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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Aboriginal Organisations

Make Your Indigenous Corporation Board “Smarter”

If all the Directors on your Board and all the other leaders in your Indigenous corporation are of a similar profile, it's time to expand your ideas about diversity. Diversity is not just about balancing the genders and the ages because if all your Directors share the same background - hard not to in an Indigenous context - you need more diversity for better all-round decision-making processes. Indigenous corporations have evolved from "associations" incorporated under the old Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976. They now have their own Corporations Act (the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006) which was intentionally drafted to mirror the mainstream Corporations Act 2001 along with the duties, responsibilities and penalties attached to mainstream corporate governance. Indigenous corporations have had to deal with more complex and non-local issues, particularly as many hold important assets as Native Title PBC's or as commercial arms of Native Title determinations and other royalty agreements. As a result, the perspectives that Directors need in decision-making have also evolved. While the need to remain connected to cultural imperatives and understand the stakeholders is still a key factor in all Boards' decisions, increasingly, Indigenous Boards need to understand the Law, Agreement-making, commercial opportunity, financial...
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Create Systems and Procedures for Your Office

For many Indigenous corporations, there is a huge gap between what management knows should be done, and what actually gets done. Substantial management time is taken, particularly in administrative matters, reinventing the wheel, doing the same thing in different ways, taking longer to do something that was done efficiently yesterday, and making mistakes along the way. But imagine if your corporation were a business franchise. Have you ever seen a good franchise like McDonald's or Coffee Club produce different products from store to store? No matter where you go or when you go, everything happens exactly the same way, taking exactly the same time, producing exactly the same result. How do you get those outcomes for your corporation? (more…)...
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Managing Conflicts of Interest

Directors of a corporation incorporated under the Corporations Act and the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act have a duty to avoid conflicts of interest. This duty is derived from statutory provisions, as well as common law, and this duty requires Directors to exercise their powers and discharge their duties with reasonable care and diligence, act in good faith in the best interests of the corporation, not use their position to gain an advantage for themselves or a third party, and not to improperly use information gained through their position to obtain an advantage for themselves, a third party, or to cause a detriment to the corporation. (more…)...
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How To Establish An Effective Audit Committee

An Audit Committee is one of the major operating committees of the Board. An Audit Committee is in charge of overseeing financial reporting and disclosure. In some corporations, this committee is combined into a Finance, Risk, and Audit Committee and in this form also takes into its purview the areas of risk management and other financial matters including investment policies. While an Audit Committee is generally a committee of the Board, and therefore will comprise mainly of Directors, one of its main objectives in the oversight role is to be independent of the operational functions surrounding finance, corporate reporting and risk management undertaken by the CEO and staff. Hence, depending on factors such as the size of the corporation and any inherent conflicts of interest, its membership is likely to comprise of those Directors who are not also employees (Non-Executive Directors) of the corporation and is likely to include "independent" Non-Directors. (more…)...
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