A former Sydney council is under investigation into flaws in an apartment block as owners of units unable to live for nearly three years apply for extended housing assistance.
Residents of the 132-unit Mascot Towers block, on Bourke Street in the southern suburb of Mascot, were evacuated in June 2019 after cracks were discovered in the supporting structure and brickwork.
The block’s owners’ company will have its housing support payment extended for a year if it files court papers to dissolve the strata scheme.
The New South Wales government announced on Thursday that it will also investigate the former Botany Bay town council in relation to the towers.
Local government minister Wendy Tuckerman said the investigation would be aimed at preventing a repeat of the incident.
However, the investigation is already running into obstacles.
“We are advised that relevant council documents from this period cannot be located and may be missing,” Ms Tuckerman said.
“We are committed to gathering as much information as possible about the issues that led to the defects in Mascot Towers.”
The focus of the investigation will be the issuance of a certificate of occupancy in July 2008, along with development applications and consents.
She said the missing documents and the mismanagement it represents would erode trust in local councils.
Botany Bay Council merged with Rockdale Council to form Bayside Council in 2016.
Mascot Towers was completed in 2009.
Fair Trade Minister Eleni Petinos said the Mascot Towers Owners Corporation will file the paperwork to end the lamination program imminently.
“Given this commitment, the government will extend housing finance assistance for the seventh time,” Ms Petinos said.
Filing of documents with the Supreme Court has been requested before aid was extended in the past.
In the event of an extension, assistance to unit owners will continue until the end of June 2023.
It comes after landlords visited NSW Parliament in April to deliver letters to Ms Petinos and Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet asking for an extension of housing subsidies.
Opposition Better Regulation spokeswoman Courtney Houssos said the offer to extend support was five months late.
“The owners of Mascot Towers have been forced to campaign for months to get the support they have already been promised,” she said.
“It caused them even more stress and grief.”
Ms Petinos became fair trade minister in December and was asked about Mascot Towers’ support at a budget hearing in March.
In April 2021, the owners’ company was faced with a choice between selling the building at a massive loss for developers to demolish and rebuild on the site, or pay tens of millions to repair the building.
Australian Associated Press