NT leasing deals fall into chaotic territory

More than a decade after the Northern Territory Emergency Response identified better housing as key to tackling problems such as child neglect and abuse, seven communities still do not have leases governments say are required for upgrades to occur.

The Supreme Court yesterday heard authorities still struggled to identify which occupants had paid what rents over what period, and in circumstances where payments may have stopped, whether that was the fault of tenants or due to flawed bureaucracy.

Jasmine Cavanagh from the Red Centre community of Santa ­Teresa is suing the Territory government for failing to maintain her rented home, and found out only when the government counter-sued her that she was allegedly $20,000 in arrears.

“Why weren’t these arrears raised earlier?” Justice Stephen Southwood asked.

“Your Honour, I don’t have an answer to that,” the Territory’s barrister, Trevor Moses, replied.

The Australian understands that the Territory has since ­reduced the amount it claims Ms Cavanagh owes to about $4000 and yesterday indicated it planned to amend its claim again.

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