ACSI has today welcomed the interim report from the Standing Committee on Northern Australia’s inquiry into the destruction of 46,000 year old caves at the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara and the strong bi-partisan support for the Committee’s recommendations.
ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said “The interim report of Parliamentary inquiry has identified a significant failing in the way Rio Tinto managed its relationship with Traditional Owners. There is no doubt that this tragedy has resulted in a substantial loss of cultural heritage for First Nations Australians and the broader community.
”The report has also highlighted the material risks for investors. Long-term investors support structural and cultural changes to the way companies approach their relationships with First Nations stakeholders. This includes support for appropriate legislative changes to ensure implementation of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and that international commitments are upheld.
“We encourage the Federal and West Australian Governments to act on the recommendations outlined in this report, and support change to ensure that this never happens again.
“The interim report also continues to raise questions around the cultural and operational failures at Rio Tinto and across the industry more broadly. This includes Rio Tinto prioritising commercial gain over the engagement with First Nations people critical to their social license to operate. It is important that Rio Tinto and other affected companies respond to the recommendations of this important report. ”she said.
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