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Prescribed Bodies Corporate Survey 2019

The 2019 Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBC) Survey continues AIATSIS’ research on the aspirations and activities of PBCs and identifies existing barriers to the effective operation of native title organisations.

PBCs are not only highly varied but are also resource-poor and subjected to considerable reporting and consultation burdens. Surveying the capabilities, activities and needs of PBCs helps generate a national picture to track PBC developments, provide policy advice to government and address sector needs for information and support.

The 2019 survey was based on previous studies which began in 2013. Our research has focussed on the administrative, governance and economic capabilities of PBCs nationally. Results from the original 2013 survey were used by AIATSIS to argue for the importance of adequate resourcing and support for PBCs and informed the  Australian Government's Native Title Organisations Review and published as a paper on director demographics and the future of PBCs.

PBCs are still struggling to meet their basic obligations without assistance. PBC directors also have numerous responsibilities and competing priorities and spend many hours on native title work with limited to no remuneration.

A second survey was conducted in 2017 as part of the PBC Corporate Capability Project collecting information about the work that PBCs do, as well as information about the size, function, governance, operational and economic capacity of PBCs around Australia. This research resulted in a suite of policy papers.

The 2019 survey was focused less on the struggle of PBCs but more on the work they do and plan and their vision for the future. The survey tested the prevalent narrative which assumed economic development, financial sustainability, wealth and job creation as the end goals for PBCs. This survey helped to paint a more complete picture of the PBCs' situation with data drawn from other sources, including ORIC general reports. The survey was conducted in partnership with National Native Title Council (NNTC), and CSIRO and was funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Publication of survey results

To access your PBC's survey data please email 

Some highlights from the survey are summarised in these snapshots:

Project team

Dr Belinda Burbidge (NNTC)
Dr Marcus Barber (CSIRO)
Dr Christiane Keller

Last updated: 20 March 2023