Ready for part 3 and 4 of the Property Law Review

The year 2015 is a year of change which we can see in many economic indicators and it seems like it’s the start of a gradual improvement in the economy across the country.

The so called crane index reflects an increase of operating cranes by 32 per cent in the past six months, the vast majority of those for residential high-rise developments. Approvals for dwellings remain slightly above the 10 year annual average in South-East Queensland, the total number of lots registered in Queensland is now 415,000, a growth rate of 3.4 per cent year-on-year.

Interest rates have just dropped to an all time low which will further stimulate growth and on a federal level it is encouraging to see housing affordability has been addressed with 40 recommendations including rental affordability which may lead to more development approvals, adding to the strata titles sector.

Given the continuing growth in strata titles across the state, it is critical for SCA (Qld) to engage with the decision makers to shape our future and ensure that the residents in those strata titles are living in communities that function well and efficiently. Our ongoing relationship with the attorney-general’s office is a core focus and our engagement has been acknowledged by the new attorney-general Yvette D’Ath at a recent meeting.

I am pleased that she assured us the Property Law Review that commenced in early 2014 with the Queensland University of Technology remains relevant. Though there may be some delays in releasing the last two issues papers and the review of the first two, it was made clear that the collaboration will continue and SCA (Qld) is considered a significant partner in the consultation process. The attorney-general seems to understand that there is a need to modernise our sector which will contribute to cost savings too.

The attorney-general does not only recognise SCA (Qld) as an important stakeholder because we represent 70 per cent of the strata lots in Queensland and therefore represent a sounding board for real ‘coalface’ body corporate issues. Even more importantly, our members have a professional attitude and, while licensing and registration are currently not being considered, our self-regulated accreditation program provides a benchmark for the sector’s professionalism.

We even go as far as looking overseas to identify trends in community living and apply them in Australia where possible. As a result of that exchange we have adopted the A100, a national accreditation course for community managers that will be the common gateway to be a qualified professional in strata. The course has been adapted from the M100 course offered by the Community Associations Institute, the counterpart to SCA in the US.

Alongside 30 Australian strata managers I’ve recently attended its conference in Las Vegas where we were given a tour around Inspirada, a community with four developers and already 1350 homes under management. The onsite study tour gave me an opportunity to see how it works with multi-developers that will see a 8500 homes community with a principal body corporate structure when finished.

Interestingly, the community parks (which are themed to suit different groups in community living) are co-managed by council and the community which is a cooperative concept we’d like to see happening more in Australia.

This international tour enables us to look beyond our local issues to honestly reflect on what is going well in the Australian strata sector and what isn’t. There is no harm done in wanting to excel and circumnavigate some of the issues the overseas market has experienced as our country’s strata sector is still maturing.


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