Goldfields Land and Sea Council Annual Report 2017-18

 

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The Goldfields Land and Sea Council Annual Report 2017 - 2018

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Goldfields Land and Sea Council Aboriginal Corporation Annual Report 2017 – 18

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© Goldfields Land and Sea Council Aboriginal Corporation 2018 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Goldfields Land and Sea Council Aboriginal Corporation. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction rights should be directed to: Chief Executive Officer Goldfields Land and Sea Council PO Box 10006, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, WA 6433 This report is also available on the internet: http://www.glc.com.au 1|Page

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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL 2|Page

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CONTENTS LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ..................................................................................... 2 CHAIRPERSON’S REPORT ..................................................................................... 4 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT ............................................................... 6 GLSC OVERVIEW ................................................................................................... 10 Description of the GLSC ................................................................................................................10 Organisation Structure..................................................................................................................11 Role and Functions........................................................................................................................15 Corporate Governance..................................................................................................................16 NATIVE TITLE OPERATIONS ................................................................................ 19 Overview .......................................................................................................................................19 Activity by Native Title Area - GLSC’s Southern Region ................................................................20 Activity by Native Title Area - GLSC’s Northern Region ................................................................22 Internal Reviews............................................................................................................................23 Statistical Information Relating to Function Outcomes................................................................24 Summary of Financial Information...............................................................................................25 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ................................................................................ 25 THE RANGER PROGRAM ...................................................................................... 27 MINISTERIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS; REVIEWS BY OUTSIDE BODIES ... 29 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS..................................................................................... 30 AUDITOR’S INDEPENDENCE DECLARATION ..................................................... 60 AUDITOR’S REPORT.............................................................................................. 61 GLSC DIRECTORY ................................................................................................. 64 GLOSSARY OF TERMS.......................................................................................... 65 3|Page

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CHAIRPERSON’S REPORT 2017-18 has been a busy, eventful year for the Board and staff of the GLSC. It has brought further success in achieving native title for our people with the determination of the Mirning claim in October 2017. Around two thirds of the determination was exclusive possession, the highest form of recognition possible under native title. We also resolved Ngadju Part B with a positive determination of native title. Both determinations were the culmination of sustained hard work by traditional owners and the GLSC. Mirning was the fourth (4th) determination of native title in our region. Close to 50% of our region is now covered by successful native title determinations. Our Strategic Research Project was also significantly advanced, and I am confident that in the next financial year the GLSC will be in the position to progress new and soundly based claims in our region. These accomplishments are all the more impressive when seen against the challenges and disappointments for the Board and staff this year. Some in our community have attempted to publicly undermine and discredit the work of the GLSC, and there was a decision by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs not to issue an invitation to the GLSC to apply for recognition as an NTRB beyond 30 June 2018. A significant factor in the decision related to concerns around the progress of our research strategy in the north of our region. I wish to address these issues in more detail. Firstly, by way of background, and as our Goldfields Aboriginal community are well aware, the GLSC has over the last four years been engaged in an extensive Strategic Research Project designed to provide an evidence base for formulating and filing sustainable native title claims over the remaining 50% of our region. The decision to embark on this strategy was taken in view of a history of many unsustainable and failed claims in the region. The GLSC has of necessity adopted an evidence-based approach to its process for identifying and formulating sustainable native title claims in the balance of the region, to avoid a repetition of the mistakes of the past. This deliberate approach by the GLSC has meant that, during the period that the research project has been in train, there have been no new claims filed by the GLSC. Indeed, on the contrary, as a precursor to implementation of the Strategic Research Project, the GLSC sought and obtained claim group instructions in 2014 to discontinue the Kurrku and Central East claims, reflecting a measure of confidence in the GLSC’s vision for the future formulation of sustainable claims. Unfortunately, over the period of the research project we have seen several claims filed independently of the GLSC. These claims typically reflect incomplete claimant groups for the areas claimed and are not supported by the GLSC. There are family groups which have approached the GLSC over the period of the research project, regarding their rights/interests whom we have advised to be patient, with an assurance that their interests will be considered in the identification and formulation of claims. The GLSC appreciates their patience and cooperation. The wait is almost over. We expect to see two claims in the North East authorised and filed over the coming months, and these will be followed by others in the remainder of the region. 4|Page

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We hope that we can negotiate a resolution accommodating existing claimants where this is supported by the evidence. The delegate of the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has approved funding to the GLSC as a native title service provider under Section 203FE(1)(a) of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), to perform the functions of a native title representative body in the Goldfields region into the next financial year. All in all, 2017-18 was an eventful year for the current Board, which was elected at the 2016 AGM for a term of three years. I have every confidence in the Board, which is a good mix of youth and experience with a diverse skill set. We look forward to seeing the fruits of our Strategic Research Project as we move to the identification and formulation of new claims in the 2018-19 financial year and beyond. Finally, I would like to extend the Board’s appreciation and congratulations to the CEO and staff for their hard work during 2017-18 and the progress they have made, in the face of trying circumstances that constantly sought to divert them from our primary goal. Dennis Forrest Chairperson 5|Page

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CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT As of 1 July 2018, the GLSC was funded as a Native Title Service Provider under s.203FE(1) of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (‘PM&C’) and is no longer a recognised Native Title Representative Body. This of course does not change our function – just the statutory basis of our funding. Notably, this decision is made at the discretion of the Minister, not the organisation. The question then is – what’s the difference between a Native Title Representative Body and Native Title Service Provider? Broadly speaking: • Native Title Representative Bodies (‘NTRB’) are organisations appointed under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (‘the Act’) to assist Indigenous people with all aspects of their native title claims; and are appointed by the Minister after being invited, from which funding follows recognition. • Native Title Service Providers (‘NTSP’) are funded to do the same work as NTRBs. In an area where no NTRB is appointed, an NTSP is funded by PM&C to provide the same functions as an NTRB. The funding period for NTSPs is determined by negotiation (s.203FE of the Act) rather than the recognition process. The GLSC notes that the last four years have been far and away the most productive and successful of the entire history of the organisation, with four (4) positive determinations of native title over nearly half the land area of the region, and the implementation of a major strategic research project over the balance of the region, which is expected to produce a series of sustainable native title claims within a short period of time. My report is a summary of the goals, operations, accomplishments and challenges faced by the GLSC over 2017-18. Goals The GLSC has the expectation of filing up to six claims over the next two years, with two taking place by the end of 2018. This is based on evidence flowing from our strategic research project. The strategic research project and our claims strategy has enabled us to focus our functions under the Act on the right people for the right country and formulate new claims based on evidence, providing the basis for far more effective outcomes in the future: cf Yilka case1. Operations Ranger Program The Aboriginal people of the region have been looking after and managing their traditional country for over 60,000 years. Our rangers and their elders have unique knowledge, responsibilities and skillsets that can add great value to contemporary land and resource management. 1 Murray on behalf of the Yilka Native Title Claimants v State of Western Australia (No 6) [2017] FCA 703. 6|Page

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In accordance with local Aboriginal aspirations, this Ranger Program enables the Traditional Owners of the Goldfields and Esperance regions to offer practical environmental services and solutions to industry and government in a responsive and efficient manner, whilst providing opportunities for employment and facilitating their ongoing and deep connection with Country. The Aboriginal Ranger Program utilises local Aboriginal people with connection to country who take great pride in their work, their country and their responsibilities in regard to its sustainable management and future viability. The Aboriginal Ranger Program has successfully delivered projects in partnership and collaboratively with all tiers of Government, the mining sector, pastoral and agricultural sector and CSIRO and is always looking to establish new partnerships and is working to expand its capabilities. GCSAC The GLSC is relatively new to the post-determination environment, and as part of our business and strategic planning it has established the Goldfields Communities Services Aboriginal Corporation (‘GCSAC’) to support Aboriginal people, businesses and explore opportunities in the Goldfields. Accomplishments The prosecution of successful native title claims over nearly half of our region, covering about 150,000 square kilometres. The first and never to be repeated strategic research project for the other half of our region: see Map 1 below: Map 1. 7|Page

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Challenges The Goldfields region is generally referred to as a region of extreme complexity, because of the impact of non-Aboriginal settlement, and when it comes to native title and the co- existence thereof with other forms of land tenure. The region has been described as a migration zone between the desert and urbanised areas, resulting in intermarriage between different Aboriginal groups and families across the Goldfields, a region that intersects with the Western Desert Cultural Bloc. Coupled with the legacy of nearly 100 ill-fated and unsustainable claims, formed for the most part to the lure of short-term economic benefits from future acts: see Map 2 below. With this backdrop, the GLSC appropriately decided to give priority to the development of claims on the basis of the evidence flowing from our strategic research project. Map 2. The GLSC notes that there are several native title claims that have been filed independently in the local region by selective groups, which do not reflect the full complement of persons with an interest in the areas claimed. The GLSC has a duty to all persons with a native title interest in particular areas to ensure that their interests are pursued, and it is for this reason that the GLSC has adopted a rigorous approach to research in the balance of its region to ensure that it supports claims that reflect right people for country. The GLSC realises that the time taken to get it right can be frustrating for many who have waited a long time to realise their native title aspirations. However, the wait is almost over as we proceed to formulate claims based on authoritative research evidence from experts in their field. 8|Page

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Dealing with the post-Wongatha claim, the GLSC wants to get things right the first time, so that we do not end up with a no native title determination(s) (see CG (Deceased) on behalf of the Badimia People v Western Australia (No 2) [2015] FCA 507) – so the stakes are high! In the Yilka case, which formed part of the former Wongatha claim, the State ran an abuse of process argument which, though unsuccessful there, does not mean that the abuse of process argument will not be run in future claims within the former Wongatha claim area. Therefore, future claims must be vetted through experienced experts. Conclusion Aboriginal people of the Goldfields since colonisation have shown that they are resilient and have the ability to adapt. Similarly, the GLSC is resilient and has the ability to adapt, for example, 20 years ago the GLC was on the brink of dissolution (inability to attract 50 per cent of its members needed to hold a general meeting), with speculation that it would be overtaken by the Noongar Land Council, neither of which came to fruition. Today, we may have changed from being a NTRB to a NTSP, but the thing is – we will prevail in achieving native title for the right people to their rightful lands, as we are a resilient organisation made up of resilient staff, with the ability to adapt. We look forward to the year ahead with new challenges and opportunities and the continued support of all our members and community. Hans P Bokelund CEO 9|Page

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GLSC OVERVIEW Description of the GLSC The GLSC is an Aboriginal corporation, incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) (‘CATSI Act’). It is registered as a public benevolent institution with the ACNC and has been endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient. For the financial year 2017-18 the GLSC was the Native Title Representative Body (‘NTRB’) for the Goldfields region, recognised as such in May 2016 by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, under s.203AD of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), for a period of two years to June 30, 2018. From 1 July 2018, the GLSC will be funded as a native title service provider under s.203FE(1) of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), to perform all of the functions of an NTRB in the Goldfields region. Its operations during the year were primarily funded by the Commonwealth Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. A Board of Directors meets regularly to provide policy direction. Day-to-day management of the organisation‘s activities is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer, who is a salaried employee. The GLSC Service Region The GLSC’s NTRB service region is shown below. In addition to the area of land for which it has responsibility the GLSC also has jurisdiction over waters within the Exclusive Economic Zone which lie adjacent to the organisation‘s south coast boundary. 10 | P a g e Total Land Area: 304,000 sq/km Total Sea Area: 337.000 sq/km Total Area: 641,000 sq/km

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Organisation Structure Membership Membership of the GLSC is open to Aboriginal people who are traditional owners or holders of native title within the area. Board of Directors The GLSC’s board consists of up to 13 people including elected members and the CEO (who is non-voting). All are from the Aboriginal community of the Goldfields-Esperance region and with the exception of the CEO give their time voluntarily. The Board provides the policy direction for the GLSC’s operations, while insisting on highlevel accountability and quality service provision. It also has a role as an advocate for Aboriginal people in the wider community, particularly in relation to government activities relating to land and with mining and development issues. The Board is elected by GLSC’s membership for three-year terms with the Chair being elected from within the Board. The Chairperson is automatically the Chair for Board and Executive Committee meetings. 11 | P a g e

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GLSC OVERIEW Continued Members of the GLSC Board of Directors and the Board meetings they attended during the 2017-2018 financial period were: NAME Dennis Forrest Maria Meredith Tyrone Brownley Richard Ashwin Ashley Blake Brian Champion (Snr.) Alicia Hills Anita Morrison Raelene Peel Delson Stokes Lawrence Thomas Fabian Tucker Hans Bokelund (CEO) POSITION Chairperson Deputy Chairperson Treasurer Director Director Director (resigned 5/7/2017) Director Director Director (resigned 19/7/2017) Director Director Director Director (non-voting) MEETINGS ELIGIBLE TO ATTEND 5 5 5 5 5 0 5 5 0 5 5 5 5 NUMBER ATTENDED 4 5 5 5 5 0 5 5 0 5 5 4 5 Audit Committee The Audit Committee is responsible for examination of the organisation‘s financial reports and any discussions with the Auditor. Executive Committee The GLSC Executive Committee comprises the office bearers of the elected Board of Directors. It meets, as required, with the Chief Executive Officer to provide guidance for day-to-day activities and implementation of GLSC policy. Such discussions are usually held around meetings of the Board. There were no Executive Committee meetings in 2017-18. Members of GLSC committees are covered for insurance purposes by a community policy taken out for the organisation as a whole. No indemnity was given to any current or former officer during the year. 12 | P a g e

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The GLSC’s Board of Directors Mr Fabian Tucker Ms Maria Meredith (Deputy Chairperson) Mr Delson Stokes Ms Alicia Hills Mr Tyrone Brownley (Treasurer) Mr Ashley Blake Mr Richard Ashwin Ms Anita Morrison Mr Lawrence Thomas Mr Dennis Forrest (Chairperson) Mr Hans Bokelund (Chief Executive Officer) 13 | P a g e

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