A special purpose corporation, Gulf Aboriginal Development Company Ltd, was established pursuant to a 1997 agreement between the State of Queensland, certain native title groups which would be affected by the New Century Mine and the mine’s operator, referred to as the Gulf Communities Agreement.
The company was operated by a board of directors drawn from the affected native title groups. For a period of time, the company was not properly managed and was wound up in insolvency in 2019.
Certain members of the affected native title communities sought to terminate the winding up and thereby reinstate the company so that it could continue to operate under the Gulf Communities Agreement, including to receive certain monies payable by the mine which would be for the benefit of the relevant native title groups.
Those proponents put forward a Deed of Company Arrangement which was voted on, and approved. One of the companies which advanced the Deed of Company Arrangement and the liquidator of the company applied to terminate the winding up under section 482 of the Corporations Act 2001.
Justice Freeburn found that when balancing the various relevant discretionary considerations, the factors did not support the termination of the winding up.
Matthew Jones appeared for the applicants, instructed by Tucker & Cowen.
The judgment is published here.