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Submitting motions

A body corporate makes decisions in 2 ways:

  • The committee makes most day-to-day decisions (e.g. approving minor maintenance).
  • Lot owners make more important decisions by voting at a general meeting (e.g. setting budgets and body corporate contributions).

The following information outlines the types of motions that can be submitted to general meetings and committee meetings.

Individual committee members, body corporate managers or resident managers cannot make decisions for the body corporate on their own.

General meetings

Owners can submit motions to be voted on at general meetings. Motions must be submitted in writing. The committee may also agree to submit motions to be voted on at a general meeting.

The motion can be passed by either:

Read more about drafting a motion.

Annual general meetings

This information does not apply to the Small Schemes Module or the Specified Two-lot Schemes Module.

If a notice is sent to owners inviting nominations for the committee, owners must also be invited to put in motions for the agenda of the annual general meeting.

However, owners do not have to wait to be invited to send a motion for including on the annual general meeting’s agenda. They can submit a motion to the secretary at any time before the end of the body corporate financial year.

For the first annual general meeting, owners can submit a motion for including on the agenda at any time before the meeting. The motion must be included on the agenda where possible.

The committee also submits motions for the annual general meeting agenda, including statutory motions. However, the committee does not have the same time limits as owners. They may put motions on the annual general meeting agenda at any time before the notice and agenda is issued to the owners.

Learn more about annual general meetings.

Extraordinary general meetings

Owners can also submit motions to be considered at an extraordinary general meeting at any time throughout the year.

If a motion is submitted, it must be included on the agenda for the next general meeting where practicable. For example, there must be ‘enough time’ from when the motion is received to when the meeting notice is issued for the committee to add it to the agenda.

The Act does not provide for a time frame on this matter. It’s up to the committee to consider if there is enough time to include the motion.

Read more about calling an extraordinary general meeting.

Motion requirements

A motion must:

  • be in writing
  • include any necessary quotes and other documents
  • be clear
  • be enforceable

An owner’s motion must be put on the voting paper without any change to the wording.

Even if the motion is unlawful, unenforceable or would, if passed, conflict with the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997, the committee cannot refuse the owner’s motion. However, the chairperson may rule it 'out of order' at the general meeting.

Read more about ruling motions out of order.

Explanatory notes

Owners can add extra information (called explanatory notes) to support their motion for an annual general meeting or an extraordinary general meeting. Explanatory notes must be no longer than 300 words.

The committee must include a schedule of explanatory notes with the meeting notice.

The committee can also include its own explanatory note about a motion submitted by an owner. This note must be on a separate schedule and must be included with the meeting notice.

There is no word limit for the committee’s explanatory notes.

Learn more about explanatory schedules for annual general meetings and explanatory schedules for extraordinary meetings.

Group of same-issue motions

If there are 2 or more motions proposing alternative ways of dealing with the same issue, these motions must be grouped together. The committee must list these ‘original motions’ as a group of same-issue motions on the agenda and the voting paper.

A voter can:

  • vote in favour of any or all motions in the group
  • vote against any or all motions in the group
  • abstain from voting on any or all motions in the group.

To determine which motion in the group is successful, there are 2 main steps:

  1. identify the qualifying motions
  2. identify the successful qualifying motion.

Identify the qualifying motions

Each motion in the group will have a resolution type (e.g. ordinary resolution or special resolution) and there may be a mix of motions with different resolution types within a group.

A motion can only pass if it first satisfies the requirements of its resolution type. A motion that receives enough votes to satisfy its resolution type is called a ‘qualifying motion’.

If there is only 1 qualifying motion in the group, it is automatically the decision of the body corporate.

If there are no qualifying motions, the decision of the body corporate is that is no original motion in the group passed.

Identify the successful qualifying motion

The qualifying motion that receives the highest number of votes in its favour will be the successful motion.

Where 2 or more qualifying motions receive the equal-highest number of votes in favour, the votes against the motions will also be considered. In this case, the motion with the least votes against it will be the successful motion.

Where 2 or more qualifying motions are tied on their votes in favour and their votes against, the successful motion will be decided by chance. The form of chance will be decided at the meeting.

For example, if a committee and 2 lot owners each submit motions to deal with a broken boundary fence, the committee must list them as a group of same-issue motions on the agenda and voting paper since each motion deals with the same issue.

It may look like this:

Broken boundary fence

Original motion 1: To replace the boundary fence with a high quality powder coated steel fence  at a cost of X. (Special resolution)

Original motion 2: To replace the wooden boundary fence with a similar wooden boundary fence at a cost of Y. (Ordinary resolution)

Original motion 3: To repair the damage to the broken boundary fence at a cost of Z. (Ordinary resolution)

Assuming that all motions in the group are qualifying motions, the vote count is:

  • Motion 1—30 for and 5 against
  • Motion 2—30 for and 10 against
  • Motion 3—20 for and 15 against

As motions 1 and 2 received the equal-highest number of votes in favour, the votes against them must be considered.

Motion 1 is successful as it received fewer votes against it than motion 2.

Find out more about voting paper requirements and explanatory schedules for groups of same-issue motions for:

Learn more about voting at a general meeting.

Once-a-year motions

Some motions cannot be considered more than once in the body corporate’s financial year. These motions include:

A motion should not be placed on the agenda for a general meeting if this would result in one of the above type of motions being considered more than once in a financial year.

Owners’ motions to committee meetings

An owner can submit a motion to the secretary personally, by post, fax or electronic communication.

Committee decisions about owner motions should be made within the ‘decision period’. The decision period requires the committee to make a decision as soon as is reasonably practicable, within 6 weeks after the day the owner’s motion is submitted.

If the committee needs extra time, they must give a written explanation to the owner and nominate a reasonable additional period (of no more than 6 weeks). The owner’s motion is considered declined if the committee does not decide within the decision period (or within 12 weeks if extra time is needed).

The committee does not have to make a decision if, within the previous 12 months, the same owner has submitted:

  • a motion about the same issue
  • 6 or motions.

The committee must not decide a motion if it:

  • is a restricted issue for the committee
  • conflicts with the Act, regulations or by-laws
  • conflicts with a motion already voted on at the meeting
  • is unlawful or unenforceable for another reason.