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Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2019

Yesterday the Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2019 passed its third reading and will be returned to the Assembly with the approved amendments for approval. You can read the transcript (pages 58 -75) for Hansard here.

It was noted by the handful members who attended the session and the members who spoke to the bill the extraordinary length of time it has taken for this passage of the bill, reflecting the Government’s priority to this sector, whilst at the same time reinforcing how important this Bill was to the 1.5 million people currently living or renting under an owners corporation.

Passionately we heard from Mr Rich-Phillips, Ms Garrett, Mr Ondarchie, Ms Vaghela all who spoke empathetically about enhancing protection of owners corporations, expanding and improving developers’ duties yet were very quick to approve the Government amendment to give the Developers ability to bind future owners into long term contracts – contracts that they in fact sold to the highest bidder. The amendment includes on-site letting managers, caretaking, building managers, facility managers or any other prescribed agreement? These are the very contracts that are NOT in the interest of future owners lumbering the future owners to the highest bid service provider not even the best qualified service provider. The amendment also advises the commencement date of 1st December 2021. Read the amendment here.

The delay of finalising the Bill has been attributed to undertaking further consultation. The original consultation process was extensive and “countless people” responded according to the members present. The consultation was completed in 2019 and introduced to Parliament on 26/11/19. There was no further advertised public consultations or any bespoke consultation seeking feedback for the proposed amendment to those groups who formally provided written submissions. This was a back door deal.

We also heard the proposed Bill will increase the fiduciary duties of owners corporation managers but at same time not address the same duties of Developers, Building Managers, Short Term Operators, Local Government or indeed Ministers who make ill-informed decisions on behalf of the sector all the time.

Many who spoke, called for an end to poor management and behaviour of owners corporation managers, yet this Bill does not address any minimum qualification, mandatory topics or code of conduct for managers, building managers, caretakers, short term operators. The Bill does not raise the standard or guarantee any increase in quality.

In the end the lives of 1.5 million people currently living or renting under an owners corporation were relying on just six people in the whole of Government present that day to have their back and fight the good fight. Lead by Dr Ratnam and Mr Hayes, Dr Cumming, Mr Meddick, Ms Patton and Mr Barton were prepared to go on record an advocate for the 1.5 million current owners and twice that number future owners. Sadly, it was not enough. Read their proposed amendment here

It was clear from this session that this sector is not a priority to either of the main political parties and that their loyalty continues to align with that of the property development sector over the constitutions that reside there.

SCA (VIC) will continue to advocate on behalf of owners and owners corporations on these issues day in, day out, to raise awareness of the shortcomings of how this sector is unfairly treated. You can read our media release here

You too can voice your displeasure by emailing your local member and asking them which Minister has responsibility for the protecting the rights of the 1.5 million impacted by owners corporations because they not present yesterday.


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