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Thursday, 4 June 1987
Page: 4065

(Question No. 5328)

Mr Connolly asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 1 May 1987:

(1) Is he investigating the Maranoa Housing Company over allegations of misappropriation and mismanagement.

(2) Has his attention been drawn to allegations that the company has not had an annual general meeting, nor audit reports, for 3 years.

(3) Is he investigating the Downs Aboriginal Housing Company for alleged misappropriation of funds and is the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) and his Department still funding this organisation.

(4) Has the Redfern Housing Company received $200,000 in funds from the ADC to purchase a hotel on the corner of Everleigh Street; if so, for what purpose will this site be used and what will happen to the liquor licence.

(5) What compensation will be paid to the owners of property in Redfern whose buildings have been destroyed and the sites subsequently cleared following court orders for construction of new homes by the Redfern Housing Company.

Mr Holding —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) The Maranoa Aboriginal Housing Company Limited was incorporated under the Queensland Companies Act on 13 April 1976.

It is not the responsibility of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to investigate allegations that a company is in breach of the legislation under which it was incorporated or the manner in which it conducts its affairs.

However, agencies of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio do require acceptable standards of accountability and conduct on the part of those organisations they fund.

I am informed by the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) that it is aware of these allegations and has received complaints from members of the Company, who were advised to pursue their concerns with the Corporate Affairs Office in Brisbane.

The ADC is also aware that the Company has not held Annual General Meetings or provided Audit Reports for the past 3 years. Because of this, and the unsatisfactory way in which the Company has conducted its affairs, the Commisison ceased funding it in March 1986.

No ADC funding has been provided over the last 14 months, nor does the Commission intend to resume funding until it is satisfied with the conduct of Company affairs.

However, it should be noted that Maranoa has satisfactorily acquitted all monies provided to it by the ADC in 1985-86 and previous financial years.

(3) No. My Department provides funds to the Downs Housing Company through an accountant's trust account and therefore such funds are properly accounted for. My reply to part (12) of Question No. 5329 is also relevant.

(4) No. The Company is currently negotiating to purchase the Railway View Hotel and if these negotiations are concluded satisfactorily, funds will be provided by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

The site will probably be used for office space and the supermarket run by the Aboriginal Housing Company. The Liquor Licence is to be sold and proceeds allocated to the costs of redevelopment of West Redfern.

Both the Aboriginal community and the Government agencies involved, Local, State and Commonwealth, consider the closure of the Hotel essential to the success of any attempts to address the problems of the area.

(5) None. The buildings have been demolished. The Sydney City Countil issued demolition orders on derelict properties.