ORIC enforces Indigenous governance

Release Date: 
25 October 2013
Media release

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has commended the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) for ensuring governance compliance by Indigenous organisations is met and for not shying away from enforcement.

ORIC and the Northern Territory Police have brought charges against the former CEO of the North Australian Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Services Aboriginal Corporation.

Veronica Anne Cubillo is facing four charges under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act), including committing offences resulting in her obtaining a financial benefit.

This announcement is the latest in a series of important actions taken by ORIC in just the last 12 months.

In 2012–13 the Registrar's achievements in addressing misconduct and non-compliance included:

  • three major criminal actions resulting in terms of imprisonment for four people (with three serving custodial sentences)
  • one further major criminal action in which a former CEO has pleaded guilty to charges laid by the Registrar and is awaiting sentencing by a NSW court
  • two civil actions in the Federal Court resulting in the disqualification of three people from managing any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander corporation
  • two further civil actions in the Federal Court freezing the assets of two former CEOs alleged to have misappropriated funds from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations
  • two further civil actions were commenced in the Federal Court against a former chair and former CEO of two separate corporations and are still currently before the court
  • 32 corporations prosecuted for not lodging their annual reports.

Since 30 June 2013 charges have also been laid against two other former CEOs, including this week’s announcement.

“This is a significant achievement and sends a very strong message,” Senator Scullion said.

The Minister today released a snapshot detailing the achievements of ORIC (see attached).

“ORIC tackles corruption and helps indigenous organisation with their governance and business practices via capacity building.

“ORIC plays a crucial role in ensuring indigenous organisations are well governed and well-managed.

“I would like to see all Indigenous organisations that receive federal funding incorporated under the CATSI Act to ensure they can access the support services provided by the Registrar to improve their performance and business standards.

“I also want to see ORIC continue on as an active regulator that will investigate and take appropriate action against organisations when they are doing the wrong thing.

“ORIC does a difficult job, and it is good to see that they are kicking goals in supporting Indigenous organisations,” Senator Scullion said.