Aboriginal group to reveal finances at annual meeting

CALL FOR ACTION: Adnyamathanha reform group leader Charlie Jackson makes a point at a recent meeting of members.
CALL FOR ACTION: Adnyamathanha reform group leader Charlie Jackson makes a point at a recent meeting of members.

An Aboriginal group is expected to hold an annual general meeting and throw open its financial records. This possible action by the Adynamathanha Traditional Lands Association comes after a plea by a reform group led by elder Charlie Jackson.

The association's chairman, Damian Coulthard, said the development was not yet confirmed, but hoped the meeting would be advertised in the next week or two.

"We are still waiting for confirmation on a couple of dates," he said. "We will make financial statements available to the whole Adnyamathanha community at our annual general meeting."

He declined to comment on reports that directors had been removed from Cramond, a company linked to the association, but he said: "Plenty of information will be provided at the annual general meeting."

Reform group leader Mr Jackson said an annual general meeting was overdue. He said the 2018 annual general meeting had been cancelled three times and still had not been held. "It is part of the organisation's responsibility to be able to do that," he said.

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations determined that ATLA was exempt from holding its general meeting by November 2018 and granted a deadline of November 30, 2019.

At the Cooinda Social Club in Port Augusta in June, the reform group hosted a meeting of 30 members who called for a general meeting. These members want clarification regarding the distribution of royalties from the Beverley uranium mine. The royalties are believed to run into millions of dollars.

A lawyer acting for the association, Graham Harbord, of Johnston Withers, said Cramond was a trustee company linked to Wilpena Pound resort.

Asked about distribution of royalties, he said it was not an issue that the legal firm specifically dealt with. He said that sometimes people raised issues about their share of royalties. "There is a process by which royalties are distributed to Adnyamathanha people," he said.

Asked whether he was happy with the way royalties were distributed, he said: "It is not up to me to say whether I am happy or not. That is the business of the association.

"I am their legal adviser. It is up to the association to decide how royalties are distributed and on what basis."

Regarding Wilpena Pound resort, he said an amount of compensation paid to the association by the state government about 2013 had been partly used to help buy an interest in the resort.