THE Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation's special administration has ended.
The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, placed the corporation into special administration last November after an examination raised concerns about financial losses and disputes within the corporation.
The former directors of the corporation recognised the need for change and supported the decision.
During the past six months, the special administrator has improved the corporation's financial management practices, resolved outstanding claims of creditors, recruited a new chief executive, and secured long term funding for the corporation's operations.
The role of special administration involved taking control of the assets and addressing some internal governance and financial management issues, then restoring good operational order and returning control to members.
The $500,000 deficit, before the special administration came in, has already been recouped thanks to the staff bringing in business and some cost cutting.
The governance structures of the corporation have also been strengthened, with a review of the corporation's rule book and the appointment of two independent directors to the board.
The corporation is forecasting a small surplus for the current financial year.
GLaWAC's status as a registered Aboriginal party under the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 was cancelled when the special administrator was appointed.
GLaWAC has applied to have its status reinstated now that it is out of special administration.
"This has been a highly successful special administration," Mr Beven said.
"The corporation has enormous potential, with significant natural and cultural assets, as well as a large pool of skilled and dedicated staff, members and directors.
"I am confident that GLaWAC is well placed to turn its potential into real outcomes for the Gunai and Kurnai people.
"GLaWAC is a very different organisation to what it was six months ago.
"We have listened to community members and put in place strong processes, skilled staff and a skilled board."
Newly-appointed chief executive of GLaWAC, Roger Fenwick, said the organisation would host more cultural events, and an information drive, so more people get acquainted with the corporation.
"I will be working hard with our board, Elders, staff and the community to build on our foundations and explore new opportunities, including increased efforts in the western region of Gunaikurnai country," he said.
GLaWAC is the registered native title body corporate that manages the cultural heritage and native title and rights and interests of the Gunai and Kurnai people, representing traditional owners from the Brataualung, Brayakaulung, Brabralung, Krauatungalung and Tatungalung family clans, who were recognised in the Native Title Consent Determination, made under the new Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010, the first such agreement under that Act.
It is based near Lakes Entrance and has over 600 members.
The corporation runs a successful ranger program as part of its joint management of 10 parks and reserves in the Gippsland region.
It also provides work crews and cultural heritage experts who work with government and non-government bodies to protect, preserve, and rehabilitate country and cultural sites.