Meeting suspending director not valid, says land council


p2141-David-RossBy ERWIN CHLANDA
A statement from the Central Land Council (CLC) today says “no valid meeting of the Executive” has taken place and the “purported dealing with the employment of David Ross” is of no effect.
The statement follows the leaking to the Alice Springs News Online of a letter from CLC chairman Maurie Japarta Ryan to Mr Ross, the director of the CLC, suspending him “effective immediately”.
Today’s statement from the CLC says: “On the 30 May the Chairman provided a letter to the Central Land Council which asserted that the ‘Executive today resolved’ to suspend the ‘CEO’.
“Mr Ryan was advised by letter the same day that it was clear from his correspondence that no valid meeting of the Executive had taken place and that the purported dealing with the employment of David Ross was of no effect.
“Mr Ryan was advised that his actions did not appear to be conducted in good faith in the best interests of the Central Land Council, nor for a proper purpose.
“The last meeting of the CLC Executive was held in Tennant Creek on 22nd May 2014, however, Mr Ryan chose not to attend,” says the statement.
“The 90 member Council has previously urged Mr Ryan to work with the staff of the CLC, including the Director, David Ross.
“Authority for the Director’s employment ultimately rests with Council which endorsed the Director’s employment at the end of 2013.”
The statement quotes Mr Ross as saying: ”There are many challenges that face Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and the CLC is focused on achieving better outcomes for people out bush.
“It is disappointing and distracting for an organisation when personal issues are aired in the media – there is no substance to what appears to be an ongoing campaign to destabilise this Council, which has proudly represented Aboriginal interests for over 35 years.”


  1. The CLC has become a self serving bureaucracy, staffed by entrenched custodians of power and privilege.
    It had 220 staff in 2012 (more now), with 13 managers and a council of 90.
    Many CLC staff have been in their positions for years and are not responsive to the needs of community members.
    The CLC’s own strategic plan (2012-17) notes that:
    The structure had not successfully provided sufficient opportunity in the past, despite the goal, for progression toward greater aboriginalisation of the organisation, especially at a manager level, or the development of an affirmative succession plan for key senior management personnel with significant organisational knowledge.
    Exactly how the elected members can change this is a significant challenge for Mr Ryan. Nevertheless, it is a worthy task.

  2. How about Mr Ryan gets himself a job and stop riding off the hard work David Ross has done to build this council, threatened maybe, very jealous definitely.
    Many years, watching Mr Ross work from an office / box in Bath Street with land rights having a small voice, fast forward 30 years and a force of people working for Indigenous People’s rights to their land. David Ross done this Mr Ryan, what have you achieved, for goodness sake you couldn’t even be a role model in your personal life let alone your professional life, sorry what professional life.

  3. It is not only Maurie who voted a no confidence in the director but the people and the executives … one man cannot make that decision on his own. So that just plainly tells us that Ross has passed his used-by date. If the people did not want Maurie in the CLC then he would not be there, one would think.
    Also having a dig a Maurie’s professionalism – you got to be kidding, obviously you have no idea what he has done and achieved. If you don’t know, well, let’s just say we finally have a chairman on CLC who is educated and is not a yes or no man, unlike previous chairmen. We finally have someone who can stand up and say no, that is not right, and not be influenced by Ross and his posse! Gee, why are people so scared of change … our people are still suffering still today. Isn’t it time for a new chapter?

  4. The CLC is one of the most successful and stable Aboriginal organisations out there, thanks to David Ross. Of course it is not perfect but it has been through countless reviews and inquiries and has always come out the other end unscathed. David Ross is hardworking and has the respect of many people.

  5. Ormiston. Yes The CLC is one of the most successful and stable Aboriginal organisations out there, thanks to David Ross.
    But there have been dire signs of complacency and even arrogance for some time.
    The CLC, with its 220 staff, takes a good slice of royalty and government funds available for Aboriginal people and yet it chose to build a Centrecorp empire which has taken ownership of some of the finest real estate in our town.
    So on one hand we have a large number of Aboriginal people despairing of poor living conditions, a situation often criticised by David Ross, and on the other hand we have a bloated land council in its state of the art building, with its own (private) portfolio worth tens of millions.
    That situation is a symptom of the lack of power of the broader Aboriginal community and the elected members versus David Ross. Ross has lost sight of who he works for and what his priorities should be.
    It is obvious that change is needed and that David Ross must not be allowed to stand in the way.
    It would be wise of him to see the inevitable and the cost of obstructing it and depart with all the respect due to him.

  6. Curious, your comments are unfounded and disrespecting the previous chairman is unnecessary, saying the they are yes and no people. Spell out what work Maurie has done, pot stirring and driving up and down the highway drumming up support does not count. Credit where it is due.

  7. Hi Interested Observer. Centrecorp is a separate organisation to the CLC and the CLC can’t receive any benefit from Centrecorp. This relationship was also looked at in an inquiry in 2009 and found to be above board.
    As always the CLC is an easy target because of its visibility and its size and people look at the problems with Aboriginal living conditions and want someone or something to blame.
    The big, fancy CLC building was perhaps not the best idea, but the idea behind it was to have a building that Aboriginal people can be proud of.
    Returning to the situation at hand (Mr Ryan vs Mr Ross) I would say it reflects more a personal vendetta or battle rather than a deep seated unhappiness by CLC members with Mr Ross. Like I said David Ross has earned a lot of respect both from staff and the CLC members. He worked from the ground up, and that is an Aboriginal success story to celebrate not to bring down. No? Cheers.

  8. Ormiston. Yes Centrecorp is a separate entity and the CLC is not supposed to obtain any tangible benefit from it but the CLC does have a big say in what its assets are used for.
    Fact is that Ross has been part of the decision making process where Centrecorp does not benefit Aboriginal people.
    This is morally wrong and any Aboriginal person not part of the black aristocracy will tell you the same.
    Discounting the conflict with Ryan as a personality clash etc is disingenuous and will not wash.
    [ED – The Central Land Council is a three firth – majority – shareholder in Centrecorp, the other two shares being held by Congress and Tangentyere, respectively.]

  9. Thanks Ed for the info. All three entities who are squawking over federal funding being cut back. I personally would welcome the removal of the Land councils and give a voice back to the communities. Allow ownership to individuals of land. Oh my, that would cause a real outcry from all three entities. Give the people ownership as individuals, then hear the racist comments fly. And not against others. These entities have long fought for the contents of the public purse and more. With statements like: If we allow individual ownership they will be at the mercy of swindlers. We are here to protect ( yet this thinking has removed individual rights). We need aboriginal organisations that understand culture and our way of life ( culture is personal and is shared through family and history). The use of this term has been accepted and the main driver to enslave Aboriginal people in poverty and alcohol abuse.
    These organisations that step on the heads of the people as they build massive enterprises and power at the cost of major human suffering and squalor. And they still blame governments for the situation. Time our federal government acts in a humane manner and remove all segregation polices and departments. And gives hope to people to find strength and pride and walk tall without the dictators who find wealth in human suffering. When will the elected members federal, state and territory finally understand that they and those before them have supported and voted for apartheid to grow unrestricted in Australia without boundaries. Human suffering as found in third world countries. When is it going to end and all residents in Australia enjoy individual rights and social integration?

  10. The Central Land Council is accountable to Aboriginal people. [If there are people not] doing their job with honesty, transparency they HAVE TO GO!
    We are fed up with people who are heading up Aboriginal organisations, who are only there to feather their own nests.
    POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Thanks Maurie Ryan and others for speaking the TRUTH! Bless you’s!


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