In 1970, the Federal Government authorities that administered the ACT decided to introduce strata living in apartments and units and adopted the Unit Titles Ordinance 1970. While the Ordinance in part followed the models used in the United States, it differed to accommodate the lease hold system of the ACT. With minor amendments and a change of name to the Unit Titles Act with the introduction of Self Government, the Ordinance applied until 2001, when the Unit Titles Act 2001 came into force.
Unfortunately the 2001 Act did not include many amendments considered necessary by the owners of apartments and units leading to pressure for a more thorough revision. A draft Bill was produced in 2008, but many unit owners all around Canberra were concerned about some of the proposals and the lack of effective consultation processes. Many representations were made to Government and substantial coverage in the letters pages of the Canberra Times reflected the breadth and depth of unit owners' concerns.
The OCN began when a public meeting on 11 October 2008 agreed that an owners’ voice was needed and a constitution would be presented to another general meeting. That meeting took place on 14 March 2009, adopted the constitution and membership fees and elected an Executive Committee (EC).
Many issues had not been resolved when the Unit Titles Act 2008 was rushed through the ACT Legislative Assembly in the last days before the 2008 election and became law in March 2009.
Pressure for more amendments and user-friendly legislation began almost immediately. The OCN contributed significantly to yet another review, which led to the division of unit titles legislation into 2 Acts:
The Unit Titles Act 2001 which deals with the planning and approval of apartments and units, and
The Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 which deals with the decision making and management of the owners corporations by the owners.
The OCN works tirelessly to establish effective relationships with the other stakeholders and meets regularly with the regulators of the construction and administrative agencies involved in the approval and operation of unit plans.
OCN continues to lobby the ACT Government and administration that the Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 and the
Unit Titles Act need significant amendments to facilitate the management of larger and particularly mixed use owners corporations. OCN will continue to pursue this issue on behalf of owners of units and apartments in the ACT.