The Dunghutti Elders Council (Aboriginal Corporation) is a registered native title body corporate for the purposes of the Native Title Act 1993. Amongst its other functions, it holds the compensation received by the Dunghutti People as part of the Crescent Head native title settlement.
For some time, the Dunghutti Elders Council has been engaged in a number of disputes including disputes with persons who are, or claim to be, members of the Dunghutti people.
The payment of legal expenses in connection with these disputes has reduced the funds held by the appellant for the Dunghutti people, to a level which became a matter of concern to the Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations. As a consequence, the Registrar issued the Dunghutti Elders Council with a notice to show cause why it should not be put under special administration under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (the CATSI Act).
The Dunghutti Elders Council unsuccessfully challenged the validity of the notice in the Federal Court in 2010. The Full Federal Court dismissed the Dunghutti Elders Council’s appeal on 21 July. Costs are yet to be determined, although it is understood that the Registrar intends to seek costs from the directors of the Dunghutti Elders Council rather than the corporation itself.
The full reasons for decision are published at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCAFC/2011/88.html