|MEDIA RELEASE 15 December 2003|
|Issued by Queensland Resident Accommodation Managers Association Inc|
|Resort News Article|
|Membership of Body Corporate Committees|
success of every body corporate depends greatly on the skill of the
committee and the harmony with which the committee discharges its
recent changes to the BCCM Act and Regulations mean that some issues
concerning composition and operation and the committee need reviewed.
is important that investor owners are part of the committee and the
decision-making process, especially in buildings where most owners are
thousands of Australian investors have bought into both holiday and
permanent letting properties in Queensland but have been chosen not to
nominate for the committee because they cannot afford time to travel to
Queensland Resident Accommodation Managers’ Association (QRAMA)
President Kim Cox points out that the Regulations do not prohibit the
use of telephone hook-ups or other technologies for the conduct of
committee meetings. There
are opportunities for an absentee owner to be a member of the body
corporate committee and to help determine the management priorities for
the community titled building.
often in the past, the management committee compromised the owner
occupiers who were mainly interested in maintaining the property as
individual domestic living areas and keeping the levies as low as
possible. They had little
interest in maximizing the investment potential of the property and
attracting holiday guests or permanent tenants to the building,” he
result of this narrow approach is that in buildings that have mainly
investor owners, at times only owner occupiers are committee members
because they are the only owners who can attend committee meetings.”
Cox said that there are more than 50,000 apartments in community title
buildings that are let by resident letting agents for holiday purposes,
generally on a self-catering basis.
great variety and flexibility of accommodation types available in
Queensland have been a
feature of the industry. Mr
Cox said that this type of accommodation has attracted a significant
investment in holiday accommodation in Queensland and the industry, with
more than $10 billion in property investment; a noteworthy economic
impact on the tourism industry.
said there continues to be significant investment interest for these
properties and broadening the opportunities for committee representation
can greatly enhance the services and the capital appreciation of the
building as a whole and thus the individual units.
Regulations are silent on using telephone conferences or other media for
the conduct of a committee meeting. The Regulations do not
prohibit telephone or other media links nor do they require each
committee member to be physically present in the room where the meeting
many investor owners to be elected to a committee, more flexible
meeting procedures are needed. With the removal of the resident
manager as a voting member in the accommodation module, the issue has
become more significant.
Regulations do not restrict how committee meetings may be held.
General understanding is that reasonable alternatives are permitted
provided they are not prohibited in an Act or Regulation. Some
owners and some body corporate managers, however, have taken a literal
interpretation of the Regulations and oppose any practice that is not
described. The body corporate manager and the resident manager
must now abide by a Code of Conduct, which is part of the Act.
Among other requirements, both "must act in the best
interests of the body corporate" and "must exercise reasonable
skill, care and diligence in performing" their functions.
Encouraging a proper representation of owners to reflect the
needs of all owners would seem to be a requirement of the Code as would
be the use of technology to improve the functioning of the body
some buildings that have mainly investor owners, only owner-occupiers
are committee members because they are the only owners who can
attend committee meetings. Clearly this structure does not provide
a fair and representative committee and the interests of all owners are
not adequately addressed. These buildings are not using the skills
of investor owners in their management.
there is provision for a committee member to ask for reimbursement of
some expenses to attend committee meetings, many owners do not have time
available for travel but are prepared to be committee members if
commonly available communication options are used. Provision of proper
communication facilities for the conduct of meetings is usually more
cost effective that having people travel.
real issue is about good governance.
The corporate world and the government regularly report their
changes that reflect improved practices for better governance.
The operation of community-tilted schemes should be no different.
committees already operate in this manner and find it quite successful.
QRAMA conducts all State Executive meetings with telephone hook-ups to
members in Cairns and Port Douglas. It is an effective means of
meetings by voice and visual are part of the Government's own network.
We see more public companies conduct their AGMs by satellite TV
so more shareholders can be involved.
The practices are being increasingly used in many areas.
process for telephone conference meetings is quite straightforward.
A meeting time and venue is set and those who are unable to physically
attend can request a telephone or other media link.
in the legislation for the conduct of general meetings, the scope of
technology is acknowledged where members are encouraged to participate
by submitting voting papers. Any member who submits a voting paper
is considered to be present for the purposes of a quorum, which is all
extremely sensible and practical.
Regulations accept electronic voting and have quite appropriately not
defined or confined how such a practice would work. The
significant issue is that electronic voting is allowed.
various available media for the conduct of a committee meeting should be
no different. Groups with a greater spread of views and interests
would then be involved, which should be in the best interests of every
fair-minded body corporate.
The challenge for the resident manager and body corporate manager is to apply their obligations under the BCCM Code of Conduct and assist the body corporate address the issues of good governance. This may involve better and different forms of communication for committee meetings.
|Back to Press Releases|