I was gobsmacked this week to discover that Fair Trading have refused to even tell owners in the 400-plus buildings seriously affected by flammable cladding that there’s a seminar this weekend that could offer possible answers to their potentially deadly problems.
Seriously, they send letters to more than 400 buildings and tell them that they have the worst kind of cladding and they’d better fix it or they will be fined millions of dollars.
But when the Owners Corporation Network asks if they wouldn’t mind passing on the details of a seminar where cladding experts, financial advisors and class action lawyers will be speaking, suddenly it’s all “oh, it would be an invasion of privacy if we even mentioned the seminar to them.”
Not their exact words but you get the drift. According to this story, some paper shuffler at Fair Trading has decided that a highly questionable issue of privacy is more important than people getting answers to questions that could cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s true. Owners in one of the worst-affected blocks have been told it could cost them $50-60,000 each to remove and replace the cladding – and all the government has said is you have to do it or we’ll fine you.
In the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I will be MC-ing the OCN event this weekend. I am not a member of the OCN and I won’t be getting paid.
But unlike the mandarins of Fair Trading – and, I assume, Matt Kean who declined to comment – I think when people need help, it’s probably better to offer advice than threats.
You can find out more details on OCN.org.au. And on the topic of offering advice, here are some of the latest questions and answers on the Flat Chat Forum.
- Can random owners clog up access in a communal laundry with their own washing machines? That’s HERE.
- A common property pipe burst and ruined our uninsured carpet. Who pays for the damage? The strata committee says not them. That’s HERE.
- Five units. Three owners park in gated car park, two park in un-gated spaces in front of their units. Now one of the latter says he shouldn’t have to pay a share of fees (this is Victoria) towards the gate. Is this right? That’s HERE.
- The committee were told to get a quote for some work and an office-bearer added extra items to the list. Can we claim on fraud insurance? That’s HERE.
- Our incompetent strata manager was hired by committee members who didn’t declare a conflict of interest. How do we get rid of him? That’s HERE.
There are more weird and wonderful questions on the Flat Chat Forum every day. But, hey, if you know someone who is in one of the cladding affected buildings, tell them about the seminar and to go to OCN.org.au.