Cultural managements

Rio Tinto welcomes initiatives to strengthen the protection of cultural heritage


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MELBOURNE, Australia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rio Tinto welcomes the release today of a joint discussion paper by the Commonwealth Government and the Alliance for the Protection of First Nations Heritage designed to strengthen laws state and federal on the protection of cultural heritage.

Rio Tinto supports the strengthening of safeguards for cultural heritage at state and Commonwealth legislative levels, including the reform process currently underway to ensure that an incident such as the destruction of rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia does not never happen again.

These reforms must ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are placed at the center of decision-making on matters relating to the protection of their cultural heritage.

Rio Tinto Australia Managing Director Kellie Parker said: “We have heard the call for Rio Tinto to play a greater role in strengthening state and Commonwealth cultural heritage laws. .

“This appeal was made by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee which investigated the destruction of the rock shelters at Juukan Gorge, the traditional owners, the National Native Title Council, the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance and our investors. The call is reinforced in Dhawura Ngilan’s vision statement.

“We strongly believe that a co-design process with traditional owners will strengthen the management and protection of cultural heritage to ensure it is valued and celebrated for its intrinsic value.

“There are and will be differences of opinion on how best to achieve this, but we will continue to work in close consultation with traditional owners and their representative organizations to better understand and protect their cultural heritage and ensure that the mining is done in the right way.”

Last month, Rio Tinto developed a joint management plan with the Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation in Western Australia. This plan ensures the protection of important social and cultural heritage values, within the framework of the proposed development of the Western Range iron ore project in the Pilbara. It is the result of a strong collaboration between the Yinhawangka people and Rio Tinto.

Kellie Parker said: “Our determination not to repeat the events that led to the destruction of the Juukan Gorge rock shelters is embedded in everything we do.

“Significant changes continue to be made at all levels of our business. While we are hopeful that we have the right foundations in place for a better future, we know that we will be judged by our actions, not our words.

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Source: Rio Tinto