With the creation of residential park liaison committees, the Residential Parks Act 1998 introduced a new feature to enhance park living. The aim of these committees is to build up goodwill and harmony between residents and park management through the creation of a forum for the discussion of park related matters.
The liaison committee is established for the purpose of improving the lifestyle of residents and helping to avoid problems arising in the park.
It is important to recognise that park liaison committees are designed to be consultative and advisory bodies. They are not decision–makers. They do not exercise authority over either the park owner or the residents. Their purpose is to provide a means of constructive dialogue between residents and management. Liaison committees will not function properly if individual members do not undertake their roles in a spirit of co–operation.
The types of matters for the committee’s consideration might include:
Liaison committees must be established for parks with twenty or more sites occupied by persons under tenancy agreements where the majority of residents want a committee. Residents and the owner should have representatives on the committee. However, residents must always have the majority membership.
The Act requires that residents have majority representation on the liaison committee. For example, in a liaison committee of seven, at least four members would need to be chosen by residents. The other members would be from park management.
|IMPORTANT - There is no limit to the number of people who can be members of a liaison committee although NSW Fair Trading believes that, in most cases, seven should be a workable number.|
Only those persons who have entered into tenancy agreements (verbal or written) with the park owner are eligible to take part in the election process to choose the committee members representing residents.
While it is a good idea to have one committee member chosen to keep records and to have another member as chair, the people involved should ensure that liaison committees operate without unnecessary formalities. To assist in the smooth operation of liaison committees, NSW Fair Trading suggests that they be arranged as informal events, perhaps at the same time as a morning or afternoon tea or barbeque.
Following consultation with relevant interest groups, Fair Trading has published guidelines on the procedures for the operation of liaison committees and the election of resident representatives. The guidelines are not mandatory and may be varied to suit individual circumstances. Copies are available from the Fair Trading website.
A resident has the right to belong to and participate in any organisation of park residents. It is an offence for this right to be restricted in any way by the park owner. Residents’ committees may be established either as an alternative or an addition to a liaison committee. Residents’ committees are entitled to use suitable park facilities available generally to residents.
The park owner must provide and maintain a notice board in a location in the park that is accessible to all residents. The park owner must not unreasonably interfere with the right of a resident to read or place notices on the noticeboard.
The liaison committee may develop a policy for supervising the placing of notices on noticeboards.
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