How the strata bill will boost development in SI

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BY CAROL-ANNE SULEGA

THE strata titles bill 2017 poses to boost development and many other industries in the Solomon Islands, it is reported.

Technical Advisor Allan McNeil reveals this when queried by the Leader of the Independent Group, Dr Derek Sikua, on the similarities of strata developments in Vanuatu and Australia in the proposed legislation to do the same in Solomon Islands.

Dr Derek made the query during the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) hearing to the sponsoring ministry of the strata titles bill 2017 this week after the two countries were given as a similar scheme example to what Solomon Islands is moving towards.

The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey is the sponsoring ministry of the Strata Titles Bill 2017.

“Explain to the Committee what is really happening in Vanuatu and in Australia jurisdiction in terms of the strata titles – what is in practice? What types of developments do you see instead of simple straight forward construction?” said Hon Sikua.

McNeil told the committee that Vanuatu and Australia have had strata development schemes for some years now but their situations are different as there are many expats and retirees that are interested in purchasing strata developments.

He gave Vanuatu as a more similar example being another Melanesian country itself.

He added that in Vanuatu their tourism industry is much stronger than Solomon Islands’ and many expats choose to retire there and many are interested in purchasing strata developments, whether it be land or building units.

McNeil added that Vanuatu’s legislation was abused through subdivision of land but in the proposed Bill currently before the BLC, it’s more on buildings.

“We have learnt lessons from Vanuatu.

“Most it has been about land, now it has been amended and is for subdividing buildings,” he added.

The BLC was told that there will be more interest from Solomon Islands to buy strata units in Solomon Islands than Vanuatu.

“Lots of strata developments in Australia, form of subdivision of land and buildings, and have different names but are essentially the same thing but where there is common property is for all the unit owners,” McNeil further added.

The BLC was also informed that consultations on the Strata Titles Bill 2017 were also done in Australia with legislative drafters and stakeholders who have dealt with strata development schemes.

The combined value of strata development value in Australia amounts to over 1 trillion Australian dollars and can be seen in cities in Australia dotted in their skylines.

All of which are dominated by strata development.

He then added that Solomon Islands will not turn out like that just yet through this scheme as it will be on a much smaller scale.

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