Review into IBA and ILC: Scullion


Sir – The Australian Government will commence an independent review into Indigenous Business Australia and the Indigenous Land Corporation.
Improving economic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is essential if we are to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
It has been said before that Indigenous Australians are land rich but dirt poor. We must link land to economic opportunity.
The review will make recommendations about how we might improve the effectiveness of these two principal land and economic development statutory bodies, and how we can drive economic development in an integrated way through employment, training, business development, land acquisition and management as well as home ownership.
It will explore the optimal structures for our efforts to drive Indigenous economic development and how duplication and overlap can be avoided.
One issue is whether Indigenous economic outcomes can be enhanced by integrating the Indigenous Land Corporation and Indigenous Business Australia into a single entity.
The former Government recognised overlap by appointing the same Chair and Deputy Chair for the two governing boards. The review will consider whether the links between these organisations need to be strengthened further.
It will also consider and make recommendations on how best to structure arrangements to ensure efficient administration and reduce red tape; transparency and accountability of public funds; and appropriate powers of Ministerial direction or Government control.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account will not be part of the review. It provides a stable revenue stream to fund Indigenous land acquisition and management activities and I will ensure that this is maintained.
Senator Nigel Scullion
Minister for Indigenous Affairs


  1. I read that Nigel Scullion has pledged that the Ayers Rock Resort purchase by the Land Corp will not be allowed to fail. Potentially those words mean an injection of tens of millions more dollars into a failing enterprise that has already lost $100 m.
    These are not the actions of someone who prioritises accountability.

  2. @ bush teacher. Give it a break. The $100m was a write down in exceptional circumstances. Shouldn’t you be confining your pseudonym to matters relating to education, or else posting as a citizen with the courage of their convictions across the spectrum?

  3. @Russell. The $100 million was not at all a one off write down as you suggest.
    At the time of purchase it was expected that profit from the resort would pay the interest on the loan taken out to fund its purchase.
    As it turned out the shortfall between the profit and interest payments is large and predicted to continue indefinitely. So regular top up payments will need to be made by government into the future.
    At the same time there are questions about why Ayers Rock Resort was chosen as a national Indigenous training centre for hospitality workers. The location makes training very expensive and necessitates massive dislocation of almost all Indigenous trainees.
    The fact is that the ILC’s desire to buy the iconic resort, despite advice to the contrary, inspired the idea to enhance its appeal to the Land Corp by turning it into a training centre. That would also general funds that could be used to pay it off.
    The training centre idea was a means to an end and not well thought out. Very little about the purchase was practical or profitable and it’s the tax payer who will have to pick up the pieces, year after year.
    Nigel Scullion should have the courage to cut our losses if that is required, not blindly commit to endlessly wasting money on it.

  4. Wow, this is going to benefit some private consultant who is going to make million$$ and won’t benefit Aboriginal people. Whats wrong with these people running our governments? Every government pays million$$ on reviews, reports, merger and separation of departments, etc.
    Actually the problem is not with the consultants.
    If given a free run, they can offer better solutions. The problem however is with the governments, who want a mix of politically risk-free and easy to administer programs that could offer mediocre outcomes and not the best.
    And the only guaranteed outcome is Aboriginal people get blamed for the system failure in which they had no input.

  5. @ Truth is Bitter. Aboriginal people has a lot of input into the purchase, the communities of Mutitjulu, Imanpa and Docker River loved the idea of participating in the purchase of the resort and through their investment corporation they achieved that goal. They were players from the beginning and without their involvement the sale could not have gone through.

  6. No Bush Teacher, I am not referring to their input in investment matters. The question I am raising is did Aboriginal communities ask for the review into IBA and ILC?
    And the Minister says independent review, yeah right, my foot. There is no such thing as independent review, the Minister will tell those consultants what exactly he wants and they will tailor their review and report accordingly, and happily pocket few thousands of dollars in fees.
    And let me tell you, the review will conclude that the IBA and ILC must merge (or remain separate as of now), but Aboriginal people must open up their lands for more mining – what that report will not discuss is that Aboriginal communities continue to remain dirt poor even where they have opened up their lands for mines (e.g. in Pilbara and Cape York). And the outcome … 1000$$ spent on the review, but Aboriginal communities continue to remain in poverty. So why do the review at all?

  7. The review is badly needed in relation to all aspects of the ILC.
    Ayres Rock should not have been brought at all by ILC. One of the ILC Directors at the time suggested rather than spend 300 million on the resort it would have been better to purchase Stations all over the top end that would have been eventually owned by the communities.
    As for the training centre out there, why on earth would ILC build such a state of the art training centre there, it would have served Aboriginal people much better if it was set up in Alice Springs, then trainees who didn’t want to live out at the Rock Resort could have been trained locally, and gone to work locally.
    ILC have a very poor outcome when dealing with Aboriginal Trainees, I know first-hand, see attached. (
    Long time cattleman and ex ILC manager Ned McCord refers to the ILC five years ago as the “Indigenous Lost Cause”, and his words have proven true.

  8. As a former employee of the ILC I can understand the “lost cause” comment, after seeing first hand the waste of money and the rorting of several businesses.
    This has been reported to the people responsible for acting upon this, only to be continually hidden. Disgraceful.


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