Subscribe to News
Close Search
 
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  |  Social AffairsIndigenous

Australia’s largest Indigenous organisation forced to shut up shop


29 July 2019 at 5:30 pm
Maggie Coggan
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has officially closed its doors after the peak representative body went into voluntary administration in June. 


Maggie Coggan | 29 July 2019 at 5:30 pm


0 Comments


 Print
Australia’s largest Indigenous organisation forced to shut up shop
29 July 2019 at 5:30 pm

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has officially closed its doors after the peak representative body went into voluntary administration in June. 

Co-chairs of the Congress, Rod Little, and Dr Jackie Huggins announced over the weekend that they had accepted an informal offer of redundancy. 

Despite being promised funding in the 2015-16 forward estimates, in 2013 the Abbott government withdrew its support and commitment to any future funding. 

Congress then entered a fee-for-service agreement with former Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion allowing the organisation to stay afloat, but this forced staff cuts and a reduction of services. 

At the beginning of June, the organisation entered into voluntary administration so it wouldn’t trade as an insolvent entity. 

“We regret that no funding was forthcoming from any source. This meant that Congress was unable to continue its business of representing the rights and interests of its members at the national level now or into the future,” Little and Huggins said in a joint statement. 

National Congress had grown to be the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait organisation in Australia, representing 10,000 members and 180 organisations. 

Little told Pro Bono News that a lack of commitment to long-term funding by the government was disappointing, and meant Congress’ 10,000 members were left without a strong voice to fight for them. 

“Our individual members and organisations are now going to be left to fight for themselves, which we don’t want,” Little said. 

He said the organisation had not been given time to build itself up to a point where it could be financially sustainable. 

“We’ve only been around for eight years and only got Deductible Gift Receipt status four years ago so we could receive donations easily. It takes many more years than that to become successful,” he said. 

He said he was now holding out hope that the newly-appointed minister for Indigenous affairs, Ken Wyatt, would step-up and reinstate funding to revive the organisation. 

“I have hope that Congress will run again, but it’s going to need Minister Wyatt to step in and help,” he said. 

Pro Bono News contacted Wyatt’s office for comment but did not receive a response before deadline. 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au or download our contributor guidelines.

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Indigenous-led solutions being pushed to the back of decision making

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 1st July 2020 at 6:14 pm

New data reveals lower rate of Indigenous kids in youth justice

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 19th May 2020 at 3:34 pm

Subscribe to News
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook
×

We need your help.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Pro Bono Australia has seen a devastating fall in advertising and less people posting on our job board, which is how we fund our free news service. You can show us that you value the work we do by making a contribution.

 Make a contribution 

You have Successfully Subscribed!