Page 2347 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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Today I am introducing the Unit Titles (Management) Bill 2011, which aims to simplify our legislation in this area of the law. In particular, the bill will assist owners, managers and others involved in managing units plans to better understand their respective roles in the day-to-day activities of managing a units plan. This bill has been developed following extensive community consultation, both before and following the introduction of significant new consumer rights laws in 2008.

The amendments passed in 2008 provided access to an improved dispute resolution process through the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Other changes included requirements to disclose problems in the unit title plan to purchasers, new rules in relation to pets and sinking funds and the introduction of more defined functions and responsibilities for executive committees and office bearers.

Consistent with my undertaking to the Assembly in 2008, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate has undertaken an operational review of those amendments. The purpose of the review was to ensure that the legislation is operating effectively. The review also considered whether the Unit Titles Act 2001 should be amended to allow for sustainability measures to be incorporated into the unit title plan.

To facilitate consultation with the public, my directorate prepared a booklet containing information about unit titles, and particularly about the amendments, which was distributed to the last-known addresses of unit owners. The booklet contained an invitation to contact government about the implementation of and possible future changes to unit titles law. In addition, my directorate released a number of online resources about the amendments, including detailed fact sheets on all of the changes.

To provide stakeholders with an additional opportunity to comment, the government also called for further submissions by way of advertisement in the Saturday Canberra Times and through a media statement and also wrote directly to key stakeholders, including the Owners Corporation Network and registered owners corporation managers. The government also wrote to the shadow attorney-general and the Greens attorney-general spokesperson so that members of the Assembly would have the opportunity to pass on feedback received from constituents.

The opportunity for public comment was initially open until 31 October last year. However, as only a few submissions had been received at that stage, I provided additional time for the community to provide submissions—to the end of November last year. I also wrote a second time to registered owners corporation managers, asking them to draw the review to owners’ attention and to reinforce the government’s invitation that owners take the opportunity to make a submission to the review.

By the end of November last year, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate had received 39 submissions from 25 individuals as well as some organisations. These represent a wide cross-section of the community, including unit owners, the Property Council, owners corporation managers and you, Mr Speaker. Since the formal close of submissions, the directorate has continued discussions with interested stakeholders on various issues relevant to the review. A common theme in many submissions was the

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