PBC Support Unit

The NQLC’s Engagement and Development Support Team is comprised of our PBC Support Unit and Future Act, Mining and Exploration (FAME) Unit.

The PBC Support Unit (PBCSU) provides capacity development support services to PBCs to assist them fulfill their rights and responsibilities to their members and common law holders and meet their legislative requirements.

What is a PBC?

A Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) is a corporation nominated by the common law holders to hold their determined native title rights and interests. The common law holders request the Federal Court of Australia to determine its PBC, usually at the time of their determination.

That Native Title Act 1993 (NTA) requires the PBC corporation to be registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) and the PBC must comply with the corporate governance compliance obligations set out in the CATSI Act. PBCs must also comply with:

  • its Rule Book;
  • the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Regulations 2017 (CATSI Regulations);
  • the Native Title (Prescribed Bodies Corporate) Regulations 1999 (PBC Regulations); and
  • the Native Title Act 1993.

In addition to these, PBCs are required to comply with other corporate compliance obligations such as: employment, taxation, superannuation, insurances and the like.

PBC Support Unit – Services

The PBCSU provides capacity development services to support PBCs to consolidate their corporate and governance skills, knowledge and systems; to manage their native title rights and interests and achieve their cultural and corporate obligations and aspirations.

Tailored services are provided directly to individual PBCs based on their specific needs and aspirations through training and information workshops and forums, to which all PBCs in the NQLC region are invited to attend.

PBCSU’s key services provided directly to individual PBCs are:

PBC Support Funding: which is administered by the Federal Government, currently through the National Indigenous Affairs Agency (NIAA);

Organisational support: to support PBCs to develop systems and practices required to function as a small efficient business;

Governance support: to establish, embed and maintain the fundamentals of running a PBC and managing risks; and

Sustainable financial positioning: support for PBCs to engage in enterprise development to realise social, cultural and economic benefits from native title and other opportunities.

If a PBC needs legal advice or assistance with implementing ILUAs and agreements, the PBCSU will advise the FAME Unit and provide support as required.

Training and information forums are held periodically throughout the year with varying topics.

PBC Support Funding

Previously administered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the PBC Support Funding program, as of 1 July 2019, is administered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). The annual grant program is only available to RNTBCs and all applications for PBC Support Funding must be in the prescribed form and submitted to the relevant Native Title Representative Body or Native Title Service Provider for assessment and recommendation to NIAA.

The purpose of the PBC Support Funding is to assist PBCs to build their long term capacity, with a focus on the ‘critical needs’ of the PBC to meet governance and corporate compliance obligations. Such critical needs may include:  office rent expenses; utilities; office furniture and equipment; insurances; reasonable costs incurred for the conduct of director/general/common law holder meetings; and administration officer wages (generally part time).

Criteria which NIAA takes into account in assessing each application include whether there are alternative sources of funding available and the history of the PBC’s governance and financial management.

Release of approved PBC Support Funding is through the NQLC and will be subject to the terms of the NQLC-PBC Support Funding Process Agreement.

The PBCSU can assist PBCs complete their application if requested.

Please note: PBCs which are not in receipt of PBC Support Funding can still approach the PBCSU for assistance in other matters outlined above. Also, all PBCs in NQLC’s region will be invited to information forums regardless of whether or not they receive PBC Support Funding.

For enquiries about the PBC Support Unit, please contact us on 07 4042 700 or pbcsupport@nqlc.com.au

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