The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC



Question: Kaurna organisation

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (14:46): I seek leave to make a brief explanation prior to directing a question to the Minister for Consumer Affairs on the subject of OCBA.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: On 28 July 2009, Ms Heather Agius, Treasurer of the Kaurna Heritage Board Inc. and the Director of Kaurna Cultural Services Pty Ltd, advised OCBA:

I believe that there has been fraud, dishonesty or misconduct in a South Australian incorporated association that is a possible breach of the Associations Incorporation Act.

Ms Agius' complaint referred to a significant number of issues and possible breaches of the act, including that the establishment of Kaurna Cultural Services Pty Ltd was not approved or minuted, that she was made a director without her knowledge and that there were no financial reports provided to the Kaurna Heritage Board Inc. Ms Agius also stated:

The other concern is that they are making financial decisions and seem to be paying themselves exorbitant amounts of money without consulting me.

I have also been provided with a copy of a letter dated 26 April 2005 to the then chair of KACHA (Kaurna Aboriginal Community and Heritage Association) from a chartered accountant who had been hired to assist KACHA in the presentation of its accounts. This particular letter raised a significant number of concerns, including that no BAS return had been lodged since 2001; no GST, PAYG withholding or superannuation payments had been made; and his estimated worst case scenario was that there was some $200,000 in unpaid taxes and superannuation. This chartered accountant concluded in the letter to the chair of KACHA:

The most obvious conclusion I can draw is that in the unbridled greed to bleed the association of every single cent that it has, people have been paid for work they did not do or for meetings they did not attend, or both. The only other possibility is that people have been paid for work and/or meetings that have either not been invoiced to or not been paid by the organisations involved.

Then further on he wrote:

I look on it as theft at worst and culpable negligence at best, and I have been on this case since 1999. The committee has done nothing but line its own pockets and those of its friends and relatives, to the extent that KACHA is technically bankrupt because it cannot pay its debts.

My questions to the minister are:

1.What investigations and what actions were undertaken by OCBA as a result of this complaint and any other related complaint?

2.Were periodic returns lodged by these organisations in accordance with section 36(1) of the Associations Incorporation Act if these organisations were prescribed organisations under other provisions of the act?

3.Were accounts kept and audited in accordance with section 35 of the Associations Incorporation Act?

4.Did any OCBA officer use the power under section 10 of the Associations Incorporation Act to require the production of books to investigate this particular complaint? If not, why not?

5.Did any OCBA officer make any inquiries with any person other than the complainants in relation to these particular complaints? If not, why not?

6.How much money was paid to organisations such as KACHA, the Kaurna Heritage Board Incorporated, Kaurna Cultural Services Proprietary Limited, or any other similar body to those three organisations in relation to each of the following projects: the extension of the Southern Expressway, the desal plant project, the aquatic centre project, the Northern Expressway project, the South Road Anzac Highway intersection project, and the Seaford rail project?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Public Sector Management, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises) (14:51): Those matters that fall under the Associations Incorporation Act are the responsibility of the Attorney-General, and I will refer those questions to the Attorney for a response and bring back those answers. There may also be aspects of questions that relate to other ministers, including the Minister for Infrastructure, so I will refer the relevant questions to the relevant ministers and bring back a response.

Source: Hansard


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