In what has been a shock for some, and a surprise for many, Cameron Costello has resigned and now left his post as the CEO for the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation.
The resignation came on December 15 and his tenure concluded on December 31, 2020.
In a prepared statement, the former CEO of QYAC said: I am making this decision now because I am satisfied that I have achieved everything that I set out to do for the Quandamooka People.
“In fact, the successes are more than I could have imagined.
“I am leaving in total confidence of the positive position our organisation is in and the extremely capable people within the organisation who will continue to deliver successful outcomes.
“QYAC is the best Native Title body in the Country driven by one of the largest memberships who have time and again come out to clearly support Native Title.
“I leave this role with the comfort of knowing the strength of our people will carry us forward through our amazing and dedicated chair, board, and staff,” the statement said.
He also declared in the statement: “In my seven years as CEO, our financial position has grown from $2.6 million in equity, $6.27m in assets and $1.9M in income in 2014 to now having $5.4m in equity, $21m in assets and $17m in income in 2020. Our mining royalties remain in trust for our future generations.”
He was supported in his contribution by Uncle Bob Anderson, who said: “As an Elder and Co-Applicant on our Native Title claims, I have worked closely with Cameron.
“I have observed his pivotal role in negotiations with the State Government throughout the progression of the claims. He has also worked with the Federal and Local Governments as well as many external organisations.
“His management of issues such as Native Title, Cultural Heritage, The Ranger Program, Economic Transition and Cultural Tourism has been extraordinary.
“Along with the Elders, Board and staff, he has created a diversified economy for the Quandamooka Peoples. It is pleasing to me as an Elder to see these employment opportunities for our people.
“Cameron leaves the position of CEO of QYAC with many achievements, it has been remarkable.
“CEO of a Prescribed Body Corporate is a complex role and I acknowledge and thank Cameron for his sound business acumen and management during his years of service. He leaves the organisation in a strong and confident position for the future of our community, Uncle Bob Anderson said.
Not all are full of praise for Cameron Costello and his resignation.
Some Quandamooka elders and families are calling for an independent inquiry in the wake of the QYAC CEO’s abrupt resignation.
Island representatives from the 21 Quandamooka families who form the Original Sovereign Peoples Recognised Elders of Yulu-burri-ba (OSPREY) have again called on the Queensland Premier to commission an independent inquiry into the governance and operations of the native title representative body, QYAC and the impact of the Economic Transition Strategy (ETS) and the Indigenous Land Use Agreement under the guise of the state government legislated program, Minjerribah Futures."
They continued: “Island residents, including local Aboriginal families, have been left reeling with confusion in the wake of Costello’s abrupt resignation.
“Many local Aboriginal families say the CEO leaves the organisation with a ‘raft of unsupported, unpopular and unfinished projects’ and beholden to the wishes of the Queensland government, rather than those of the local Aboriginal community.
“OSPREY questions the divide in the community, the needs of our youth, the ongoing permanent employment issues, the permanent (non- grant related) business income and the the mental health and social well-being concerns of our community.”
Their statement continued: “Aboriginal community members on numerous occasions have made allegations of favouritism, nepotism, workplace bullying, financial mismanagement, board interference in the company’s operations and a lack of
consultation, transparency and accountability.
“The surprising resignation and rapid departure announcement of Cameron Costello as QYAC’s CEO at this very critical point raises serious concerns and suspicions as to the ‘true reason’ for his resignation.
"Considering that the North Stradbroke Island ETS plan has been promoted and marketed by previous State Minister, Jackie Trad on behalf of the Labour Government and by Costello as QYAC’s CEO, and the fact that Trad was not re-elected and Costello’s announcement timing and departure leaves the extremely contentious economic mess of their proposals and plans with the local community.”
Cameron Costello concluded: “I have no immediate plans for my future endeavours. I am taking some time to rest, relax and reflect. However, I look forward to remaining an active QYAC member, to support our great organisation in other ways and roles, and to witness the continued ascendancy of the Quandamooka People, to which I have had the great honour of contributing to.”