Indigenous corporations are improving their income, asset base and governance standards according to a report recently released by ORIC (the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations). The report provides a snapshot of the top 500 corporations and shows the increasing contribution of this sector to the economy.
With around 2500 corporations registered with the ORIC it is of no surprise that these organisations are emerging as a powerhouse influencing the Australia Economy.
A summary was recently published by ORIC in its “The top 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations 2010-11”, the 4th report of its kind. The report looked at the overall income, georgraphic distribution and sectoral information. It made for interesting reading disclosing encouraging key findings:
- The combined income of the top 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations for 2010–11 was $1.43 billion. exceeding nominal growth in GDP of 8 per cent in 2010–11.
- Combined value of assets held by the top 500 corporations was $1.55 billion.
- Collective income of corporations located in the Northern Territory and Western Australia made up 71.3 per cent of the overall national corporation income.
- Health and community services sectors was the largest with 42.4 per cent of the top 500.
- Top 20 corporations earned more self-generated income than funding received through government grants.
- 96 per cent of the top 100 corporations were registered with the Australian Taxation Office as deductible gift recipients and/or income tax exempt charities, but only $17 091 or less than 0.1 per cent of income was generated from philanthropic gifts (based on information received from the top 20 corporations).
- Representation of women as directors on corporation boards stood at 54.7 per cent. 13.5% increase in employment with 10 122 people working for the top 500.
- Over 96% are compliant with their reporting requirements, compared to 24% 10 years ago – a sign of improved governance in the sector.
ORIC’s Registrar, Anthony Bevan, says ‘The picture emerging from the fourth report is very encouraging, especially in terms of the growth in income and employment. The trend towards self generated income is also positive.’
The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) is an independent statutory office holder who administers the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act). This Act guides how Indigenous corporations are run. The CATSI Act started on 1 July 2007.
The Registrar’s office supports and regulates the corporations that are incorporated under the Act. It does this in a variety of ways: by advising them on how to incorporate, by training directors, members and key staff in good corporate governance, by making sure they comply with the law and by intervening when needed.