First Nations Alliance and BHP strengthen heritage protection

October 13, 2020 Mining Editor

BHP and the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance have jointly agreed a path forward to enhance the influence and voice of traditional owners in relation to heritage protection.
  
BHP has continued our work with traditional owners in Australia, and more recently with the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance, to identify areas we can work together cooperatively to improve standards and practices in relation to cultural heritage.

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From this work we have determined a set of shared Principles around Aboriginal Heritage in Australia which reaffirm BHP’s commitment to Free, Prior and Informed Consent in agreement making.  Together we agree regulatory regimes should respect and reflect these rights.

The Principles also reaffirm a shared commitment to self-determination for Aboriginal peoples, their right to speak proudly and publicly about their culture and their heritage; and recognition that building a better understanding of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Australia is ongoing and together we can play an important role. 

In addition, we have set a commitment for Aboriginal cultural heritage keeping places in Australia to better reflect traditional owners’ values, culture and pride.  Together, we aim to also make these places of knowledge, learning and celebration of the unique living cultures they are connected to, as well as places where artefacts can be respectfully stored and visited.

First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance Co-Chair, Kado Muir, said he was confident the work with BHP would lead to improved cultural heritage protection across Australia.

“We have been heartened by the constructive approach BHP have adopted to our discussions with them.  Together we are determined to drive industry reform and legislative change that improves both agreement making and the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage which is of immense value to all Australians,” Mr Muir said.

BHP President Minerals Australia Edgar Basto said: “I acknowledge traditional owners and the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance for their trust and contribution to a shared future that strengthens our protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Australia.  I look forward to our continuing partnership to deliver the commitments we have made together and our shared objectives for mutual benefit”.

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Image by The Sydney Morning Herald

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