$1.3m in Commonwealth festival money missing

In Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Government, National Headlines, Northern Territory

Mbantua Festival organisers face cash questions

From abc.net.au, 11th April 2014

The finances of an Indigenous cultural festival in the Northern Territory are being investigated by the regulator of Aboriginal corporations.

The Mbantua Festival was held at Alice Springs last October and was largely funded by more than $1.3 million from the Commonwealth’s Aboriginals Benefit Account.

It featured performances by Jessica Mauboy, Missy Higgins and Bernard Fanning.

But, since the event, the festival’s creative director, artists and staff have revealed they have not been paid.

The ABC understands up to 60 creditors are planning to launch legal action to recover their money.

The Arrulka Business Aboriginal Corporation, which staged the event, is being investigated by the Office of Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).

An examination of the books was conducted earlier this month.

In a statement ORIC says the investigation is ongoing.

The Arrulka Business Aboriginal Corporation has not responded to ABC requests to discuss the matter.

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