Spotlight on Juukan Gorge

The Northern Australia Committee

is tomorrow holding a second public hearing by teleconference as part of its inquiry into Juukan Gorge with a variety of stakeholders including representatives of superannuation investors, senior academics and former Rio Tinto employees.

Committee Chair, Warren Entsch, said that seeking insights into corporate culture and investor reaction was vital to understanding the wider significance of the loss of the Aboriginal heritage sites at Juukan Gorge.

‘We are trying to build up a comprehensive picture of the events leading up to the destruction of the caves—what Rio Tinto were doing right and getting wrong in the years leading up to the incident. This will have lessons for corporations and governments alike,’ Mr Entsch said.

In his submission to the inquiry, Professor Glynn Cochrane, a leading academic and former senior advisor at Rio Tinto, noted that the company had been following a ‘stripped-down’ version of Cultural Heritage Management (CHM) in the Pilbara. ‘The focus has been on the development of the skills and procedures needed to secure quick clearance—the removal of impediments to mining—something that too frequently results in the destruction of sacred sites’, he said.

Programs are available on the Committee’s website.

Public hearing details

Date: Friday, 28 August 2020

Time: 8:00am to 1:30pm AEDT

Location: By teleconference

Witnesses include:

Professor Glynn Cochrane (Submission 11)

Mr Bruce Harvey (Submission 19)

Dr Mary Edmunds (Submission 55)

Professor Marcia Langton AO (Submission 103)

AIATSIS (Submission 57)

Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (Submission 76)

National Native Title Council (Submission 34)

The hearings will be broadcast live at aph.gov.au/live.

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