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NSW Local Scheme
In October 2016, Parliament enacted an amendment to the Community Housing Providers (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012 (NSW) (the Act)which established a Local Scheme for the registration and monitoring of entities that are unable to be registered under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH).
In August 2017 under section 25A of the Act the Social Housing Minister directed the Registrar of Community Housing to commence a NSWLS that:
- initially focuses on registering Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs)
- is consistent with NRSCH
- does not include the ‘wind-up’ condition of registration under NRSCH, whilst ensure that any assets or assistance provided by the NSW Government is appropriately protected.
There is no legal obligation for organisations to be registered under the NSWLS. However, individual government policy and funding agencies may make registration a precondition for receiving funding or for delivering funded housing services.
Under the current directive, registration is open to any organisation that meets the requirements of the NSWLS including:
- incorporation as a LALC
- have in place processes that gives the Registrar assurance that in the event of wind-up and/or deregistration assets or assistance provided by the NSW government are appropriately protected
- have a demonstrated capacity to meet and achieve ongoing compliance with the National Regulatory Code (NRC).
- provides or intends to provide community housing services
While there are differences in the eligibility requirements between the NSWLS and NRSCH there is a consistency in the regulatory approach between the systems. Both systems share the same vision of a well governed, well managed and viable community housing
sector that meets the housing needs of tenants and provides assurance for government.
The NSWLS’s assessment processes are aligned to NRSCH’s National Regulatory Code. The NRC sets out the performance requirements that registered community housing providers must comply with. It does not prescribe how providers should run their business but rather focuses on the achievement of outcomes in the following areas:
- Tenant and housing services
- Housing assets
- Community engagement
- Financial viability
There is a range of documents on the NRSCH website, at: www.nrsch.gov.au, which will also be of assistance to NSWLS applicants. These documents include the: Tiers Guidelines; Evidence Guidelines; Registration Return Guide; and Provider Notification Guide.
The requirements of the NSWLS are rigorous and ongoing. The Registrar conducts a thorough examination of the viability, sustainability, probity, and governance arrangements of the applicants. Noting that the LALCs have been participating in a largely unregulated housing sector, the Registrar will provide advice on capacity building avenues to providers who lodge an interest in the Scheme to assist with registration under the NSWLS.
If major weaknesses are evident in any provider’s systems, they may be invited by the Registrar to attempt registration at a later date.
Information Access and Sharing
The information access and sharing principles of NSWLS conform to those of NRSCH. The Registrar will advise at later information specific to NSWLS.