Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations

Photograph of two women conversing

ORIC provides advice to almost 3,000 registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations.

As at 30 June 2017, there were 2,904 registered corporations, including 172 registered native title bodies corporate. This year, 177 new corporations were registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act), including 13 transfers of incorporation from other legislation. In 2016–17, 96.5 per cent of corporations met reporting obligations under the CATSI Act. ORIC uses this information to maintain the public Register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations on its website. Regular reporting by corporations assists the Registrar to identify corporations at risk of corporate failure. The rate of reporting compliance has been above 95 per cent since 2010.

Corporations can access advice and support from ORIC. This year, ORIC managed:

  • 10,533 documents and written inquiries
  • 827 complaints involving corporations
  • 24 dispute resolutions involving corporations
  • 9 requests for help to recruit to senior roles via ORIC recruitment assistance
  • 38 corporation vacancy advertisements at no cost via Corporation jobs
  • 20 applications for free legal assistance from some of Australia's leading law firms via LawHelp.

The Registrar also established a temporary regional office in Kununurra to extend local support in regional locations.

In 2016–17, ORIC delivered corporate governance training to 943 people, including directors, members and senior staff from 260 corporations. The training increased the corporate governance knowledge and skills of people in key positions within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations. After participating in training, 92 per cent of participants reported a significant or very significant increase in their corporate governance knowledge.

During 2016–17, ORIC completed examinations of the financial health and corporate governance standards of 55 corporations. Of these, 21 were found to be operating well, 26 were required to improve standards, seven had serious findings and one was found to be defunct and referred on for deregistration.

ORIC acted to address governance problems and financial irregularities by:

  • issuing compliance notices to 19 corporations requiring them to rectify less-serious issues
  • appointing special administrators in eight corporations.

Appointing administrators is a unique form of regulatory assistance under the CATSI Act designed to restore good operational order and restructure governance and organisational arrangements. Four special administrations were carried over from 2015–16 and six were completed during 2016–17. These were successfully handed back to the control of members. Six remained in progress as at 30 June 2017.