Uniting in the Spirit of Consumer Protection

A new government in Queensland means a re-focus for many businesses and organisations, especially those that work within the legal framework.

New policies are expected though for us at SCA (Qld) following extensive work on the property law review in the past year; our expectations are that the new Palaszczuk government will continue to see the property sector as an important pillar of the Queensland economy.

Our work with the former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie has strengthened our relationship with the Department of Justice and we can see that continuing under the new attorney-general Yvette D’Ath’s leadership. Ms D’Ath is a big supporter of increasing consumer protection and what better way is there than demonstrating that commitment to the 410,000 unit owners across the state? Consumer protection in strata starts with informing buyers adequately that they understand what community living really is, not what they think it is.

Too often unit owners underestimate the emotional factor of living in a community, the democratic character of community living and the quite strict legislation. SCA is often called upon to conciliate between parties and we find that more often than not it is communication that causes issues in strata schemes rather than operational matters.

Consumer protection however continues once the unit is bought by being realistic about the ability to comply with a 478 page act, the regulations and various associated acts. Employing a qualified body corporate manager, who continues their education and commitment to improving their professional lives, is the next step. SCA members obtain accreditation to develop their careers as much as to stay abreast of the ever changing legislative landscape. Accredited and certified managers work on their knowledge and have an interest in the details that enable them to answer relevant questions about strata and community living. At the very heart of SCA’s core education program is delivering the “know how” to managers so they can confidently say that they know best. Together with the commissioner’s office we aim to provide a solid administrative service to unit owners that protects their investment and often livelihood.

In order for us to remain leaders in the strata sector we are reviewing our strategy to realign with member needs and sector challenges. The board facilitated a Strategy Day, discussing our main objectives and goals as an industry representative body and how we best continue our path keeping our member’s interests at heart. Apart from promoting professionalism it is critical that we form cooperative relationships that enable us to represent the large majority of stakeholders on the strata sector. Organisations that have an interest in pursuing the same ideals of harmonious community living. The industry groups most relevant to our future path are the Australian Resident Accommodation Managers’ Association (Qld) and the Owners Corporations’ Network (Qld). SCA (Qld) has formed the Stakeholder Umbrella group with these two parties and has recently put together a joint submission to the Body Corporate Governance Options Paper. It is positive to note that except for two matters, the group has similar views on many of the common issues. Our aim is to expand the spirit of sharing and working together on future projects. To that end our strategic vision is very clear: providing services that matter to the strata sector.

Simon Barnard 13 300x225
Simon Barnard

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