non-profit-fact-sheets

Non-Profit Fact Sheets

What is an Indigenous Corporation?


Published: August 19, 2013

Read Time: 2 minutes

Indigenous corporation

When establishing a non-profit organisation, founders can choose from a large range of legal forms. An organisation’s legal structure will determine the types of activities it is legally able to carry out and which government bodies it is required to seek registration from or report to. Indigenous Corporations are one possible structure of a non-profit organisation. Find out more about the other types of legal structures here.

Indigenous Corporations are overseen by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) an independent statutory officer holder appointed by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006. Most but not all Indigenous Corporations are non-profit organisations.

ORIC has the power to register Indigenous entities that wish to become incorporated and assist and support corporations to both run effectively and cater to their community. Like ASIC, ORIC also has the authority to intervene when an Indigenous Corporation or its directors are found to be failing in its duties or requirements.

Most Indigenous Corporations could also be incorporated or registered according to one or other of the various structures listed in this fact sheet, but this specific structure affords cultural and community understanding and support and in some cases varied requirements that might make it a better choice for some organisations. Indigenous Corporations that are also classified as charities are exempted from reporting to the ACNC.

Indigenous Corporation's: Frequently Asked Questions

An Indigenous Corporation is a specific type of organisational legal structure that can be used in Australia. Indigenous Corporations are overseen by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) an independent statutory officer holder appointed by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006. Most but not all Indigenous Corporations are non-profit organisations.

According to ORIC's most recent Top 500 report from 2015/2016, as at end June 2016 there were 2781 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered under the the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006

Aboriginal Corporations can be a for-profit or not-for-profit organisation.

The Indigenous Governance Toolkit is a great resource for leadership teams of Indigenous Corporations. It is a joint venture of Reconciliation Australia and the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute. The toolkit is a free public-access document designed to provide information and guidance to Indigenous communities and organisations. The toolkit draws on the research of the Indigenous Community Governance Project.



This fact sheet is intended as a simple overview. Non-profit law is incredibly complex and there are many components, allowances, restrictions, exceptions and important qualifications that are not described above. Dedicated legal advice should be sought from a legal practitioner before taking action.

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Better Boards connects the leaders of Australasian non-profit organisations to the knowledge and networks necessary to grow and develop their leadership skills and build a strong governance framework for their organisation.

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