Albury and District Local Aboriginal Land Council under investigation

FINANCIAL irregularities are believed to have sparked an investigation into a Border Indigenous organisation.

NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell has received a report on Albury and District Local Aboriginal Land Council.

A spokeswoman for the minister confirmed the group’s operations had been examined.

“Following an independent investigation into the affairs of the Albury and District Local Aboriginal Land Council, the minister is now considering the report and it will be inappropriate to make any further comment at this point,” she said.

The Border Mail has been told the council had been closed for months and a recent community meeting saw specific people named over the misuse of funds.

The investigation has been described as the biggest in the land council’s history.

NSW Aboriginal Land Council southern zone director Yuseph Deen had advertised a community meeting about the Albury council would be held on May 31.

Mr Deen said he had attended a meeting in Albury but directed further inquiries to Ms Mitchell’s office.

Visits this week to the council’s Glenroy property found a locked building during the business hours stated on its sign while telephone calls rang through to a default machine message.

A NSW Aboriginal Land Council spokesman said the Albury and District Local Aboriginal Land Council had not closed.

“(The council) is open and is operating with the support of board members,” he said.

“Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, there are processes to follow and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) will work with the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Registrar of the Act through these processes.”

The spokesman said the NSW Aboriginal Land Council “has a zero tolerance approach to misconduct and corrupt practices”.

“There are strong penalties in place as a deterrent against misconduct and corruption and we expect the relevant authorities to do their jobs,” he said.