NCAT Aboriginal Tenancy List

Paula-Rose Bassett • 04/06/2024

In September 2023, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) introduced a fortnightly Aboriginal Tenancy List in its Consumer and Commercial Division. The List is available for tenants and landlords who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. My recent visit to this list was unique and inspiring – offering a glimpse into how our legal system could better accommodate cultural and socio-economic specific needs.

I observed that the informal nature of the hearing room space catered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of being, accommodating extended family and children. Each session of the day began with an Acknowledgment of Country and Tribunal Members took the time to explain the hearing process. There were Tribunal conciliators available and during conciliations the parties were provided with time and support to address the grounds for the NCAT application. Parties had the opportunity to work towards positive and realistic outcomes. These outcomes included tenants sustaining their tenancies, establishing realistic payment plans, and getting orders for repairs.

One of the best features I observed at the List Day was the access it provided to wrap-around support services. These included tenant advocates, a financial counsellor, and staff from Centrelink. These features make a really positive difference to the Tribunal experience, and could be considered as a model across the whole Tribunal.

For anyone looking to have a tenancy matter included on the Aboriginal Tenancy List, you can nominate matters onto the List by sending an email to after an application has been lodged with
NCAT. In your email to the Tribunal please include the following details:

  • Your case number
  • Hearing date
  • Ask for your matter to be heard in the Aboriginal Tenancy List.

If you need advice before a Tribunal hearing, contact your local Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service (TAAS). Across NSW there are 15 generalist TAASs, 4 specialist Aboriginal TAASs.


See also


Paula-Rose Bassett is Aboriginal Paralegal at the Tenants' Union of NSW. Paula is a proud Wiradjuri and Wakka Wakka woman and a strong advocate for Aboriginal rights in the community sector. With both an honours in Social Work and in her final year of Law, at the University of New South Wales, she brings a wealth of knowledge and empathy to her work at the Tenants' Union. She has experience as a paralegal at two commercial law firms, an in-house legal team, and volunteers at a community legal centre. Paula has also successfully completed her two Social Work placements at the Australian Council of Social Service and the Royal North Shore acute trauma hospital. Paula-Rose's commitment to justice ensures that Aboriginal voices are heard and respected in the realm of tenancy rights.