Minister for Indigenous Affairs: First Indigenous ORIC Registrar

Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion

Media release

First Indigenous ORIC Registrar

Release date: 7 December 2018

Gunggari man Selwyn Button has been appointed the Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations, making him the first Indigenous person appointed to the role.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion congratulated Mr Button on his appointment as the chief corporate regulator of Indigenous corporations registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

“Mr Selwyn Button is an eminently qualified and credentialed individual, and we are very lucky to bring his wealth of experience to the role of Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations,” Minister Scullion said.

Minister Scullion said that since the Howard Government’s visionary introduction of the CATSI Act, Indigenous corporations have exceeded equivalent measures for mainstream corporations. Data from the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) shows that:

  • revenue has increased by 77 per cent from $1.08 billion (2007-08) to $1.92 billion (2015-16);
  • the average annual growth rate of total income over the past 10 years 8.3 per cent;
  • employment has increased by 86 per cent from 6,948 employees (2007-08) to 12,981 employees (2015-16);
  • assets under management has increased by 223 per cent from $1.08 billion (2007-08) to $2.4 billion (2015-16); and
  • the failure rate of Indigenous corporations (0.5 per cent) has been less than mainstream companies (0.8 per cent).

The role of the Registrar and ORIC is to facilitate and improve the effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and accountability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations.

“Mr Button has worked across government and in law enforcement over a number of years, he is well placed to build on the fantastic work of the former Registrar, Mr Anthony Beven, and the acting Registrar, Mr Mike Fordham.

Mr Button is a qualified teacher and a former member of the Queensland Police Service. Most recently, he worked for the Queensland Government as the Assistant Director-General (Indigenous Education). Prior to that, he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Limited.

He has served on a number of Indigenous councils and committees including the Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Committee, Queensland Council of Social Services and the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Human Services Coalition. Mr Button is currently a Director of the Lowitja Institute.

“I am also very pleased to have appointed the first Indigenous Registrar. The Government has made a commitment of doing things with Indigenous Australians and as part of this policy we are looking to recruit the best Indigenous Australians into statutory office positions like the Registrar.

Mr Button will replace acting Registrar Mike Fordham in the role for a period of five years, commencing on 10 December 2018.

The incoming Registrar, Mr Selwyn Button, said he is privileged to have been given the opportunity to work with Indigenous corporations around the country in this important role.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations are increasingly at the forefront of service delivery in our communities, and the more we continue this movement the more empowered our communities will be,” Mr Button said.

“As Registrar I am looking forward to working with Indigenous corporations to build capacity to take on even larger projects, and ensure the highest standards of governance to give governments and the private sector increased confidence to do business with Indigenous corporations.”

Media contact: Brett Chant 0477 744 614