ORIC's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

News 1 Apr 20

The Office of the Registrar Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) is working on temporary arrangements to support Aboriginal organisations’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, as you are faced with unique challenges at this time.

For up-to-date information and resources, ORIC has now set up a dedicated webpage for COVID-19 updates, at oric.gov.au/covid19.

The COVID-19 pandemic will require many corporations to be creative when it comes to meetings. Restrictions on large gatherings and travel, and members’ concerns about attending meetings, will affect a corporation’s ability to meet and make decisions.

The Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) has inbuilt flexibility to allow Aboriginal organisations to maintain good governance in a changing environment. The Registrar will use his unique powers to help corporations manage the impacts of COVID-19. 

Here’s how:

Annual reporting

ORIC is granting extensions of time for reporting until 31 August 2020 for:

  • corporations with a financial year ending 31 December, whose reports would normally be due before 30 June 2020 (i.e. 2019 reporting year)
  • corporations previously affected by the bushfires who already had an extension until 31 March 2020 (2018/19 reporting year).

AGMs

  • New corporations registered from 1 January 2020 will have a six-month extension to hold the corporation’s first meeting
  • Calendar-year corporations need to hold their AGM by 31 May 2020. Contact ORIC if you need a further extension.

Other meetings

ORIC has issued a set of special rules for COVID-19 to help corporations continue holding meetings and making decisions during the pandemic. These special rules are available at oric.gov.au/covid19.

  • If your rule book already allows you to use technology (phone and video) to hold meetings, you can continue to do this.
  • If your rule book doesn’t cover the use of technology for meetings, visit oric.gov.au/covid19 to read the special rules. If you’d like to adopt these rules, contact ORIC to use the Registrar’s powers to amend your rule book.

More help

ORIC also has some basic information at oric.gov.au to help corporations with questions about employment issues, relief for distressed businesses and how to use technology in meetings.

ORIC staff have stopped providing face-to-face services but are still available to answer your questions and provide advice on 1800 622 431 or at info@oric.gov.au.