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A dedicated Strata Commissioner to protect apartment owners and residents and restore confidence in the strata sector will be introduced by the Labor Party, should it win office at the upcoming state election. “A commissioner solely focussed on strata is long overdue,” says Phil Gall, chair of OCN, which is running a seminar on cladding issues on March 16 in Sydney. “Fair Trading is overloaded with concerns that have absolutely nothing to do with housing, home ownership or community. “Far too many stories cross our desks of people being misled and misinformed about their rights, then channelled into a dispute system that is all about compromise, rather than right or wrong. You just have to look at how the short-term letting, cladding and defects issues have been handled to realise a strong strata-focussed voice in the system can only be an improvement.” He said everyone would welcome the creation of a Strata Commissioner under the umbrella of a Ministry of Housing that oversaw every aspect of residential development, from planning to defects resolution and community concerns. That comes on top of Labor’s planned overhaul of the building, development and residential sector by creating a new Building Authority and drafting a new Building Act, while removing property services out of Fair Trading into an expanded building and property services division.