- Report into the Njamal People's Trust tabled in State Parliament
- Charitable trusts such as the Njamal People's Trust are established for the purpose of advancing the interests of indigenous communities
- Findings will inform amendments to the Charitable Trusts Act 1962 (WA)
The final report into the Njamal People's Trust has recommended a raft of reforms to the current legislation governing charitable trusts.
Attorney General John Quigley, who in 2017 appointed Deputy State Counsel, Alan Sefton, to inquire into the Njamal People's Trust under section 20 of the Charitable Trusts Act 1962 (WA), has considered the 63 recommendations in the final report.
As a result of the findings, the Attorney General is considering how best to amend the Charitable Trusts Act 1962 (WA) to expand the powers of the Attorney General or others who are conducting an inquiry into a trust.
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"As the Attorney General, I have a responsibility to protect property devoted to charitable interests, and to look after the interests of the public in relation to charitable trusts.
"In the case of the Njamal People's Trust, the Trust Deed outlines that the funds are to be used for the primary purpose of relieving poverty, sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune or destitution.
"I have been concerned for some time that some of the communities which these charitable trusts were designed to assist are still disadvantaged. In some cases, it is difficult to see how the funds are being used to improve outcomes for our indigenous communities.
"Now that I have the recommendations of the Inquiry report, I intend to progress amendments to the Charitable Trusts Act 1962 (WA) as soon as possible.
"I will also draw the Inquiry report to the attention of other relevant regulatory authorities, and request that the current trustee of the Njamal People's Trust implements the relevant recommendations of the report.
"Since receiving the Inquiry final report, further allegations concerning behaviour by people apparently acting in relation to the Trust have been brought to my attention. These allegations, which have been tabled today along with the report, were brought to the attention of Mr Sefton upon completion of the Inquiry.
"These allegations are of very serious concern to me and I have referred these allegations to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
"I would like to thank Mr Sefton for conducting this important inquiry. The detailed report will no doubt be of assistance to the trustees of other charitable trusts who are grappling with similar issues."
A copy of the report is available on the WA State Parliament website at http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Test/Tables.nsf/LCTabledPapersWeb
Attorney General's office - 6552 6800