BHP concedes the mining industry needs to put significant work into rebuilding trust with Aboriginal land owners


Mining giant BHP has conceded the entire industry needs to put significant work into rebuilding trust with Aboriginal land owners after an investor revolt at rival company Rio Tinto sparked by its destruction of ancient sites.

BHP, which like Rio has major iron ore operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, gave evidence to federal parliament’s Northern Australia Committee on Thursday. 

The committee is investigating Rio’s blasting of the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge rock shelters which has led to significant backlash and prompted the resignation of CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two other executives.

BHP has announced it will not act on any existing Section 18 approvals for disruption of Aboriginal sites without extensive consultation with traditional owners.

Earlier this year, WA’s government granted BHP approval to blast 40 significant Indigenous sites to expand its $4.5 billion South Flank iron ore project.

BHP has since established a heritage advisory council allowing senior BHP staff to consult directly with representatives of the traditional owners, the Banjima people.

Protesters attend a rally outside the Rio Tinto office in Perth in June.

AAP

The company’s president of minerals in Australia, Edgar Basto, told the inquiry BHP had access to an independent area on Banjima country with 11 million tonnes of high-grade iron ore which it had chosen not to disturb.

“We haven’t touched that,” Mr Basto said.

“If there are issues that are difficult to resolve, what we have seen in the past is that if there is good communication and a good culture of respect between the parties, we can sort out these problems.”

In its submission to the inquiry, the Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation said it was disturbed by “gag orders” placed on traditional owners as part of their agreements which preventing them from publicly raising concerns.

Mr Basto said BHP had no intention of gagging traditional owners and had communicated that it would not enforce any clauses to that effect.

He said BHP prided itself on its engagement with Aboriginal people, but the industry as a whole needed to rebuild trust.

Kimberley Land Council chief executive Nolan Hunter said traditional owners should have the right to veto destruction of significant sites.

“There is something not quite right if there is more regard to protection of things (like heritage-listed buildings) that are a couple of hundred years old under the legislative framework … than sites that are thousands of years old,” he said.

The traditional owners of the Juukan Gorge sites, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, have urged the committee to visit the sites and see the full impact of the destruction.

WA’s COVID-19 travel restrictions have prevented that from happening.

Oil and gas giant Woodside will front the inquiry on Monday and it’s expected Rio executives will be recalled at a later date.

Rio had approval for the Juukan blast but did not tell traditional owners it had examined options for expanding its mine that did not involve damaging the rock shelters.

Experts had assigned the sites the highest archaeological significance in Australia.



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Jewish Students Aid Owners of Kebab Shop Hit in Synagogue Attack


BERLIN — When a heavily armed, far-right extremist tried to storm a synagogue in eastern Germany a year ago, the failed attack revived the worst fears of anti-Semitism. Thanks to clumsily built explosives and a locked door, the congregation inside narrowly escaped a massacre.

The thwarted gunman then trained his weapons on other targets of his hatred in the city of Halle, killing a young man having lunch at a nearby kebab shop, where he presumed he would find Muslims.

Since then, that kebab shop and the Turkish brothers who own it have fallen on hard times. But their plight recently drew the attention of several young Jews who also survived the Oct. 9 attack, and they decided to try to help, launching a GoFundMe campaign that immediately surpassed their expectations.

“We wanted to do something that would draw attention” to the owners’ struggles, “but would also provide concrete financial support,” said Ruben Gerczikow, vice president of the Jewish Student Union in Germany, which opened the drive last week.

“We were surprised by the positive reaction,” Mr. Gerczikow said. “We never dreamed that we could raise so much so quickly.” They passed their goal of collecting 5,000 euros, or $5,940, within days, and decided to extend the campaign until Yom Kippur, which falls on Sept. 28 this year.

That show of solidarity provides a hopeful counterpoint to a building trend of hate crimes in Germany, even as a far-right political fringe does its best to revive old demons. The fund-raiser has quietly demonstrated that many Germans still prize the country’s widening diversity and the postwar ethos of generosity that has long been part of Germany’s broader atonement for the Nazi crimes of last century.

This week Chancellor Angela Merkel decried the rise in anti-Semitism in Germany, warning in a speech to the Central Council of Jews that it is a reality “that many Jews don’t feel safe and respected in our country.”

“Racism and anti-Semitism never disappeared, but for some time now they have become more visible and uninhibited,” the chancellor said.

In particular, she cited the attack in Halle — the most severe of 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes recorded in Germany last year — as an example of “how quickly words can become deeds.”

The man arrested in the attack, Stephan Balliet, 28, is now facing trial and has spoken openly in court about his hatred not only of Jews but also of Muslims and other foreigners, and of being influenced by a far-right extremist attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 51 people.

He said he regretted that the two people he fatally shot, a 40-year-old woman outside the synagogue and a 20-year-old man in the kebab shop, were white Germans, not members of any ethnic minority. He also shot and wounded two others.

With their funding drive, the organizers hope to raise awareness of the threat that white supremacists pose to all minorities, Mr. Gerczikow said.

“We, the Jewish Student Union in Germany believe in a multicultural society in this country,” they wrote on the campaign page. “We believe in a peaceful coexistence, regardless of religion, nationality or skin color. We believe in solidarity.”

The Halle attack was just one in a recent string against minorities in Germany that has worried the authorities as they belatedly grapple with far-right networks and sympathies in Germany that have been given new energy by more esoteric movements like QAnon.

In little more than a year, in addition to the attack in Halle, far-right extremists have also assassinated a politician near the central city of Kassel and shot dead nine people of immigrant descent in the western city of Hanau.

A month after the Halle attack, the original owner of the kebab shop gave it to Ismet and Rifat Tekin, brothers who had worked for him. At a public ceremony he described it as a gesture of support for the men, who were working at the shop the day of the attack. The event drew widespread support from the community and beyond, with regional politicians pledging that they would not let the place founder.

“It is very important that the kebab shop reopens, because it is part of Halle,” Reiner Haseloff, governor of Saxony Anhalt state, said at the reopening. “It is part of the cultural identity.”

But the months since have been marked by hardship and pain for the brothers and their business as the stigma of the attack lingered over the shop.

“Since it happened, everything is difficult and these difficulties make it even harder for us to process what happened on that day,” Ismet Tekin, a Turkish citizen who has lived in Germany for 12 years, said in an interview with Radio Corax before the trial began in July. “It is not something simple that we can just say, ‘It’s over.’”

Then, in March, the measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus forced residents to remain largely at home and reduced all restaurants to offering only pickup or delivery service, forcing the brothers to close their doors for weeks. After they reopened, many customers stayed away.

Running the business also left them little time to process the trauma of the attack. In particular, Rifat Tekin, who witnessed the fatal shooting inside the shop, has suffered psychologically, said Onur Ozata, an attorney who is representing Ismet Tekin in court.

Ismet desperately wanted to take part in the trial as a co-plaintiff, but because he was outside of the shop when the gunman entered, the court initially did immediately recognize him as a victim of the attack. Only days before the trial opened on July 21 did the court reverse that decision, allowing him to take part. He has not missed a session, Mr. Ozata said.

“It is very important for him to be there every day,” Mr. Ozata said. “He wants to understand who the attacker is and how he could have done something like this.”

Mr. Balliet is charged with two counts of murder and 68 counts of attempted murder and other crimes. If convicted of murder, he faces life in prison.

The other co-plaintiffs, some of whom belong to the union of Jewish students, helped provide the brothers with the support, even before they launched the funding campaign, Mr. Ozata said. “They are a very tight-knit group. ”

Rabbi Jeremy Borovitz, who was in the synagogue at the time of the attack and is also a co-plaintiff, appealed over Twitter for his friends to support the kebab shop, calling Ismet Tekin “an incredibly decent human being in a world gone mad.”

“For me, it was important to support this campaign because, as a survivor of the Halle attack, I am aware of the severe emotional toll of this experience,” Rabbi Borovitz said in an interview.

“I can’t imagine what it must be like to go back to that shop every day,” he said.





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Melbourne hospitality owners say Victoria’s roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown is not practical


A plan to help Melbourne’s hospitality businesses ease out of lockdown by making outdoor dining easier has been criticised as “useless”, as some publicans choose to shut up shop for good.

Tracey Dean, who owns the the Morning Star Hotel in Williamstown, said Melbourne’s roadmap towards COVID-normal was “the last straw”.

“We had hung on by the skin of our teeth,” she said.

“We had no rent relief, we have been in negotiations since March.”

Ms Dean said if she had continued operating the business would have been in a “serious financial pickle”.

“The banks won’t look at us at the moment. We haven’t made money since February,” she said.

President of the Victorian branch of the Australian Hotels Association, David Canny, told the ABC he was flooded with calls from pub owners in the 24 hours after Melbourne’s roadmap was announced.

He said more pubs were likely to fold before the end of the year.

“Some don’t want to come out and say anything because they are emotional and want to look after their staff,” he said.

Business owners say outdoor dining idea will not help

Mr Andrews said on Sunday he hoped local councils would help make alfresco dining a reality for cafes, pubs and restaurants when restrictions on outdoor dining would be lifted under the third step of the roadmap planned for October 26.

“If you look at some cities around the world, the kerbside car parking is gone, the footpath has been restricted, they have put plastic dividers between tables and they are seating more people outside than they could ever put inside. We are looking at all of that,” Mr Andrews said.

The City of Melbourne announced last week it would adopt a similar plan to New York City’s open restaurants policy that allows hospitality venues to use the footpath and laneways adjacent to their establishment to serve customers and ensure maximum social distancing.

Other municipalities have also come on board with Yarra, Darebin, Glen Eira, Port Phillip and Moonee Valley councils all confirming they would roll out policies allowing businesses to use areas such as car parks and laneways and even whole streets to serve customers.

Caterina Borsato, owner of Caterina’s Cucina E Bar in Melbourne’s CBD, said the idea was “useless” for her basement restaurant.

Ms Borsato said because the CBD was laid like a grid, little sunlight hit alleyways during the day, meaning businesses would have to fork out thousands for heaters and covers.

A woman with dark hair sits at a restaurant table with a mirror behind her.
Restaurant owner Caterina Borsato says the plan to open on the street is not practical for her.(ABC News: Simon Tucci)

Ms Borsato’s restaurant is in Queen Street, a street she said was regularly filled with buses.

“It’s noisy and it’s not private and the footpaths won’t be wide enough for my sort of dining,” she said.

She said a more practical solution would be to allow restaurants to open indoors sooner with a lower cap such as 10 diners.

Publican says Melbourne’s weather makes idea impractical

Manager of the Grosvenor Hotel in St Kilda East, Frank Chilelli, said the idea was great in theory but was not practical.

“The Government needs to let us open up, just open our doors and let us serve people. We can do it safely,” he said.

Mr Chilelli’s pub is located on a busy six-lane road and he said opening on the footpath just would not work.

A man in a black coat with wine barrels behind him.
Publican Frank Chilelli said offering outdoor dining was not a viable option.(Supplied)

“They might be able to change legislation and let us use our carpark but we’re not set up for that, the carpark is at the back and logistically being able to serve people there would be a lot of work, it’s not practical,” he said.

“And let’s face it, we’re in Victoria, we’re not in Queensland where you can bank on seven days of sun, we know what Victoria is like; beautiful one day and disastrous the next minute.”

Mr Chilelli said financing an outdoor service would also be a major hurdle and meant the whole idea was “just silly”.

‘Why would you invest thousands of dollars … for just 28 days?’

Restaurant and Catering Association head Wes Lambert agreed and said the idea was expensive and unlikely to help any business increase revenue.

He said, according to Melbourne’s roadmap, hospitality businesses could open up outside on October 26 if daily case thresholds were met, but 28 days later (if thresholds were met) indoor dining would be allowed to begin.

“So why would you invest thousands of dollars for tables and heaters, etc, to move your business outside if it wasn’t already outside, for just 28 days?

“It is great for businesses that already have outdoor seating — they can take on more revenue without more costs which is great but it doesn’t mean much for larger and medium venues especially in the CBD that have no access to outdoor dining.”

A sign on a window says a pub is temporarily closed.
Many in the hospitality industry say Melbourne’s roadmap out of lockdown is too restrictive.(ABC News: Simon Tucci)

Mr Lambert said the association was lobbying for exemptions to be made to businesses that had zero access to outdoor dining to be allowed indoor dining.

Other business owners have been more optimistic.

Michael Vass is the co-owner of Curry Cafe in High Street, Northcote and said it was a good idea if it meant venues could increase capacity.

Mr Vass’s restaurant already has a few outdoor tables and he said all the indoor furniture would be moved outside to save on costs.

But reopening was still risky, he said, and would cost close to $10,000.

“We have grants which are awesome but we have to decide when we use it, do we use it now or do we wait? What if we open and have to close again?”

But either way, he said the news was “good to hear” and provided hope.



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Former Rozelle bucket factory on the market after owners undertake stunning makeover


No. 38 Foucart Street at Rozelle is on the market.


A 19th century bucket factory converted into an inner city oasis is shaping up to be one of the best properties to come up for sale in Rozelle this year.

Built in the 1880s, 38 Foucart Street is regarded as a local landmark, and has also been used over the past 140 years as a former mission hall and a photography studio.

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It fell into disrepair in the later part of the 20th century, before the current owners enlisted an architect to redesign the factory into a high-end residence after paying $950,000 in 2002.

Real Estate

The former bucket factory facade has been kept.


The finished product has kept the brick facade intact, along with interior character finishes such as the exposed beams, high wooden ceilings and the restored front door. The rear meanwhile is brand new with lots of glass used.

McGrath Balmain’s Cindy Kennedy said the property is one of the most unique to come up for sale in Rozelle.

“The facade is simply divine and it really captures the interest of locals whenever they walk past it,” she said.

Real Estate


Real Estate

Anzac Bridge and the city can be seen from the upper floors.


The property has been a smash hit with a number of buyers from across Sydney since it came up for sale last week, with some already eyeing the possibility of making an offer prior to the September 26 auction.

Listed with a $2.5m guide, the three-level residence has a high-end kitchen with an induction cooktop, contemporary cupboards, multiple living areas and off-street parking. It also has impressive skyline views of the city and Anzac Bridge.

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Ms Kennedy said the floorplan is perfect for families, with the first floor dedicated to kids and guests, while the parents have their own level.

Real Estate

Downsizers, families and couples have shown the most interest so far.


Real Estate

The home combines contemporary style with character charm.


Other features include designer bathrooms, airconditioning, a landscaped terrace and a wine cellar.

Ms Kennedy said while the market is heading into the spring with lots of positive vibes, some buyers are becoming desperate.

“A lot of buyers are sick of missing out on homes repeatedly and are prepared to do whatever it takes to secure something,” she said.

The Rozelle suburb record is $5.7m and was set last year with the sale of a converted cottage at 6 Clare Street, according to CoreLogic.

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Manchester City owners buy a stake in Troyes


City Football Group, which owns the English Premier League outfit Manchester City, has bought a majority share in the French second division club Esperance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne (ESTAC).

The purchase of the shares owned by Daniel Masoni brings to 10 the number of clubs in CFG’s global stable.

Along with Manchester City and Troyes, CFG also owns New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F Marinos in Japan, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay, Girona in Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu in China, Mumbai City in India and Lommel SK in Belgium.

CFG added that the French businessman Maxime Ray had acquired a minority stake and would be part of the Troyes board of directors.

While Manchester City finished second in the Premier League and reached the last eight of the Champions League last season, Troyes were fourth in Ligue 2 when the 2019/20 campaign was abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ferran Soriano, chief executive of CFG, said: “We have had an interest in French football for some time and have long admired Troyes, so we are delighted to have completed the acquisition of our 10th club and have a permanent presence in France.

“At City Football Group, our objective remains to play beautiful football, identify and develop grassroots talent and have a permanent presence in the world’s football centres.”

Orginally published on RFI



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Rio boss in WA to meet with Juukan Gorge traditional owners


The destruction of 46,000-year-old heritage sites at Juukan Gorge in May triggered widespread condemnation of Rio Tinto and its engagement with traditional owners.

After an internal review of the lead up to the blast, Rio Tinto’s remuneration committee wiped $3 million of short term incentives from Mr Jacques and $1.8 million of long term incentives.

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Corporate relations boss Simone Niven and iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury both lost about $1 million.

A joint parliamentary committee into the blast has revealed shocking details around the decisions made in the lead up to the blast, including that there were three other options to expand the Brockman 4 mine that would have avoided the gorge.



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Dreamworld disaster victim Kate Goodchild’s daughter still fighting lawsuit against theme park owners Ardent Leisure for compensation


A teenager who saw her mother and two uncles killed on a Dreamworld ride four years ago is still fighting a lawsuit against the owners of the theme park, due to a legal technicality measuring the impact of the trauma she has suffered.

Ebony Turner was aged 12 when she watched four people die on the Thunder River Rapids Ride in 2016.

Her grandfather, Shayne Goodchild, said the disaster had shattered her family, but they had done all they could to shield the now 16-year-old from national attention.

Now, four years on, he said frustration at a legal impasse had forced them to speak out.

Ebony’s family say Dreamworld owners Ardent Leisure is holding out on a compensation payout over a legal technicality that measures the impact of the trauma Ebony has suffered. 

Mr Goodchild said they were now calling on the ASX-listed corporation to strike a deal out of court to lighten Ebony’s emotional burden and “let her get on with life”.

“Eb was only 12 when this horrific accident happened,” he said.

Ardent Leisure — which acknowledged the suffering caused by the accident — said the majority of claims had been settled and it would “respectfully address” outstanding cases.

But Ebony is still waiting.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Roozi Araghi died on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld in 2016.(Supplied/Facebook)

Grandfather says Ardent ‘put dollars before safety

Ebony’s mother Kate Goodchild, her uncle Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi, and another woman, Cindy Low, were killed when their raft on the Thunder River Rapids Ride collided with an empty raft and flipped on October 25, 2016.

Ebony was also on the raft, but was physically uninjured.

A coronial inquest into the four deaths made findings of a series of failures at the park, including safety and maintenance systems that the coroner described as “rudimentary at best” and “frighteningly unsophisticated”.

Mr Goodchild — the father of Ms Goodchild and Mr Dorsett — sat through the inquest “listening to how Ardent cut corners and put the dollars before safety on all their rides”.

Dreamworld’s parent company, Ardent Leisure, last month pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to comply with health and safety laws.

The maximum penalty for each breach is $1.5 million — $4.5 million in total.

A formal arraignment will take place next month.

A man, supported by a woman, walks outside a court building.
Shayne Goodchild (centre), attended the inquest into the Dreamworld disaster at the Magistrates Court at Southport on the Gold Coast.(AAP: David Clark)

“It has taken four years for them to own that they caused the tragedy that took the lives of four people,” Mr Goodchild said, adding that since the accident his family “hasn’t been the same”.

“Before the accident everybody was happy. It was a real happy family, and once the accident happened … nothing has been the same since,” he said.

Mr Goodchild said Ebony grew up surrounded by loving parents and uncles, and enjoyed playing sport and attending music concerts, before the accident changed everything.

“Before the accident Eb was probably one of the luckiest kids going,” Mr Goodchild said.

“Her life just isn’t the way it used to be.

‘Let her get on with her life’

Ardent Leisure is facing a slew of compensation claims, including a class action by shareholders and individual claims by witnesses, staff, and emergency first responders.

Ebony’s claim is one of the unresolved matters, despite the company settling lawsuits with the rest of her family.

The sticking point for Ebony’s case is the level of trauma she suffered as a result of witnessing the deaths of her mother and uncles.

The company’s lawyers insist she should again be assessed by their doctors, but Ebony’s family say the constant evaluations and delay in settling the case has only prolonged the pain.

Shayne Goodchild (right) with his daughter's husband David Turner in Canberra
Shayne Goodchild (right, pictured with Ebony’s father David) says nothing has been the same for his family since the accident.(ABC News: Leo Alder)

Mr Goodchild said the company had not learnt its lesson from the accident, and was still putting money before people.

“She’s a young girl that’s not going to talk to anybody anyway because she doesn’t talk to us, let alone somebody she doesn’t know,” Mr Goodchild said.

“I can’t imagine what she’s going through and still going through — numerous psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, the lot. She must be over it all.

In a statement, Ardent Leisure said the majority of the families and first responders impacted had been compensated through private agreed settlements.

“Some other claims are ongoing or have yet to be commenced. Ardent Leisure will respectfully address those claims when they are made,” the statement said.

“Given the confidential nature of these arrangements [we] do not wish to make any comment.

“Ardent Leisure acknowledges the loss and suffering experienced by many from this tragedy.”

Ardent Leisure receives $70m coronavirus loan

Dreamworld sign on top of building of entrance of the theme park on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Dreamworld, owned by Ardent Leisure, have just received a coronavirus financial package.(AAP)

In August, Ardent Leisure announced the Queensland Government would loan it approximately $70 million to keep its Gold Coast theme parks operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said the financial package included a secured loan of $66.9 million and a grant of $3 million.

The news angered Mr Goodchild, who accused the Queensland Government of hypocrisy.

“Here’s the Queensland Government giving Ardent a $70 million loan and they’re going to face a penalty of $4.5 million maximum for killing four people,” he said.

“I don’t know why they the Government would give them money in one hand and then ask for money back for killing somebody or taking the lives.

“I just think that’s a bit hypocritical.”



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Calif. Democrats look to rake in billions by raising taxes on business owners with new Prop. 15


OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:11 PM PT – Friday, August 28, 2020

After California’s Democrats used lockdowns to force thousands of business owners to close their doors forever, they are now planning on raising taxes for those who managed to keep working.

One America’s Pearson Sharp explains how Proposition 15 is set to rake in billions more dollars from California’s business owners each year.

RELATED: Latest power outages, fires leave Calif. residents outraged at Gov. Newsom’s lack of leadership





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