Can you get mining royalties plus the dole?

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Do people receiving mining royalties, whose distribution creates high points in the lives of local used car salesmen, have their Centrelink payments canceled or suspended?

 

Aboriginal royalty associations have accumulated funds in the tens of millions, and are linked to the Central Land Council’s secretive investment company Centrecorp, a target for reform of the re-elected chairman Maurie Ryan.

 

“If a person earns money by working, or from other sources, they need to talk to the Department [of Human Services] to find out how their income will affect their Centrelink payment,” according to General Manager Hank Jongen.

 

He says his department “has one of the most sophisticated electronic data-matching systems in Australia, and it continuously matches customer records and data with a large number of external agencies, including the Australian Taxation Office”.

 

But in the next breath he reveals that the department “does not keep data regarding the cancellation or suspension of Centrelink payments as a result of mining royalties”.

 

Why not? Are they data-matching with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations which lists the names and addresses of the directors and members of royalty associations?

 

One association in The Centre, the Granites Mine Affected Area Aboriginal Corporation (GMAAAC), has 17 directors and 748 members in the fiscal year ending June 2013. Their details are on the public record.

 

These people are not dealing with peanuts, either. In 2013 GMAAAC had an income of $773,706. In 2012 it was $3.3m.

 

In 2013 it had accumulated funds of $26.2m. “Cash flows from investing activities” was $748,748 and $840,581, respectively.

 

The “traditional owners distribution” amounted to $1.2m in 2013 and to $2.5m in 2012 – amounts that are clearly personal income.

 

Another royalty association in The Centre, Kurra, had accumulated funds of $44m in 2013, including $24.6m in “investments in property units” and $7.9m in “investment property”.

 

“Traditional owner distribution” in 2013 amounted to $3.2m.

 

It’s noteworthy that “expenditure on community projects” in 2013 was zero, compared to $267,212 in 2012 – a very modest sum compared to what the traditional owners pocketed.

 

GMAAAC has recently set up a committee consulting with communities in its area about projects they want tackled.

 

According the Central Land Council website, examples are GMAAAC’s helping the Yuendumu Women’s Centre to set up its popular op-shop and start a bush plants garden, creating local jobs in the process. The op-shop plans to branch out into second hand furniture next.

 

Aid also goes to the youth development and leadership program of the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC), Jaru Pirrjirdi, started in 2003. GMAAAC also has followed Kurra’s lead and put $78,000 towards the Lajamanu Dialysis Project.

 

PHOTO: Part of the Granites mine north-west of Alice Springs, source of millions in mining royalties.

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. JD
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    For 4 weeks solid prior to last weekend, there have been two big mobs of card players on the hospital lawns from lunch time to evening every day, leaving a massive mess of litter every morning for others to clean up.
    Could your article be the answer as to how people can afford to gamble day after day?

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  2. Bev Emmott
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Yes but if a white person did that they would lose all Centrelink. This is the illusion of the Aboriginals. However, they are on a good thing and cry poor.
    The ones in high positions like to cover this fact up and they have their friends amongst white people who, if they do not say anything, get bribes.
    While those who can do something about it don’t bother it will only get worse. The Aboriginals own most of this town and most of the land around and as a few of them said to me, why work when they can go to their own bank off Larapinta Drive and get money while continuing to get the royalties.
    I was ill but had one Aboriginal woman tell me through her daughter that I had to work at a really hard job. She was given a nice easy job to do.
    Now when I am really ill she wants me to go out to the Centre for Appropriate Technology to work long hours at a job which I am incapable of doing because of health issues. She has some of my relatives who come from interstate telling me that she has the right to do this to me.

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  3. Janet Brown
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    These same places demanding the public purse pay for housing and facilities yet the royalties flow in. I remember going to the banks and a single individual run off 4, 5 and more names to the teller and they check every name in the system. If I did that I would be escorted out. I know personally of many people who claim the dole and have received on royalty time cheques in excess of $300 k when I asked why are you on the dole their comment is the same: I have to live on something, that money does not last long. All the cover ups from government and others of the truth. Hope that Tony is forthwith going to bring in clarification on this subject.

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