Registrar to reform Victorian native title corporation

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, has today placed the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (Gunditj Mirring) under special administration.

Based in Heywood in Victoria, the corporation was registered in 2006 and has over 450 members from 14 family clan groups.

In 2007 the Federal Court of Australia made a consent determination recognising the Gunditjmara people’s native title rights over almost 140,000 hectares across the southwest of Victoria and extending across the South Australian border. Gunditj Mirring was appointed as the registered native title body corporate (RNTBC) for the Gunditjmara people. The corporation was also appointed as the RNTBC for the Gunditjmara in a further determination in 2011.

The corporation is also a registered Aboriginal party (RAP) under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic). As a RAP Gunditj Mirring has statutory responsibility for the management of the cultural heritage and objects of the Gunditjmara people.

The Registrar authorised an independent examination of the corporation’s books in April 2017. It revealed irregularities in director appointments and corporation meetings, largely arising from disputes amongst the corporation’s directors and members. The corporation also recorded trading losses of $378,000 and $514,000 in the last two financial years.

Gunditj Mirring has a unique governance model in its rule book. The corporation is required to hold a general meeting of members every month and the directors have limited power to manage the corporation’s business. The governance model has contributed to the disputes within the corporation and led to deadlock on important day-to-day operational decisions.

‘The corporation is too important to the Gunditjmara people to allow it to remain deadlocked in dispute,’ said Mr Beven. ‘The special administrator will address the disputes within the corporation and reform the governance of the corporation, including its rule book.’

The Registrar has appointed Mr Paul Case from the Adelaide-based firm, MLCS Corporate Pty Ltd, as the special administrator until 15 December 2017.

Media contact

Lisa Hugg
(02) 6146 4738
ORIC MR1617-26
13 June 2017