The music dies down for WA corporations

Dancers at Kimberley Land Council's 2017 AGM. The corporation is the fifth highest-earning among the top 500 Aboriginal corporations in the latest survey.

The end of the mining boom has continued to see falls in the income of Aboriginal corporations in Western Australia’s north, while corporations in North Queensland and the Tiwi Islands are experiencing the strongest growth.

They are among the findings of the latest report on the top 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

The annual report, released this month, found the average income of corporations in the Kimberley in WA had dropped 18.2 percent in the latest available reporting period (2015-16).

In the same period, North Queensland incomes rose an average of 40 percent, followed by the “Top End” and Tiwi Islands where they climbed 13.8 percent.

Northern Territory corporations dominated the top five highest earning corporations, with four NT corporations taking out the top spots.

The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation, which runs a range of services from health and nutrition to accommodation, again topped the list with an income of $95.5 million, up by 7.5 percent on the previous year.

With income of $57.2 million, the Ngaanyatjarra Services Aboriginal Corporation, which represents Ngaanyatjarra, Pintupi and Pitjantjatjara traditional owners (Yarnangu), was the second highest-earning corporation, despite experiencing a drop in income of 12 percent.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation was in third spot with income of $41.3 million and the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation was in fourth position with $29.6 million.

The Kimberley Land Council Aboriginal Corporation in WA was the fifth highest-earning corporation with income of $25.2 million, a result that was 24.8 percent down on the previous year.

The ORIC report said the combined income of the top 500 corporations for the year was $1.92 billion, up 1.9 percent on the previous year. The combined value of assets held by the entities was $2.4 billion, up from 8.1 percent the previous year.

NT corporations accounted for 47.1 percent of the national income.

The report said the health and community services sector continued to be the largest, with 40 percent of the top 500 corporations operating in the sector.

Most revenue for the top 20 corporations was self-generated — 46.5 percent of total income — but government funding rose by five percent to 44.3 percent.

Income from mining royalties, Native Title compensation and distribution from trusts fell to 9.2 percent from 17.4 percent the previous year.

NT and WA corporations accounted for 72.3 percent of overall income.

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