A good word about politicians

By September 19, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

It’s not often today you can find anything good to say about politicians, of any variety, let alone something good to say about all three of the main parties, but that’s exactly what I find myself able to do this week.

The ACT Legislature will debate later this week the Unit Titles (Management) Bill 2011, and on behalf of the Owners Corporation Network ACT I have been close to the process. Last week, with the debate looming, I did my last round of calls on all three parties, the ALP, the Libs and the Greens.

Throughout the entire process I have been impressed with the tempered tone of the debate and public consultation, from all quarters. Having been involved in the bun fights of Queensland politics on strata issues in the 1990’s, I had come to think that rational bi (if not, tri)- partisan outcomes were impossible in this emotive area.

The difference I think came down to this – ACT does not have long term caretaking and letting contracts (although it has the power for these to be granted with the approval of the dispute resolution tribunal). Accordingly there is less heat in the market between unit owners and the development and management community. NSW and Victorian strata law reform, where long-term developer imposed contracts are rare are similarly without the Queensland angst.

This point is important but it ought not to belittle the efforts of all involved in this ACT round of reform. All political parties have come at the debate with good community outcomes foremost in their mind. The territorians have considered what works and what doesn’t elsewhere, unlike for example Victoria in its 2006 reforms, and adopted best legislative practice. In the cutting edge area of retrofitting sustainability infrastructure, the ACT has lifted the bar for all other state and territory based laws and adopted a new type of approach to cutting through barriers to this type of initiative arising from typical strata laws. Finally, issues arising from consultation that have not had the benefit of the right amount of community consultation have been flagged for the future.

It has been a textbook legislative performance – if only we could get those down the road in the big house to work this way.

Posted by Michael Teys

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