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CATSI Act Review Final Report

CATSI Act Review Final Report highlights AIGI recommendations

Fri 26 Feb 2021

AIGI’s advocacy team celebrated a milestone achievement this month, with AIGI’s recommendations highlighted in the CATSI Act Review Final Report.

A review of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) legislation was announced in late 2019, in part to identify aspects of the Act that were effective, and those requiring improvement.

Phase one of the review included the development of a draft report, based on public feedback, which outlined suggested changes to the CATSI Act.

The second phase of the CATSI Act review requested further public submissions on the draft report.

AIGI’s Executive Manager (Research and Advocacy), Jessica Ling, said AIGI thought it critically important to be part of the second phase of submissions, to highlight a concerning lack of corporations training offerings in Australia that integrated both cultural and corporate governance.

“AIGI conducted an audit in 2018 of governance training and education programs available for Indigenous peoples,” Ms Ling said.

“Community organisations involved in this audit identified almost a complete absence of customised recurrent courses including cultural governance.”

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) conducts corporate governance workshops.

However, audit feedback received by AIGI indicated that ORIC’s training lacked interactive and practical elements, and suggested that training offerings weren’t tailored to the day-to-day governance challenges, needs and experiences of Indigenous corporations.

AIGI is one of the few Indigenous organisations in Australia which provides specialised governance training, covering best practice governance, cultural embedding, change management, building capacity for financial management, and succession planning.

The CATSI Act Review Final Report highlighted six parts of AIGI’s submission, and indicated training recommendations would be provided to ORIC for consideration.

“Incorporating information about cultural institutions, accountabilities and skills is a strength for effective governance, as global evidence recognises,” Ms Ling said.

AIGI’s submission to the CATSI Act Review draft report outlined four major recommendations for ORIC including:

  • increasing ORIC’s offering of culturally informed, tailored governance training, which is designed to account for the diversity and complexity of Indigenous cultures and modes of governance. ORIC should examine how training to support governance (re)building initiatives can be designed in a flexible manner, with in-built mechanisms to identify and work with communities’ cultural practices and priorities;
  • the development of interactive, tailored workshops to assist organisations in drafting Rule Books in innovative ways to accommodate each organisation’s unique circumstances and cultural practices;
  • the development and implementation of a framework for Governance health checks; and
  • the development of robust and effective evaluation mechanisms to obtain feedback regarding the evolving training needs of Indigenous organisations and to maintain flexibility and dynamism in the design of its programs to meet those needs.

The CATSI Act Review Final Report noted a reoccurring theme amongst submissions was for capacity building support, such as that delivered by ORIC, to reflect cultural considerations.