06/07/2021 - 15:23

Strata reform took too long: Opposition

06/07/2021 - 15:23

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A three-year long process to implement new strata reform has raised questions about the government's efficiency, the state's opposition says.

Rita Saffioti said the new act would afford greater flexibility that promised to change the urban landscape. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The state's opposition has criticised the government over its handling of the community title strata reform, saying the three years it took to deliver the legislation raised questions about the government's efficiency.

The state government first unveiled the Community Titles Act bill in June 2018, a multi-tiered form of land tenure which would allow the subdivision of freehold land into multiple community title schemes.

The legislation was touted as a means of streamlining the management of mixed-use developments, where shops, cafés, offices, residential properties and recreational facilities in a single development can be separated into different schemes.

In a statement released this morning, Lands Minister Tony Buti and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti confirmed the new act had come into effect on June 30, and would afford greater flexibility that promised to change the urban landscape.

While welcoming the long-overdue reform, opposition Planning, Lands, and Heritage spokesperson Neil Thomson told Business News the three-year turnaround time brought into question the state government’s ability to deliver reform in a timely way, the planning department’s output and its resourcing.

“In general, all of these reforms take too long and there is no reason why regulations cannot be delivered within six months," he said.

“The reforms should be prepared well in advance and there should be work being undertaken in preparation of the bill.

“I don’t know the machinations of this particular legislation, but I would have thought that if you’d introduced the bill in 2018, you would have had those regulations well and truly drafted.”

Mr Thomson said he did not believe the state had enough flexibility in its land management system, making the delivery of community titles all the more important.

He said any delay which reduced the state's ability to diversify its building configuration hindered the sector's ability to deliver for the housing market.

“New South Wales has had community titles for 30 years,” he said.

“Western Australia is often referred to as the “Wait Awhile” state, and unfortunately, that has been the case with this reform.

“I think there should be more frankness for the community regarding the amount of time it has taken to get this up.

“Yes, applaud the reform, but I’m really disappointed with the amount of time it has taken."

A state government spokesperson told Business News the passing of the act in September 2018 marked the commencement of consultation with stakeholders on the regulations to operationalise two new strata Acts and enable them to come into force.

The spokesperson the implementation of the act required extensive consultation with government and industry stakeholders as well as consequential amendments to ten other Acts, which also required extensive consultation.

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