The Federal Government says its monitoring community concerns about an Aboriginal organisation in Borroloola in the Northern Territory.
20 Aug 2015 - 12:58 PM  UPDATED 20 Aug 2015 - 12:58 PM


Natalie Ahmat: The Federal Government says its monitoring community concerns about an Aboriginal organisation in Borroloola in the Northern Territory.

The Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Association services more than 20 outstations in the gulf region and the recent sacking of its new CEO has had Borroloola residents demonstrating against the sacking.

Nakari Thorpe reports.

Nakari Thorpe: The Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Association is based in Borroloola, nearly 1,000 kilometres south east of Darwin.

It is federally funded to service the needs of 26 outstations such as transport, housing, water and power.

Michael Gravener was the CEO of Mabunji, for two months, before being sacked by the Board.

Michael Gravener, former Mabunji CEO: I would like to government to investigate this particular circumstance but see it in the broader picture. I've talked to the Prime Minister and Cabinet office, I've talked to people on the ground, I've talked to government coordinators. I've talked to the police - I'll actually go the police later on today and file a complaint later today against the staff member. I'm actually going to try and get my job back because I think I was unfairly dismissed.

Nakari Thorpe: And there is support for Mr Gravener claims from members of the community ...

Maria Pyro, First Circle Member: We've had a fair idea for ten years. People were talking, gossiping. But now its out in the open, we've got some information to support what we've been thinking for years.

Nakari Thorpe: However Mabunji denies all claims and provided this statement to NITV News about the sacking Mr Gravener." "Mabjuni had no choice but to terminate the services of Mr Gravener" and that the "termination of employment at all times was responsible and consistent with our legal obligations as an employer".

But the residents of Borroloola and the outlying outstations, want answers.

Community member: My sister's got holes in the floor. What's happening with all the government money. Where is this government money… We have no idea.

Nakari Thorpe: Many Aboriginal corporations have been under even greater scrutiny following sweeping changes by the Abbott Government which saw millions of dollars slashed from the Indigenous sector.

A spokesperson from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet says they are aware of the issues at Mabunji and that "PM&C takes any allegations of funding breaches or poor governance seriously and the issues raised in relation to the corporation are being assessed."

In the meantime Mabunji is seeking its own legal advice saying it will take legal action against any party who defames or misrepresents the organisation.