Pilbara medical service seeks help from Registrar

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, has today placed Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation under special administration.

The corporation receives funding from both the Commonwealth Government through the Department of Health, and the Government of Western Australia through the WA Country Health Service. The corporation is a registered charity and its main aim is to provide quality health care to Aboriginal people living in the Western Desert region of Western Australia.

The corporation has four clinics located in the Jigalong, Punmu, Kunawarritji and Parnngurr (Cotton Creek) communities and has over 830 registered clients—most are Martu people, the traditional owners of the country surrounding the four communities.

In August 2013 the Registrar conducted an examination of the corporation’s books and records. Concerns about the governance of the corporation were uncovered and on 18 November 2013 the Registrar issued a compliance notice to the corporation requiring it to take corrective action.

On 20 November 2013 a majority of the corporation’s directors wrote back to the Registrar requesting that he appoint a special administrator to assist them in addressing the matters identified in the examination.

‘This corporation has provided quality health care to Aboriginal people for nearly 20 years and for most of that time it has been well governed,’ said Mr Beven. ‘I have made this appointment today to protect the essential health care services that the people of the Western Desert rely upon.’

Mr Jack James and Ms Paula Cowan from Palisade Business Consulting Pty Ltd in Perth have been appointed as the joint and special administrators until 31 May 2014.


Special administration is a special measure under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006. For more information see the fact sheet Special administrations: what members and directors should know available on the ORIC website: www.oric.gov.au.

Media contact

Patricia Gibson
(02) 6146 4743
ORIC MR1314-20
17 December 2013

Special administrators

Jack James and Paula Cowan
Phone: (08) 9328 6262
Mob: 0418 739 734 or 0418 980 512