Speech by Andrew Gavrielatos, A/Commissioner for Fair Trading

The following is a copy of the speech given at the Strata Community Australia (NSW) Annual Convention on Thursday 19 October 2017 by Andrew Gavrielatos, A/Commissioner for Fair Trading NSW:

Thank you for the opportunity to open the Convention and welcome you to this important event for a very important industry sector which impacts both our individual lifestyles and the economy of NSW.

There are over 76,000 strata schemes in NSW worth over $360 billion in assets.

There are two million industry professionals, strata owners, and residents in NSW. No person in NSW is not directly or indirectly affected by strata – whether it be our home, place of work or place of entertainment.

There is much to be celebrated after the past 11 months which saw the implementation (on 30 November 2016) of the first major reforms to strata living in 20 years.

Over 90 reforms that modernised the NSW strata laws to suit the way we live today and into the future.

The strata laws were 5 years in the making and their effectiveness is attributed to the significant role our key stakeholders and, in particular, SCA (NSW) played during the policy development.

We should also celebrate the relatively smooth transition of these reforms across such a large and diverse sector of the NSW population and Fair Trading recognises the role of every strata manager in this achievement.

I would particularly like to recognise the role of SCA (NSW) in this achievement. In addition to its professional leadership of strata practitioners, SCA (NSW) and Fair Trading partnered for the delivery of 15 information sessions with almost 2,500 attendees. Some of our larger sessions saw us closing registrations at 300 people which is a testament to the number of people impacted by strata.

Overall, industry and government collectively delivered almost 90 events on the new strata laws with almost 5,000 participants

Looking forward, there is more to be done in the near future in relation to licensing and training reforms, strata defect bonds, window safety and, of course, cladding fire safety.

Over the past 18 months, Fair Trading has worked closely with SCA (NSW) in developing a licensing and qualification framework that will appropriately skill our strata managers for the future and compliment the leadership shown by SCA (NSW) in developing its accreditation scheme for its members.

I look forward to continuing to draw on this leadership as we take on the future challenges for strata and the industry practitioners.

Over the past 2 years, my personal priority has been to bridge any gap between policy and regulation with the ability of industry participants to operate effectively.

Through closer collaboration with SCA (NSW), I believe we are now seeing the results of more effective collaboration and engagement.

These results are now being seen in legislative reforms, better outcomes for owners and occupiers and increased regard for the profession of strata managing.

Another key challenge going forward for industry and government is to encourage new industry practitioners and I look forward to hearing your ideas on how to attract professionals to this rapidly growing industry.

I encourage you to take full advantage of this conference to get the tools and information that you need for the year ahead.

I hope that you will also take some time out from your usual schedule to reflect on both your individual and industry achievements. Please draw on your experiences and lessons learnt from the last busy year to help make this next year just as successful.