By KIERAN FINNANE
Updated to include comments by Catherine Satour, 25 January 2019, 11.36 am.
“To assist in the relief of poverty, sickness, destitution, helplessness, distress, suffering, and misfortune, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people” is the stated purpose of the Central Arrernte Alliance Aboriginal Corporation.
It was registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) just before Christmas, on 21 December 2018.
Its members, according to its rule book, must be Central Arrente people over the age of 15, of good character and integrity and not convicted of an offence within two years of application for membership.
The alliance’s founding members are: Phillip Alice, Harold Furber, Brian Stirling, Albert Tilmouth, Jonathon Conway, Kristy Bloomfield, Peter Renehan, Amelia Turner and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.
Directors must be residents of Central Australia and a majority of directors must be members. All of the above members are directors. Mr Alice is chair, Ms Kunoth-Monks is vice-chair.
Two further applications for director positions have been accepted: they are from Baydon Kanjira (formerly Williams) and Benedict Stevens.
Non-members can hold director positions. Eli Melky, business man and Town Councillor, is a director, making up a total of 10 listed so far on the ORIC site (12 once Mr Kanjira and Mr Stevens’ paperwork has been processed).
The alliance’s rule book says: “Independent or specialist non-member directors [who do hot do not have voting rights] may be selected because they are independent or have skills in financial management, corporate governance, accounting, law or a field relating to the corporation’s activities.”
Directors, whether members or not, cannot be paid for their work as directors.
The alliance’s contact person or secretary is Catherine Satour, another Town Councillor, but she is not a member.
The idea to form the alliance arose after the Town Council failed to take up the invitation from apmereke-artweye (custodians) to “build a strong relationship” to work towards “a closer, united community”, in particular to address the problems of violence and anti-social behaviour in town.
That invitation was put to council by Mr Alice together with Shane Lindner (left, Mr Alice on the microphone, photo from our archive), after working behind the scenes with Crs Melky and Satour.
Cr Melky says the group asked themselves then, “where to from here?”.
“We didn’t want give up,” says Cr Satour. “We wanted to take it to the next level of government, which is what we did.”
With encouragement from the NT Government and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the group eventually decided to form an Aboriginal corporation.
Over the last six months they have met fortnightly with ORIC to develop their objectives, which are set out in some detail in the “rule book” on ORIC’s site. They aim to:–
Operate community enterprises and build a strong financial base for community development activities and infrastructure.
Promote community development by acting as a resource for the community and stakeholders in the areas of education, health, housing, employment and welfare to the community.
Act as a clearing house to facilitate the exchange of information and skills, participation and maintenance of community development activities, community services, employment and housing for the community.
Build strong partnerships with other community leaders and leading organisations with a purpose.
Strengthen respect for law, country and community.
Teach culture and tradition reinforcing unity and a healthy lifestyle.
Lead community to live harmoniously regardless of race, religion or colour.
Build strong local and regional networks to establish and secure long-term prosperity for all community.
Unite all cultures and to reinforce the benefits of working together as one.
Welcome to all visitors and ensure a safe visitors action plan that protects community by showing respect to law, country and community.
To operate and maintain a gift fund to be known as ‘The Central Arrernte Alliance Aboriginal Corporation Gift Fund’ in accordance with the requirements of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.
The brand new corporation expects to hold its first formal meeting within the coming month.
“It’s really important that Central Arrernte people are heard by government at all levels,” says Cr Satour.
“The alliance is a pathway for that to happen.”
An early focus will be on community safety, including support for the Safe Alice Springs campaign, an initiative of Cr Melky. Two members of the alliance, Mr Furber and Ms Kunoth-Monks, spoke at the launch of that campaign.
“We’re very aware that the real work begins now,” says Cr Satour. “It’s about building relationships, connecting people, doing things a bit differently, because what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working.
“It’s about going and talking to Aboriginal people, asking them about their concerns, and how they can be part of the solution.”
This will include talking with Aboriginal people in surrounding communities.