The general manager of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY) has refused to resign after some members of the APY executive board voted to remove him.
- Seven members of the APY Executive Board vote to remove General Manager Richard King
- Mr King argues the board meeting to remove him from office is illegal
- The APY Lands Right Act requires at least nine board members to pass a resolution terminating the general manager’s appointment
Richard King, who has been general manager for eight years, contends the board meeting held to remove him from office was illegal.
At a meeting on October 4, according to purported minutes published on social media, seven members of the board voted to end Mr King’s tenure.
“The General Manager Richard King’s fixed term contract of employment having expired no further appointment or contract is to be offered to him so that his office as general manager shall cease,” the minutes noted.
But APY Lands Rights Act requires at least nine of the 14 board members to pass a resolution terminating the general manager’s appointment.
Mr King referred questions to a statement released three days after the meeting.
“Please be advised that the legal basis of an attempt by a militant faction of the APY Executive Board to strongarm the replacement of the general manager is being contested and is not valid,” the statement reads.
It quotes APY Director of Administration Rex Tjami as saying: “Richard King remains as the general manager of APY.”
The resolution is the latest attempt by some senior Anangu people to remove Mr King, whose term heading the management body of SA’s largest Aboriginal-controlled lands has been contentious.
South Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Kyam Maher told the ABC he was not interfering in the dispute.
“I haven’t had any direct discussions with Mr King but I understand he’s still in the role of the GM, but I know there are discussions going on with the APY Executive Board about how they go in the future,” he said.
“As minister, it is not my role to tell APY Executive how to appoint a general manager or who that person should be.”
Mr Maher said the minister could only approve the terms of the general manager’s appointment.
“You only believe in self-determination or you don’t – I certainly do (and) that’s what the Act provides,” he said.
“I look forward to Anangu making the decision for me to approve as minister.”