On 31 March, 1 April and 6 April 2022, the trial in the ATLA Matter before Chief Justice Kourakis took place in the Supreme Court. This was the hearing of ATLA’s application for access to the records of the Adnyamathanha Master Trust managed by Rangelea, and for the appointment of an inspector to report to the court on how the directors of Rangelea have spent and distributed the compensation money. The Chief Justice has reserved his decision. It could be some weeks or maybe even months before the Chief Justice delivers his judgment.
ATLA’s efforts to achieve greater transparency for all Adnyamathanha native title holders about how their native title compensation money has been managed by Rangelea has been assisted by three members of the community, Reginald Wilton, Ivan McKenzie and Sarah Taylor, who joined ATLA as applicants in the court case.
For the information of the community, just before the trial began, Rangelea made a very limited offer to Reginald, Ivan and Sarah to look at the recent financial statements of Rangelea, on conditions that:
- they would not take any copies of the documents;
- they could not take anyone with them to inspect the documents other than a solicitor;
- they could not use any of the information for any other purpose;
- they could not share any of the information with anyone else; and
- the application for production of Adnyamathanha Master Trust’s records and an appointment of an inspector would be discontinued and not decided by the Court.
This proposal was declined because Rangelea was only offering to let Reginald, Ivan and Sarah look at very limited information and because Rangelea required that they keep everything confidential and not share the information with any other Adnyamathanha native title holders. If Rangelea’s proposal had been accepted, it would also mean that there was no chance of getting the Court to appoint an inspector and so ATLA and the rest of the Adnyamathanha native title holders would not receive any access to the information requested about how Rangelea has been managing the compensation money.
ATLA, Reginald, Ivan and Sarah continued with the court proceedings against Rangelea because they want all Adnyamathanha native title holders to know how Rangelea has been managing the Master Trust so that the native title holders can make informed decisions about how the compensation money is managed in the future.