top of page

QLD Article

Strata living - No Longer the Forgotten People

By Laura Bos, General Manager SCAQ

Like him or not, Sir Robert Menzies is our longest serving Prime-Minister. Regardless of whether you agree with his politics, Menzies had a lot to say about the topic of homes during his tenure, some of which is still relevant today. His most notorious commentary was his infamous “Forgotten People” speech. In this he said of homes:

“The home is the foundation of sanity and sobriety; it is the indispensable condition of continuity; its health determines the health of society as a whole. “

Of course, these were different times but certainly, sanity and sobriety (if you accept the mental health standard he is implying here) is always standard in strata. More importantly, Menzies went on in the Forgotten People to say of our homes “one of the best instincts in us is that which induces us to have one little piece of earth with a house and a garden which is ours; to which we can withdraw, in which we can be among our friends, into which no stranger may come against our will.” Whilst a piece of earth and garden aren’t standard in strata, this speaks more to our changing perceptions of home than anything fundamentally wrong with this observation.

For all the philosophising around the importance of homes, the point of this discussion is to impress upon all reading the importance of them. Until now, people who made their home in strata were indeed the “forgotten people” of our societal discussions and policy considerations of Government.

SCAQ has over the past two years been getting very loud in the public domain about the need to specifically consider strata and its intricacies and support strata as it becomes a favoured model of housing development for a variety of reasons.

Strata is no longer home to a small section of the population but is now housing nearly 1 in 4 people and this share is growing.

This critical mass has helped us make the case to the Government to take notice, and pleasingly seems to have motivated them to take action. Strata residents are no longer be the forgotten people they once were. Most notable in this regard was two very exciting commitments from the State Government in the recent state budget.

  • The Department of Justice and Attorney General committed to, in consultation with the Community Titles Legislation Working Group, progress reforms to improve the operation, management and amenity of Queensland's approximately 50,000 community titles schemes.

  • The Government is providing increased funding of $3.5 million dollars over three years to support the implementation of reform in an environment of continued significant sector growth and increasing dispute resolution pressure.

This tells us that the Government is committed to delivering substantive change. Something, when coupled with reforms announced in February gives us cause for optimism. It is likely that the $3.5 million allocated in the budget will go largely to the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management in the form of additional staff and enhanced systems. We are pleased that this is the second year in a row additional resourcing has been added, and overall funding for that office has increased nearly 60% over the past two years. This is in no small part due to the tireless efforts of consecutive SCAQ boards and staff who have never, ever missed an opportunity to tell the Government in no uncertain terms how critical this service is. To keep this article politically balanced, I’ll say that Labor Governments pride themselves on front line service deliver y- and in this case have delivered.

What’s the lesson for SCAQ generally, given our critical reform priorities around regulation of strata managers, a more balanced approach to management rights and changes to dispute resolution?

Simple, persistence. It took years of banging the drum to get the Community Titles Legislation Working Group set up, it has taken years to appropriately consult with members and get our positions and submissions just right and now we are starting to approach the endgame.

Whilst we may have made great progress, we are by no means finished. The lesson in persistence has been a necessarily long one. But we have - in writing and in dollars - commitments for change from Government.

How will we respond? Perhaps by taking another leaf out of Menzies “ Forgotten People” book we will continue "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."



bottom of page