Many indigenous constituents have raised concerns with me about media reports of Indigenous Minister Jenny Macklin’s apparent involvement in the hiring of senior management employees at the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) particularly the push to oust successful CEO David Galvin.
This along with political interference in board appointments must not lead to a cash grab for ministerially‐favoured projects that don’t meet normal sound business investment standards.
Changes to the audit committee and processes are also mystifying given the strong track record of ILC on corporate governance and the strong business and accounting acumen of those on the previous ILC audit committee.
I fear the changes announced to the ILC board may result in a repeat of the $412m raid on the Aboriginals Benefits Account (ABA), which was used as a ministerial slush fund to plug holes in funding arrangements, rather than supporting long term benefits in Aboriginal communities.
Minister Jenny Macklin must put beyond all doubt that the Independent nature of ILC staff appointments will remain unchanged and the prime focus of ILC investment remain on solid business investment principles.
While social and cultural factors may be considered, ILC investments should be aimed at creating long‐term sustainable industries and businesses that provide ongoing employment for our First Australians, a process that must be free from short‐term ministerial priorities.
I would hope that Jenny Macklin is focused on ventures that foster Indigenous employment and not on jobs for Labor mates to rubber stamp pet projects.
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