Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report
Tabled paper 283
Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Claire Martin
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
___________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 49 complaints and applications in relation to Agents and representatives for disciplinary action, and other applications under the Agents Licensing Act. It was also observed that the procedures balanced the need for expeditious hearing with the requirements of procedural fairness in a flexible fashion. Given the outcomes of our inquiries, it was determined that no further action was necessary in the circumstances. 9. Its In The Post! Department of Local Government Sport and Cultural Affairs (DCDSCA) - (Territory Housing) The complainant originally approached this Office seeking to lodge a complaint against Territory Housing, as a rental payment that he had made at Australia Post had not been credited to his account. In this regard the complainant asserted that he had a receipt which evidenced the fact that he had made the rental payment to Territory Housing through Australia Post approximately a year earlier, yet this payment had not been credited to his account and Territory Housing had been persistently chasing him for the arrears. It was determined to formally assess the complainant's matter to determine whether or not his substantive issue of complaint could be expeditiously resolved by this office. On the information obtained during the initial inquiries with Territory Housing, it appeared that the complainants primary issue of concern his dispute with Territory Housing over the misapplied rental payment had been expeditiously resolved. Furthermore, it was noted that the Director had identified that the time taken by Territory Housing to resolve the complainants matter was an issue of concern; and importantly, the Director indicated that he would be taking steps to ensure that problems of this nature were resolved in a timely manner in the future. Therefore, given the Directors acknowledgment in this regard and his proposed course of action, it was determined that further inquiries by this office into the complainants specific issue of complaint would be highly unlikely to result in a more meaningful or useful result for the complainant. In so saying however, the inquiries conducted by this office identified broader and possible systemic issues of concern relating to misapplied rental payments and the operation of the suspense accounts that are used to hold such payments. As such, it was decided to pursue these concerns outside the context of the complainants specific issue of complaint and under the banner of Preliminary Inquiries pursuant to section 17(A) of the Ombudsman (Northern Territory) Act. During the course of the preliminary inquiries conducted by this office, the newly developed Financial Management Analysis Branch of Territory Housing established what this office considered to be appropriate auditing and accounting controls to properly manage the operation of the suspense account; and moreover satisfied this office that the concerns that had arisen from this offices inquiries into this matter had also be identified by the Department (primarily through its 03/04 external financial audit) and reasonable steps were being taken to address these concerns.