Yarrabah traditional owners seek Registrar's help

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, has placed the Gunggandji PBC Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC under special administration.

Established in 2010, the corporation is located in the coastal community of Yarrabah, east of Cairns in far north Queensland. The corporation manages the native title rights and interests of the Gunggandji people. In a December 2011 consent determination the Federal Court recognised the Gunggandji people’s exclusive or non-exclusive native title in the Yarrabah township and nearby country in Mission Bay, Cape Grafton, Turtle Bay, Wide Bay, Oombunghi beach and two parcels of land on Fitzroy Island.

The corporation runs a land and sea ranger program from Yarrabah and works with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

The corporation came to a standstill recently as a result of disputes amongst its directors and some of its 491 members. There were differences of opinion about how best to develop the economic potential of the corporation’s native title interests.

After a disrupted annual general meeting in February 2017 the directors of the corporation wrote to the Registrar in March and requested the appointment of a special administrator.

‘My office works closely with traditional owners to build the capacity and sustainability of their native title bodies. This includes how to resolve disputes,’ said Mr Beven. ‘I commend the Gunggandji directors for seeking assistance at this critical time for the corporation.’

The special administrators will work with the corporation’s members to develop a way forward through the corporation’s current problems. The corporation is expected to be returned to member control in about six months. 

The Registrar has appointed Mr Gerry Mier and Mr Tony Jonsson from the Cairns-based firm, Grant Thornton (Australia), as special administrators until 29 September 2017.

Background
For more information about special administrations see the Registrar’s fact sheet Special administrations: what members and directors should know.

Media contact
Lisa Hugg
(02) 6146 4738
ORIC MR1617-18
30 March 2017