Show Cause deadline looms for ATLA

Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association Chairperson Vincent Coulthard has welcomed recomendations following an examination of the corportation.
Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association Chairperson Vincent Coulthard has welcomed recomendations following an examination of the corportation.

A South Australian native title corporation in the state's Far North has been given one month to save itself from being placed under special administration.

The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) has been issued a Notice to Show Cause from the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corportations (ORIC).

The Transcontinental has been following the story since a reform group was established early last year, calling for the corporation to throw open its financial records.

ATLA has been under examination since October, with Chairperson Vincent Coulthard unsurprised by the notice.

"They have given us until the 6th of March to look at their concerns and really for us to work with them and see if we are able to move forward and address those issues," Mr Coulthard said.

"There was very little administrative, and no financial issues leading up to June last year, and then there was some financial issues that arose since July up until November."

Mr Coulthard retired from his position as CEO of ATLA in July, amongst growing unrest in the Corportation.

"There was concerns from the community because there was a reported lack of funds," he said.

"The community brought me back at the last election to try and fix up the situation in ATLA and I've now been working with the accountants.

"One of the things that has been happening for a very long time is that the law firm was doing a lot of the work which was a very costly exercise."

A recently lodged financial report revealed the Corportation spent an extra $60,000 on wages and salaries last financial year.

While the number of directors has been reduced to 24, at one stage 32 directors were being paid $375 per sitting.

With four sittings since July last year, the total cost accounts for close to $40,000.

"This month we will work with ORIC and with some recommendations in some ways that we can make some changes," Mr Coulthard said.

"I'd much rather the community be involved in the process than to have an administrator come in and do whatever they think is best for our people."

Members of the Aboriginal Reform Group of SA Charlie Jackson and Cheryl Waye were elated by the notice from ORIC.

"It's been something that has been coming for some time and its something that's well overdue. Over a 10 year period ORIC has implemented three examinations into the organisation and hopefully the third one might be lucky for us," Mr Jackson said.

"It's like a dream come true," Ms Waye added.

"To sleep now, it's so easy. I know it's a while until the 6th of march but I think we can rest easy now."

More to come.