Mbantua Festival firm suspected to be insolvent, owes $500,000

p2047-BungalowSong-AHullah-AT RIGHT: Rachel Perkins, creative producer of Bungalow Song, a high point of the Mbantua Festival, with some of the cast on site. Photo by Alexandra Hullah.




A firm that staged the Mbantua Festival last year has debts of nearly half a million dollars, according to a report by the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations (ORIC).


A group of some 50 creditors, represented by noted film maker Rachel Perkins, are now asking ORIC to take legal action against the firm’s directors.


The ORIC report says there are “reasonable grounds to suspect” that the Arrulka Business Aboriginal Corporation, of which Neville, Krystal and Hope Perkins are current or past directors, is and will remain insolvent. ORIC estimates the liabilities to total $495,618.


The report says despite an agreement to cease trading in January this year the corporation “did not cease all trading”.


There are also “reasonable grounds to suspect” that a number of breaches of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 had taken place:

• a director was appointed improperly;

• the 2013 AGM was not held on time;

• there is not a sufficient number of directors;

• payments were made that were not approved by directors;

• improper cash withdrawals were made by using ATMs amounting to $75,440;

• no documentation of payments to Aboriginal dancers were provided; and

• “the directors have not ensured that up-to-date financial accounts that properly record the financial position and performance of the corporation have been maintained.”


ORIC imposed several conditions should Arrulka wish to continue to trade.


Rachel Perkins, who is owed money by Arrulka for work as a contractor, says she will be asking ORIC to “begin legal action against the corporation directors for the suspected irregularities”.


Ms Perkins says she is acting for about 50 creditors, “the only ones I know. We are also asking ORIC to stop Arrulka from continuing to trade.”


She says creditors include leading attractions and creative personnel.


The Alice Springs News Online has been unable to reach Neville Perkins on his mobile number and we have emailed him. Recent attempts to contact Mr Perkins have been unsuccessful. Google our extensive coverage of the festival, and its financial aftermath, on this site.


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8 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Joel Harris
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Again a list of people with no idea, making inaccurate statements, what a joke.

    View Comment
  2. Don Moray
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:17 am

    This festival was a rip off from the start. Any supposed cultural festival that ignores cultural protocols is dodgy as. When did the “mparntwe festival” consult with the Mparntwe people?
    Finally someone went to “consult” about two weeks out from the opening, when all the plans were pretty much set in concrete.

    View Comment
  3. Local
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Still no communication to cast members regarding the promised DVD.

    View Comment
  4. Alywarra Woman
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Absolutely shame for taking advantage of people who spared their time to help.
    Yeperenye was a successful festival, as they had the right people to work with.
    Let’s us hope there isn’t another Mbantua festival any time soon.

    View Comment
  5. Old Alice Boy
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Nothing will happen, there will just be another handout. The gravy train is well and truly alive.

    View Comment
  6. Peter Hoey
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Most frustrating situation. My granddaughters took part in the Bungalow Song and worked their guts out with the other kids and were promised CDs of the production but they only got a T shirt each.
    So even at that level the kids were dudded.
    Rotary provided meals for the performers and labor and received no payment. We were dudded too.
    The concept of the Festival was great, the execution disgraceful.
    Is anyone looking at the possibility of criminality?

    View Comment
  7. Observer
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    The Arrulka Business Aboriginal Corporation seems very poor value from the point of view of funding events in a cost effective manner.
    Total available income in 2012-13 was $761,891 and that funded events costing $363,598 and yet the corp still made a loss (deficit) of $270,604.
    Interesting that salaries jumped from $11,000 in 2012 to more than $180,00 the following year.
    Travel expenses were $26,568 and vehicle expenses almost $17K. For how many directors?
    Member loan write offs jumped from zero in 2012 to $27,602 the following year. Reference materials cost almost $50K.

    View Comment
  8. Desert Rat
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Once again ORIC have proved to be toothless tigers. They need to come down heavily on these organizations and especially those who are the directors.

    View Comment

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