A new Diploma in Strata Management is now available and every accredited or certified strata manager must jump some minimum qualification hurdles. Accreditation is not just an elementary piece to SCA membership. Accreditation will have a direct and meaningful impact on the efficiency and development of the sector. Remember, even a small sole strata manager will usually hold or manage in excess of $1 million of body corporate funds. SCA (Qld) is continuing its commitment to develop training opportunities for all of its members.

The third step in providing for the future is a critical look at our own operations and how we can open the dialogue more across the borders to further increase our influence. Changing our branding three years ago has already significantly improved our profile in every state. We are being recognised and more often than not we are consulted on key issues in body corporate management because we know the legislation and issues inside out.

As SCA we have gone beyond the change of our public face, by streamlining our internal operations and increasing the collaboration of staff. As we are in the process of recruiting a new chief executive officer for SCA national, we are excited to see where this new officer’s skills will take us.

One thing is absolutely undeniable: We need to fully unite to continue our successes of the past three years. Immediate past CEO Mark Lever has delivered many milestones on our path to a unified body but we are still some miles away from the finish line.

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