Annual Report 2010-2011

Published: December, 2011

Corporate Management

The Central Land Council is committed to:

  • Best practice accounting, financial management, and performance reporting
  • Maintaining and developing accounting and financial management systems
  • Providing relevant, accurate and timely performance-based management reporting
  • Managing procurement of funds to sustain and advance the CLC strategic and operational plans and performance of statutory functions
  • Administering and monitoring compliance with all statutory regulatory requirements
  • Recruitment, training and development opportunities for CLC personnel
  • Supporting Aboriginal Corporations in the management and administration of their affairs
  • Effective risk management including preparing, implementing and managing appropriate governance and risk management frameworks.

As it is a body under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, the CLC’s financial statements take the form prescribed by the Act(Schedule 2), as determined by the Minister.
The CLC is also a Native Title Registered Body within the terms of the Native Title Amendment Act 1998, and various sections of that Act apply to financial reporting requirements. The CLC’s statutory annual financial reports are published in this report together with the unqualified audit opinion issued by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).
In collaboration with the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, the outcomes and outputs framework was approved by the Minister. The framework is intended to provide the basis for preparing budget estimates and reporting on performance and utilisation of resources. CLC management continues to endeavour to extract value from the application of the framework to routine reporting of operational performance. The Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act (2006) also requires additional expanded compliance and governance activity demanding additional compliance resource application.

Financial Management 

Estimates review

The CLC submits Estimates of Administrative Expenditure to the Minister on an annual basis. The Minister engages a consultant to conduct an independent review and assessment of the Estimates to facilitate the approval process.
Many aspects of the CLC’s estimated expenditure are currently constrained to estimated increases based on national consumer price change index changes, although in 2011 the Minister agreed that, in future, ‘employee costs’ increases would be determined relative to enterprise agreements.
However, this still does not generally allow for significant demand for growth in CLC activities, with budgetary pressures especially compounded by above average Northern Territory and Central Australian cost increases and expansion in grant funded programs. CLC makes special submissions to obtain essential additional resources.
Once approved, the Estimates provide the CLC funding for operational expenses, salaries and wages, and capital expenditure for the financial year. During the financial year, at four-monthly intervals, the CLC submits a performance report to the Minister.

Statutory Reporting

The financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2011 have been audited and an unqualified audit opinion has been issued by the ANAO.
CLC reporting responds to CAC, Financial Management Orders (FMOs) issued by the Finance Minister and Australian Accounting Standards (AAS) (including the Australian Accounting Interpretations).
The ANAO is requested by the Minister to perform the annual audit of CLC financial statements. The purpose of the audit is for the ANAO to express an opinion whether the financial statements give a true and fair view.

Risk Management and Fraud Control

The Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines apply to all agencies covered by the FMA Act and bodies covered by the CAC Act receiving at least 50 per cent of operational funding from the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency.
During the year, in discussion with the Audit Committee, a review of its fraud control guidelines was scheduled. The guidelines do provide better practice approaches for fraud control in the public sector and will be a basis of future deliberations.
The Director certifies that the required fraud data has been collected and reported as required under the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2011. 

The CLC has developed various internal practices and procedures to ensure appropriate authorisations and financial delegations are in place and for rigorous monitoring and detection of any anomalies, as well as continuous ongoing review. Staff and management of the CLC operate under an Instrument of Authorisations which documents the appropriate financial delegations and authorities framework.

A Code of Conduct prescribes personal and professional behaviour and ethics in the workplace.
The CLC is proud of the absence of substantive negatives in its track record and some procedures have been referred to as best practice in peer organisations and the wider community. While the existing CLC practices build on the elements of a risk management framework, the last formal update was during 2006-2007.

The CLC again engaged in the Comcover Risk Management Benchmarking survey, and will use components of the survey in the proposed framework review for assessing improvements.

Judicial decisions and reviews by outside bodies

During the year one complaint each to the Human Rights Commission and to the Ombudsman were resolved without criticism of the actions of the CLC.
In October 2010 the Human Rights Commission (HRC) notified the CLC and an Aboriginal Corporation that a member of the corporation had complained of discrimination by both bodies against the complainant on the basis of the colour of the person’s skin to discriminate against that person’s family. Upon investigation it appeared that the complainant and the HRC had misunderstood the term “wrong skin” to refer to the colour of skin rather than a reference to the Warlpiri sub-section system, and the complaints were then withdrawn.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman advised the CLC that it had received a complaint concerning a representation alleged to have been made by a CLC employee. The CLC responded promptly, and was later advised that no further investigation of the complaint was warranted

Audit Committee

Bill McAinsh (partner of Deloitte), Danny Masters (lawyer) and Bruce Walker (Executive Officer, Centre for Appropriate Technology Inc. and Chairman/Director of CAT Projects Pty Ltd.) were appointed to the CLC Audit Committee in 2010. The Committee comprises three independent members. Danny Masters is the Chairperson and Bruce Walker the Deputy Chairperson. The Committee met three times during the financial year. The Committee is overseeing an agreed work plan and Audit Committee Charter.

Indemnities and Insurance Premiums for Officers 

No indemnity against liability has been given by agreement or other means to a current or former officer.
The CLC holds general liability and professional indemnity insurance (which includes directors’ and officers’ liability provisions) with Comcover and, in addition, the compulsory professional indemnity insurance required by the NT Law Society is held in respect of legal practitioners employed by the Central Land Council. The Comcover premium covers all insurance provided by Comcover and does not specify a specific invoiced amount for general liability and professional indemnity insurance.


No significant events referred to in section 15 of the CAC Act have taken place during the financial year.

Human Resources Management  

Employee Relations 

The working conditions of employment for all CLC staff (excluding staff employed under SES salary classifications) are described in the CLC Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).
The current EBA expired on February 2007 but remains active until replaced. Negotiations for a new certified agreement have concluded, with staff due to vote on the proposed agreement in 2011-2012
after Ministerial authorisation is received.
All salary progression at the CLC is subject to meeting the required performance standards. The CLC did not offer performance bonuses to employees during the
reporting period.
The development, implementation, administration and evaluation of human resources/industrial relations strategies and policies enables the CLC to enhance organisational flexibility, improve workplace productivity, and facilitate workplace reform to support its general objectives. Achievements in 2010-2011 included:

  • The Enterprise Agreement was to rewritten enhance organisational flexibility and to facilitate organisational change and workplace reform
  • Line managers received advice and counsel on a case management basis to assist with the management of employees under the performance management  framework
  • Strategic and operational IR advice was obtained specifically on workforce planning.

Permanent Employees as at 30 June 2011

The higher representation of Aboriginal staff members at the ASO 2 levels is largely due to the number of staff employed as rangers in the community ranger programs.
The CLC employed a total of 99 casual staff members for 2010-2011. As at 30 June 2011 there were 18 unfilled vacancies across the organisation.

Staff Development and training 

The CLC is committed to ongoing professional development of its workforce and supports access to appropriate training. The CLC is especially committed to developing strategies that facilitate employment and career development for Aboriginal staff, which is formally stated in Part 3 of the CLC EBA.
Staff receive training and further education as part of the CLC Career Development Program and also receive training in cross-cultural awareness, First Aid, OH&S related topics and 4wd operation skills. The CLC’s career development program enables staff to receive support and assistance with a range of study and learning options.
All new staff are required to complete a two-day induction program which provides them with a comprehensive insight into the functions of the CLC, as well as its policies and expectations.

Equal Opportunity 

CLC is committed to providing a working environment recognising staff as valued organisation members who are treated fairly and are acknowledged in the organisation’s success.
Equal Opportunity (EO) supports the development and implementation of strategically-based anti-discrimination, equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action policies and programs as well as Aboriginal Employment and Career Development. CLC respects and values diversity in the workplace. Achievements in 2010-2011 include appointment of an Aboriginal staff member to a senior management position (SOG B).

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) 

The CLC is committed to meeting its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 and supports the development of strategically based health and safety programs. The CLC’s occupational health policies and management ensure a work environment where people are able to work effectively and at minimal risk to their health, safety and wellbeing.
Achievements in 2010-2011

  • The CLC continued to focus on timely and effective injury management for both compensable and non-compensable injuries through early intervention initiatives and fitness for continued duty assessments.
  • The Employee Assistance Program continued to be promoted and managed. The program offers employees and members of their immediate families free, short-term professional counselling.
  • An external review of OH&S policies and procedures in the community ranger programs was commissioned.

Reporting Requirements under the OH&S Act

Occupational health and safety continued to be managed at the CLC consistent with the OH&S policy and health and safety management arrangements (HSMA).
The following statements are provided in accordance with section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
Section 68 Occurrences (Notification and Reporting of Accidents and
Dangerous Occurrences)

One accident under Section 68 of the OH&S Act was reported to Comcare. Internal investigations and risk management procedures were applied to this incident.

There were no notices issued under Sections 29 (Provisional Improvement Notices), 46 (Power to Issue Prohibition Notices), or 47 (Power to Issue Improvement Notices) of the OH&S Act, and no directions were given to the Department under section 45 (Power to Direct that Workplace Not Be Disturbed). No Comcare investigations were conducted in 2010–2011 and the CLC remains committed to adhering to Comcare guidelines.

Performance against the Commonwealth Disability Strategy

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by a new National Disability Strategy.

Support Services Information Systems

The CLC provides a fully networked, standardised computer workstation for more than 180 employees, some located in remote areas, providing them with access to e-mail, word processing, Internet browsing and a range of other services made available through the computing infrastructure.
It is committed to ensuring the integrity and security of the CLC’s electronic data through backup systems, secure network access and virus protection. The Computer Services section also facilitates increased efficiency of the organisation through the development and implementation of new systems that provide improved access to information and communications.
The CLC has two specialist staff responsible for maintaining an extensive geographical information system and manipulating geographic data sets to produce customised maps for CLC projects. It continues to expand the services provided by the section with the ongoing development of web-based mapping systems.
The main goals of 2010-2011 were to commence a major operating system migration, perform further verification of our backup and restoration processes, and the expansion of server and storage virtualisation platforms. Significant work was also performed in development of a mining exploration, titles and agreements database tool. CLC has many legislative reporting obligations, and is a party to a large number of commercial agreements for land use. Phase 1 of this project is nearing completion, with Phase 2 in progress.
CLC maintains and develops financial accounting and reporting systems utilising the SUN enterprise-wide integrated business application and associated products.
The CLC identified a software platform to use to develop and integrate workflow processing.
Managers and other staff access operational management financial reporting, including budget funding versus actual expenditure variance analysis, in an on-line real-time password secured and controlled environment.

David Jupurrurla Long Resource Centre (Library and Records)

The CLC’s Information Services (Library and Records) role is to provide professional research support services for CLC staff.
CLC’s library provides online services and inter-library loan services and a specialist collection which acquired 286 new items in 2010-2011. Current holdings are 16,000 records.
The CLC’s archives are managed in accordance with the Commonwealth Archives Act 1983 and according to the Records Management Association of Australia’s Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA) schedules. Record holdings are 80,000 items.

Regional Offices

Tennant Creek Regional Office  

Organisational demand in the Tennant Creek region warranted the appointment of a regional office manager in 2010-2011. A major internal and external office renovation was completed creating new internal office space, a large outdoor area meeting space and increased parking. Total refurbishment cost was $681,133 partly contributed to by Native Title Budget funds

Environment Protection and Biodiversity

Under Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Commonwealth authorities must now include a report on environmental matters, to:

  • Report how activities have accorded with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)
  • Identify how outcomes contributed to ESD
  • Document impact upon the environment and measures taken to minimise those impacts
  • Identify the review mechanisms in place to review and increase the measures taken tominimise its impact upon the environment.

Although not obligatory, the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities provides guidelines and performance indicators for meeting reporting obligations. This is the first time that the CLC is reporting on its impact on the environment. Especially note that various aspects of the CLC’s operations are specifically concerned with the environment in which the CLC operates, and reference should also be made to those other outputs in this report, in particular the Land and Natural Resource Management output 1.2.
Other corporate management actions taken by the CLC in respect to environmental matters include:

  • Developing, in conjunction with the its strategic planning, a performance information framework including
  • sustainability and environmental   impact measures
  • Including in this report the recommended environmental measures for all Commonwealth authorities
  • The installation late in the financial year of 10kw of solar panels to contribute to the electricity requirements of CLC’s main office building in Alice Springs, which had itself been constructed to a 4 star green rating. It is expected that the energy purchase saving benefits of the project will commence in early 2011/12 when the installation is certified and commissioned.