Undertaking a Special Administration engagement to revitalise a vital drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for ORIC.

Orana Haven Aboriginal Corporation operates a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre located in a remote part of Western New South Wales. 

The corporation was experiencing governance and operational issues, which resulted in the total cessation of client intake.

They needed a trusted partner with extensive experience in Special Administrations and a deep understanding of the unique needs of Indigenous corporations.

RSM undertook a Special Administrations engagement on behalf of ORIC to resolve all governance issues and resume operations. 

Extensive experience in Special Administrations and supporting Indigenous corporations

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) is a government agency dedicated to supporting and regulating the corporations that are owned and governed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. government case study

RSM has a long history of conducting and completing Special Administrations on behalf of ORIC, as well as Administrations on behalf of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) and Funds Administrations on behalf of other Government Funding Agencies. 

The main responsibilities of the Special Administrator include:

  1. Taking control of the corporation’s affairs and oversight the conduct of its business for the duration of the appointment;
  2. Establishing if the corporation is financially viable (or it has the potential to become financially viable);
  3. Completing the special administration in accordance with the policy statement within a 6 month time-frame;
  4. Facilitating, with assistance from ORIC, appropriate corporate governance training.
  5. Preparing the corporation to be handed back to the control of its members; and
  6. Ensuring that the members and other relevant parties are regularly informed about the progress of the special administration in accordance with the policy statement.

Working with stakeholders to resolve strained relationships

With the cessation of operations and client intake, relationships with Government funding agencies, key stakeholders, and the community were strained and required considerable consultation to rebuild. 

Orana Haven Aboriginal Corporation received funding from both State and Federal Government Agencies and had relationships with many additional stakeholders.  

The primary funding stakeholders were the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH), NSW Health and Aboriginal Hostels. Additional stakeholders (excluding funding agencies and ORIC) who had a relationship with the Corporation were:

  • Greater Western Area Health / New South Wales Health through the Brewarrina Hospital
  • Aboriginal Medical Services located in Brewarrina, Bourke and Walgett
  • Healthy for Life Program providers
  • Murdi Paaki Drug and Alcohol Network (MPDAN)
  • Network of Drug and Alcohol Agencies (NADA)
  • Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC)
  • Community Working Party members
  • Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly members
  • Centrelink
  • Department of Corrections Probation and Parole

During the course of the engagement, RSM held a total of ten face-to-face stakeholder and community consultations across varied locations. We also had numerous phone conferences with ORIC, OATSIH, NSW Health and Aboriginal Hostels.


As a result of the level of consultation held, RSM was able to establish an Advisory Committee to assist with the development of a therapeutic drug and alcohol program.  

We were also able to establish a very strong Board consisting of representatives from the following stakeholders:

  • Brewarrina, Dubbo and Walgett Aboriginal Medical Servicesaboriginal case study
  • Probation and Parole
  • Maari Ma Health
  • Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly
  • NSW Police Bourke Area Command

With the establishment of the Advisory Committee, Board, and the recruitment of a highly qualified Manager, the Corporation was able to secure funding and recommence residential care operations in February 2011. 

A revitalised pillar of community health

Today, Orana Haven Aboriginal Corporation continues to operate as a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. It is a key provider and stakeholder in the Western District Area of New South Wales, building on the excellent work done during the Special Administration.  

This success story is a testament to the power of collaboration, expertise, and a deep understanding of the unique needs of Indigenous corporations.

RSM is proud to have played a role in the revitalization of Orana Haven Aboriginal Corporation and we look forward to continuing to support ORIC and Indigenous corporations across Australia.


If you would like to learn more about the topics discussed in this article, please contact your local RSM office.