NSW council investigated for cracked tower

·2-min read

A former Sydney council is being investigated over defects in an apartment building as unit owners unable to live for almost three years seek extended accommodation support.

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 found in supporting structure and masonry.

The block's owners' corporation will have their accommodation support payment extended for another year if they lodge documents in court to dissolve the strata scheme.

The NSW government announced on Thursday it will also investigate the former City of Botany Bay council in relation to the towers.

Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman said the investigation would seek to prevent a repeat of the incident.

However, the investigation is already facing hurdles.

"We are advised relevant council documents from that period cannot be located and may be missing," Ms Tuckerman said.

"We are determined to gather as much information as possible on the issues that led to the defects in Mascot Towers."

Central to the investigation will be the issuing of an occupation certificate in July 2008, as well as development applications and consents.

She said the missing documents and mismanagement it represents would erode confidence in local councils.

Botany Bay Council merged with Rockdale Council to form Bayside Council in 2016.

Mascot Towers was completed in 2009.

Fair Trading Minister Eleni Petinos said the Mascot Towers Owners Corporation will be lodging the documents to terminate the strata scheme imminently.

"Given this undertaking, the government is going to extend the accommodation funding support for a seventh time," Ms Petinos said.

The lodging of documents with the Supreme Court has been requested before support was extended in the past.

If extended, support for unit owners will run until the end of June 2023.

It comes after owners visited NSW Parliament in April to deliver letters to Ms Petinos and Premier Dominic Perrottet asking for an extension of rental subsidies.

Opposition spokeswoman for better regulation Courtney Houssos said the offer to extend support was five months overdue.

"The Mascot Towers owners have been forced to campaign for months for support they were already promised," she said.

"This has caused them even more stress and heartache."

Ms Petinos became fair trading minister in December and was questioned over the Mascot Towers support at a budget estimates hearing in March.

In April 2021 the owners corporation 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.

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