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The Australian National University

Public Benevolent Institutions for Native Title Groups: An Underappreciated Model?

Ian Murray (2015) 43 (3)

There has been limited research into the relevance of public benevolent institutions (‘PBI’s) to the management of native title benefits. Despite this omission, a new, tax-effective, structure was proposed in 2013, being the ‘Indigenous Community Development Corporation’ (‘ICDC’). PBI characterisation is also becoming more relevant as native title determination numbers increase, such that there is a suitable and interested body, the prescribed body corporate (‘PBC’) that can pursue a variety of functions in fulfilling its statutory duties and in seeking to realise the economic, social and cultural objectives of Indigenous groups. This article asserts that a purpose of addressing Indigenous disadvantage is a PBI purpose and that it permits a broad range of activities in order to meet that end. Accordingly, PBI status should be available for many PBCs and other benefits management structure institutions. As a result, the proposed grounds for introducing the ICDC are significantly less compelling and it is argued that a more cautious approach is warranted, being one that better recognises ICDC limitations and that does not over-emphasise the potential benefits.

Vol 43, Issue 3, 2015

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