The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) Board has appointed Tony Power, one of Western Australia’s most respected legal professionals, to undertake an independent review of the Kimberley Sustainable Development Charitable Trust’s management and operations.

KLC announced on Friday that the Board subcommittee set up to review the Trust had approved Power’s appointment.

It’s understood the Trust’s Directors are in full support of the independent review.

A well-respected Perth barrister, Power has worked with the Corruption and Crime Commission, Royal Commissions, almost all courts and tribunals, and conducted the 2018 inquiry into the City of Perth.

KLC Chair Anthony Watson said the land council was “very pleased to have secured a legal practitioner of Tony Power’s high-standing” to lead the review.

“The Trust plays an extremely important role in providing assistance to Kimberley First Nations people and we want to ensure it continues to operate with integrity and transparency,” Watson said.

“We welcome any recommendations from Mr Power on how the operation and management of the Trust can be further strengthened.”

Established in 2002, the Kimberley Sustainable Development Charitable Trust holds funds for Kimberley First Nations people. It was set up as an alternative to other, pricier Trust services.

The KLC opened an independent review into the Trust and the Board appointed a subcommittee in April to review its operations.

In a February meeting between Trust Directors Nolan Hunter and Robert Powrie, Trust Manager Anne Sigley, and former KLC chief executive Brian Wilkinson, Hunter told Wilkinson he was happy to explain the relationship between the land council and the Trust.

“We’re happy to give you the three audits, that’s not a problem,” Hunter said in the meeting.

“We’ll be guided by the what the rules say, and we’ll also be guided by wanting to do the right thing by the KLC.”

Watson said the KLC wants to continue its long-standing history of “achieving real outcomes for Kimberley Aboriginal people”.

“The KLC as an organisation is committed to acting with transparency and integrity to improve the cultural, social and economic wellbeing of Kimberley Aboriginal people,” he said.

By Hannah Cross