Australian news, and some related international items

Mining companies secretive about how they gain consent of Aboriginal communities

handsoffOxfam report mocks Native Title, Lateral Love Australia, by Gerry Georgatos May 20th, 2013    Oxfam Australia has added its weight to the controversy that domestically and internationally embarrasses Australia over how the resources sector and the various prescribed government bodies cheat Aboriginal land owners out of due benefits for access to land for mining projects. Oxfam has completed a study that has found that only one of the 53 biggest miners on the Australian Securities Exchange had a public commitment to the United Nation’s principles of informed consent for Aboriginal peoples.

OXFAM CEO, Helen Szoke said that Australian companies are circumventing the intentions of the Native Title Act and that informed consent is not being secured.

“We looked at the policies of companies specifically within the context of how they dealt with the issue of consent of Indigenous peoples to use their land,” said Ms Szoke.

“Disturbingly what we found is that the majority of companies do not have any transparent policies about how they gain that consent and how they go about negotiating with local Indigenous communities.”

“The second problem is if the negotiation process isn’t sorted out there is an enormously adverse impact on local communities.” Last year the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and for Mining visited Australia while on a worldwide investigation on how the resources sector engages with Aboriginal peoples over compensation for Land Access Agreements and what mining benefits are returned to them. During much of his lengthy visit, Mr Anaya was accompanied by the National Congress’ co-chairs Les Malezer and Jody Broun. Mr Anaya visited Aboriginal Corporations, Traditional Owners and met with mining companies. He also visited the mining boom region of the Pilbara.

Mr Anaya focused his inquiries on extractive industries and to which he said that they pose “a major and immediate concern (for) Indigenous peoples all over the world.” Last year, Mr Anaya who is also a Professor of Law, announced that he would spend much of his second term prioritising the need for an international report on how extractive industries engage with Aboriginal peoples.

“The issue of extractive industries is a major and immediate concern of Indigenous people all over the world,” said Mr Anaya.

“I have seen examples of negligent projects implemented in Indigenous territories without proper guarantees and without the involvement of the peoples concerned.”

Mr Anaya had been involved in drafting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

He argues that there is a need for Governments to ensure good practices are enabled between Aboriginal peoples and the resources sector. He argues for legal and policy reforms that ensure the rights of Aboriginal peoples are secured in terms of benefits from mining being returned to them. He argues that the whole community should benefit and not just individual operators. He has argued for substantive returns from mining to Aboriginal communities…….

Two years ago the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay described Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal peoples as “racism”. Recently, international documentary filmmaker and legendary journalist John Pilger investigated the ‘mining boom’ and how Aboriginal peoples are being ripped off.


May 23, 2013 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: