The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Selwyn Button, has today placed Ngadju Native Title Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC under special administration.
The corporation was established with wide-ranging objectives and is the registered native title body corporate which holds and manages the native title rights and interests on behalf of the Ngadju people for two native claims around the township of Norseman, Western Australia—WCD2014/004 (Ngadju) made on 21 November 2014 and WCD2017/002 (Ngadju Part B) made on 23 October 2017. The corporation’s office is in Perth.
‘Directors of the corporation are engaged in long-term disputes they haven’t been able to resolve. The level and extent of the dysfunction is affecting the conduct of the corporation’s affairs,’ said Mr Button. ‘There are two separate groups on the board both asserting that the opposing faction does not have the full powers of the board. As a result, currently two people believe they are lawfully appointed to the CEO position; and two law firms, which each represent one faction of the board, assert their respective firm is the corporation’s legal representative.’
‘For an RNTBC with over 1100 members and native title responsibilities to the Ngadju people, this standard of corporate governance and decision-making is not in the best interests of members and the Ngadju traditional owners.’
An examination of the books of the corporation in August this year revealed a range of governance issues. The disputes between the directors were further demonstrated by the significant volume of correspondence with the Registrar’s office.
The Registrar has appointed Mr Jack James and Ms Paula Smith as joint special administrators until 17 April 2020.