New South Wales strata industry updates

New South Wales strata industry updates

Find the latest news updates and information on New South Wales community living and changes impacting strata

The timeline below provides summaries of relevant industry updates that impact or may interest strata property owners and residents in New South Wales

August 2023: Strata insurance premium increases: what you need to know

PICA Group is working with BCB Strata Insurance Brokers to help  limit premium increases for strata plans.
Over the past few years, BCB Strata Insurance Brokers have reported increased strata premiums with an average 20% rise nationally for standard risk profiles and up to 40% for regions impacted by floods and storms.

Here are their 2023 insights and suggestions to help you navigate the rise of strata insurance premium increases in New South Wales:


  1. Catastrophic weather events in Australia have led to an increase in insurance claims.
  2. Reinsurance costs for insurers have increased dramatically due to climate change and extreme weather patterns.
  3. Strata insurance premiums have increased on average 20% nationally for standard risk profiles and up to 40% in areas impacted by floods and storms.
  4. BCB is working with PICA Group to limit premium increases and help drive competition between insurers.
  5. Insurers have increased policy excesses to avoid even higher premium increases and cut down on administrative costs.
  6. Insurers are becoming less lenient in accepting buildings with known defects or cladding, making it essential to have a plan to ensure insurance renewal.
  7. Owners are responsible for insuring their property for total replacement value and must have a yearly valuation to avoid significant underinsurance.
  8. Increases in building and labour costs, driven by a shortage of contractors and high demand for materials, have led to higher construction costs and average claim costs, resulting in premium rises.

Download the information sheet below to read more on strata insurance premium increases and renewal review suggestions from BCB Strata Insurance Brokers.

August 2023: The potential risks of E-bikes: A cautionary note on potential fire hazards from charging E-bikes

As the popularity of e-bikes and e-scooters continues to rise for their eco-friendly and convenient transportation options, safety should be an utmost priority when it comes to charging electric vehicles.

Charging e-bike or e-scooter batteries can lead to overheating and, in rare cases, fire hazards. It is crucial to use chargers provided by the manufacturer and avoid charging devices overnight or unattended. Low-quality chargers, faulty batteries, or inappropriate charging practices may significantly increase the risk.


E-bikes and e-scooters require electrical outlets for charging. To prevent electrical hazards:

  • Use designated outlets
  • Avoid overloading circuits
  • Do not use extension cords or power strips, as they can cause overheating or fires.
  • Immediately report any electrical issues or malfunctioning outlets.


Recent incidents such as a fire at caused by an e-bike left charging, serve as a reminder of the importance of understanding the hazards and prioritise safety when it comes to their charging and storage.

Click on the link below to learn about the potential risks of charging e-bikes and e-scooters on your property.

August 2023: Energy accounts payments assistance scheme: Relief households facing energy bill stress

The Energy Accounts Payments Assistance (EAPA) scheme is a valuable resource for individuals and families facing financial hardship in NSW. In partnership with non-government organisations and NSW energy retailers, this program provides eligible households with one-off payments to help ease the burden of electricity and gas costs.

Remember, if you find yourself struggling to pay your energy bills, don’t hesitate to reach out to your electricity or gas supplier for possible payment extensions or hardship arrangements. If further assistance is required, the EAPA scheme is there to help everyone access essential energy services and financial relief when needed.

Follow the link below to learn more about the eligibility criteria and application information.

May 2023: The push to improve the liveability of strata schemes with sustainability infrastructure

The NSW Strata Community Association are urging to improve by-laws in response to a recommendation that would enforce a blanket prohibition of by-laws that block sustainability infrastructure.

The Statutory Review of the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 (SSDA) and the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (SSMA) Consultation Paper have recommended ten improvements for the liveability of strata complexes. However, SCA (NSW) disagrees with recommendation 115, which would impose a blanket prohibition of by-laws that reject sustainability infrastructure based on their appearance.

Click the link to learn more.

May 2023: Cut your heating costs in 2023 with energy-efficient heaters

Electric heaters, gas heaters, and reverse-cycle air conditioning are common types of heaters available. However, heating costs can rise significantly during winter if you’re not using an energy-efficient heater. When preparing your home for the cooler months, it is important to consider:

  • Choosing a model with a high star rating and a timer that can help save you money on energy bills.
  • Ensuring your property has adequate insulation and weather stripping around windows and doors can also help reduce heat loss.

Click on the link for a 2023 guide to energy-efficient heaters to prepare for the upcoming winter.

May 2023: Strata community calls for reform of emergency services levy

Strata owners in NSW pay significantly more in duties, levies, and taxes than other states and territories. Calls for reform to the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) have been raised to improve insurance affordability for the strata community and insurance policyholders.

The ESL is a tax levied by the New South Wales government to fund emergency services such as fire and ambulance services. While the tax intends to assure adequate funding for essential services, many argue that the current system is inequitable and burdens strata owners disproportionately.

Click the link to learn more about the Emergency Services Levy and why it is considered an inequitable tax for strata property owners in New South Wales.

May 2023: The risk of unmaintained flexi-hoses

Homeowners are urged to take a closer look at their flexible hoses. Also known as braided hoses, these are generally installed inside lot spaces and have been known to fail unexpectedly, resulting in water damage and significant repair costs. Understanding the risks associated with flexible hoses and how to maintain them can help you prevent costly repairs and protect your property from water damage.

Click the link to learn more about the issue of flexible hoses and why homeowners should check if their plumbing fixtures are in good condition.

December 2022: Project Innovate to help owners have defects fixed

The NSW Government recently launched Project Innovate. This program helps strata property owners have serious defects and non-compliant building work fixed by the building’s developer.

You are likely eligible for this program if you own a lot within a residential building that fits into all of the following criteria:

  1. There is a serious defect in common property
  2. The building’s developer or builder is still solvent and otherwise current
  3. The building is four or more storeys high
  4. The building’s occupation certificate was issued less than six years ago.

September 2022: Strata Hub update

A NSW Government initiative, Strata Hub is a compulsory new digital reporting tool for strata communities. It has been designed to make it easier for strata property owners and prospective buyers to access information about a strata property. It would also help NSW Fair Trading better monitor each property’s maintenance or defect rectification work.

Where it’s at

Strata Hub has now been legislated and has completed stage one of its trial phase. During stage two of the trial phase, all strata schemes would be required to submit documentation to the platform.

What happens next

PICA Group is keeping abreast of developments that come from the trial so that our customers’ Strata Hub requirements can be effectively maintained and managed.

You could expect your strata manager to send your committee further details about Strata Hub, as well as a suite of motions to consider, shortly.

July 2022: PICA Group wins at SCA NSW Awards

We are thrilled to share that PICA Group was awarded not just one but two accolades at the SCA NSW Strata Community CHU Awards for Excellence in July.

A giant congratulations to these superstars who took out coveted awards:

– Sarah Hogg: Winner, Senior Strata Community Manager Award

– Keith Hallet (alongside Andrew Croucher and Strata Plan 55792): Winner, Strata Community Environmental and Engagement Award

A giant congratulations must also go out to our award finalists:

– Keith Hallet: Finalist, Strata Community Manager Award

– Dynamic Property Services: Finalist, Strata Community Management Business Award – Large

We at PICA Group strive for excellence in enhancing community living, so it was wonderful to see some of our hard work and talented staff members being recognised at the awards ceremony.

July 2022: Government assistance available for customers affected by floods

The Federal Government has declared the floods experienced earlier this year a natural disaster. If you were affected by major damage to your property or other assets due to these floods, you and your family might be eligible for a lump sum payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child younger than 16.

If you live in one of the 30+ local government areas that have been declared a disaster, you have until 1 February 2023 to make a claim for this assistance payment.

July 2022: Fair Work Commission increases minimum wage

The Fair Work Commission has increased the minimum wage from 4.6%- 5.2%, effective 1st of July 2022.

This means some contractors assisting your property for services such as cleaning, security, gardening, landscaping, pest control, plumbing, and fire services may increase their labour costs.

We encourage committees to take the 4.6%-5.2% rise in the minimum wage into account when budgeting for regular maintenance works as well as repairs and upgrade projects.

If you have any questions regarding budgeting for increased labour costs, please get in touch with your strata manager.

May 2022: Pandemic and natural disasters impact contractor availability and insurance premiums

Australia has experienced significant challenges over the past 2.5 years – from devastating bush fires and the pandemic to the recent significant flooding in South-Eastern Queensland and Northern NSW. This all contributes to a national challenge in securing materials and labour to attend to both emergency works and routine maintenance works required for your strata community.

While PICA Group has access to an extensive list of contractors, there are delays and economic impacts that are unavoidable as a result of the economic climate we face and we ask for your understanding as the suppliers work with us and your community to provide the necessary services.

The broader impact of these shortages, escalating prices and significant insurance losses are the impact to the premiums that may be experienced by strata communities and businesses throughout Australia.

Brokers have indicated an expectation to accommodate an uplift in budgets for insurance renewals. Given this is likely to be based on the existing building sum insured (with minor escalation of costs allowances), it is important to consider how these escalating costs could affect your strata community.

We recommend that your committee considers reviewing the policy limits and, where appropriate, obtains a revised insurance valuation report that considers all costs, including building sum insured, temporary accommodation, demolition etc., to make sure that there is sufficient provision in the event of a claim being submitted.

To obtain an appropriate valuation, or for any other assistance you may need for this task, please liaise directly with your strata manager.

May 2022: NSW Government initiative Strata Hub has commenced trial 

Strata Hub, a compulsory new digital reporting tool, has now begun its trial phase. A NSW Government initiative, Strata Hub is designed to make it easier for strata property owners and prospective buyers to access information about a strata property. It would also help NSW Fair Trading better monitor each property’s maintenance or defect rectification work.

Strata Hub has now been legislated, and all strata schemes would be required to submit documentation to the platform once the trial phase is over.

PICA Group is keeping abreast of developments that come from the trial so that our customers’ Strata Hub requirements can be effectively maintained and managed.

You can learn more about Strata Hub below.

June 2022: PICA Group CEO Wayne Walker to take part in Vinnies’ CEO Sleepout

PICA Group’s CEO Wayne Walker will once again be participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, this year on 23 June. Needless to say, we’re incredibly proud of him.

This annual event raises vital funds for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of finding themselves without a safe place to call home. Every dollar we raise goes to Vinnies’ services, which include food, accommodation, education, counselling, employment and health programs.  If you’d like to make a donation to Wayne’s fundraising effort, you can do so below.

March 2022: Federal Government takes a step towards providing cyclone reinsurance pool

The Federal Government has now passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Cyclone and Flood Damage Reinsurance Pool) Bill 2022, which is due to assist property owners in cyclone-prone regions with insurance affordability.

This program was first announced as part of the 2021-22 Federal Budget last year and is backed by a $10 billion government guarantee. This will allow the government to establish a reinsurance pool, which is set to assist with supporting the funding of claims for over 880,000 eligible policies.

The true specifics of how this legislation would operate across the insurance sector are yet to be fully determined as the insurance pool has only recently been announced. In the meantime, you can access the specific legislation below.

February 2022: Insurance premium changes due to introduction of Federal Government’s reinsurance pool

Last year, the Federal Government announced a reinsurance pool for cyclone and flood-prone areas to protect more than 880,00 residential, strata and small businesses against risk and related damages. The final design has been announced following consultation on the draft legislation.

It will be backed by a $10 billion annually reinstated Commonwealth guarantee and be administered by the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation. This is scheduled for a 1 July 2022 start date.

December 2021: Property Services Commissioner appointment to improve engagement between owners and strata industry

John Minns has been appointed by the NSW Government as the state’s first Property Services Commissioner. He will work closely with the NSW Property Sevices Expert panel, which includes a PICA Group representative.

This is a welcome step in increasing industry standards for the benefit of strata property owners. The Property Services Commission’s model is likely to be similar to that of the Building Commissioner, which has improved building and development standards across the state.


November 2021: Short-term accommodation hosts must register their property

As of 1 November, all strata property owners who rent their property as short term rental accommodation must be registered on the NSW Government STRA Register. Letting agents will not be able to advertise your property if it is not registered.

While all short term rental accommodation hosts must also comply with a specific set of fire and safety requirements, the deadline for this has been delayed to March 2022.


October 2021: Digital Certificates of Title to replace paper versions

From 11 October 2021, paper Certificates of Title will be cancelled and replaced with digital certificates to facilitate a more efficient and secure conveyancing process and reduce the risk of delays. Your paper Certificate of Title will no longer be a legal document from this date.

Strata property owners will not need to do anything to transition to a digital Certificate of Title — your details are already recorded in the Torrens Register and are guaranteed by the State of NSW.


August 2021: Registrations for the removal of combustible cladding now open

Registrations for Project Remediate, the NSW Government’s program to remove and replace combustible cladding on strata properties, will be open until 30 September 2021

This program will support eligible strata properties and their owners with a 10-year interest-free loan to remove and replace problematic cladding. The program will also assist with ensuring the quality of the new cladding and managing the remediation project as well.

Around 60 strata properties have currently registered for this project and started to have their cladding assessed.

If your property has combustible cladding, you can register for this program via the link below.


2021: New National Construction Code for safe and secure housing

In a win for all Australians, a majority of state and territory Building Ministers have agreed to a national minimum standard in the draft of the National Construction Code 2022. These reforms may lead the way for 50% of homes to have minimum accessibility features suitable for the elderly and those living with a disability, which are considered “silver level” by Livable Housing Australia. This includes seven key design elements:

  • A safe, step-free path from the street entrance or parking areas to the home’s entrance
  • At least one step-free entrance to the home
  • Internal doors and corridors that allow unobstructed movement between spaces
  • An accessible toilet on the ground or entry-level
  • A bathroom with a shower recess
  • Walls around the toilet, shower and bath that allow for the installation of grab rails
  • Stairways that are designed to reduce the likelihood of injury, which can be adapted later if need be.

While upfront costs or these design elements may likely only cost around 1% of total building costs, they could cost around 20 times more to be retrofitted.

These new standards are slated to change the way strata property common areas are designed and constructed in the future.


July 2021: Professional Standards Scheme to further improve service for strata property owners

The NSW Government has approved a Professional Standards Scheme, which is the first of its kind for the strata industry in Australia.

The scheme has been approved for an initial period of five years, commencing from 1 July 2021. This approval means our business must adhere to a Code of Ethics including professional standards, and is monitored by Professional Standards Australia.

This scheme aims to further commit to high professional standards in the strata industry across New South Wales.

The Professional Standards Scheme could bring to our customers a range of benefits, including:

  • The SCA (NSW) would oversee and self-regulate the conduct of all members within a structured professional framework.
  • In addition to our internal complaints handling process, the Professional Standards Scheme brings a further robust and independent complaints handling process, ensuring clients can be assured of an independent review and response.
  • An increase in Continual Professional Development (CPD) requirements for Strata Managers and Licensee’s in Charge, ensuring the industry remains up to date, educated and aware of their on-going responsibilities to the consumer.

We are committed to supporting the strata industry, contributing to the overall improvement, and providing an excellent customer experience. The introduction of the Professional Standards Scheme helps assist us in meeting these goals for our customers.


July 2021: PICA Group named finalist for SCA NSW awards

We’re pleased to announce that PICA Group has been confirmed as a finalist at the 2021 Strata Community CHU Awards, and is in the running for two awards. PICA Group has been nominated for the Excellence in Innovation Award, and Sarah Hogg, Regional General Manager North Shore, Central Coast and North Coast, has been nominated for the Essay Award. Congratulations to Sarah and the PICA Group team!

While the awards ceremony was due to be held in July, it has been postponed to later in the year due to Greater Sydney being placed in lockdown.


July 2021: Fax numbers to be retired

While using a fax machine may seem old-fashioned, we’ve been holding onto it for some customers. However, from 30 July 2021, we will be retiring our fax numbers. You can now email with any documents you may have usually faxed through to us


June 2021: Expert findings reveal four safe cladding products

Finally, there’s some relief for property owners — a panel consisting of experts in fire safety, engineering, construction and insurance has recommended four safe cladding products for high-risk residential buildings in New South Wales.

The products are:

  • Solid aluminium panels installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
  • Solid metal sheets installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
  • Fibre cement panels installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
  • Non-combustible cement render.

Further safe cladding product options may be announced after rigorous independent testing has been completed in the coming months.

As part of Project Remediate, the government expects to begin the assessment and project design phases for the first 30 high-risk buildings by July. It aims to begin removing combustible cladding from these buildings by late 2021.


June 2021: Conveyancing process due to go online this year

The New South Wales Government plans to enact new laws to digitise certificates of title and mandate e-conveyancing. This is expected to reduce delays and stresses regarding property transactions and prevent lost and fraudulent paper titles.


June 2021: Our Customer Care Centre is here to assist you

Our Customer Care Centre was first introduced during COVID-19 to help with accessibility into our branch staff while providing continuity of service when it was needed the most. Due to positive feedback, customers could now have access to this service permanently.

We are currently working on improving the service, so that customers can receive both immediate assistance and fast resolution on a broader range of important strata property matters, including:

  • Levy queries
  • Meeting notices
  • Document requests
  • Setting up direct debits and refunds
  • Providing a certificate of currency via your insurer
  • Change of address and contact details
  • StrataVote access
  • CommunityHub access.

Our Customer Care Centre can be reached on 1300 889 227 or


June 2021: PICA Group CEO to participate in Vinnies’ CEO Sleepout

Wayne Walker, PICA Group’s CEO, will be joining business, government and community leaders across Australia in participating in the CEO Sleepout on 17 June. The CEO Sleepout is an annual event to raise money for people experiencing homelessness. Every dollar raised would go to Vinnies’ not-for-profit services, including food, accommodation, education, counselling, employment and health programs. So far, Wayne has raised $12,650 for Vinnies. If you would like to support Wayne in his goal of breaking the devastating cycle of homelessness, you can donate via the link below.


May 2021: Katy Kelly sprints closer to Tokyo Paralympics 

Katie Kelly and her para-triathlon team, who PICA Group proudly sponsor, have come one step closer to qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympics. She came first in the Yokohama test event held in May. This is a phenomenal achievement, which is a testament to the hard work she has put in over the last few months. Congratulations Katie, we are all so proud of you!


April 2021: short-term letting regulatory framework delayed until November

The New South Wales Government recently announced a new regulatory framework for short-term rental accommodation, which was due to become effective in July 2021. This has now been delayed to 1 November 2021 to help those affected have ample time to familiarise themselves with the new regulations.

The regulatory framework is due to cover the following areas:

  • A new planning framework
  • Fire safety standards for short-term rental accommodation
  • A government register for short-term rental accommodation.

Until it becomes effective, local councils would continue to regulate short-term rental accommodation.

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