The Coalition Government is investing a further $4 million to bolster the resources of the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) – an independent Commonwealth agency that supports and regulates Indigenous corporations.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, announced the additional investment today at a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act (CATSI Act).
Speaking in Darwin at the location where as a minister in the Howard Government he launched the CATSI Act, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the success of the Act was worth celebrating.
“I am so pleased that it has proven to be such a successful framework,” Minister Scullion said. “Indigenous corporations have thrived over the past 10 years and this has benefited their members and clients.”
Minister Scullion said that since the CATSI Act was introduced, key economic measures for Indigenous corporations had exceeded the equivalent measures for mainstream entities. ORIC’s data shows that for the largest 500 Indigenous corporations registered under the CATSI Act:
- revenue has increased by 74 per cent from $1.08 billion (2007–08) to $1.88 billion (2014–15), with a reduced reliance on government funding;
- the average annual revenue growth rate over the past 10 years has been 9.4 per cent;
- employment has increased by 59 per cent from 6,948 employees (2007–08) to 11,095 employees (2014–15);
- assets under management have increased by 105 per cent from $1.08 billion (2007–08) to $2.22 billion (2014–15);
- the failure rate of Indigenous corporations (0.5 per cent) has been less than mainstream companies (0.8 per cent).
“The CATSI Act is a successful regulatory framework because it requires high standards of corporate governance but recognises the special cultural requirements of the sector,” Minister Scullion said.
“It provides flexibility to accommodate traditional culture, and also offers unique regulatory powers to assist corporations experiencing difficulties or to protect essential services for First Australians.”
Leading the way in demonstrating how economic success and cultural obligations can work together in business is retailer Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA).
In 2008, after 36 years of operation, ALPA made the decision to transfer to the CATSI Act. The corporation has always been successful but the CATSI Act provided a more natural fit for it. Today ALPA is the largest Indigenous corporation in Australia and continues to go from strength to strength.
Minister Scullion also released a review into ORIC by KPMG which found it was doing a good job in a challenging regulatory environment. The review can be found here.
“The review identified a need for more corporate governance training for those who want to do the right thing as well as additional investigatory resources to address wrongdoing. The Government has responded to this by providing ORIC with an additional $4 million,” Minister Scullion said.
Minister Scullion was joined today by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Mr Anthony Beven, who announced a public consultation process regarding ways to strengthen the CATSI Act.
“I applaud the Government's decision to invest additional resources into supporting Indigenous corporations. This will deliver stronger governance and therefore better outcomes for Indigenous people and communities,” Mr Beven said.
“To complement this process I will be conducting a review of the CATSI Act with the intent of providing advice to the Government on improving and strengthening the Act.”
Terms of reference for the review are available at oric.gov.au.