Port Augusta-based indigenous group still faces risks: Special administrator

ACTION: Charlie Jackson, left, Denise Champion and 'Tiger' McKenzie called for an inquiry into the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association back in 2019. Mr Jackson and Mr McKenzie have again demanded a Royal Commission.
ACTION: Charlie Jackson, left, Denise Champion and 'Tiger' McKenzie called for an inquiry into the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association back in 2019. Mr Jackson and Mr McKenzie have again demanded a Royal Commission.

A Port Augusta-based indigenous group has been told of continuing "risks" involved in its native title corporation.

This was given as the reason for the appointment of a second special administration of Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association.

The special administrator, Peter McQuoid, was hired by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

"The office determined that there were too many risks for the association to be handed back safely to its members," he said.

"It would be unfair to the incoming board to start its new role facing all the existing risks.

"Both I and the office are highly motivated to solve the remaining issues and get the association back under membership control.

"My job is to take over from all the good work done by the previous special administrators, Bevan Mailman andf Brian Bero.

"I have been brought in to complete the appointment of member and specialist directors, deal with some old legal issues, finalise arrangements with royalty payments, seek member feedback and consult common law holders to finalise the corporation's rule book. The extension of the special administration to June 30 will allow the advisory group to meet an additional three times before handing back the corporation to member control."

The original administration was launched last year over problems with record-keeping.

Later Mr Mailman said "certain groups" were receiving money from allocations to directors and other people. Calls for a Royal Commission into native title and corporations intensified after eastern states' and national media coverage of the crisis on Monday.

This came after The Transcontinental and the Canberra Times, both published by Australian Community Media, began reporting on the association's affairs in 2019.

Member of the advisory group Charlie Jackson said he hoped there would be more pressure for an inquiry as a result of the media reports.

"We will keep coming, and coming and coming," Mr Jackson said of the Adnyamathanhas' determination for an inquiry to be held.

"I walked out of our last meeting not knowing exactly what happened to my royalties ... why is it so difficult to break into that?"

An estimated $40 million in royalties has flowed to the association from Beverley uranium mine in the outback.

"The Adnyamathanha need someone who is going to stand up for them," Mr Jackson said.

He said he was waiting for a forensic report into aspects of the association's finances.

At last month's annual meeting of the association in Port Augusta, indigenous leader "Tiger" McKenzie tried to move a resolution calling for a Royal Commission into Aboriginal organisations and non-government agencies.

This was disallowed by then joint administrator Mr Mailman.

Mr McKenzie later repeated his demands for a royal commission, saying $30 billion was spent on Aboriginal people each year.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission was asked to offer a message to the Adnyamathanha and replied: "The association is a registered charity and an indigenous corporation registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

"It submits annual reports and governing documents to the office and notifies them of any changes which satisfies its reporting and notification obligations to the commission."

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