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16 Sep 2020

National Native Title Council

National Native Title Council welcomes Rio Tinto dismissals

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September 2020

The National Native Title Council (NNTC) welcomes the dismissal of Rio Tinto’s three executives, CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques, Iron Ore boss Chris Salisbury and corporate affairs boss Simone Niven, under whose leadership the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge caves were bombed in May, but warns a company staff change is only the crucial first step.


The NNTC’s CEO Jamie Lowe stated:

“Today we welcome the decision of the Rio Tinto board, who’ve shown they’re prepared to take the crucial first step towards accountability. I think we are all in agreeance that the initial measures doled out by the Rio board in cutting executive bonuses did not go far enough. Several million dollars in lost income is a drop in the ocean for these individuals, whose governance failings and calculated decisions robbed Australia and Traditional Owners of a world heritage significant site.”


“We have been pleased to see some of Rio’s major investors put pressure on the company as well. [...] Traditional Owners are not anti-economic development. They just want to be able to protect their most significant cultural heritage sites.”

To stop something like the Juukan destruction happening again, the NNTC is calling for an open, transparent and independent review of Rio’s processes and company culture, as it originally proposed. This will require more Indigenous staff in leadership roles. [...]