"There is nothing on our desk, to seek approval or otherwise," says a spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, in response to apparent claims that the Mbantua Festival will get a further grant from the Aboriginal Benefits Account (ABA), beyond the $1.3m it has already received. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Jessica Mauboy, star of one of the Mbantua Festival's big-ticket events.
UPDATE 7:40am Friday, January 3:
A staffer for Senator Scullion has issued the following statement: "The Minister hasn’t yet received anything from the ABA for another grant. When he does (and we understand it won’t be far away) it will be given appropriate consideration. That’s all we can say for now until the Minister makes a determination."
A spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said this afternoon she understands the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is currently looking into issues surrounding the use Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) funds by a company linked to the Lhere Artepe native title organisation.
The spokesperson said this was to "ensure that all ABA funds have been used appropriately.
"Grants from the ABA are made to support projects which benefit Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.”
The Alice Springs News on Tuesday reported it had obtained an email exchange revealing a bitter dispute about the purchase of shares in a company.
The exchange casts more light on the deal by an affiliate of Lhere Artepe. However, the main players are keeping mum on what appears to be an unfolding scandal.
The company, CDE Civil, collapsed soon after the majority shareholding was bought by Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.