Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has ordered the Northern Land Council hold an emergency full council meeting to resolve “significant governance issues”.
The NLC has reportedly been paying above market rates of $1 million per year to lease its offices from the Aboriginal Investment Group whose board are all NLC executive council members.
Senator Scullion said that he took action after two previous requests to hold a full council meeting were ignored.
“I’ve also called the meeting because I was very keen that all full council members have access to the report of the investigation which has now been completed into the land council and that was conducted by their internal audit committee,” he told Senate Estimates on Friday.
Interim NLC CEO Jak Ah Kit “condemned” the minister’s intervention and rejected the audit’s findings as “baseless”.
“Senator Scullion has totally ignored a written opinion dated February 19, 2019, from Raelene Webb QC which demonstrates that the report cannot be given any weight or relied upon in respect of perceived concerns about ‘governance and leadership’,” he said in a statement.
“Senator Scullion also ignored resolutions by six of the seven NLC Regional Councils.”
“Each expressed full confidence in the Executive Council, and rejected the Minister’s decision to call a Full Council meeting.”
The full council meeting is scheduled to be held on March 8.