Pilbara native title group buckles under financial and governance issues
A WA native title body corporate has been put into special administration by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Selwyn Button.
In February, Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body Corporate had its books examined by the Registrar, revealing several financial and governance issues.
Yinhawangka was given the chance to address the Registrar’s findings, however the body corporate didn’t give enough reassurance they could fix their problems without outside help.
The Paraburdoo-based corporation has more than 300 members from three different family groups.
Their key purpose is to manage the native title rights and interests of the Yinhawangka people, who have over 12,000 square kilometres of country in the central Pilbara.
Yinhawangka usually engages in various business ventures to turn native title agreement income into lasting economic sustainability for its people.
The primary body engaging in these ventures is their subsidiary Yinhawangka Enterprises Ltd.
The Yinhawangka Trust distributes the corporation’s income flow, which mainly comes from Rio Tinto mining royalties, but a decline in confidence in the corporation’s accountability and financial performance caused the trustee to create stricter conditions for releasing money to the corporation.
Internal disputes were also flagged as a major interference in the function of Yinhawangka as well as a distraction to board members’ duties.
The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations said in a statement this is “likely a direct result of weak governance and lack of processes to deal with disputes.”
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