EXIT BY AHO OF HEAD LEASING ARRANGEMENTS WITH LALCs

NSWALC understands that the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) has decided to exit the current Head Lease arrangements between the AHO and approximately 38 Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) in NSW. These Head Leases have provided for the management of approximately 900 LALC houses.

In making this decision, the AHO has elected NOT to exercise the further 5-year lease option, which was originally anticipated as part of a 5 + 5 year Head Lease term.

NSWALC understands that the AHO has been in contact with all LALCs that have a Head Lease arrangement with the AHO and many Leases have since been extended to allow more time for LALCs, the AHO and Managing Providers to transition to new arrangements.

NSWALC is mindful that many LALCs have raised concerns regarding the proposed exit by the AHO and the announced cessation of Build & Grow subsidies after June 2020. NSWALC has advised the AHO that we have concerns about the AHO exiting Head Leases at this time when future support arrangements are very unclear and many LALCs have not yet determined their future options and preferred pathway in terms of registration.

In general, NSWALC's preference is that LALCs maintain the stability of current arrangements with Managing Providers until these issues become clearer. To support this, NSWALC has asked the AHO to strengthen its oversight of Head Leases to ensure that tenants and owning LALCs are satisfied with the services they receive.

Head Lease extensions will give LALCs and the AHO the opportunity to work together to make sure that decisions about the management of LALC housing (whether it is to be self-managed or transferred to viable Managing Providers) are taken at the right time with minimal risks to the Land Council Network.

However, for LALCs that do wish to exit Head Leases at this time, NSWALC understands that the process of exiting may be complex and require significant attention. LALCs are entitled to receive full information and reporting in line with the requirements of the Head Lease, including evidence (such as a recent property condition report) that all properties are to be handed back in a state of good repair and condition, subject to fair wear and tear.

NSWALC is very keen to work closely with the AHO and individual LALCs during this transition period to ensure that relevant processes are fully complied with, and managed transparently and equitably. Any LALC that has queries regarding the transition process can contact the AHO directly via email - AHOHeadLeaseEnquiries@facs.nsw.gov.au

LALCs that have already contacted the AHO and wish to seek support / guidance from NSWALC should contact: NSWALCHeadLeaseEnquiries@alc.org.au