Using the provisions of the OFA, as well as other benefits and rights, MG Corporation’s mission is to improve the social, cultural and economic well-being of MG people.

In order to achieve this undertaking, a complex governance structure has been established by MG people comprising MG Corporation itself, three subsidiary trustee companies (Dawang Land Trust, Developments Trust and the Community Foundation Trust), and two prescribed bodies corporate (the MG PBCs), as well a number of joint management bodies and government partnerships. The representative nature of MG Corporation is shaped by a traditional cultural structure, with members of each Dawang (traditional land or estate group) participating at all governance levels.

The Garralyel comprises MG elders recognised as holding traditional knowledge of country and is the traditional decision-making authority for matters related to MG law and culture.

The Garralyel provides guidance and advice to MG Corporation and its related entities, particularly the MG PBCs and the Dawang Land Trust, in relation to native title, heritage issues, country, culture, law and language, as well as Dawang membership and the composition of each MG group.

The Garralyel also acts as an advisory body to the Dawang Council, making recommendations regarding traditional decision-making and adherence to MG law and cultural practices.

The Dawang Council is made up of 16 MG members representing each Dawang (traditional land or estate group).

Each Dawang Council Representative is chosen by the relevant Dawang members in accordance with traditional decision-making within that group. The Dawang Council approves MG membership, approves the appointment of directors of MG Corporation and its related entities, approves the appointment of the CEO, provides advice and guidance to the MG Board of directors and MG entities and determines the priorities and vision of MG Corporation, approving the MG strategic plan.

The Dawang Council may refer matters to the Garralyel for guidance and advice in relation to county, culture, law, language and heritage.

The MG Board of directors comprises 5 MG directors, up to 5 alternate MG directors and up to 2 independent directors.

Lawford Benning
Chairperson


Helen Gerrard
Deputy Chairperson

Donald Chulung
Director


Ahmuth Bin Omar
Director

Ted Carlton
Director


Tom Stephens OAM
Independent Director

Zainel Bin Busu
Alternate Director

Skye Peart
Alternate Director

Margaret Moore
Alternate Director

The MG PBCs hold native title on behalf of the MG native title holders. Their boards are made up of five MG directors approved by the Dawang Council and appointed by the PBC boards.

Under the Native Title Act, the PBCs are entitled to receive notifications from third parties who wish to conduct any activity on MG land which may have an impact on MG native title rights (this can include public works, exploration, mining, agricultural development, clearance of native vegetation, tourism and other land activities). Depending on the interest being applied for, MG traditional owners have a further right to comment, consult or negotiate in relation to the activity.

The Aboriginal Heritage Act affords MG people additional rights in relation to the protection and preservation of their Aboriginal heritage and culture. The MG PBCs are also responsible for managing heritage issues on behalf of MG traditional owners.

For more information in relation to native title and the role of the MG PBCs see here.

Garralyel with the Community Liaison Team during a site visit

The MG Community Foundation Trust is a charitable trust established to provide assistance to MG people for education, community development, promotion of art, law and culture, the relief of poverty, disadvantage, sickness or affliction and for the protection of the natural environment.

The Community Foundation Trust board is made of no less than three and no more than five MG directors, and one independent director, nominated by the MG Corporation board and one independent director nominated by the Western Australian State Government.

The Community Foundation Trust also continues the good work of the Ord Enhancement Scheme management committee. The Ord Enhancement Scheme was established under the OFA as a new State Government program administered in partnership between the State of Western Australia and MG traditional owners. With leverage funding of $11.195 million, the purpose of the OES was to address the recommendations of the Aboriginal Social and Economic Impact Assessment Report prepared by the Kimberley Land Council in 2004 and issues arising as a result of the creation of Lake Argyle. With the OES funding due to come to an end, all remaining funds and programs were transferred to the Community Foundation Trust in 2013.

Helen Gerrard and Yale Bolto, CFT directors
Jeff Gooding, CFT director

The MG Dawang Land Trust receives and holds traditional country of the MG people, including community living areas, conservation areas, buffer areas and other areas of cultural or historical significance.

It also holds the freehold interest in Yardungarrl, a 50,000 hectare parcel of land to the north of Lake Argyle representing an area of great cultural importance to the MG people and the largest land transfer ever to take place in Western Australia.

In 2012, the MG Dawang Land Trust used funding from the Ord Enhancement Scheme to secure additional funding from the Royalties for Regions program to construct 10 new houses on 10 of its community living areas to provide housing for MG people. The MG Dawang Land Trust worked closely with the Kimberley Development Commission to complete the project and negotiated a housing management agreement with the Department of Housing to provide for ongoing repair and maintenance to the majority of those homes.

The board of the MG Dawang Land Trust is made up of up to three MG directors and one independent director, nominated by the MG Corporation directors.

Bell Springs Community Living Area

The MG Developments Trust was created as the economic development arm of MG Corporation. The MG Developments Trust works closely with the other MG Corporation entities and is committed to building a strong economic base for MG people beyond the life of the OFA by pursuing an inclusive economic development agenda, while protecting and enhancing MG culture and heritage.

The trustee company board consists of one independent director and no more than 3 MG directors, nominated by the directors of MG Corporation.

For more information in relation to MG Corporation’s focus on economic development see here.

Ord River farmlands

MGC Building & Maintenance Pty Ltd (MGCBM) was established in late 2013 through the MG Developments Trust as a purely commercial venture, targeting the market for residential and commercial building and maintenance in the East Kimberley region. The board of MGCBM must comprise at lease one director and currently comprises two MG directors.

For more information in relation to MGCBM and MG Corporation’s focus on economic opportunities see economic development.

Refurbishment of the Balgo Police Station, 2016
31165 rangers on Lake Argyle

Reserve 31165 covers 125,000 hectares and is bordered on two sides by Lake Argyle. The reserve is jointly managed by MG Corporation and the Western Australian Department of Water.

A Joint Management Committee is responsible for creating, implementing and monitoring the Management Plan for the reserve. The Joint Management Committee comprises representatives from the Department of Water and from each of the four Dawang groups within Reserve 31165, namely: Bilibijing, Yunurr, No Name and Mandangala.

Ongoing works affecting Reserve 31165 include the monitoring of use of the land by pastoral lessees, weed management, fencing programs, fauna surveys, identifying tourism and development opportunities and ongoing community relations.

In addition to the collaboration between MG Corporation and the Department of Water, a Service Level Agreement has been entered into between MG Corporation and the Department of Parks and Wildlife for the operation of a ranger program at Reserve 31165. Funded by the Commonwealth Government through its ‘Working on Country’ program, the ranger program provides funding for four full time rangers and a ranger supervisor to work on Reserve 31165. Each of the rangers represents one of the four Dawang groups within the reserve.

The Yoorrooyang Dawang Regional Park Council represents a joint initiative between MG Corporation and the Department of Parks and Wildlife for the management of six new conservation areas that were created under the OFA, as well as three existing conservation areas in the Kununurra area.

The Council comprises representatives from the Department of Parks and Wildlife and MG representatives from each relevant Dawang group and makes decisions about the management of the conservation areas.

Ongoing works affecting the conservation areas include: signage in Miriuwung; installation of infrastructure to facilitate tourism in the region; ecological and cultural mapping; tourism development opportunities; implementing a weed strategy; wildfire mitigation plans; creation of trainee programs and supporting existing community relation programs.

The Yoorrooyang Dawang Regional Park Council is proud of its management team including three MG rangers, all of whom are encouraged to complete tertiary Conservation and Land Management qualifications.

Controlled burning as part of wildfire mitigation