Safeguarding the sector against disaster

A year of change is in full swing and coming out of our successful annual conference that was attended by an incredible 50 per cent of our total membership, SCA has strengthened industry relationships, expanding our network of collaboration.

A key component of our conference is to challenge thinking and forecast the changes ahead of us as an important economical force in Queensland. This year we took the opportunity to invite the stakeholders of the industry to crystal ball our immediate future.

The commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management, Australian Resident Accommodation Manager’s Association, Owners Corporation Network, SCA (Qld) and SCA Ltd spent a good hour conversing on pressing questions for our sector. The debate that erupted was not only interesting but also inspiring and we are keen to facilitate similar roundtable discussions in the later half of this year. It was encouraging to see how the diverse interests of the individual industry groups can to some extent be combined and utilised for a better outcome for consumers, namely residents in strata title schemes.

Following on from this positive spirit, we are now awaiting further movements from the new state government. A logical step following the recent cyclones over North Queensland was to initiate the conversations about damage to strata schemes in the Far North again. Consumers are burdened with high insurance premiums and once nature has ripped through schemes, many owners are still faced with enormous damage bills. What we are asking the treasurer to do is provide funds in the May budget to assist in cyclone proofing strata title schemes. For Cyclone Marcia last month, it is estimated over 1500 buildings and homes were damaged across the state leaving approximately 100 families homeless. The issue with strata title schemes is that damage to one building immediately affects dozens of occupiers and owners.

SCA (Qld) has in the past called on the federal and state government to refrain from increases in stamp duty or GST as the cost to strata title owners is twentyfold in North Queensland in comparison to other Queensland regions. Inspection, replacement and maintenance are the big recommendations our members consistently receive. What we’re seeing time and time again however, is that they simply can’t afford or keep up with these steps when the cyclones are coming at nearly monthly intervals over the season. It is unrealistic to expect a 100 per cent cyclone proof building, but given the stakes at play, we implore the government to tip in $15million in this year’s budget to get the ball rolling. Our view is that these funds would be used as grants to the most severely impacted areas. Many smaller schemes where there are only half a dozen owners cannot afford retro-proofing for cyclones. They depend on some assistance or they will be paying over and over again. SCA (Qld)’s support for the north will continue until we see a better balance of reasonable insurance premiums and adequate damage recovery.

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