Phase 2 consultation: the final week is coming up
The consultation period for the review of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) being led by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) closes on 21 September 2020.
While this review takes into account previous reviews of ORIC and the CATSI Act, the scope is broader than previous reviews. I encourage you to get involved—the CATSI Act has a direct impact on you and your corporation so it’s important you understand what changes are being proposed and how they might affect you.
Feedback from the NIAA review team
A recurring theme during consultations is tension between increasing transparency for members without over-burdening corporations with extra complexity and administration. Examples include:
Another suggestion was that some proposed changes may better implemented by encouraging corporations to make changes within their own rule books rather than legislative amendment.
Next week’s consultation sessions being run by NIAA
Unclaimed money account
When a corporation is deregistered any remaining property or assets are vested in the Registrar—they are held in the unclaimed money account for six years. Should the CATSI Act be changed to allow the Registrar to use the funds to maintain and protect the property and assets held?
Read the unclaimed money account fact sheet
Should members’ addresses be visible on the corporation’s register? Are the processes for deciding membership applications and cancelling memberships appropriate? What types of corporate structures do you need to pursue economic growth or fulfill your purpose? Do corporation size classifications need changing? Should small corporations be allowed to meet with members less frequently? Should corporations present their reports to members at their AGM? Are rule books comprehensive and working effectively?
Read the governance fact sheet
General—Participants lead the discussion!
Modernising the CATSI Act
Do you think the Registrar should be able to share corporation information with researchers, peak bodies, academics and other stakeholders? Should the CATSI Act be changed to enable the Registrar to contact people and corporations using social media or other digital channels? Should corporations be allowed to store their information on cloud servers? If a corporation tells ORIC a director’s phone number has changed, should the update be made across all directorship records for that person? Should whistleblower protection be expanded? Do financial reporting requirements need clarification? Should auditors have qualified privilege under the CATSI Act too?
Read the modernising the CATSI Act fact sheet
Native title and RNTBCs
When a corporation is prescribed under a native title determination it takes on a very important set of responsibilities and obligations to look after the native title rights and interests of the common law holders. Currently, many native title trust structures, land use agreements and royalty payments fall outside the regulation of ORIC. Consequently, ORIC receives a large number of complaints about these structures, their transparency and accountability with limited or no powers to intervene, as these complaints and disputes do not relate to their obligations to members of the corporation under the CATSI Act. ORIC agrees with general concerns of stakeholders, particularly common law holders of native title, that there is a need for greater transparency and accountability in decision-making, and recording of and reporting about receipt and expenditure of monies derived from native title.
What ideas do you have for helping common law holders receive better information about native title benefits and money? Who should common law holders ask for help if there are issues about native title decisions?
Read the RNTBC fact sheet
Special administration, winding up and insolvency
Special administration is a unique form of regulatory action intended to create a positive outcome for a corporation and its members. But some people mistakenly associate it with voluntary administration under the Corporations Act 2001 and become concerned that the corporation is insolvent. Can you think of a different name for the process so people recognise a corporation is receiving significant support to prepare it for a strong future?
Some corporations ask us to appoint special administrators but we still have to follow the steps in the ‘show cause’ process when this happens. Should we and how can we streamline the appointment process for cases when there is a unanimous request from a board?
When a corporation becomes insolvent, if nothing is done to improve it, the court can decide to wind it up—but it can be a long and difficult process. What ideas do you have to make the process easier without compromising the chance for a corporation to address solvency problems and get things back on track?
Sometimes corporations reach their end goal or are no longer required. This is a normal part of the corporate lifecycle. Under the CATSI Act, every single member of a corporation needs to agree to voluntarily deregister it. This can be difficult when members may have lost interest and contact. Do you agree we should make the deregistration process easier?
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Participate in other ways
Read the NIAA’s CATSI Act Review Draft Report and fact sheets then:
o complete the online surveys for each chapter of the report
o write a submission and either upload it to the NIAA webpage or email it to CATSIActReview@niaa.gov.au
o provide general feedback on the NIAA webpage
o ask the review team for an individual discussion
If you’ve got questions about the review please email the CATSIActReview@niaa.gov.au.
Registrar of Indigenous Corporations