Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tribunal Merry-go-round

DH's case came before the CTTT Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal late last week. As is the practise landlord and tenant are sent outside for conciliation first up. The outcome was that the Department accepted exactly the same repayment offer that DH made several weeks earlier. Why? Because DH cant afford any more now than she could then.
Thus, a pointless but costly process all around for landlord, tenants, and taxpayers alike!.
The cost to DH: she is emotionally and physically drained. She lost 3 days pay while traipsing around to collect legal advice, medical certificates and testimonials from employers, financial counsellors, and community leaders.
Her employers lost weeks of productivity as the added stress divided her attention from a job that was already straining her capacities to their limit.
Her employers' long-suffering clients suffered a delay in the services her organisation provides them.
Her confidence got a shake-up too - in collecting medical certificates about her mental state,  she began to wonder if she wasnt mentally ill after all, though she believes she simply has carer's stress: lack of family support, and financial stress from an income that increasingly will not stretch to fit the cost of all the privatised social services that used to be a right in this country - especially medicare,  school dental services, and community health centres which provided low cost preventative support.
The documentation DH painfully collected was never viewed by anyone. What a waste of all the outstanding work Nicole, her impressive young advocate from RLC did to build her case!.
DH has now heard from a number of sources that the bulk of the Tribunal's work is simply to be used by the DOH to put the frighteners on people like herself. What a waste.
Anyhow DH will pay the arrears from money she had put aside to repair and register her 1984 Toyota. So what the State wins from the housing department, it will lose from the RTA, her mechanics taxes, increased strain on the PBS and medicare.
DH has heard a worrying rumour that the department wants to reverse the onus so that tenants served with an eviction notice have to summons the Department rather than the other way around. If this is the case, it would seem to be an even worse injustice for people who are already the least savvy section of the community.
Why the hell wont the Department invest in a decent web/ phone based income reporting scheme, drop the rents back  to their former level, and stop putting tenants, employers, the tribunal, and their own long-suffering CSO's into a costly and counterproductive merry-go-round?

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