There are currently approximately 200 registered native title bodies corporates (RNTBC) in Australia which hold the native title interests and land use agreements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. RNTBCs are then responsible for implementing appropriate structures to facilitate, direct and invest monies received from corporates (such as mining companies) for use of this land. A typical structure is summarised below:
While many asset management structures are well managed, disputes are common and often arise from undeveloped governance practices and divergent views between the different stakeholders and decision making bodies controlling the numerous trusts or RNTBCs. Common issues relate to conflict, transparency, lack of trust and probity of decision making. This can lead to instances of monies not being used to benefit members and leakage of funds from inefficiencies in the asset management structure.
McGrathNicol and Bulhari (a professional trustee service provider to Indigenous corporations) are working together to improve the transparency and efficiency of Indigenous asset management structures by acting as an independent party to deliver a common ‘fact base’ to all relevant parties.
There are a range of benefits from involving an independent party in Indigenous asset management structures:
- We are free from conflict or influence from any particular party. Our role is to provide clarity and a common set of facts for the benefit of members and each governing body.
- We bring transparency and efficiency to governance and reporting.
- We will identify any risks or deficiencies so they can be addressed in a timely and open manner.
- Our experience assisting other Indigenous organisations.
View our Services to Indigenous Asset Management Structures brochure.