News

NEWTAAS Annual Report 2021

Published on 29/09/2021

 

 

The New England and Western Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service (NEWTAAS) works in our region to:

  • increase access to the legal system for the most disadvantaged people in the communities we serve,
  • help clients be better informed of their tenancy rights and responsibilities and the options available to them,
  • refer clients to other services when our Service is not able to assist them with their issue,
  • work towards a more just, equitable and accessible society for all people, and
  • ensure staff in our Service maintain high standards of professional conduct and service delivery.

 

President's Report 

Anne
Anne Wolfenden

Again this year we have seen the challenges to the service that the COVID-19 pandemic has bought to service delivery and staff.

Fortunately we have fantastic staff and our service is perfectly set up for remote service delivery.

The staff have delivered a great service to tenants in trouble by doing remote tribunal hearings and the usual telephone contact.

KerryAnn has outlined the wonderful achievements of the team in her report. Another year of outstanding results.

We have welcomed some new staff members this year with the funding boost from Fair Trading to help tenants cope with the impact of COVID-19 and the difficulties of NCAT phone hearings. With Robert in our Tamworth office leaving us last June, we welcomed Michele joining us. We also have Melissa in Melbourne and Julia in Bulli to provide additional support to tenants.

With the reopening of all offices, we were able to execute our plan to further develop our Community Education program, and we appointed Chelsea to be our Community Education Project Worker. That project is expected to go for six months and we are using some of the stimulus money to fund it.

I would like to thank all the staff, Tamara, Linda, Michele, Emma, Chelsea, Melissa, Mark, Neil, Julia and KerryAnn for their wonderful dedicated work and for making the service the success it is. The service has helped thousands of tenants over the years and I am sure the communities in which we operate really appreciate having such a wonderful service.

I would also like to thank the Management Committee, Elizabeth, Marjorie, Brian, Jenny and Noel for their loyal and voluntary support of the staff and the service for the past year.

In these challenging times I thank everyone for their ongoing commitment and professionalism to the successful delivery of the service.

– Anne Wolfenden, NEWTAAS Management Committee President

 

Service Manager's Report

KerryAnn
KerryAnn Pankhurst

Every year I seem to start my report by saying it’s been a remarkable year, and this year is no exception. Like every organisation in NSW, we have been, and continue to be, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, often in unexpected ways.

We were very glad last May when the Minister for Fair Trading announced that every tenancy service would receive funding for one year to employ an extra person to cope with the pandemic, and the new world of working from home remote service delivery. We were so grateful that Mark West was able to continue with us to help carry the load.

Julia Murray joined us for a couple of months in July, and then Melissa O’Donnell in September. Both Julia and Melissa are experienced advocates with extensive experience in complex tenancy matters.

When we were able to return to our offices, we advertised for the Tamworth position and Michele McGoldrick started with us on 4 January 2021. Julia joined us again in June 2021.

I have long been wanting to revamp our Community Education program, and the ATO stimulus funding provided us with the opportunity to do that. Chelsea Knife joined us in May 2021 for a six month project to overhaul our materials and organise the delivery of training for community workers across our region.

So our normal small band of warriors has been supplemented this past year, and Tamara, Linda, Emma and I are grateful for the willing hands that have helped us to undertake the serious work we do. Dedicated and thoughtful staff are the backbone of the service, and I am so very grateful for them all.

As is usual, you will find in this report a selection of statistics and case studies that tell the life of the Service and the stories of our clients. It’s very easy to think only of the numbers, or of the economic impact, but these case studies show the chaos and anxiety for families renting their homes in so many ways. There are also reports from the electorates that we cover that provide an interesting perspective on our work.

As ever, I am so grateful to our Management Committee for their ongoing dedication to the Service. Anne’s support and commitment, and the support of Elizabeth, Brian, Jenny, Marjorie, Noel and Chris has been essential to enable the staff to continue their work. The vision and guidance of the Committee are the underpinning of our focus on service delivery.

– KerryAnn Pankhurst, NEWTAAS Service Manager