Growing pains for Lirrwi Tourism

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, has today placed the Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism Aboriginal Corporation under special administration.

The corporation was registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (the CATSI Act) on 15 September 2010. It is based at Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory where it operates a highly-regarded cultural tourism venture.

In 2012 Lirrwi launched an ambitious 20-year master plan to expand tourism operations into 50 homelands in Arnhem Land. Their goal is to create employment and economic prosperity for Yolngu people while allowing them to stay connected with their country and culture.

Lirrwi became accredited under the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program in 2012 and last year it received an award from the Banksia Foundation for its approach to environmental sustainability. However in the 2014–15 financial year the corporation experienced financial difficulties and requested assistance from the Registrar.

‘There is no doubting Lirrwi’s commitment to delivering high-quality, low-impact cultural tourism for Yolgnu people’, Mr Beven said. ‘However, it appears the evolution of Lirrwi’s financial and governance systems have not been in line with the rapid growth in its tourism activities.’

The special administrator will now work with the members and stakeholders of Lirrwi to stabilise its financial position and look at options to return it to profitability.

‘Lirrwi has a range of external partners, mentors and stakeholders who are all keen to see the venture succeed’, Mr Beven said. ‘The corporation has been open and honest with all of them which shows courage and a willingness to get this important business back on track.’

The Registrar has appointed Mr Brian Woods from the Cairns-based firm of DFK Kidsons as the special administrator of the corporation until 30 June 2016.


For more information about special administrations see the Registrar’s fact sheet Special administrations: what members and directors should know available at


Media contact
Lisa Hugg
(02) 6146 4738
ORIC MR1516-09
11 January 2016

Special administrator
Mr Brian Woods
(07) 4031 1390