Land Council issues continue
The powerful Northern Land Council has sacked its third CEO in two months.
The Northern Land Council (NLC) is an independent statutory authority representing Aboriginal peoples in the Top End on land rights and other issues.
But the NLC has had a tumultuous run, going through three chief executives in just over two months.
When the new interim CEO - former Labor MLA Jack Ah Kit - turned up to the NLC's Darwin office last week, he was not allowed in by the current management team led by acting CEO Rick Fletcher.
Mr Fletcher said he had not been officially notified of Mr Ah Kit’s appointment by the executive council.
It is the latest event in an ongoing power struggle involving personal conflicts, governance and the performance of the organisation that included the sacking of CEO Joe Morrison in November after five years.
The NLC has released an official statement in which its own nine-member executive council is criticised by Mr Fletcher, who said he was advised on Friday of his own sacking on the day Mr Ah Kit tried to enter the office.
Mr Fletcher wants Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion to urgently convene an NLC Full Council meeting, which comprises 78 elected members, plus five co-opted women, representing 54 communities.
He has also called for an independent person to be appointed acting CEO until the current instability and issues are resolved.
Mr Ah Kit says the NLC has “lost its way”.
“We need to take the organisation back to the people and ensure that the people feel that they have real ownership of it, rather than it operating as a sort of quasi-Aboriginal public service-type organisation,” he told the ABC.
One of the major issues the NLC should be working on is resolving the Blue Mud Bay negotiation over access to the indigenous-owned Northern Territory coastline.
The NLC has to decide whether people will be banned from the area or require permits for recreational and commercial fishing.