Paul, Jemima and Julie from the parks team at the Tenant’s Union of NSW wish you – our Outasite Lite readers – a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year.
We enjoyed sharing residential parks news with you in 2015 and hearing back from you about the stories and updates we send through. Thank you for the positive feedback you kindly send us.
A QUICK LOOK BACK OVER 2015
2015 has been a very busy year for the parks team. The Residential Parks Forum met four times through the year, providing a chance for us to chat with resident advocates about the different issues arising for residents in parks and work together on how best to tackle these. We finished the year with comprehensive two day training on the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for resident advocates in December.
We were involved in consultations on the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Regulation 2015 and Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2005. This included attendance at consultative meetings, as well as formal written submissions on the regulations.
Our Residential Parks Legal Officer, Paul Smyth, has been involved in matters at NCAT, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal – many of which are ongoing. We foresee Paul being very busy into the new year!
The new Act commenced
On 1 November the new Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 became law and our feet haven’t touched the ground since!
Through the year we developed a new website for park residents - thenoticeboard.org.au. As soon as the Act commenced we made over 20 factsheets available on our website. These covered different aspects of the new law for both home owners and renters.
We also published a special edition of Outasite focused on the new law. So far we have distributed around 5,000 copies throughout the state. Every day we are adding new subscribers - welcome all new readers!
And, we began our community education project on the new law...
COMMUNITY PROJECT GETS UNDERWAY!
Along with local tenant advocates we got out and about visiting parks and delivering education sessions in early November.
First stop: Western Sydney
We kicked off our community education project in Western Sydney. Julie Lee, Residential Parks Officer at the Tenants’ Union, and Franya Repolusk from the Western Sydney Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service started the week by visiting residential parks across Western Sydney. Despite being turned away from a few parks, Julie and Franya were able to meet and talk with many Western Sydney park residents to let them know about the new law. They handed out over 500 copies of our current edition of Outasite: ‘New Law for Parks’.
At the end of the week the Tenants’ Union ran two education sessions about the new Act – at Stanhope Gardens and Nepean Shores Riverside Resort. With over 150 residents in attendance across the two sessions the venues were standing room only!
Then on to the Central Coast…
At the end of the month we moved up the coast, battling the heat to visit 13 parks. Julie and Lisa Ashby from the Central Coast Tenants Advice and Advocacy service began by visiting parks around Chain Valley Bay and Lake Munmorah then made their way down the coast via Wyong to parks around Erina and Avoca. Again the park visits gave us a great chance to chat with residents, and find out about issues in the local area. We handed out over 800 copies of Outasite to Central Coast park residents during our visit.
The two education sessions held the next week (in early December) were very well attended - around 65 residents at each session. The Honourable Yasmin Catley (Member for Swansea) has a keen interest in parks and attended our session at Doyalson. The Q&A sessions at the end of the presentations provided a great opportunity for residents to raise questions about the new Act.
It was great to have Lynn Evans and Kristina Jurak-Komsic from NSW Fair Trading at the two Central Coast information sessions. They talked about how Fair Trading can help park residents and explained the process for lodging a complaint with Fair Trading. Lynn and Kristina will be joining us at future information sessions.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has helped us with the project so far. Many park residents across Western Sydney and the Central Coast generously gave up their time to help with handing out information, doing media, and generally getting the word out.
And we’ll be coming to more areas around the state!
From February next year we will be back out on the road, visiting parks and running community information sessions. To find out when we’ll be coming to your area, check out the schedule at thenoticeboard.org.au. This will be updated as we lock in dates across NSW.
All the best for the festive season and see you next year!