The Western Desert Puntukurnuparna Aboriginal Corporation (WDPAC) yesterday appeared in the South Hedland Magistrates Court on charges brought by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations. The corporation is charged with failing to lodge its annual reports for 2008–09.
This is the first time charges have been laid by the Registrar under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (the CATSI Act).
Representatives from WDPAC, which is a large corporation located in Port Hedland, did not make an appearance and the magistrate adjourned the matter until 13 September 2010 to give the corporation a further opportunity to be heard.
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered under the CATSI Act are required to lodge reports with the Registrar each year.
Last year, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations commenced a compliance campaign focussing on large corporations. Under the CATSI Act, a large Aboriginal or Torres
Strait Islander corporation must meet at least two of the following criteria:
• consolidated gross operating income of $5 million or more
• consolidated gross assets valued at $2.5 million or more
• employs more than 24 staff.
Less than 1 per cent of large corporations failed to comply with reporting obligations in the 2008–09 financial year.
‘Information from annual reports is used to update important details about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations on the public register,’ said the Registrar, Anthony Beven.
‘Our compliance campaign has already led to significant improvements in accuracy and reliability. Next year we will be expanding our compliance campaign to include medium-size corporations.’
The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
27 July 2010
Contact: Patricia Gibson
Tel: (02) 6219 7658
Ref: ORIC MR1011-05