ACT News

Indigenous housing organisation closes, transfers six properties to ACT Government

A Canberra-based indigenous housing organisation will be deregistered by special administrators after years of spiralling debt and "bad financial management", with six residential properties transferred to the ACT government.

The Southside Housing Aboriginal Corporation, which provided affordable housing for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for more than 20 years, was placed under special administration in December 2013.

Anthony Beven, the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, announced the decision earlier this week and said the organisation no longer had any assets, debts or functions.

"This corporation has been placed under special administration twice in the past 10 years and has been given every opportunity to improve its governance and management standards," he said.  

'I believe very little effort had been made by the members and directors in recent years to maintain appropriate standards of governance."

A spokesman for Minister for Housing Yvette Berry said the six properties would still be designated for Canberra's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

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"The six properties have already been included on the public housing asset register," he said.

An investigation into the Southside Housing Aboriginal Corporation in 2013 found glaring financial irregularities within the organisation, whose documents were "either non-existent, incomplete or did not match the amount withdrawn from the corporation's bank account."

"I fully support the special administrators' decision to hand over responsibility of the corporation's remaining properties to the ACT government," said Mr Beven.

"This will at least ensure the properties are well managed and the tenants properly looked after.

"It is unacceptable that the former directors of the corporation allowed the corporation's houses, which were acquired with public funding, to fall into such a state of disrepair."

Mr Beven said two of the corporation's seven properties were in such a poor state they were uninhabitable and the other five still required significant repairs and maintenance.

"The special administrators were forced to sell one of the corporation's properties in the Canberra suburb of Chifley to pay creditors and fund repairs and maintenance."