Friday, 2 January 2015

Before you start to cry copious tears for Community Housing Limited on the NSW North Coast......

Mainstream media on the NSW North Coast reported that Community Housing Limited had lost its NSW Land & Environment Court bid for rates exemption on its 1,368 properties in this state.

On its website the company asserts it is a registered charity. However, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission lists it as a public benevolent institution and the court decided that the company failed to prove it was a charity in its presented arguments.

In its Concise Annual Report 2014 Community Housing Limited stated:

At 30 June 2014 CHL had a portfolio of 4,309 properties under rental management in Australia across six States including Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania. Internationally in Timor Leste, Chile, and India….

Results for year
Total revenue and other income of the Economic Entity is $70,842,035 (2013: $88,406,634).
Total Members Funds are $315,033,844 (2013: $303,983,086). Net surplus for the year amounted to $11,050,758 (2013:$39,630,760)….

In 2014 the company had a surplus of over $11.1 million, total rental income of over $36.6 million and paid no income tax.

In Australia its combined grant and incentive income in 2014 was over $17.7 million.

In the Coffs Harbour area the company appears to have taken possession of 180 Coffs Harbour public housing properties (a mix of one & two bedroom units) in 2011, with the state government contributing a one-off payment of around $1.5 million and the company making a contribution of around $1 million to required property upgrades.

In the Clarence Valley it has fourteen housing properties (a mix of units, townhouses and houses) in Grafton funded by federal, state and local government in the form of land contribution, discounted land sale, capital grants and National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) as well as a loan taken out by the housing company.

These appear to be typical profiles of how this company funds its affordable housing expansion.

So the bottom line in all this is that a comfortably cashed-up international housing company (which already gets considerable assistance from all three tiers of Australian government) wanted more and didn’t get it.

Forgive me, if I cannot see why it shouldn’t pay its council rates, particularly in regional New South Wales where net surpluses running into many millions are rarely found in in local government coffers.

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