On 16 December 2022, Phi Finney McDonald and Redgum Legal & Consulting launched a class action against the Chief Executive Officer (Housing) (Northern Territory) (CEO (Housing)) relating to the poor quality of public housing in 73 remote Aboriginal communities.
The class action has been issued on behalf of Aboriginal people who have lived in public housing in any of 73 remote communities in the Northern Territory at any time from 18 August 2007 to 16 December 2022. The full list of communities is below. Group members do not currently need to take active steps to join, but can register for updates below.
The litigation is supported by Australian litigation funder CASL.
Fifteen years ago, as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (also known as ‘the Intervention’), the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments took over Aboriginal community-controlled housing in remote Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory, stating that they aimed to improve the quality of housing in those communities.
Now managed by the CEO (Housing), a government agency, public housing in NT remote Aboriginal communities still falls short of minimum standards for safety, habitability and security.
The class action alleges that the CEO breached its contractual obligations to ensure that public housing was habitable, safe and secure, and had a reasonable system for carrying out repairs to ensure those standards were met.
The claim alleges that the CEO engaged in unconscionable conduct by signing tenants up to tenancy agreements without adequate explanation, letting the houses fall into disrepair and continuing to collect full rent, in circumstances where tenants had no other option for housing. The claim also alleges that the CEO’s conduct amounted to unlawful racial discrimination.
The claim also alleges that some tenants had their rent increased unlawfully.
The applicants seek repayment of rent, damages, and orders for repairs.
Register for the class action
If you would like to register your interest in this class action and receive updates as the class action progresses, please fill out the registration of interest form here.
The remote communities that are part of this case are:
- Acacia Larrakia
- Ali Curung
- Canteen Creek
- Haasts Bluff
- Kybrook Farm
- Mount Liebig
- Nauiyu (Daly River)
- Pigeon Hole
- Pmara Jutunta
- Robinson River
- Santa Teresa
- Wallace Rockhole