Premier wants more information on plea for indigenous inquiry

HOPE: Mark Koolmatrie

HOPE: Mark Koolmatrie

Indigenous leaders have had their spirits lifted at a crisis meeting with Premier Steven Marshall.

They say their plea for a royal commission into Aboriginal corporations did not fall on deaf ears.

As a result, Mr Marshall called for more information from the leaders about the make-up of the proposed judicial inquiry.

The bid for an inquiry came after concerns were raised about the activities of corporations including the Port Augusta-based Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association,

Adnyamathanha elder Charlie Jackson and Port Augusta's former Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation deputy chairman Chris Larkin both took part in the meeting which was convened by indigenous leader Mark Koolmatrie in Adelaide on Friday.

The meeting was scheduled to continue for 45 minutes, but lasted for two hours.

Mr Koolmatrie said Mr Marshall had been interested in the "positives" that could flow from the meeting.

"He didn't say he would give us a judicial inquiry yet, but he said he would think about what he could do and get back to us," he said.

"He wants us to put together an idea and outline where the problems lie.

"He did say that he wanted to see proof. One group has given a lot of proof. The Premier has not seen that yet.

"He has given us a hearing and we appreciate that. He was extremely engaged.

"He came at it as Premier, but also as Aboriginal Affairs Minister." The submission by the four or five leaders is thought to represent the first link-up of indigenous leaders independently from government or lawyers.

A state spokeswoman said the group had "raised issues about governance of Aboriginal organisations which the government will consider".

Mr Larkin said he had a phone call from the Premier's chief adviser on Monday.

"He said it was a great meeting and that no-one spent that much time with the Premier," he said. Mr Larkin said that previously a "mechanism" had been lacking under which indigenous leaders could talk to the government.

"I feel confident that we will get a renewed focus on appropriate training," he said.

He saw opportunities for an inquiry and for looking at failures of regulatory frameworks. "All we want is some protections that white blokes get for our shareholders and members," he said,