Media release

BHP resolution withdrawn: First Nations Alliance reaches outcome with BHP

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) has withdrawn its shareholder resolution to BHP Group Ltd (ASX:BHP) regarding a moratorium on the desecration of cultural heritage sites on the request and recommendation of the the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance after they brokered an outcome with BHP.

The resolution was submitted in August with the support of the Alliance, a coalition of more than 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and leaders from across Australia.

Commenting on the withdrawal of the resolution, Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director at ACCR said:

“At the eleventh hour, the BHP Chairman finally came to the table with the Alliance and directly involved himself in negotiations with Aboriginal leadership. This move was most welcome.

“For too long, Native Title Holders have been gagged, creating a lock of secrecy on negotiations with mining companies. Among other things, this resolution has achieved the lifting of these gags in relation to BHP’s agreements with Native Title Holders, though the massive disparity in negotiating power remains.

“The measures the First Nations Alliance have secured with BHP could not have happened without the interest of the investment sector and the communication of their expectations about companies’ cultural heritage management.”

New Agreement

In particular, BHP has agreed to:

  • Implement principles jointly developed with the Alliance to strengthen Free, Prior and Informed Consent in agreement making;
  • Support national and state cultural heritage legislative reform that ensure FPIC in agreement making for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Land Councils;
  • Establish keeping places that are reflective of Traditional Owners’ values and culture, that are a source of pride where artefacts can be stored and visited;
  • Cultural mapping; and
  • PBC funding.