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First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


First Peoples and land justice issues in Australia

Addressing deficits in corporate accountability
First Peoples Protected Areas Land management Land rights First Peoples land management Native Title Australia

From Origin Energy’s hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the Northern Territory (NT), Bravus Mining and Resource’s Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland, to Glencore’s Macarthur River Mine in the Northern Territory, many First Peoples are challenging the human rights impacts of projects, including a lack of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), through legal challenges and campaigns.

This report describes the multiple barriers that First Peoples and land rights campaigners face to achieving land justice. In some cases, such as the Bravus (formally known as Adani) Carmichael Coal Mine, the Queensland government has gone so far as to extinguish native title, including over land presently being used for ceremonial purposes.

Key Findings/Recommendations:

  • This report identifies three significant land justice cases where Australian companies and multinational parent groups operating in the mining and extractive gas industries in Australia are alleged to be negatively impacting the human rights of First Peoples. The conduct of these companies is assessed against corporate accountability norms and instruments to which each company has committed, in addition to the human rights protections for First Peoples in Australia.
  • The backlash following Rio Tinto’s decision to destroy the Juukan caves in Western Australia has further exposed the failings of Australian law, including Native Title law, to protect sacred sites and respect the decisions of Traditional Owners. It has also demonstrated that companies need to start adhering to international laws on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as business and human rights frameworks.
  • All companies should consult and cooperate with First Peoples through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their FPIC before undertaking projects that may affect them, including mining and other utilisation of resources. In addition to this, they need to make and adhere to due diligence commitments to ensure no further damage to sacred sites or anthropological sites.
Publication Details
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