The Sydney suburb of Leumeah became home to a new housing co-operative that showcases the Filipino community’s knowledge and expertise in affordable housing.

Last month Sedgwick Housing Co-operative Ltd (SHCL) became the first co-operative registered by the government’s Registrars of Cooperatives in 15 years.

Ian Sinnett, chief executive of Common Equity NSW (CENSW), called it an “incredible achievement” because forming a co-operative is usually a lengthy process that takes up to five years and there is no guarantee of a housing allocation.

SHCL, on the other hand, managed to fulfill all the necessary compliance work and get a housing allocation for 10 households within a year.

Dr. Jimmy Lopez CPA, the president of SHCL, said he felt honoured and privileged to be leading the new coop and said their success in registering was due to the collective efforts of the tenant-members with the help, support and mentoring of Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd (KCL) and CENSW Staff.

“As a leader of the group, I hope to manage the co-op properly in terms of profitability and proper maintenance of the properties,” he said.

On 30 June, the new co-op celebrated the occasion with an opening ceremony attended by family, friends and dignitaries including Mr Sinnett, Hon Bryan Doyle, MP, member for Campbelltown and the Hon Marford Angeles, Philippine Consul in Australia.

Also in attendance were Dr Cen Amores, People of Australia Ambassador, and Jhun Salazar, president of the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations, Inc.

Mr Lopez said that it is an exciting time for the members of the new co-op.

“Eventually, we hope to have more properties to manage, as well as be able to sponsor and mentor new housing cooperatives.”

SHCL is now the 33rd coop to participate in the CENSW scheme.


Disclosure: A family member of this writer is an active member of KCL and SHCL.



Josephine de los Reyes

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