WA clarifies Aboriginal protocols

A NATIVE title and Aboriginal heritage policy framework for the resources sector has been formally launched by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia to enhance its “social licence to operate”.
WA clarifies Aboriginal protocols WA clarifies Aboriginal protocols WA clarifies Aboriginal protocols WA clarifies Aboriginal protocols WA clarifies Aboriginal protocols


Justin Niessner

It has been welcomed by Aboriginal representative organisations as strong recognition of the solid and respectful relationship between industry and indigenous people, the CME says.

The policy outlines principles of engagement with Aboriginal representative organisations, groups and traditional owners, which are inextricably linked to the resources sector, the CME says.

Key areas of consideration are heritage survey procedures, the Register of Aboriginal Sites and site disturbance processes.

Resource companies might benefit from some streamlining in heritage procedure, with the CME saying in the document that ethnographic surveys would involve small groups applying clear, methodological guidelines.

Transparency and consistency was also urged in the register of sites, while applications to impact on sites should be submitted following reasonable consultation, survey and documentation, consistent with contractual agreements.

The policy was developed after an extensive consultative process with members and other stakeholders.

CME director Nicole Roocke said the WA resources sector was a leader in establishing productive and mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal communities.

“Consultation was important in capturing the crucial issues affecting the sector in dealing with native title and Aboriginal heritage issues,” she said.

“The policy clearly articulates the policy areas where industry will continue to advocate for improvements and change.”