31 Jul The budget according to strata
The Budget According To Strata
You’ve probably heard colleagues muttering their disbelief that we’ve already hit the month of July; whispering surprise that the year has gone so quickly. We’re halfway through the year already, which means your New Years’ resolutions have either become entrenched habits or vague memories of self-belief and enthusiasm. Thankfully, it’s never too late to initiate change, and for the State and Federal Governments a new financial year with a new budget affords an opportunity to do precisely that. Budget announcements saw some fairly significant ideas floated, with a few of particular relevance to the strata community.
Investment in infrastructure has been a central tenet of the Federal Government and spending in the area has continued as part of their $75 billion ten-year commitment, which, for Queensland, means a $5.2 billion investment. This year the State Government has also earmarked $45 billion across the next four years, with 65% of that to be spent outside of Brisbane. Much of the spend will be designed to greatly increase the ease of movement in the south-east Queensland region, potentially improving the desirability of strata schemes further from the CBD. Of course, this increased investment does mean that there may be more roadwork’s on the M1 and Bruce Highway for some time yet.
Unfortunately, the State Budget did not feature details of a fund to assist those owners living with the prospect of cladding rectification costs. The recently released government report into non-conforming building products estimated that 1,200 privately owned buildings in Queensland would need some sort of rectification. These costs would be approximately $30,000 to $60,000 for each affected strata owner, so it was disappointing to see that the State Government have not allocated some financial assistance.
The Property Industry was also saddened to see that the Federal Budget did not feature proposals targeted at housing affordability on the demand or supply side. Tax cuts may aid people on the margins to access the market, but it may not meaningfully increase home ownership prospects for those with lower than average incomes. Build-to-rent schemes were not mentioned, but the Government did announce the allocation of nearly $5 million over four years to the ABS for more detailed analysis of the stock of affordable housing.
Trends suggest half of our state’s population will be living in strata titled properties by the year 2030, and these budgetary decisions will greatly impact our ever-expanding community. Infrastructure projects will create development opportunities, business regulatory and tax changes could determine the viability of management and services firms, while housing affordability schemes may determine the future of strata as owner-occupier or investor-tenant communities.
Overall, the lack of allocated funding for strata residents affected by flammable cladding issues means that this is not the Christmas in July State Budget for which we were hoping, but we will continue to push for greater assistance. Lot owners are in no way responsible for the choice of cladding, so should not be left to foot the bill.
Expect to see more on the topic of Cladding in the coming months.
by Simon Barnard
Simon Barnard is the Managing Director and Principle of Hartley’s Body Corporate Management which is a medium sized strata firm established in 2004 at Sherwood and now operating out of Graceville, Newstead, North Lakes and Bribie Island.
Simon is in his 6th year as President of the Board of Strata Community Australia (QLD) and was recently recognised for his service to the industry with a fellowship of the organisation.
Simon also sits on the SCA National Board and is engaged at an International level through many consultative groups and associations.
He meets regularly with the Industry Stakeholders group which is convened by the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management and the Office of the Attorney General and actively engages at all levels of government.
Simon has recently been invited to represent the Strata industry on the QLD Government Ministerial Housing Consultative Committee tasked with advising on developing and delivering quality housing outcomes for people and communities.
His contributions at an International, National and State level involve working with key stakeholders and government to ensure lot owners, industry employees, suppliers and Bodies Corporate needs are addressed through Government policy reform, education and training.