President’s statement on proposed Strata Commissioner

In the Sydney Morning Herald on 6 March 2019, it was reported that the NSW Opposition had proposed the appointment of a strata commissioner to oversee matters related to building defects and strata issues generally.

Coincidentally SCA (NSW) also met on Monday with Yasmine Catley, the Shadow Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, and briefed the Shadow Minister on SCA (NSW)’s policy positions.

SCA (NSW) supports the proposal of furthering strata consumer rights, however we believe that it needs to be part of a broader systemic review in accordance with our priority policy objectives.

Those priorities being:

SCA (NSW) wants a 5 year plan from the next State Government to progress strata property and consumer rights in NSW

  • Recent rapid growth has hamstrung quality control processes
  • Needs a specific focus on ensuring development doesn’t come at a cost for those involved, with a key focus on reducing the cost of defects on consumers
  • Root and stem review of the development life cycle, with a focus on consumer and lot owner rights involving a total review of the legislative regime of building construction, compliance and ongoing rights

SCA (NSW) wants an Urban Regeneration & Building Services Minister role to be created

  • New portfolio specific to issues of Sydney’s urban renewal
  • Portfolio tasked with enforcing major design, liveability and quality mandates
  • Key responsibility from development through to post completion consumer rights

Subsidised loan scheme- cladding rectification

  • A $100 million loan package. Government backed loan scheme to ensure affected buildings can cover rectification costs

Supply chain audit, imported products

  • SCA (NSW) wants State Government to push Federal counterparts to introduce stronger import controls
  • Too many unsafe products slipping through the cracks- cladding, wiring, building materials

The view that NSW Fair Trading is not handling strata issues well is not shared by SCA (NSW) and any changes to governance and regulation would need detailed analysis prior to making such significant structural changes.

SCA (NSW) supports NSW Fair Trading in its administration of strata issues. We have a functional and collaborative relationship and acknowledge those we liaise with in government have a good in depth knowledge of strata and are sympathetic to the issues in the sector.

Any review of the systems and legislation surrounding strata – from building defects, statutory warranties, construction standards, to consumer rights – would be supported by SCA (NSW). Our first key policy objective is in fact to seek from Government (which ever Party should win the 2019 Election) a five-year plan to progress strata property and consumer rights in NSW.

As always, we will continue to work with government, and opposition, and the Minister appointed to represent Fair Trading to ensure the strata industry in NSW is well-represented.

Chris Duggan
SCA (NSW) President