In a move to strengthen the rights and capacity of native title holders, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s latest budget included $37.5 million to invest in the future of the Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBC) sector.
The Federal Government’s plan includes $31 million through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, and $6.5 million to support the implementation of the measures.
An additional $2 million will also enable the National Native Title Council (NNTC) to expand the delivery of its PBC Operations and Management training, and develop a native title leadership program.
NNTC CEO and Gundjitmara Djabwurrung man Jamie Lowe acknowledged the contribution saying “We welcome the budget measures as another step towards the self-determination of PBCs and their communities and thank the Minister for supporting the sector.”
However, concern has been raised that while the measures will assist Traditional Owners, there still remains the need for ongoing and secure PBC funding, which the NNTC identifies as the single most important challenge and priority for the self-determination of PBCs.
Says Chairman and Western Australian Ngalia Cultural and Community Leader Kado Muir “It is great to have investment in governance and training, however funding is also required for both statutory compliance and resources for PBCs to fulfil their native title rights and aspirations, and to ensure sector sustainability.”
PBCs have particularly complex functions and obligations” continues Mr Muir, “not only through local Indigenous systems of law, but also non-Indigenous legislation including the Native Title Act (NTA), PBC Regulations and The Corporations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (CATSI) Act.”
The NNTC believes the Commonwealth has an obligation to sufficiently fund PBCs given that under the NTA, native title holders are forced to incorporate as a PBC with a range of stringent statutory responsibilities. The NNTC has asked the Commonwealth to consider a PBC Future Fund that would provide annual, secure and sustainable funding for PBCs.
“Appropriately funding First Nations has a range of positive flow on effects for all of Australia” explains Mr Lowe. “This includes directly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the native title system so that small PBCs are protected from the damaging cycle of erratic income variations, and can benefit from economic opportunities and can fully participate in regional and emerging Australian economies.”
For all media enquiries please contact Sarah Easson, Media Consultant on
Email: email@example.com or Mobile: 0419 228 642