224 QRama Newsletter2.indd by hjkuiw354


                                                                    QUEENSLAND RESIDENT ACCOMMODATION
                                                                    MANAGERS’ ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED


  Code of compliance blitz
Code of Conduct Conduct compliance                                                                                                                     blitz
Recent compliance checks of Resident Letting Agents (RLA’s)                The complaint handling procedure must outline:
throughout Queensland revealed there is still room for improvement
when it comes to RLA’s complying with the Code of Conduct.                 • How a complaint procedure should be lodged (whether verbally
                                                                             or in writing)
During November and December last year 100 agents were checked             • Who the complaint must be lodged with and
by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) throughout Cairns, the Sunshine         • That complaints will be investigated and responded to within
Coast, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast to correspond with Schoolies             seven days.
Week 2004.
                                                                           QRAMA members are advised to nominate an employee to be in
                                                                           charge of complaints, to monitor and record complaints, and in
Of those investigated by OFT, 29 agents failed to meet the basic           case of third party involvement, RLA’s must still respond to the
requirements of the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2001             complainant within seven days but should seek legal advice.
(PAMDA), with 26 warning letters and eight infringement notices
issued.                                                                    The OFT conducts random spot checks to ensure RLA’s are
                                                                           complying with industry regulations, during which OFT officers are
Investigations involve checking RLA’s are licensed and that the            required to produce photo identification by law.
licensee’s name is in a prominent position, ensuring a complaint
handling procedure is in place, the code of conduct notice is on           In the event of an investigation, RLA’s are required to abide by all
display, and house rules are reasonable and fair.                          lawful requests including entering an area; if the occupier consents
                                                                           or if the officer has a warrant, if it is a public place, or if it is the
With fines for misconduct reaching up to $15,000 for individuals            licensee’s place of business.
and $75,000 for corporations QRAMA members are advised to be
aware of legal requirements in the Code of Conduct.                        QRAMA reminds its members if the OFT officer has a warrant
                                                                           they may search any part of the premises, photograph or seize
                                                                           documents, and they may bring other people into the area.
Investigations into 50 RLA’s on the Gold Coast revealed eight did
not have a complaint handling procedure in place.
                                                                           If an officer requests it and the RLA is reasonably suspected of
                                                                           committing an offence, a name and address as well as documents
QRAMA Executive Officer John Anderson said it is an important time          under the PAMDA Act must be provided with copies. It is an offence
of year to remind RLA’s to comply with the Code of Conduct due to          to provide an inspector with any false or misleading information.
Schoolies Week and in light of recent proactive campaigns by OFT.
                                                                           Adhering to the Code of Conduct and ensuring a complaint handling
“Schoolies Week, along with other peak holiday periods such as             procedure is in place allows managers to handle issues and problems
Christmas and the New Year, generally bring about greater numbers          efficiently and correctly and increases trust amongst customers who
of complaints and disputes over house rules, bond money or other           want to know they are receiving the best possible service.
accommodation issues,” Mr Anderson said.

“Complaints were made by 37 customers in Schoolies Week 2004
over issues such as changes to bookings, contract disputes, bond
issues and the standard of accommodation.
                                                                           Code of Conduct compliance blitz ................................................ 1
“The importance of having a basic complaint procedure in place             President Talks ............................................................................. 2
cannot be ignored, as it can help RLA’s deal with problems such as         New look QRAMA website ........................................................... 2
                                                                           PAMDA Review completed ........................................................... 3
arguments about bond money, house rules and helps to avoid long
                                                                           Fire safety issues review ............................................................... 3
running disputes with customers,” he said.
                                                                           Understanding the transfer fee...................................................... 4
                                                                           Bunk bed standards ..................................................................... 5
In a recent media statement Minister for Tourism Margaret Keech            Be aware of consumer rights ........................................................ 5
said it is the responsibility of individual agents to ensure they comply   Domestic visitors improve ............................................................. 6
with the Code of Conduct, particularly for ensuring a complaint            International tourism rise ............................................................... 6
handling procedure is in place.                                            Tourism awards ............................................................................ 6
                                                                           Another successful Schoolies ....................................................... 7
“It is a fundamental requirement under the Restricted Letting Agency       Occupancy rates on the rise ......................................................... 7
Practice Code of Conduct to have such a procedure in place,”               Changing your web identity .......................................................... 8
she said.                                                                  Contact list ................................................................................... 8
        Is the industry travelling too fast
      Is the industry travelling too fast for the regulators?
                  By Kim Cox, President QRAMA
The property boom and the corporatisation of the management rights               accommodation manager will continue to be dynamic. They must care
industry have placed an even greater focus on the diversity of interest          for a multi million dollar investment, deal with stakeholders with conflicting
and opportunities flowing from the industry.                                      needs and desired outcomes, and be managed by a body corporate
The ‘big picture’ outlook for the industry is exciting, but it is also fraught   often dominated by a few owner occupiers, who may make decisions that
with problems as the resident accommodation managers fulfil their role            do not reflect the best outcomes for the majority of owners.
in managing the expectations.                                                    Whilst the BCCM legislation made some giant steps forward with the
This is especially so in the day to day operations of the expanding              introduction of the module system, little attention has been given to
variety of assets that have come under management and the                        the complexes of the future and the new needs which are eventuating
challenges of the 21st century in dealing with industry issues that are          everyday.
now more than 40 years in existence.                                             The latest BCCM review is addressing issues now 12 months on and
For members of QRAMA it is essential that we understand the balance              does not reflect the new trends of industry investors and the new style
that is required to maintain the business perspective of the day to day          of corporate management.
operations of managed accommodation and the needs of our key                     The pressure on resident managers to meet the day to day challenges
stakeholders.                                                                    is seeing a considerable turnover of management in buildings, which
As an industry, it is important that members also remember to ensure             is a clear indication of instability and uncertainty between stakeholder
the practical voice of experience, which is available from QRAMA, is             groups and the resident managers.
accurately put forward to Government policy makers. This will ensure             More formal education and training for managers is just one part of the
the industry can keep pace with the requirements of the industry,                equation. The other requirement is more certainty in the legislation and
both for buildings and properties with permanent tenants and owner               regulations and more training for other key stakeholders such as body
investors and for the holiday letting buildings and resorts.                     corporate committee members.
At the moment, we in QRAMA are concerned that issues that have                   Today’s legislation is still supportive of the rights of the individual owner
been identified as matters which require resolution and clarification still        and does not respect or understand the rights of the majority of owners
exist as the industry steams into the 21st century with new challenges           and their aspirations for their investment.
interpreted in different ways by the key stakeholders.                           We at QRAMA wish to continue to make submissions to Government
QRAMA has been working with the Griffith University CRC in                        through our involvement in industry bodies and through our members
special studies in the strategic impact that resident accommodation              on this major new 21st century industry in Queensland and Australia.
management has for Queensland and Australia’s tourist industry, where            We are facing the first challenges of the ‘worn out building’ and its
many of the common trends for permanent and holiday letting exist.               future- demolish and redevelop or fail to keep up with the latest trends
What has emerged is that in legislation and regulation, many of the              with an inadequate refurbishment.
lawmakers are still looking at the events and the trends of the 1980’s           The conflict between owner occupier and investor needs in the one
and 1990’s.                                                                      building and the detrimental impact on the capital value of the asset
The sophistication of the industry has seen some sectors become                  must be more seriously reconciled. We cannot allow capital value to be
highly professional and focused on the key issues associated with the            destroyed by the selfishness of a few owners.
property and its physical management- together with the requirements             Another challenge is the unclear understanding of the industry by
to ensure there is a responsible management ethos for the investment             Government departments who do not have a common definition
and maintenance of the asset for the benefit of owners and investors.             of what a resident manager and their teams are responsible for in
The corporatisation of management rights has meant that a new                    maintaining and marketing a building as a letting proposition, or as a
key stakeholder has emerged; the shareholder who is the premium                  saleable item within a special complex.
stakeholder whose interests rank above owners, tenants and holiday               In 2002, QRAMA identified to Office of Fair Trading 15 items in the
makers.                                                                          Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act that need attention. So far,
The 21st century Australian lifestyle has seen more and more                     not one item has been addressed by OFT. In the meantime, the list of
Australians invest money in the investor unit, while others have sold up         items of concern grows with unresolved issues such as the practice
the family home and moved into permanent accommodation in major                  of an owner cancelling a guest’s holiday with no notice. Will the
city CBD’s and holiday centres on the east coast of Australia.                   regulators ever catch up with the changes that are confronting the
The dynamics of this are certain to continue as major centres in                 industry? Do the regulators recognise us as being part of the tourism
Australia seek to come to grips with the desire for Australians to live          industry, with all the demands of a service industry?
in a denser environment somewhere in coastal Australia. At least the             I urge members to play their part in identifying issues of conflict in
planners have told us that we want to live this way.                             the properties they manage and to document these for our ongoing
The role and the challenges for the 21st century resident                        industry challenges.

                                            New look QRAMA website
  The QRAMA website has a new look and is more user-friendly                      We also had several requests for a Members’ Forum, so
  after a recent makeover.                                                        members can share ideas and concerns in a ‘chat room’
                                                                                  environment. This forum is available for members only and
  Some members have reported some difficulties in finding                           requires the same password as is used to access the library.
  items within the website, which has grown since it was first
  developed. There is a great amount of information available as                  The ideas expressed in the forum are not necessarily those
  well as many helpful links to find details such as holiday dates                 of QRAMA. The forum has been provided as a facility for
  and wage rates, which no longer needs a phone call.                             members to raise concerns and share ideas.

  The library still needs members to enter the password but we                    We trust the new look website is easier to navigate and
  have added the main headings of the library on to the home                      addresses the concerns that some members have raised.
  page, so members have a quick check list of the topics in the                   Check out the new look website at www.qrama.com.au.

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  PAMDA Review Fire safety review
PAMDA Review completed Fire safety issues review
                       important to industry
The Department of Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Industry
Development recently released the report on the Property Agents
                                                                          The resort accommodation industry needs to respond carefully to
and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (PAMDA) review. QRAMA made a
                                                                          the State Government’s review of fire safety arrangements, to en-
submission to this review and was invited to one review session.
                                                                          sure they are operationally effective and not bureaucratically driven.

76 submissions were received and the subsequent report will be the        There are many elements in the proposal which are very sound
basis for amendments to the existing Act.                                 practice, with a prime focus on safety, awareness and prevention.

There are a number of key items in the review involving Restricted        It is incumbent upon us all in the tourism industry, and more espe-
Letting Agents, which QRAMA supports.                                     cially in the accommodation management sector, to add fire and
                                                                          emergency planning to the prime list of services and responsibili-
The review recommends that an RLA may not ‘lock out’ a real estate        ties for which we need to be proactive.
agent who wishes to sell a unit in a managed property to a non-
investor, and so add to body corporate operating problems.                The requirement to have smoke alarms in each unit is commend-
                                                                          able and the current regulations for hardwired smoke alarms are
                                                                          for new premises or those undergoing major renovations.
‘Lock-outs’ refer to the practice of an RLA who is a resident in a
building preventing access to the building by a real estate agent         The Fire Services discussion paper recommendation is that hard-
who wishes to offer management services to owners of units in that        wired fire alarms should be a requirement when a house or unit is
building.                                                                 sold. Thus in practice, some buildings may not be hard wired for
                                                                          many years, and the cost of doing each unit separately might well
The report recommends that the restricted letting agents’ Code of         be very high, compared with an agreement to undertake a total
Conduct:                                                                  program at the one time.
• Prohibit unreasonable behaviour leading or contributing to ‘lock-
  outs’ of other agents and                                               Thus we have some operational and implementation issues which
• Address and prohibit any conflicts of interest in selling property       require understanding and cooperation between owners, the body
  within the complex as an employed real estate salesperson for a         corporate and the resident accommodation managers.
  licensed real estate agent whilst maintaining the letting pool.
                                                                          As the Fire Services Department points out, last year they re-
                                                                          sponded to more than 27,000 false alarms. False alarms tie up
The report also recommends the title ‘Restricted Letting Agent’
                                                                          resources, put crews and other road users at unnecessary risk
become ‘Resident Letting Agent’. The use of the term ‘restricted’
                                                                          and repeated false alarms cause people to ignore alarms in a real
was considered to be a misnomer, as all categories of licences have
                                                                          As Fire Services points out, the challenge is to reduce the number
The Appointment Form 20a will no longer be an ‘approved form’             of false alarms and to maintain community faith in the operation of
but will require ‘prescribed information’. According to the review,       alarm systems.
in some cases having prescribed forms rather than simply requiring
prescribed information is an unnecessary requirement and may              Electrical safety switches have been compulsory in Queensland’s
impinge on an agent’s ability to conduct their day to day business        new homes and buildings since 1992. The law now requires that
efficiently.                                                               the seller of a residential property must give the buyer written
                                                                          notice of whether an approved safety switch has been installed. If
The report also recommends that an RLA have access to the trust           a switch is not installed, the buyer must have an approved safety
account records of a predecessor, and minor details in trust account      switch installed within three months of the purchase.
receipts and audit provisions have been revised.
                                                                          The recommendation by Fire Services for evacuation plans is
Whilst the review has produced some valuable outcomes, generally          another area which requires cooperation. There are several issues
QRAMA is disappointed in the report, which has failed to address          in this area.
many issues raised in the QRAMA submission. The office of the
Minister for Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Development Margaret          As Fire Services indicate, it is vital that everyone has the best pos-
Keech has not provided any comment on these omissions.                    sible chance to escape, but some buildings do not have evacua-
                                                                          tion plans in place to guarantee the highest standards of safety.
Under ‘future items’, the item of ‘investigating licensing requirements
                                                                          To maintain the highest building fire safety standards, Fire Services
of the RLA’ has been included, however no explanation is provided
                                                                          makes the point that it is important that restrictions originally ap-
for what might be included here.
                                                                          plied with the building approval process are maintained.

QRAMA hopes that these issues will continue to receive attention in       They warn that the challenge is to ensure a building occupier uses
future reviews of PAMDA and in ongoing stakeholder consultation           the building in a manner consistent with the building approval
with the State Government.                                                specification.

                                                                          The review is looking at the fact that while currently there is no
                                                                          formal review process for the review of building upgrades, there is
                                                                          a challenge ahead to establish a fair and equitable review process
                                                                          for building occupiers and owners directed to upgrade fire safety

                                                                                                                              ����������     �
      Understanding fee
Understanding the transferthe
By John Mahoney, Partner, Mahoney Lawyers
                                                                                            transfer fee
I am surprised at the many enquiries I receive about the transfer fee. There are many misunderstandings and misconceptions in the marketplace
about this. I have prepared the following list of Frequently Asked Questions to assist readers understand how the transfer fee works.

How did the transfer fee come about?                                                committee has the discretion to make such a decision and it is
Before the Body Corporate and Community Management Act                              not necessary for the matter to go to a general meeting of the Body
1997 (“BCCM Act”) there was no restriction on Bodies Corporate                      Corporate. Some committees though insist that a general meeting
charging managers for new agreements. The BCCM Act prevents                         make the decision.
Bodies Corporate from doing that. Independent member Liz
Cunningham persuaded the Parliament to amend the Act on the eve                     Can committee members be sued by owners for not imposing
of its enactment to allow a Body Corporate to charge the transfer fee               the transfer fee?
in certain cases as a sort of compensation to the Body Corporate.
                                                                                    No. The committee are empowered with a discretion in this regard.
                                                                                    In the absence of bad faith or fraud, committee members could not
What triggers the transfer fee?                                                     be sued for their decision.
The assignment of a management rights agreement within 3 years
of the agreement being entered into or the agreement being                          Can I demand that the matter be referred to a general
amended to include a new option.                                                    meeting?
                                                                                    No. You can ask for a general meeting but the committee is not
How much is the transfer fee?                                                       bound to comply with your request. However, if the committee have
3/2/1% of the value of the rights if you sell within 3/2/1 years of the             made the decision you could requisition a general meeting (requires
relevant date.                                                                      a request for a meeting by at least 25% of owners) to have the
                                                                                    decision overturned in which case the committee must convene an
                                                                                    EGM within 42 days.
What is the relevant date from which the transfer fee is
                                                                                    How can I oppose the imposition of a transfer fee?
In the case of new agreements, it is the date when the particular
agreement/s is entered into. That will generally be the date                        There are a number of arguments that can be used and we have
of the agreement/s, so look at the date on your agreement/s to                      done this effectively on many occasions. Examples include the
determine that. That may or may not be the date the agreement/s                     minimal benefit to individual lot owners because the transfer fee is
commenced.                                                                          subject to taxation at 30% and GST at 10%.
Where a new option is added to an agreement the relevant date is
usually the date of the deed which records the inclusion of the new                 If it is imposed, how can I challenge it?
option in the agreement so check the date of the deed.                              The only exceptions to the imposition of the transfer fee is if the
[Note:- it is arguable that in the case of an agreement being amended to            transfer comes about because of a sale by a manager’s financier
include a new option, the relevant date is the date when the option is eventually   or if approval is sought on the basis of genuine hardship not
exercised, but that has not been the position adopted by practitioners.]            reasonably foreseeable by the manager at the date the
                                                                                    agreement was entered into.
Is the percentage calculated on the unit value also?
No only on the value of the rights under the agreement/s. The                       What is genuine hardship?
value of plant and equipment, fixtures and fittings and other tangible                The decisions from the Commissioner’s office indicate that it is very
assets should be disregarded.                                                       difficult to show genuine hardship. Serious debilitating illnesses
                                                                                    or conditions in the case of a sole trader may suffice. The death
Does the 3/2/1 years start again when I buy an existing                             or severe illness of a family member who is not an owner of the
management rights?                                                                  business or part of the management company would not usually
                                                                                    be hardship. Divorce has been found not to be hardship as it was
No. It is the date of the original agreement/s, or the date the                     reasonably foreseeable.
agreement/s was amended to include the further option that is
                                                                                    Wasn’t the transfer fee to be abolished as part of the 2003
                                                                                    amendments to the BCCM Act?
Does the 3/2/1 year start when I exercise an existing option?
                                                                                    QRAMA had persuaded Departmental representatives that the
No.                                                                                 transfer fee needed to be overhauled and agreement in principal
                                                                                    was reached with the Department and the Unit Owner Association
Does the 3/2/1 year start when an amendment is made to an                           representatives involved in the negotiation process. However
agreement (not one that adds an option)?                                            extreme external pressure from Unit Owner Association members
                                                                                    not involved in the negotiation process persuaded the Minister and
                                                                                    politicians to leave the transfer fee provisions unchanged.

Does the Body Corporate have to charge the transfer fee?
                                                                                    Is it likely to be changed in the future?
No. It is discretionary.
                                                                                    That is very doubtful. For as long as managers have the benefit
                                                                                    of a Body Corporate not being able to charge for new agreements,
Can the committee decide whether or not to impose the                               it is unlikely that the government will remove or alter significantly
transfer fee or only a general meeting?                                             the rights given to Bodies Corporate to charge something when
The Body Corporate Commissioner’s Office has determined that the                     agreements are transferred.

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  Bunk bed standards
Bunk bed standards need compliance
In October 2002 new mandatory standards for the safety of bunk          b)     Consider the replacement of bunk beds that do not satisfy the
beds were introduced nationally.                                               standard as a matter of good practice, rather than waiting until
                                                                               such replacement is mandatory.
Managers should be aware that bunk beds are common places
for children to play and this increases the likelihood of an accident   Duty of care demands that owners or managers take action where
occurring.                                                              bunk beds do not comply with the current standard, even if the bed
                                                                        was purchased before 1 November 2002.
Between 2000 and 2002, there were 313 injuries to children
associated with bunk beds, with many of these incidents occurring       Every possible effort should be made to ensure bunk beds comply
at holiday accommodation.                                               with the standards, either by purchasing new beds or upgrading
                                                                        existing ones.
While the legislation only applies to new beds purchased after 1
November 2002, QRAMA recommends that ‘best practice’ dictates           If any resident manager still has bunk beds that do not comply with
all bunk beds available for holiday accommodation should comply         the national standard, QRAMA suggests the owner is made aware
with the standard.                                                      of the standards as well as warning guests who may occupy a room
                                                                        with a bunk bed that does not satisfy the standard.
QRAMA Executive Officer John Anderson said it is important to
remind accommodation providers of the need to comply with these
                                                                             BUNK BED SAFETY STANDARD
“Mandatory national standards on the quality and safety of bunk
beds need to be adhered to in order to ensure the safety of families         Under the safety standard, bunk beds must generally have:
enjoying their holiday break, particularly young children,” Mr               • No gaps that produce a head entrapment hazard (i.e. gaps
Anderson said.                                                                 between 95-230mm);

QRAMA recognises the RLA has no authority (apart from the risk               • A guardrail fitted to all four sides of the upper bed
factor) to encourage the owner to change bunk beds that do not               • No hanging hazards caused by protrusions in the upper bed
comply with the standard.                                                      area;
As a matter of best practice, we suggest that in buildings where             • No protrusions within a bunk bed or elevated bed, except for
bunk beds are in use, together with the owner you review your                  dome nuts less than 5mm in height; and
potential liability if the beds provided do not meet this standard.
                                                                             • No protrusions that could snag clothing more than 600mm
QRAMA encourages owners to:
                                                                               from the ground.
a) Review the safety features of existing bunk beds against the
    new standard, and

                                  Be aware of consumer rights

  A series of questions by a manager to a potential guest relating           questioned the potential guests about the age of the occupants
  to the age and number of people staying has lead to a complaint            and the decision to refuse accommodation for five people.
  to the Anti Discrimination Commission of Queensland and the
  commencement of a formal inquiry.                                          A unit with one queen size bed and two single beds will not
                                                                             accomodate five adults. If small children are among the guests,
  Eventually the matter was resolved through an apology, closing             suitable sleeping arrangements may be possible.
  the case.
                                                                             The outcome was that one of the potential guests took the
                                                                             matter to the ADCQ who instigated an inquiry, eventually
  The accommodation management industry is in the forefront
                                                                             resulting in the complaint being withdrawn following an apology
  of discrimination issues as a result of Schoolies bookings and
                                                                             from the QRAMA member.
  consumer rights.
                                                                             As the member has pointed out, there was a need to explain
  QRAMA executive officer John Anderson said resident managers                the layout so the potential guest understood the need to know
  need to be aware of their obligations and responsibilities under           the approximate ages of the five people staying.
  the Anti Discrimination legislation and be mindful of how they
  respond to accommodation inquiries and requests.                           “This incident was successfully resolved by QRAMA and serves
                                                                             as a warning to members that in the 21st century, many clients
  In this latest incident, a discrimination complaint was made on            are well aware of their rights and also the responsibilities of
  the basis of the manager failing to adequately explain why she             service providers,” Mr Anderson said.

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Queensland outshines                                                          More international
                                                                           More international tourists
traditional rivals for                                                        tourists attracted
                                                                           attracted to Queensland
domestic visitor market                                                    Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed
                                                                           Queensland continues to lead Australia when it comes to attracting
Queensland is streaks ahead of traditional rivals New South Wales
                                                                           the international tourist market.
and Victoria when it comes to attracting the domestic tourism
market.                                                                    Queensland’s annual growth rate for the past two years was 6.9
                                                                           per cent, compared to the national growth average of 3.9 per cent.
Latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Visitor
                                                                           Victoria recorded a growth average of 5.2 per cent and New South
Survey indicates Queensland continues to increase the number of
                                                                           Wales recorded growth of 1.9 per cent.
domestic visitors and the length of time they stay.
                                                                           International visitors from Japan and New Zealand were the most
The National Visitor Survey released in December reported an
                                                                           likely to nominate Queensland as their primary destination and they
11.8 per cent increase in Queensland’s domestic visitation for the
                                                                           remain the largest market segments for the Queensland tourism
2004 September quarter. This is more than eight times the national
average increase of just 1.4 per cent.
                                                                           The annual growth rate for New Zealand arrivals jumped a
These figures were highlighted by a 13 per cent increase in intrastate
                                                                           staggering 18.9 per cent, with 409, 522 arrivals from New Zealand
visitors and a 9.7 per cent increase for interstate visitors for the
                                                                           in 2004.
September quarter.
                                                                           This growth in international tourist numbers was outdone only by
Tourist hotspots Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Tropical North
                                                                           arrivals from China, which increased 25.7 per cent from the same
Queensland were the best performers, with ABS data revealing an
                                                                           period in 2002.
increase of domestic visitation of 7.9 per cent, 25.6 per cent and
19.2 per cent respectively from last year’s September quarter.             In a recent media statement, Minister for Tourism Margaret
                                                                           Keech said Queensland continues to have magnetic appeal
Of the 17 million domestic visitors to Queensland in the year ended
                                                                           for international tourists, and there is nothing to suggest the
September 2004, 11.5 million were intrastate visitors and 5.4 million
                                                                           momentum in visitor arrivals will decline.
were interstate visitors.
                                                                           “We are seeing continual improvement in the number of visitors
The survey also revealed an increase in domestic visitor nights
                                                                           nominating Queensland as their primary port of call,” Mrs Keech said.
spent in Queensland, showing an increase of 8.8 per cent for the
September quarter.                                                         With recent international events such as the Asian tsunami disaster
                                                                           affecting traditional tourist havens overseas, Australia will become
This was represented by an 11.7 per cent increase in intrastate
                                                                           an even more attractive destination for international holiday
visitor nights and a 6.9 per cent increase in interstate visitor nights.
Domestic visitor nights spent in Queensland totalled 78.8 million
                                                                           It is important to acknowledge the significant growth of the
in the year ended September 2004, 11 per cent less than in New
                                                                           Queensland tourism industry and the many benefits that
South Wales (88,798,000 visitor nights), however 42 per cent more
                                                                           accommodation providers and tourism operators can deliver to
than Victoria (55,691,000 visitor nights).
                                                                           international visitors.
Of these domestic visitor nights, Queensland continues to host

                                                                                         Tourism awards
more interstate visitor nights than New South Wales and Victoria, as
it has done since 2002.

In the year ended September 2004, Queensland hosted 40,315,000               The Queensland Tourism Awards were presented at the Gold
interstate visitor nights, which represents 15 per cent more than            Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre last November and
New South Wales (35,130,000 interstate visitor nights).                      showcased a variety of tourism products and services.

The average length of stay of domestic visitors to Queensland was            Congratulations to QRAMA member Pinnacles Resort and
4.64 nights in the year ended September 2004.                                Spa in the Whitsundays, who was a finalist in the Luxury
                                                                             Accommodation section.
Queensland Tourism Minister Margaret Keech suggested recently
that one reason behind this growth is the presence of low-cost               Winners of the Queensland awards are nominated as finalists
domestic carriers Virgin Blue and Jetstar and the greater level of           in the Australian Tourism Awards. The Australian Tourism
accessibility to domestic travel.                                            Awards were presented in Alice Springs on February 11.
                                                                             Queensland tourism operators won 10 award categories and
Ms Keech said Queensland’s tourist operators are amongst the                 an entry into the Hall of Fame was achieved for Surf Lifesaving
most dedicated, passionate and professional operators in the                 Queensland.
country and these figures are testament to their commitment and
hard work.                                                                   QRAMA would like to remind members that the call for entries
                                                                             for the 2005 awards will commence in only a few months, and
The continuing strong growth of the Queensland domestic visitor              it is worthwhile considering an entry.
market is good news for QRAMA members and the tourism and
accommodation industry in general.                                           As well as the chance for some media exposure, the awards
                                                                             application process gives businesses a good opportunity
QRAMA congratulates managers and owners for helping to deliver               to review their operations and all entrants are given written
strong and solid support for Queensland’s tourism product, and for           feedback as to how well they compared to other entrants in
helping to maintain Queensland’s position as the tourism capital of          terms of meeting the selection criteria.

  �          ����������
Another Successful                                                         Occupancy rates on
Schoolies                                                                  the rise
Schoolies Week organisers have reported the event as a success,
thanks to good planning and positive attitudes.

A Three Point Plan was developed for Schoolies Week 2004 by
many organisations’ including local businesses and community
groups, the State Government and the Gold Coast City Council.

The plan aimed to provide greater synchronisation of activities,
improved safety, and a greater awareness of the rights and
responsibilities for all those involved.

School leavers and accommodation providers were informed about
Schoolies issues through a proactive education campaign overseen
by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which commenced prior to
Schoolies Week 2004.

The smoothness of this year’s event is undoubtedly due in part
to the managers and employees of the many hotels and resorts
who were responsible for providing high quality accommodation to
school leavers.
                                                                         Accommodation operators across Queensland can be congratulated
As you are likely aware, it is not just the Schoolies who have           on achieving the highest average room occupancy rate in Australia
sometimes received criticism about their conduct during Schoolies        for the year ending September 2004, according to figures recently
Week.                                                                    released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Owners and managers of popular resorts and hotels have had to            The average occupancy rate for Queensland in the year ending
deal with complaints regarding their house rules and their behaviour     September 2004 was 65.8 per cent, an increase of 3.4 per cent on
while enforcing them.                                                    2003’s average occupancy rate according to ABS.

Although a number of minor breaches of the Code of Conduct were          The State’s 55,192 hotels, motels, and serviced apartments recorded
issued, the majority of school leavers and accommodation providers       higher occupancy rates than that experienced in New South Wales
have given positive reports about the event.                             and Victoria, providing Queensland with another successful year of
                                                                         growth in the tourism industry.
It is timely to remember that the school leavers of today are
tomorrow’s holiday makers and customers, and managers treating           The closing gap between New South Wales and Queensland for
them with fairness and respect is a key reason for the success of        the number of room nights occupied is good news for QRAMA
this year’s event.                                                       members, as tourists are discovering the range of leisure and
                                                                         activities Queensland holidays offer; a remarkable result for the
The commitment of the many volunteers, police and emergency              State.
services to providing an enjoyable and safe event was also critical to
the success of Schoolies 2004.                                           The growth in number of room nights occupied is evident Australia
                                                                         wide, with Victoria up 7.4 per cent to 7,698,200 closely followed by
In a recent media statement, Mr Pitt paid tribute to the hundreds of     Queensland up by 6.7 per cent to 13,250,600.
police, emergency services and liquor licensing officers, as well as
to the outstanding team of volunteers, who contributed                   Brisbane’s growth was the highest in the State, up 5.5 per cent
to the success of the event.                                             between September 2003 and September 2004 however several
                                                                         other regions also experienced increases in average occupancy
“Gold Coast Schoolies Week 2004 was,                                     rates.
by all accounts, the best-run ever,”
Mr Pitt said.                                                            Queensland is becoming more accessible to tourists with the
                                                                         introduction of cheaper flights and regional airports’ ever increasing
The behaviour and conduct of school                                      services and capacities.
leavers was also exceptional, with
Mr Pitt reporting the vast majority                                      Tourism Queensland, the local government, and Jetstar recently
of schoolies were enthusiastic,                                          announced a combined funding package of $400,000 for the
polite, friendly and grateful for the                                    promotion of Hervey Bay’s new airport opening in June, a project
support.                                                                 which will surely attract greater numbers of tourists to the area.

The solid and diverse program                                            In a recent media statement Mrs Keech said she is pleased with
of entertainment and events                                              the consistent and focused growth in Queensland, the number
coordinated by Media Rare                                                one state for average room occupancy rates, and hopes the State
also ensured Schoolies were                                              continues to realise its tourism potential.
able to enjoy the week in a
safe and fun environment.                                                “These figures are another testament to the quality tourism offerings
                                                                         Queensland boasts and I look forward to a year of more positive
                                                                         growth for tourism in the Smart State,” she said.

                                                                                                                           ����������     �
Changing Your Web Identity
By Di O’Shea – Quality Matters Pty Ltd

I have recently seen a growing trend for managers to register new Domain names and
therefore change their Web addresses. The reasons for this may be varied – but I would
advise any manager considering this action, should do so with caution and with full
knowledge of the potential consequences that may result.

I cannot offer any good reason to change a Domain name. This is not to say that you
cannot or should not register an additional name. However, again you should have a
very good reason to go to this additional expense.

I also wonder whether or not the advice to change a Domain name is given by Developers
who offer to redesign the web site. However, you can have your web site redesigned
without registering a new Domain name.

Alternatively, the advice to register a new Domain name may be because you are not
registered as the owner of the existing name. In previous articles I have discussed
the importance of ensuring ownership of your Domain name. You can check this by
following these steps:

1.   Go to www.melbourneit.com.au;
2.   Select the “Whois” section from the “Domain Names” drop down menu.
3.   Type in your Domain name

You (the person) or your Company should be the Registrant.

If you are not the Registrant, it is no reason to register a new Domain name or have
your site redesigned. Ownership can be transferred – and should have been at time of

The following notes could be debated by the technical expert but the issue is complex
and somewhat confusing, so I have opted for a simple explanation in the hope that
they will offer a little help and prevent you from making a costly mistake or taking bad

Changing your Web address means that:

• All of your advertising and marketing material will need to be changed – both printed and electronic.
• If your email address has been aligned to your Domain name, it will no longer be valid and all email addressed to it will be returned
• Existing links from Search Engines will be made invalid and it is likely that they will remain so for at least weeks, possibly much longer.
• Your new web address will not be seen in the Search Engines for some time, unless you are prepared to pay for its inclusion.

The only ways to prevent the points above are to retain registration of the previous Domain name (also) and have both names pointing to the
same Web content.

If you have any doubt about the advice you are receiving to register a new domain name and/or to have your web site redesigned, please
contact me on 3315 0518 or di@infm.com.

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