Sources of income

This section examines the various sources of income for corporations registered under the CATSI Act. Information gathered from audited financial statements submitted between 2007–08 and 2014–15 by the top 20 corporations is provided in table 6 and figure 25. The total income of individual corporations in the top 20 in 2014–15 ranged from $16.4 million to $88.9 million. As a combined group their income amounted to $586,488,630.

Table 6: Sources of income of the top 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations, 2007–08 to 2014–15
Financial year Government funding [12] Self-generated income Other income sources [13] Philanthropic gifts
2007–08 $154,196,133
2008–09 $161,122,873
2009–10 $176,523,678
2010–11 $184,974,330
2011–12 $210,945,564
2012–13 $215,438,385
2013–14 $233,974,306
2014–15 $230,537,009

Note: Percentages are of income sources against the combined income for the top 20 corporations for each financial year.

Government funding to the top 20 corporations has remained relatively steady since 2013–14, falling by just 0.2 per cent (from 39.5 per cent to 39.3 per cent)—see table 6. The share of self-generated income also decreased from 44.8 per cent to 43.0 per cent.

The proportion of government funding relative to other sources of income combined has decreased by 7.6 per cent over the previous eight financial years.

One corporation reported gift revenue of $1.5 million during 2014–15 which was well above the total of donations or gifts for all top 20 corporations reported in the past seven years.

Figure 25: Funding sources of the top 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations, 2007–08 to 2014–15

Figure 25 is a column graph showing the total dollar value of income for each type of income source over several years.

Several trends were apparent when reviewing the sources of corporation income over the past eight financial years.

  • There was a general upward trend in government funding and self-generated income.
  • Both government funding and self-generated income increased every single year until 2014–15 when both categories declined.
  • The amount of self-generated income has steadily taken over from government-derived income as the leading source of income.
  • Income received from ‘other income sources’ showed a more erratic pattern over time as this funding source consists largely of mining royalties and compensation payments made under land use agreements, which can often be large one-off payments. The peak appears in 2012–13 at a time of significant investment activity related to the mining boom.
  • For seven years the income generated from philanthropic gifts remained less than 0.1 per cent of total income. A single corporation received gift income in 2014–15, representing 0.3 per cent of total income for the top 20.

More on government funding

The top 20 corporations have a range of different income models. They include corporations that almost exclusively deliver government services and programs, and those that derive their income from other sources.

Government funding for six corporations in the top 20 was in excess of 84 per cent of their total income (four corporations had government funding greater than 90 per cent). This suggests their business activities focused heavily on delivering services or programs on behalf of government. All six of these corporations operate in the health and community services sector. Each of these corporations had in excess of 100 FTE employees, with a single corporation reporting 307 FTE employees.

Another six corporations in the top 20 received government funding of less than 10 per cent of their total income. Two of these corporations received nil government funding during 2014–15 (both were located in the Pilbara region).

Other observations on the top 20 corporations

All bar one corporation in the top 20 reported their main place of business as in the Northern Territory (11) or Western Australia (eight). The other corporation was in New South Wales.

Ten corporations in the top 20 reported that they operated in one sector only.

The ‘health and community services’ sector was the most common sector in the top 20 with 13 corporations reporting that they operated in this sector. Six corporations reported they operated in the ‘construction’ sector.

The average board size of the top 20 corporations was 13.2 directors—higher than the average for the top 500 at 8.1 directors per board. The size of boards in the top 20 ranged from six to 27 directors. Two boards had an all-male composition, with all others comprised of a mix of genders.