The Minister for Commerce, the Hon Simon O’Brien MLC, has recently asked the Department of Commerce to undertake consultation on whether strata managers should be licensed in Western Australia.
While most States have some form of regulation for strata managers, at present they are not licensed in Western Australia.
The strata industry has grown substantially in recent years, with an estimated 10,000 strata lots being created each year; and strata managers can hold considerable sums of money on behalf of strata companies.
Furthermore the development of the Council of Australian Governments National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) has focussed new attention on the question of whether strata managers should be licensed in this State.
The NOLS would create a single occupational licence for selected occupations allowing licensees to work anywhere in Australia with the one licence.
Property agents are one of the occupations covered by the NOLS, with proposed effect from 1 July 2012.
It is proposed that strata managers would be one of the categories of the NOLS property agent licence.
The NOLS Intergovernmental Agreement provides that States or Territories that do not licence an occupation at the time the NOLS commences are not obliged to begin licensing it merely because of the NOLS. However, any licensing of the occupation would need to be under the terms of the NOLS.
Consequently, from July 2012 Western Australia has a choice of retaining the status quo (no licensing) or licensing strata managers under the NOLS.
In order to make an informed recommendation to the Minister, Consumer Protection is preparing to conduct consultation in the first half of 2011 on the merits of proceeding with strata manager licensing under the NOLS.
To support the consultation process, Consumer Protection is currently is developing a concise discussion paper which will be released for public comment. It is expected that the discussion paper and advice on how to participate in the consultation will be released in the near future.