THE state Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins has twice written to the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust asking why an administrator should not be appointed.
A spokeswoman for the minister said show-cause notices had been served on the trust and replies were expected in a fortnight.
“After considering a range of relevant information over recent months, including some obtained personally through consultation meetings at Framlingham, the minister came to the view that there may be relevant grounds for appointing an administrator," she said.
“The act enables the minister to appoint an administrator to the trust in certain circumstances. In this case, those circumstances relate to an administrator being required in the interests of trust members and residents."
The spokeswoman said that on August 24, the minister issued a notice pursuant to the act calling on the trust committee to show cause as to why an administrator should not be appointed.
The notice set out the relevant ground on which the minister relied for the serving of the notice and details of issues at the trust which were of concern, and which the minister had sought a response.
"The relevant ground is that the appointment of an administrator may be required in the interest of the members of the trust or the residents of Framlingham," the spokeswoman said.
"In particular, the minister is concerned about the failure to hold annual general meetings, community safety concerns around ongoing violence, bullying and intimidation within the trust, and conflict of interest and mismanagement concerns.
"In accordance with the act, the minister has exercised her discretion to consult with residents of Framlingham and invited both the committee and residents to make submissions as to why an administrator should not be appointed.
"Before the minister makes any decision about appointing an administrator she will carefully consider any representation in respect of the relevant issues outlined in the show-cause notice."
A second letter was sent about an ongoing trust share issue.
"On May 17 this year the minister met with trust members at Framlingham, where the transfer of the late Ms Alice Clark's shares to Mr Geoff Clark was raised," the spokeswoman said.
"This issue had previously been raised with the minister on numerous occasions. It is evident that concerns about the share transfer remain an ongoing, contributing factor to community tension among trust members."
The spokeswoman said that in March last year, the minister issued a notice requesting the trust committee produce evidence the share transfer complied with the act.
"By letter dated October 17, 2017, the minister informed the trust that she was satisfied with the response to the notice," she said.
"However, this issue continues to be raised with the minister, and it clearly remains unresolved at the community level."
The spokeswoman said a further review had been carried out of the relevant information provided by the trust in response to the notice.
"It appears the share transfer instrument used to transfer the shares may not be a 'proper instrument of transfer' within the meaning of the act," she said.
"While the minister considers her options within the act, she wrote to the trust on August 29 inviting the committee to provide any additional information or comments relating to the share transfer.”
Framlingham trust administrator Brian Davis has been contacted for comment, but has as yet not replied.
Framlingham trust chairman Brian Davis has questioned why Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins is calling for please explains while there is an ongoing review into the future of Victoria's two Aboriginal trusts.
Mr Davis said letters asking to show cause why the Framlingham trust should continue under the current committee had been received and were being answered.
"We are in the process of answering those concerns. The lawyers are sending in a response. We expect that to be sent in today," he said.
Mr Davis said the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust did hold its annual general meeting, although that meeting was late and held on April 30 this year.
He there were good reasons the AGM was held late and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria had been kept completely informed of those factors.
"We've done everything we possibly can. I don't think appointing an administrator is going to help in any way. The community is just too divided. There are people who will never speak again," he said.
"Yes, we believe we can answer all the questions that have been asked. Who knows whether it will be to the satisfaction of the minister."
Mr Davis questioned why letters were being issued by the minister and there was the threat of appointing an administrator when there was a review into both the Lake Tyers and Framlingham trusts.
"Why would the minister be appointing an administrator when they're rushing through a review by next month?" he said.
"There have been issues raised but these could have been addressed when the minister was down here on site. That would have been the perfect time to address those matters.”