The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Selwyn Button, has announced the end of the special administration of the Ngadju Native Title Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (NNTAC) and its return to members’ control.
As a result of determinations in 2014 and 2017, NNTAC holds and manages the native title rights and interests of Ngadju people in an area larger than the United Kingdom around the township of Norseman, Western Australia. The corporation’s office is in Perth.
Special administrators were appointed on 11 November 2019 and their appointment was extended twice due to the impact of COVID-19.
Before being placed under special administration, the board was divided and in conflict. As a result of the dispute, two different people believed they had been lawfully appointed as the CEO, and two different legal firms believed they represented the corporation. Various other governance issues were also identified during an examination of the corporation’s books.
The special administrators have strengthened the corporation’s governance and operational framework. Key changes include adding two independent specialist directors to the board, and limiting member directorships to six, with no more than one from any one family group.
‘As well as revising the rule book, the governance overhaul involved strengthening the staff structure so the corporation can rely more on in-house skills and experience and less on external advice—which will significantly reduce the corporation’s costs,’ said Mr Button. ‘I’m confident that NNTAC’s 1100 members, and Ngadju people’s native title rights and interests, will be well served into the future.’
Once Covid restrictions eased and the administrators could convene a meeting of traditional owners, they also secured agreement to transfer $1.2 million from where it had been quarantined for no clear purpose, to the Ngadju Direct Benefits Trust, for the benefit of Ngadju people.
The Registrar’s office will monitor the corporation over the next 12 months.
See also the Registrar’s previous media release, Goldfields native title corporation placed under special administration—ORIC MR1920-07, 11 November 2019
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