Land Matters January 2016
In this issue:
More options for WA strata owners
Legislation to reform Western Australia’s Strata Titles Act 1985 is expected to be introduced to Parliament in the second half of 2016 after extensive work by Landgate and input from stakeholders.
Landgate’s Chief Executive Mike Bradford said amendments to the Act are being drafted.
“The draft amendments are a response to calls over many years for changes to strata laws to provide greater diversity and more housing options for the community, as well as better strata management practices,” Mr Bradford said.
“After two years of stakeholder consultation and a three-month public comment period, it is very pleasing that these much needed changes will be drafted.
“The reforms will create more flexible and sustainable housing options, make shared communities more attractive and better meet Western Australia’s future population needs.”
Consultation feedback has contributed to a number of refinements to the reform proposals.
The proposed reforms include:
- introducing two new types of strata, community title schemes and leasehold strata schemes
- improving the staging of strata developments
- improving the quality of information provided to buyers of strata properties and improving and simplifying the dispute resolution processes
- better management for strata schemes and making strata managers more accountable
- proposals to terminate a strata scheme if a majority of owners vote to do so - 75 per cent of owners must agree in schemes of four lots or more
- all majority termination proposals must be reviewed by the State Administrative Tribunal to assess procedure and fairness.
After two years of consultation, Landgate General Manager Operations Bruce Roberts said getting approval to change legislation is a significant achievement.
"Organisations such as Landgate only take on this kind of project every five years or so,” Mr Roberts said.
“The significance of this approval for a large set of reforms is that it will affect one-quarter of land in WA and will make a difference to how people live and work in strata schemes. Drafting the legislation is next and there is still a lot of work to be done for this – it is a very detailed process that takes a lot of effort and thinking.”
For more information about the project and proposed reforms, please visit Landgate’s website.
Customer service – Landgate’s top priority
At Landgate our customers, our people and our community are at the heart of everything we do; that is why we have embarked on a major business improvement program to further enhance the way we meet our clients’ needs.
Some of the measures we have taken include technological advances, process refinements and building on the capabilities within our workforce to ensure the needs of our customers are met.
Landgate’s account managers are also working with industry groups to improve the way we deliver our services to them.
We are only part way through the whole program of business improvements but we are already seeing increased customer satisfaction. More than 80 per cent of our customers have reported being satisfied with Landgate in the July to September 2015 quarter, rating Landgate 8, 9 or 10 out of 10 for overall satisfaction.
In March 2015 Landgate launched its new website. Customers have endorsed this initiative by describing the site as being easy to use and descriptive, and identifying it as their top reason for being satisfied with Landgate.
They also said Landgate provided excellent customer service, and accurate, efficient and hassle free information.
Landgate Chief Executive Mike Bradford said improvements would continue in 2016.
“It’s reassuring to know we are on the right track and delivering noticeable improvements to our customers,” Mr Bradford said.
“Our latest survey results show overall, satisfaction has significantly increased for Landgate this quarter.
“We will continue to build on this success to make Landgate more receptive to the needs of our customers.”
Earth is Art
If ‘beauty is in the eye of beholder’ then Landgate’s Earth is Art aerial photography is a bird’s eye view of the wonders of Western Australia’s natural geographical formations, shorelines and island archipelagos.
Earth is Art was the innovative idea of a Landgate employee who saw an opportunity to promote the agency’s vast catalogue of aerial imagery of the State.
In 2015/16 Landgate captured 206,235 km² of aerial imagery which is approximately equivalent to the size of the state of Victoria.
You can order the images as prints or digital files from Landgate’s website.
How was your suburb named?
From Woop Woop to the North Pole, Western Australia has some unusual suburb names both within metropolitan and regional areas.
It is suggested that Woop Woop is named after an abandoned mill town of the same name and possibly after the noise made by frogs in the area.
You may also be surprised to learn the origin of the suburb known as the North Pole in WA is nothing to do with a man in a red suit and his reindeers. Landgate’s Geographic Names team can confirm Western Australia’s North Pole is a mining centre in the Pilbara. Ironically it was named after the extremely hot weather in the region.
The Geographic Names team has been presented with many interesting suggestions for names over time. Some were approved and others weren't considered appropriate for a variety of reasons.
Chairman of the Geographic Names Committee Bruce Roberts said it was established almost 80 years ago following a request from the Western Australian Historical Society.
"The society believed the State's roads and towns should be named in a way that was relevant and meaningful to their origin," he said.
All agreed a committee should be established to carry out this important role and that the names of towns and roads should reflect the history or indigenous features of a particular area. The first meeting was held on 27 July 1936 and it became known as the Geographic Names Committee in 1987.
The purpose of the GNC has remained the same over the years, with its primary role to ensure naming decisions for the State Government are carried out in a democratic way. The Committee continues to provide geographic naming advice to the Minister for Lands Terry Redman.
Prior to names being approved, other important factors such as emergency services, communications and transport are taken into account. For example, it is really important not to use the same street name twice in a suburb, as this can cause confusion when emergency services personnel such as fire, police or ambulance are called to an emergency.
"Appointments to the GNC are still made by the Minister for Lands and they are considered to represent a broad cross-section of the community," Mr Roberts said.
"The Geographic Names team processes over 1,800 naming applications each year.
"It is very much a collaborative approach where we work closely with local governments, land developers and also the general public. Much thought and consideration goes on throughout the whole process."