Transparency sought for Adnyamathanha native title holders

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Selwyn Button, has welcomed the decision of the special administrator of Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (Aboriginal Corporation) RNTBC (ATLA) to suspend mining royalty payments while access to information about trust performance is resolved.

ATLA is the registered native title body corporate for, and manages the rights and interests of, Adnyamathanha native title holders. Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd (Heathgate) and its affiliate Quasar Resources Pty Ltd (Quasar) both have native title mining agreements with ATLA under which certain mining royalty payments are made to the Adnyamathanha native title holders. Those payments are made to the Adnyamathanha Master Trust. The trustee of the master trust is Rangelea Holdings Pty Ltd (Rangelea). 

There has been much speculation over the trust performance in delivering benefits for the person’s ultimately intended to benefit from the trust. In a move to provide native title holders with access to information, on 5 May 2021, the special administrator of ATLA formally requested Rangelea provide access to records and accounts that relate to administration of the Adnyamathanha Master Trust.

On 27 May 2021 the special administrator of ATLA gave notice to Heathgate and Quasar to suspend all payments under their agreements. Payments will be held in the mining agreement account until issues that may be affecting administration of the trust can be examined and addressed, where required.

Mr Button said, ‘Corporations and trusts established to look after and protect the rights and interests of native title holders have special obligations to those people. The corporate and investment structures used to insulate risk can be complex and challenging to understand. In the spirit of reconciliation, the intent of the CATSI Act and Native Title Act, people responsible for those arrangements must make additional effort to ensure those that may be disadvantaged in literacy, skills or experience can understand how their native title interests are being managed and used’.

In the interests of transparency and in accordance with its responsibility to Adnyamathanha native title holders, ATLA will publish the trustee financial information for its members when it becomes available.

This action is taken to protect the rights and interests of native title holders by ensuring the trustee is administering the Adnyamathanha Master Trust in accordance with its obligation to native title holders.

Background

See the Registrar's previous media releases:

Contact

Lisa Hugg 0477 762 290

ORIC MR 2021-19
20 April 2021