QUEENSLAND RESIDENT MANAGERS DENIED RIGHT TO VOTE IN GOVERNMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
$15 BILLION UNDER MANAGEMENT AND NO VOICE
Despite equal rights being firmly on the agenda for State and Federal Governments this year, new recommendations for the Government’s Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM) Act 1997 have left resident managers without the right to vote on matters worth billions of dollars to Queensland properties.
The final proposal of changes to the BCCM Act, which sets out regulations for the establishment, operation and management of Community Titles Schemes, makes Queensland the only State where resident managers are not eligible to be voting members of their body corporate committee.
The recommendations brought forward by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), have sparked concern among the State’s resident managers who will not have a legally decisive say on issues affecting $15 billion dollars’ worth of property that they provide care, maintenance and safety for.
Australian Resident Accommodation Managers’ Association (ARAMA) is the peak organisation for resident managers, and CEO Trevor Rawnsley says that the absence of equal voting rights comes as a surprise after the Government’s current equality campaigning.
“ARAMA agrees in effect with all of the 64 recommendations proposed for the BCCM Act apart from recommendation 21, which excludes resident managers from committee voting rights. We see no reason why the Government should deny resident managers this opportunity given its prevalent push for equal opportunities.”
“All Lot owners should be given an equal opportunity to serve on the committee and be treated equally in relation to voting rights. Excluding the resident manager from committee voting rights creates an unhealthy division which often leads to conflict within committees.“
“We recognise that Queensland is out of step with other jurisdictions in Australia, who have not imposed the same restriction on election of owners who are resident managers.”
“But, resident managers play a vital role in the successful growth of strata title communities which are now so much a part of modern Queensland cities and towns.”
“By removing the restriction, all Lot owners would receive the benefit of an equal opportunity to be elected by their peers to a position of responsibility in their Community Title Scheme.”
Currently, being involved as a contractor or an associate of caretaking services makes a resident manager unable to stand for election as a voting committee member.
However, Mr Rawnsley says that resident managers face higher levels of scrutiny over conflicts of interest than other voting committee members such as council members, and other lot owners who have a commercial interest in a Community Titles Scheme.
“A Lot owner in a mixed-use scheme who operates a commercial tenancy such as a restaurant or shop is able to be elected to the committee, and it cannot be said that these owners have any more or less interest in the body corporate’s
affairs than a resident manager.”
“ARAMA members who are also unit owners overwhelmingly report a desire to participate in the decision-making process of their body corporate at committee level.”
“Some schemes that already have difficulty getting enough owners to participate as voting committee members, might find the input of a resident manager as an owner both valuable and appropriate.”
Ahead of the Government’s decision to incorporate the recommendations into the BCCM Act, Mr Rawnsley says that any conflicts of interest concerning resident managers can be effectively mediated.
“There are well established rules to deal appropriately with conflicts of interest including those covered in section 53 of the Accommodation Module. This means that no legislative change is needed to protect against a caretaking service
contractor being elected as a voting committee member.”
“ARAMA proposes that in the event that a caretaking service contractor is elected they would be able to be removed like any other voting committee member.”
“While we agree with the majority of recommendations for the Government’s proposal, we want to ensure that the new legislation results in a best-practice outcome for managers to ensure that strata communities are properly maintained
and that Queensland continues to rate as the country’s premier tourist State.”
CEO and Company Secretary
Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association (ARAMA)
0417 197 687