PBC Survey 2019: Findings and lessons from a cross-sectional study of native title corporations

Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Luke Smyth

Prescribed bodies corporate (PBCs) are corporations which administer or hold in trust the property rights of native title holders. While there are a number of PBCs which are among the most conventionally successful Indigenous corporations in the country, the majority of PBCs have little or no income, assets or employees. Understanding how and why this is the case is crucial if we are to maximise the concrete benefits of native title for traditional owners.

In 2019 the Native Title Research Unit at AIATSIS will conduct a survey of PBCs for the third time since 2013. Like previous surveys, the 2019 PBC Survey will focus on organisational capacity and capabilities, as well as PBC aspirations and their needs and challenges.

Conducting survey research with PBCs throws up a unique set of challenges; not only are PBCs a highly varied yet very small population, the majority of PBCs are also resource-poor and already subject to considerable reporting and consultation burdens. These potentially present major issues for sampling, and spawn a number of other ethical and methodological dilemmas.

This presentation will outline the preliminary results from the survey and the best practice approaches developed to conduct this kind of research with PBCs.