Mission

Our mission is to provide affordable, secure, financially and environmentally sustainable housing for people on low incomes, primarily in the South and East of Melbourne who are committed to cooperative democracy and engagement.

Services

The services provided by SouthEast define its reality as a housing co-op. SouthEast commits to ensuring its long term capacity to continuous improvement of all services.

Members

Members own and control their co-op and this is the essential characteristic of SouthEast. The board represents the members best through its obligation to be representative, accountable and transparent.

Co-operation

SouthEast is committed to the values of cooperation, voluntary membership, democratic control, autonomy & independence, co-op education and cooperation between co-ops.

ACOSSACOSS and the State and Territory Councils of Social Service today released a statement on reform of the federation based on legislated ‘community service guarantees’ in areas of shared responsibility to ensure universal access to affordable essential services for people across the country. The statement also sets directions for tax reform to help pay for these guarantees.

“A basic duty of governments is to provide certainty for people that when they need a doctor, home care, or schooling for their children, those services are available and of good quality regardless of their income and where they live. The present federal system in Australia fails to provide that certainty. Federation and taxation reform are needed to guarantee access to essential services into the future”, said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO, speaking on behalf of the Councils.

“Essential services for the community must be available to all. People should also know that if they fall on hard times, for example if they lose their job or become homeless, they will get the support they need until they are able to provide for themselves.

“We know that government budgets are coming under immense pressure. The answer is not to cut or withdraw vital health, education and welfare services, nor to shift their cost to the public. Instead we should improve the cost effectiveness of services and strengthen the revenue base.

Read more ...

NATIONAL2015TWOOn the Home Front Today at NHCPERTH

Dale Carroll reporting on the National Housing Conference in Perth, WA:

The morning session attended was Affordable home ownership looking at government housing strategies including what mechanisms can deliver more affordable housing and the contexts in which outcomes can be maximised. Case studies from South Australia WA and Victoria were presented,

The first looked at assisted home ownership financing while the second looked at how the WA Affordable Housing Strategy has invested beyond public housing and the last model was the Melbourne Apartments Project which breaks new ground allowing social housing tenats to enter home ownership at greatly reduced financial outlays.

At the end of the day the final plenary session was a Q&A format and asked questions like how do we provide a home for everyone gavin with one panelist suggesting say tax concessions be conditional on providing affordable housing. Another suggestion was to create a new assett class and housing should be a basic human right. Also affordable housing needs new institutional capital. Some believe our governments cant be trusted. Others were quick to point out there must be a subsidy from government but change must come from the community. Australia needs the development and hold model not develop and sell.

The WA shared equity model is seen as exemplary where the Housing Authority buys wholesale and sells at discounted rates to social housing customers ---- why is it not working in all states - it works in times of low demand when builders need work - the shared equity can be recycled and used to develop more properties - or to provide capital growth for other reinvestment goals of government. It was clear that many considered housing to be a right rather than a privilege. And what can be done to reform taxation - perhaps stamp duty should be removed and replaced with uniform land tax phased to when you next buy a property. The federal government could cover the start up short falls. And the question was asked could the USA type tax credits work in Australia with one response being we could use existing tax systems but add conditions that include low income entry.

The NHC closed to day and the next will be in Sydney 2017. What will have changed if these ideas have been implemented and will rental and home ownership be more affordable?

ETHICSCo-operative ethics are fundamental to genuine co-operative and the foundation for this lies in the co-operative values and principles developed by the International Co-operative Alliance.

The board of a co-operative is elected by its members and this is basis for co-operative democracy with each member having one vote. In electing the board, however, members have a right to expect that the directors wil be ethical in their decision-making and decisions.

members have a right to expect, therefore, that a board will be able to justify its decision-making and decisions. Decisions will be based on documentation provided to all directors and directors will insist on the provision of documentation and will not make decisions based on hearsay. Members also have a right to expect that decisions will clear and coherent and not vague. A decision to accept a proposal is incoherent when the details of what is being accepted are not minuted when the minutes are the official record of the decision anbd when there is no decision on who is responsible for implementation of a decision. No single director, even a Chairperson or Secretary, can assume this - unless there is a statutory obligation under Co-operatives National Law.

Members also have a right to expect that a board will ensure that the management of a co-operative will deal with any complaints about services and not hide these from the board. This is why Acting Managers Joy Haines and David Griffiths published an accessible complaints brochure.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the directors of Southeast are required to annually sign conflict of interest and code of conduct declarations. Underpinning these declarations is a commitment to avoid conflicts of interest.

A conflict of interest could voccur, for instance, if a relative of a director was beingb considered for membership. This would require that the director relative did not participate in the decision-making process and the decision.  Another conflict of interest could occur if a director was in rental arrears and, therefore, potentially securing a pecuniary benefit. The solution for this would be for management to enforce the co-operative's rental arrears policy without fear or favor to all members.

The ability and willingness of a board to be ethical is fundamental to accountability and  transparency to members.

AHURIThe AHURI National Housing Conference will be held between 28 - 30 October 2015 in the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. It is an opportunity to discuss and debate new approaches and new solutions to affordable housing. It is expected that more than 800 delegates will be in attendance - including SouthEast directors Debbie Dioguardi and Tracey Hall and staff member Dale Carroll. It is hoped that we will be able to bring daily reports on the National Conference. The web site for the conference is at www.nhc.edu.au

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) is a national independent research network with an expert not-for-profit research management company, AHURI Limited, at its centre. AHURI has a public good mission to deliver high quality research that influences policy development to improve the housing and urban environments of all Australians.

Location

SouthEast Housing Co-operative Ltd
Plaza Business Centre, the Hub, Level 3,
26 to 36 McCrae St. Dandenong 3175

Telephone: 03 9706 8005

Fax: 03 9706 8558

PO Box 7141 Dandenong Victoria 3175

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