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We are strata owners – supporting each other, sharing information and advocating for our communities

WE ARE THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF STRATA OWNERS

Owners Corporation Network exists to help strata owners navigate the complexities of strata living, from social and organisational challenges to financial and legal issues. Our people have first-hand experience of living in strata and the upsides and downsides of this fast-growing residential sector.

We provide a range of services to members and also guidance and education for the wider community about achieving harmonious communal living.

We can help provide advice and support on strategies for navigating and resolving many of the common issues that arise, whether you live in a strata apartment, villa or townhouse. We also take a pro-active role in advocating for the interests of owners, including engaging with government and industry on critical topics such as consumer protection, strata body governance and building defects.

We are fiercely independent and not aligned with any commercial interest – what matters to you as a strata owner or resident is what matters most to us.

Our purpose is to be the independent voice of apartment and other forms of residential strata title ownership. We achieve this by:

• Advocating for changes to legislation and other policy instruments and arrangements affecting residential strata title, unit title, and community title

• Facilitating discussion forums for our members both face to face and online

• Providing selected services to our members to assist them with living in a communal environment

• Educating owners about matters of importance to harmonious communal living through our website, webinars and seminars

Respect We value all members in our diverse communities.

Integrity We act with courage, honesty, and truthfulness in our words and actions.

Independence We are independent in pursuing our purpose.

Public Interest We act in the public interest.

Accountability We maintain the highest standards of professionalism and personal responsibility.

Limitations

Information published by OCN members through OCN website discussion forums does not represent legal advice and does not necessarily represent OCN’s view or carry OCN endorsement.

OCN will not involve itself in individual disputes in schemes.

Advocacy

OCN continually builds the capability of the organisation to be a source of trusted information and advocacy on behalf of residential strata owners.

OCN advocates for liveable and sustainable residential communities based on good governance, free from conflicts of interest. Policy will be guided by the public interest and informed by the lived experience of strata residents.

Capable and sustainable organisation

For OCN to be effective we must operate with confidence outside of major financial concerns. OCN aims to be financially sustainable by seeking grants, sponsorship, developing value adding products, seminars and other sustainable revenue generating solutions. We also seek long term government funding based on our value to the community.

Member Growth

Membership growth is key to our aspirational goals and sustainability.

Member Services

OCN delivers education and information that is responsive and tailored to the needs of our members. These opportunities are geared toward practical solutions for strata living challenges.

Our influence

We strive to inform, educate, support and advocate for strata owners and residents.

These are just some of our achievements:

2020

PROTECTION: Our 2019 advocacy caused the NSW government to legislate a retrospective statutory duty of care owed to NSW Strata owners by building practitioners.

CONSULTATION: Driving the creation of a NSW Strata Portal, a first for Australia. This portal will allow government agencies to communicate directly with Owners Corporations and identify and analyse strata trends to better support owners.

2019

REPRESENTATION: We were called to give testimony on behalf of strata owners to the NSW Inquiry into the Regulation of Building Standards, Quality and Disputes.

EXPERTISE: OCN was an active participant in stakeholder roundtables during the development of the NSW Design and Building Practitioners Bill and provided advice to the government on improving protection for strata buyers and apartment owners.

2018

RIGHTS: Our lobbying resulted in the NSW government permitting Owners Corporations to protect the rights of residents to peaceful enjoyment through OCs banning short-term letting by non-residents.

PROTECTION: OCN partnered with the UNSW City Futures Research Centre to carry out research into the cause of and solutions to the high level of avoidable defects in residential strata buildings.

SAFETY: OCN was vocal on the issue of identifying and rectifying flammable cladding including a social media campaign, support for affected members and obtaining legal advice and that advocacy has continued into 2020.

2017

PROTECTION: Our advocacy permitted residential strata schemes, including mixed use buildings where the residential component exceeds 50%, and buildings valued at more than $50 million to access the Australian Terrorism Pool so they are now insured for terrorism related events.

2016

GOVERNANCE: We collaborated with industry bodies to develop NSW government policy which facilitated a lower voting threshold for Strata Renewal with a robust protective framework for dissenters.

2015

CONSUMER RIGHTS: We facilitated the requirement for a defect bond for buildings over three storeys and succeeded in having Developers prohibited from voting on defects in the crucial first years of a scheme’s life.

Other milestones

REPRESENTATION:  We have participated as members of major government and industry committees and boards including the NSW Building Professionals Board, the NSW Fair Trading Strata Reference Group, the City of Sydney Residential Apartment Sustainability Reference Group, and the NBN Lift & Fire Alarm Migration Group.

FUTURE-FOCUS:  We are signatories to Planning for People: A Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW. OCN is also a Founding Partner with UNSW City Futures Research Centre in producing the Australia-first “Governing the Compact City” report, generating substantial media interest in building defects and the 2015 report on Economically Viable and Socially Sustainable Approaches to Urban Redevelopment (strata renewal) .

STRATEGIC THINKING:  To ensure long-term protection of property, we successfully advocated for NSW Capital Works/Sinking Fund Plans with 10-year plans now required on a sliding scale relating to size and age of plan.

BUYER PROTECTION:  We caused the creation of a Register of Home Owners Warranty certificates to prevent forged certificates. OCN also caused a breach of defect rectification orders by builders to be an offence, and achieved a ban on developers acting as strata manager for the first ten years of their building’s life and avoiding defects rectification.

TRANSPARENCY:  We initiated the legislative obligation for NSW developers to deliver “as built” plans and drawings to the Owners Corporation.

GOVERNANCE:  In 2005 we caused legislative change requiring the circulation of minutes and agendas, and also in 2005 a requirement for 10 Year Sinking Fund Plans (now Capital Works Fund Plans). In 2015 it became mandatory for those plans to be linked to the annual budget and if they are not, an explanation for this must be provided to owners.

INFLUENCE:  In 2003 we achieved legislative change recognising “large strata schemes”.

ADVOCACY:  In 2002 as a result of our advocacy, the NSW Government convened the Joint Select Committee on the Quality of Buildings. We have consistently worked to raise public awareness of the correlation between private certification and building defects.

Fred Tuckwell, Chair, Treasurer

Fred brings a combination of executive and technical experience to OCN including a decade as a senior manager Director role with Telstra. The previous Chair of the large, self-managed Waratah Building strata community, he also has deep practical knowledge such as building and construction skills, capital management, large scale project management and product management.

Julie Walsh, BA, LLB, MEL, Director

Julie has owned in strata and been on strata committee since 1984. She currently sits on three strata committees, one as Chair. She is a specialist planning lawyer and has always been interested in policy. She is particularly interested in planning issues as they relate to strata living, building defects, and helping to educate strata communities and make them more sustainable and harmonious.

Gerald Chia BEc, Secretary

Gerry has been living and investing in strata since 2005 and has been actively involved in strata community governance as the Secretary and Chair of two strata committees and the Community Association. He has helped transform glass towers into vertical villages where residents feel pride and belonging, and where an annual BBQ he introduced now involves over 600 residents. Gerry has also achieved financial wins including introducing fixed strata management fees with no commissions, combining the insurance buying power of four stratas and the Community Association via an insurance broker.

Karen Stiles, Executive Officer

Since buying her first strata apartment in 1984, Karen has been active in advocating for better quality buildings, more effective consumer protections, improving legal and insurance arrangements and a planning system that ensures liveable urban communities. Her knowledge, networking abilities and passionate commitment to the sector have directly contributed to legislative changes that will benefit strata owners and residents now and into the future.

The Owners Corporation Network is a not-for-profit organisation.

To assist in providing valuable services for our members, OCN welcomes sponsorship by industry associates who will contribute to OCN’s purpose and help build our organisational capacity.

We offer a maximum of four Premium and four Major sponsor opportunities.

For information on OCN’s sponsorship packages please contact eo@ocn.org.au

> See Our Strategic Partners and Sponsors

Whether you have been living in a strata community for years or are wondering about buying a strata property – we are here to help you with support, information and resources.

> Contact Us

The Independent Voice of Strata Owners
Owners Corporation Network of Australia Ltd
Level 4, 95 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

T: 02 8197 9919
E: enquiries@ocn.org.au

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