Roundup: New commissioner – same old story?


So we have a new Fair Trading Commissioner. Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean this week announced the appointment of Rose Webb to the NSW Fair Trading hot seat.

Mr Kean said Ms Webb has an extensive background working at senior levels across both regulatory and enforcement agencies.

“I’m so excited to announce Rose Webb as the new Fair Trading Commissioner,” he said. “She is an exceptional individual with a wealth of knowledge and experience at the highest levels of government, both in Australia and overseas.”

So what will she be doing for people in strata?  Well, we didn’t even rate a mention in the press release and unless she has a totally different remit from her predecessors, the answer would be “not a lot”.

Given that Fair Trading covers everything from broken toys to shonky mechanics and dodgy retailers, Ms Webb won’t have much time to devote to this remote part of her new empire.

That’s not her fault – it’s just that we shouldn’t be part of the Ministry of Everything No-one Else Wants.  We should be part of Housing or Planning or … just have a ministry all our own so we can get things done.

Seriously, half the people in Sydney are going to be living in strata soon.  We shouldn’t have to share ministerial and bureaucratic headspace with rock concert ticket scalpers and speedo spinning second-hand car salespersons.

So if you’re reading, Commissioner, welcome – and here’s a taste of just a few of the concerns occupying the thoughts of Flat Chat readers this week.

  • Why can’t I paint the internal walls of my courtyard any colour I like? That’s HERE.
  • How do you confirm that a committee member was properly nominated? And what if they weren’t?  That’s HERE.
  • What do you do about a chair and secretary who push thorough special levies for repairs but only their unit get fixed? That’s HERE.
  • Twelve flats, some are bigger than others, but they all pay the same levies. Is that right and can it be changed? That’s HERE.
  • This scheme has always had a no-pets bylaw and they have just confirmed it in their review. Now one owner has brought in a dog and is threatening to take the committee to NCAT for harassment.  That’s HERE.

There are a lot more questions and answers in the Forum.

Oh, and if anyone heard me on radio mentioning my Romance and Intrigue tour of Vietnam next year you can find out more on www.bypriorarrangement.com.

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