Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Rumbalara anger out in the open

118 members have signed a petition calling for the board to resign

ESTELLE GRIEPINK September 5, 2014 11:00am

Group of elders handing in a petition to vote no confidence in the co-op board at RumbalaraL-R. Sonya Parsons, Noel Briggs, Betty Lovett, Max Jackson, Val Doody, Aunty June Murray, Monica Phillips and Narida Vella

A petition calling for the resignation of Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative’s remaining four board directors has been presented to the organisation’s chairman.

Elders Aunty June Murray and Aunty Valda Doody presented the petition, signed by 118 co-operative members, to John Martin at the Mooroopna site yesterday.

The petition calls for a special general meeting to take place so the board of directors can be stood down.

‘‘We do not have any confidence in their ability to conduct the day-to-day or future business in our co-operative in the best interest of our community,’’ it says.

Under the co-operative’s constitution, a special general meeting must take place on the written request of at least 20 per cent of the co-operative’s members.

The board has 21 days to announce the meeting date.

Aunty June told The News the board was destroying the co-operative.

‘‘I was there from the grassroots, and to see it built up to what it is today, I was so proud,’’ she said.

‘‘But now those people are tearing it down brick by brick — it hurts us.’’

The News sat down with John Martin and acting chief executive Luke Brock yesterday morning to discuss community concerns before the petition was delivered.

The News contacted Mr Martin immediately after learning of the petition for comment, but at the time of going to press he had not responded.

Rumbalara co-founder Aunty Frances Mathyssen said the co-operative had been ‘‘in turmoil’’ since November.


‘‘My community should be at the forefront of all decisions made in regard to Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative — there are many community members, especially elders, who are not receiving appropriate support,’’ she said.

Petition co-organiser Narida Vella said the petition represented the views of many people in the community.

On top of the 118 member signatures, 83 others signed the petition.

‘‘Every traditional family group has been represented and it has also been signed by a number of staff members who are worried,’’ she said.

‘‘This isn’t a personal thing. I’m here because I respect and value the work our elders have done for us and it’s time the younger generation kept up their legacy.’’

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