Although strata title legislation is over 50 years old, a number of important questions about its intersection with other areas of law remain unanswered. One such question is whether discrimination law applies to residential strata schemes. Discrimination law was enacted to ensure all citizens’ equal civic participation, and although it regulates both private citizens and private land, it only does so to the extent that they affect others’ ability to participate in public life. Discrimination legislation typically captures the provision of goods and services, education, employment, clubs and associations, access to public space, accommodation and the disposition of land. Strata bodies corporate do not fit neatly into any of those categories. However, bodies corporate wield considerable power over residents’ properties and lives, and the capacity to use that power in discriminatory ways is real. As ever-increasing numbers of Australians choose or are compelled to live in strata schemes, the need to resolve this legal dilemma becomes more pressing.
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