Media release

FMG resolution calls for moratorium on desecration of Indigenous sites and cease gag orders on traditional owners

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) has filed a Shareholder Resolution to Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), requesting the company:

  • Adopt a moratorium on undertaking activities which would disturb, destroy or desecrate cultural heritage sites in Australia until relevant laws are strengthened;
  • Lift any confidentiality provisions on Aboriginal Traditional Owners so they can speak freely and publicly about cultural heritage or other concerns on their land; and
  • Be forthright and disclose lobbying by its industry associations on cultural heritage issues.

This resolution enjoys the support of the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance, a coalition of more than 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and leaders from across Australia, including Professor Marcia Langton.

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

“Investors simply can’t stand by and watch another Juukan Gorge disaster unfold. Chair of the Parliamentary Committee investigating this destruction, the Honourable Warren Entsch MP, has called for a moratorium on cultural heritage destruction by mining companies until the Committee has finished its work. This call is, in substance, an endorsement of the approach recommended in our resolution.

“As investors, we believe it’s necessary that this shareholder resolution receives strong support—or is proactively adopted by FMG’s Board—because there is far too much at stake to allow any further destruction of Indigenous cultural sites, as Mr Entsch has also made clear.

“In engagement with us, FMG has been clear that it is happy for business to continue as usual. Shareholders, in the wake of Juukan Gorge, know that business as usual is absolutely unacceptable.

“FMG has a dubious history of engagement with Pilbara native title holders, specifically the Yindjibarndi People. Comments as recently as last year, coming from the Chairman saying ‘that is not a community I’m going to empower with tens of millions of your cash’ demonstrate that the company and Board have a long way to go in understanding and valuing the intricacies of cultural heritage and the agency of Traditional Owners.”