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Owners Corporation Law

07 Nov 2018

There is something rotten in the State of Victoria

Renewable energy and climate change rank as two of the most important topics for voters at the upcoming state and federal elections.

The Victorian Labor Party came out of the blocks early, with a proposal for a $1 billion subsidy to install solar panels to 650,000 homes.

However, the Labor policy deliberately excludes apartment dwellers from access to the solar subsidy. Given that those who dwell in apartments make up nearly a quarter of the total population in Victoria, then the policy shall do nothing for them.

The Greens Party, to its credit, has sought to raise this issue with the government, and is seeking to build and extend the policy by making it apply to apartment dwellers also.

Policies and electioneering tactics aside, many owners of apartments are fed up with the Liberal and Labor parties not understanding how strata works, and what is involved in living in a vertical community.

Take the recent example of the short-term letting accommodation reforms, which in what could be only described as comedic scenes in Parliament as the Labor Party proposed to pass the weak Bill, was roundly admonished by the Liberal Party in debate as the Bill was described by them as a “damp squib of a bill”. In a show of farce, however, the Liberal politicians could be seen scurrying from the debating chamber, so they were absent when a vote was taken, thus allowing the “damp squib” to pass.

Then there is the saga of the long-awaited reform to the Owners Corporation Act. Some of the reforms in relation to owners’ corporation manager contracts have been sitting on the shelf waiting to pass since early 2015.

The “new” reforms for the Owners Corporation Act went out for consultation and feedback in 2016 and the new legislation was written and passed to Parliament over 12 months ago.

The great embarrassment is that these “new” reforms for the Owners Corporation Act are already out of date and out of lockstep with court rulings and the way that technology is running.

The earliest the reforms could pass is by perhaps June 2019. At that stage, they may as well announce a new review and commence consultation on updating the legislation again to take account of reforms and developments in the industry.

Both sides of politics have shown complete disregard and a lack of familiarity and understanding of the complexities of apartment living. Until we see the Liberals and Labor showing a commitment and an understanding of the issues faced in our communities they simply don’t deserve our votes.

If I lived in the city electorate, I’d be voting Green, because at least the party has a conscience and has a commitment to understanding the complexities and the interests of apartment living.

That’s my five cents’ worth anyway, and for what it’s worth.

Tom Bacon - Principal 

Strata Title Lawyers

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