Minister for Indigenous Affairs: Federal Court decision a win for Indigenous Australians

Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion

Media release

Federal Court decision a win for Indigenous Australians

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion has welcomed a decision by the Federal Court which has ordered the former CEO of an Aboriginal medical service to pay over $1.2 million in fines and compensation and disqualified him from managing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for 15 years.

Minister Scullion’s comments came after Justice Peter Jacobson handed down his decision in the Federal Court in Sydney today against Mr Damien Matcham.

“I congratulate the office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, and his staff for their excellent work pursuing this case and promoting good governance in Aboriginal corporations,” Minister Scullion said.

“This case sends a powerful message to those that think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are an easy mark and beyond the reach of the law.

“The decision is a major event in advancing Indigenous governance and shows that we are serious about pursuing unscrupulous people that abuse tax-payer funds intended for the betterment of Indigenous Australians.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have strong expectations that corporations that are meant to act on their behalf have the highest standard of accountability.  They expect the Government and the regulators to do their job and ensure that organisations intended to benefit Indigenous people do so.

“This provides them with an assurance that inappropriate and illegal behavior will be found out and met with appropriate punishment.

“This decision is a reminder that corporation officers must meet and maintain the necessary standards under the law or they will face the consequences,” Minister Scullion said.

The Katungal Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Services is incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2007 and is a not-for-profit Aboriginal Corporation on the far south coast of New South Wales. It is funded by the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments.

 

See this media release on the Minister's website: Media release—Federal Court decision a win for Indigenous Australians