Australia: Rio Tinto & BHP express support for special indigenous body to advise parliament

Author: Darren Gray, Fergus Hunter & Hamish Hastie, The Sydney Morning Herald, Published on: 2 February 2019

"'Watershed': BHP, Rio urge constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians", 31 January 2019

Indigenous leaders say a push by mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP for Indigenous Australians to be recognised in the constitution is a "watershed" moment and have urged other businesses to pledge their support.

The two miners...released a joint statement...backing the Uluru Statement from the Heart released in 2017 calling for a special Indigenous body to advise parliament.

...BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said the change would "create a rightful place for and empower Indigenous people".

...Richard Weston, chief executive of the Healing Foundation...described Mr Mackenzie's speech as "a watershed speech...and the way forward offered by the Uluru Statement".

Reconciliation Australia chief executive Karen Mundine said the organisation strongly welcomed the move by Rio Tinto and BHP.

...Cobble Cobble woman from Queensland Megan Davis was one of the drivers of the Uluru Statement and said the Rio and BHP commitment to it was historic.

...Mr Mackenzie said: "The establishment of a national Indigenous representative body, a First Nations voice to Parliament, is a meaningful step towards reconciliation. It would empower Indigenous Australians.

"It would make sure Indigenous people have a say on the legislation, policy and programs that shape Indigenous lives, families and communities. And it would create new opportunities for social and economic progress."

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Related companies: BHP Billiton Rio Tinto