Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Metgasco Limited, Trevor Close and the Githabul Nation

WrestlingNewsMedia.com Trevor Close seated on the right

The Northern Star 21 February 2014:
MEMBERS of the local Githabul tribe have distanced themself from calls by the chairman of their native title corporation to join forces with the gas industry.
The dispute follows years of infighting within the Githabul Nation Aboriginal Corporation (GNAC) which administers 1120 sq km of native title land along the Queensland border surrounding Woodenbong.
GNAC chairman Trevor Close this week identified Metgasco's planned well at Bentley as suitable for a joint venture with the native title corporation.
Mr Close declared in a statement that the "the potential of this new gas well will deliver millions back to the Githabul people".
Under a so-called "farm-in" agreement, GNAC would become a co-investor in the drilling project and take a percentage stake in any future profits.
Metgasco chief Peter Henderson said farm-in agreements were common in the oil and gas industry, with up to two, three, and even four parties taking stakes in some projects.
Mr Close said the Githabul people were "happy to share gas" with NSW in the "spirit of reconciliation", and to stop the state's interstate gas dependency.
But Githabul elder Gloria Williams said no one in her tribe supported the gas industry, and that Mr Close lived in Sydney and ran a mining consultancy.
She said GNAC had been hijacked by a group "intent on doing mining deals", which didn't have local support.
"We live in the heart of Githabul and have been trying to address this issue with GNAC, and they have been avoiding us for two years," she said.
"All these deals he [Mr Close] is talking about, we have never sat down as a tribe and spoken about."....

ABC North Coast NSW 20 February 2014:

Githabul Elder Aunty Gloria Williams told ABC North Coast that the Githabul Nation Aboriginal Corporation was under investigation by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).
ORIC issued a statement to ABC North Coast: " ORIC's practice is not to confirm or deny whether a complaint has been received or if a corporation is under investigation. ORIC only comments on outcomes of regulatory action, which is available on our website at www.oric.gov.au."
A document posted on the ORIC website shows two auditors were appointed in December 2013 to investigate the finances of the corporation.

TNR Financial Services were to conduct the financial investigation in question.

GNAC chairman Trevor Close mentioned in the first article quoted has resided in South Australia, West Australia and in the Sydney metropolitan area of New South Wales.

In 2008 the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies described Trevor John Close as an Indigenous commercial lawyer currently working in the resources industry.

In 2010 the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations listed him as having registered the United Githabul Tribal Nation Aboriginal Corporation in 1997. It was deregistered in 2010.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) lists another company Bonalbo Developments Pty Limited as being registered in 2007 and deregistered in in 2009.
In one of a number of Linkedin current entries Trevor Close is listed as a lawyer for Bonalbo Developments and as the chief executive officer of Yelgun Djaru Oil and Gas. Business.gov.au lists Yelgun Djaru Mining & Gas Services as a business name used by Trevor Close since 2010;

Mr. Close appears to have a troubled relationship with Githabul people.

On 22 March 2010 The Northern Star journalist Alex Easton reported on an incident which saw Mr. Close appear in court:

Trevor Close, 48, a Githabul man now living in Perth, appeared in Lismore Local Court where he pleaded not guilty to a charge of punching Robert Williams outside a Kyogle meeting on the local native title process on April 8 last year.
Close denies the charge, saying Mr Williams took the first swing....
Close said, once in the hall, he was knocked to the ground and set upon by '20 to 30 people' and feared for his life.
He later amended his account of the attackers to include only the Williams men.
"They nearly killed me," he told the court. "Blows started coming from everywhere. I was in fear of my life."
Close told the court he saw people breaking off chair legs to use in the attack on him, but his elderly aunts intervened by 'throwing their bodies over me'.
The aunts told a slightly different story.
They had been in various parts of the hall when Close, Mr Williams and two or three of Mr Williams' sons brawled into the hall.
The Williams men were throwing punches at Close, and he was throwing punches back.
None of them saw Close fall to the ground and they certainly didn't 'throw their bodies' over him - although they put themselves between Close and the Williams men.
None of them saw anyone breaking off chair legs to join the fray either - although one of the aunts later broke a broom handle and pointed it at Robert Williams as she told him it was time for the fighting to stop.
It was the vast difference in accounts that brought Close undone in court.
Magistrate Robyn Denes noted there were no witnesses able to say who threw the first punch outside, beyond Close and Mr Williams, meaning, for her, it came down to who gave the most reliable evidence in court.
Mr Williams' evidence and that of other witnesses had been delivered honestly, she said.
However, Ms Denes said Close continually exaggerated his own evidence.
Ms Denes accused Close of being arrogant and of taking 'every moment he could to place himself in a position of importance over and above the Williams family' and others in the Githabul community, 'even by throwing in that he was the only person in that community to receive a tertiary education'.
On that basis, Ms Denes said she could not accept Close's evidence over Mr Williams' and so found he had thrown the first punch and was guilty of assault.
Ms Denes convicted Close and released him on a section 9 bond.
However, Close later said he was lodging an appeal on all grounds 'including severity', saying he had been convicted because he was arrogant.

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