In the realm of leadership, there are those who inherit chaos and struggle to bring order, and then there are those who step into a role that is already in an enviably stable state.
Such was the case when Charles Lynch took over the reins from Councillor Briggs as the representative for the Northern Region in the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC).
The Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) were running smoothly, carrying out their tasks effectively under the steady leadership of Councillor Briggs. It was a testament to his dedication and hard work that Lynch found himself in such an advantageous position.
As he assumed his new responsibilities, Lynch couldn’t help but express his admiration for the solid foundation that had been laid before his tenure.
He recognised that all of the LALCs were operating from a position of strength. They had a robust operational framework from which they could continue to build their initiatives, an undeniable testament to their stability.
With a keen eye for detail, Lynch observed,
“All of them (Local Aboriginal Land Councils) have a really good platform to work off, they’re stable. And I think for the last 10 years in particular, thanks to the drive of the previous Councillor, Councillor Briggs.”Charles Lynch Councillor, Northern Region NSWALC
This statement highlighted Lynch’s recognition of Briggs’ successful leadership and set a high benchmark for Lynch’s own tenure within NSWALC.
But it wasn’t just about maintaining stability; it was about building upon it.
As one chapter closed with Councillor Briggs’ departure, another began with Charles Lynch at its helm and it was now up to him to take what had been achieved thus far and propel NSWALC into new horizons.
Lynch knew that true success lay not only in recognising the past accomplishments of Councillor Briggs but also in envisioning and working towards a brighter future.
But over the past eight years, how effectively has he carried out his responsibilities as the Councillor for the Northern Regions of NSWALC?
The year is 2023, and within the intricate tapestry of the NSWALC under Charles Lynch’s leadership, a mosaic of contrasting hues emerges.
Lynch, a figure who has been at the helm of the Northern Region and 14 LALCs for quite some time now, sheds light on an intriguing development in the Northern Region.
Amongst the fourteen LALCs operating within this area, only one stands under administration – the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council (RCLALC).
This appointment marks a significant occurrence as it is the first time in nearly two decades that such action has been taken, and allegedly it never happened under his predecessor Councillor Briggs who left the LALCs in his region in good health before Councillor Lynch’s appointment.
Intriguingly, four LALCs have been identified as high-risk entities by Lynch himself. However, he remains tight-lipped about divulging specific reasons behind this classification.
But such ambiguity leaves us yearning for more information, eager to understand why these particular LALCs fall into this precarious category.
Delving into matters of fiscal scrutiny unravels an even more intricate web of complexities. A staggering revelation surfaces as we discover that employee expenses within NSWALC amount to an astonishing $24.4 million – almost parallel to the $29.9 million allocated to 120 LALCs responsible for carrying out vital community work.
But that’s not all; there exists another financial realm shrouded in mystery – “all other expenses” totalling a substantial $16.9 million.
These figures raise pertinent questions surrounding fund allocation and management practices within NSWALC.
Moreover, our attention turns towards yet another facet deserving scrutiny – The NSWALC Statutory Investment Fund (SIF). Tasked with providing resources for both NSWALC operations and its network of LALCs, this fund has witnessed a significant financial decline.
As of June 30, 2022, the SIF’s valuation stands at $598.7 million – a disconcerting decrease of $68.5 million from the previous fiscal year.
Such worrisome downturns transpiring under Lynch’s leadership in the Northern Region raise alarm bells regarding the welfare of this crucial Aboriginal reparations fund.
To dismiss these substantial financial losses as isolated incidents would be an oversimplification of a much larger, unsettling trend plaguing NSWALC for an extended period. The erosion of Aboriginal funds over time due to significant financial mismanagement is an issue that cannot be ignored any longer.
It compels us to initiate a comprehensive review of Councillor Lynch’s leadership and gauge its impact on the LALCs within the Northern Region.
As we peer into the horizon, it becomes abundantly clear that how we navigate these pressing financial challenges will undoubtedly shape not only the future of these local councils but also profoundly impact the communities they serve.
The stakes are high, and only by addressing these issues head-on can we hope to carve a path towards prosperity and restore faith in NSWALC’s ability to steward Aboriginal funds with utmost care and responsibility.
This begs the question: What are we getting in return for these financial investments?
- Employee expenses of $24,378,000.00 almost eclipse the money they give to the 120 Local Aboriginal Councils who do the (very) large majority of work in communities but only receive a few mil extra at $29,949,000.00.
- ‘All other expenses’ is an extra $16,907,000… business class flights expensive these days? 🤔
- Substantial financial losses amounting to tens of millions of dollars have been incurred by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) and unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident confined to a single year. The council has been plagued by significant financial mismanagement, resulting in the erosion of Aboriginal funds over an extended period.
NSW Aboriginal Land Council’s Statutory Investment Fund (SIF)
The Statutory Investment Fund (the SIF) was established as part of the ALRA and resourced for 15 years with an annual amount equal to 7.5 per cent of NSW land tax on non-residential land. All government contributions to the SIF ceased in 1998.ANNUAL REPORT 2021–2022 – Parliament of NSW
SIF is responsible for resourcing the operations of NSWALC and its network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs), is under the stewardship of the Council of NSWALC. As of June 30, 2022, the SIF had a valuation of $598.7 million, marking a substantial decrease of $68.5 million for the 2021-22 financial year.
The Council, under his watch for the Northern Region of NSW, has seen the Aboriginal reparations fund suffer a decline amounting to tens of millions of dollars and this disheartening financial trend calls for a closer examination of Councillor Lynch’s leadership and its impact on the LALCs that he represents.
Future: a better future without Charles Lynch as Councillor?
As the year 2024 looms nearer, the winds of change begin to whisper through the corridors of NSWALC.
With the upcoming elections, an opportunity arises to reflect on the past leadership and ponder the potential that lies ahead. The prospect of a Northern Region without Charles Lynch as Councillor beckons us towards a new dawn, brimming with possibilities for transformation and development.
Undoubtedly, Councillor Lynch’s tenure has been eventful, not devoid of controversy.
From grappling with significant financial losses to instability across various LALCs, his leadership has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the region. As his time at the helm (hopefully) draws to a close, it is essential that we acknowledge these realities and deliberate upon how future leaders might address both triumphs and trials encountered during Lynch’s extraordinary term.
The forthcoming elections hold paramount importance in shaping the trajectory of NSWALC’s Northern Region.
It is a chance for Aboriginal communities to raise their voices, articulate their concerns, and most significantly, express their expectations for what lies ahead. The incoming leadership will bear the responsibility of building upon past successes while remedying areas that proved challenging under Lynch’s watchful eye.
Financial stability will be an area demanding immediate attention from our future Councillor.
After enduring a tumultuous period marred by financial mismanagement, transparency in fund allocation and usage must take centre stage. Coupled with strategic planning for the efficient operation of LALCs, this will serve as a crucial foundation moving forward. Moreover, effective community engagement through strong advocacy and clear vision will be vital in driving successful economic development and enhancing community land and business plans.
In retrospect, it becomes evident that these 2024 NSWALC elections hold tremendous significance in charting our course into uncharted waters.
Without Charles Lynch as Councillor, we stand on the precipice of a transformative era for Aboriginal communities. The future teems with potential for positive change, but it also carries with it a sense of responsibility and the need for careful deliberation. The communities yearn for new leadership that can harness the positive momentum while unravelling the negatives to reveal opportunities ripe for growth and development.
As we traverse this uncharted path, let us embrace the uncertainty that lies ahead. The departure of Charles Lynch heralds both an end and a beginning; an end to one chapter in NSWALC’s history and a beginning of another replete with possibilities.
With each vote cast, we shape our collective destiny – shaping not only our present but also crafting a legacy for generations yet to come.
In closing, let us cast aside doubt and hesitation as we march towards an unwritten future. The time has come to bid adieu to Charles Lynch’s reign and embrace what awaits us beyond – a brighter future with a new leader.