MP Warren Entsch puts Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue on notice over sacred sites

Billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group needs to be “very careful” says Federal MP Warren Entsch, after the company used a technicality to reject a call to halt the destruction of Aboriginal heritage sites.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) asked for a resolution to be put before shareholders at Fortescue’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November.

The resolution asks for the iron ore miner to put a moratorium on activities that may impact sacred sites until relevant laws are strengthened.

The ACCR emailed scanned copies of the resolution to Fortescue prior to its deadline, so it could be put to the company’s AGM.

Fortescue responded the day before deadline saying it required the original documents.

However, due to a problem with ACCR’s courier TNT the documents were delivered a day late.

Rival iron ore miner BHP accepted scanned copies of ACCR’s resolutions last month and has also put a moratorium on the disturbance of sacred sites.

ACCR’s Brynne O’Brien says Fortescue is using a “minor technicality to avoid shareholder scrutiny of their relationships with Aboriginal traditional owners”.

“What are they hiding?” she asked.

Fortescue said the resolution, which could halt their mining in the Pilbara, would “disempower local Aboriginal people”.(Supplied: Fortescue Metals Group)

Fortescue declined to answer the ABC’s questions about where in the company’s constitution, or the Corporations Act, it states that original documents, not scans, must be provided by deadline.

Fortescue released a statement after rejecting ACCR’s resolution saying it is one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal employers and the resolution would hurt Indigenous communities.

“Fortescue’s operations provide a unique opportunity to empower Aboriginal people to bring about generational change.”

It said the proposed moratorium has been suggested by people “unfamiliar with the West Australian mining industry” and said it would “disempower local Aboriginal people in the Pilbara”.

The company said the resolution will be heard, but in November 2021.

A composite image showing Juukan Gorge in 2013 on the left, and then in 2020 on the right after land was cleared of vegetation.
Before and after images of the Juukan Gorge caves prompted renewed focus on protecting sacred sites in Western Australia from mining.(Supplied: Puutu Kunti Kurrama And Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation, composite ABC News)

Outspoken MP Warren Entsch, who is the chair of the Joint Standing Committee of Northern Australia’s inquiry into Rio Tinto’s blasting of the 46,000 year old Juukan Gorge caves, said all mining companies are on notice.

“The Committee doesn’t have the authority to tell companies what to do,” he told the ABC.

“However, I think that Fortescue needs to look closely at the reaction of Australians to what Rio did and how it has subsequently behaved, and be very, very careful.”

The Committee is currently investigating the events that led up to the blowing up of the Juukan Gorge caves and is then expected to advise the Government on what law changes are needed to prevent further destruction of culturally significant sites.

The Western Australia Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt is also reviewing the state’s Aboriginal Heritage Act, including the controversial Section 18 which legalises the destruction of Aboriginal sites.

“Miners need to be aware there is outrage in the Australian people,” Mr Wyatt said.

“The caves weren’t just relevant to a small number of black fellas living in the desert — this is the property of all Australians.

“Some of these sites like the caves show 46,000 years of human habitation — that’s important to everyone.

“There’s plenty more sites that are in the way of mines and companies need to be mindful of the consequences.”

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WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt says corporate Australia will learn from fallout of the Juukan Gorge caves blast.

Fortescue’s mines are largely on land that belongs to the Yindjibarndi people.

The company has been fighting the Yindjibarndi people in court on and off over a decade to not pay royalties or compensation on the ore it extracts from their native title holdings.

The industry standard for the Pilbara is to pay traditional owners 0.5 per cent of the production value, but Fortescue refers to that as “mining welfare” and prefers to offer employment and training to Indigenous groups.

Chairman and founder Mr Forrest said at the AGM last year that he was reluctant to yield anything to the Yindjibarndi people.

“This is not a community that I am going to empower with tens of millions of your cash,” he said.

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CLOSED: One of region’s most sacred places now off limits

THE National Parks and Wildlife Service has announced it will temporarily close the Bandahngan Aboriginal Area at Urbenville while essential rehabilitation and improvement work takes place.

The popular site includes unregulated camping areas at Tooloom Falls and Bandahngan Loop Road.

It is expected to reopen in June 2021.

NPWS area manager, Damien Hofmeyer, said NPWS had been advised by the Githabul Aboriginal community that the sacred Aboriginal area required a period of rest.

“Bandahngan Aboriginal Area is a natural jewel of NSW, and judging by its popularity amongst visitors, many people agree,” he said.

“Unfortunately, drought and a period of high visitation, has meant the ecology of the site has taken a hit.

“If we want to continue to enjoy this beautiful landscape in the future, we need to step in now and make sure it doesn’t decline any further.

“Based on advice from the Githabul Aboriginal community, and our own observations of the area, we have made the decision to temporarily close the site for an extended period.”

Chair of the Githabul Corporation, Charlie Ord, said the Bandahngan Aboriginal Area was one of the Githabul people’s most sacred places.

“We want to share our culture and sites, but we also need to protect them,” he said.

During the closure, NPWS will focus on improving the health of native vegetation and waterways as well as developing a new plan of management for the site to reduce environmental impacts.

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Traditional owners on APY Lands concerned illegal cattle grazing could damage country, sacred sites

The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands executive board wants to clamp down on rogue cattle producers who graze their livestock without proper approvals.

While cattle can be agisted on the APY Lands with the approval of the board, some producers have been striking up informal arrangements with individuals living in far north South Australia.

APY general manager Richard King said those arrangements were detrimental to the broader APY community, and often exploitative.

“Unfortunately, there are [people] who may know someone on the Lands who calls themselves a traditional owner,” Mr King said.

“And they will make a private deal — with money going to that one person, rather than all the traditional owners in that area — and come out and agist cattle.

Mr King said there were instances of up to 2,000 head of cattle being run on the APY Lands without approval.

He said the people responsible were potentially causing serious damage to the land, as well as sacred sites.

“Their goal is to fatten the cows up as quick as they can, take as much grass as they can, and not necessarily look after the land sustainably,” Mr King said.

“[They are not] working with us to do sustainable grazing, look after the country, and to look after sacred sites.”

Mr King said the problem was especially pressing given the very dry conditions in the region.

“They haven’t grazed their own area sustainably so they come and take as much as they can here, which leaves us in a really bad spot because we are supposed to look after the land for everybody.”

Overgrazing and business opportunities

The grazing licences that have been granted by the APY board have requirements for the lessees to improve pastoral infrastructure during their lease.

Cattle yards on the APY Lands of South Australia.(ABC Rural: Caddie Brain)

Mr King said traditional owners hoped to eventually take over running their own cattle on their own lands, but the rogue grazing was hampering their goal.

Mr King said the APY executive would use its powers under the APY Land Rights Act to inspect and ensure the compliance of anyone running cattle on the Lands.

The board has already launched legal proceedings against one producer who ignored the approvals process.

Legitimate pastoralists back crackdown

Shane Nicolle manages Mulga Park Station on the Northern Terrritory-SA border and has a grazing licence in the APY Lands where he runs about 1,200 head of cattle.

a woman and a man looking at the camera with trees in the background.
Alethea and Shane Nicolle have been approved by the APY Lands board to run 1,200 head on Aboriginal land.(Supplied: APY)

He said it was important that the region was not over-grazed.

“You need to try and do your best to look after your country, wherever you are, especially when you’re on someone else’s land,” he said.

Mr Nicolle said he supported a crackdown on people who were not following the rules.

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Europe is suffering from a fresh wave of coronavirus infections. Is the sacred summer vacation to blame?

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If this summer was supposed to offer hope that coronavirus was under control in Europe, spikes in cases across the continent and ensuing travel chaos have given governments a worrying reality check.

From France down to Ukraine, the number of positive tests for COVID-19 is rising sharply as more people seek vacations and after lockdown measures were eased to allow citizens to congregate. Germany reported the most new cases since May, while France said the situation is worsening, particularly in the cities of Paris and Marseille.

The British government added France and the Netherlands to a list of countries from where people must quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the U.K. Travel stocks slumped. In Eastern Europe, which had been hit less hard by the pandemic, some countries approached near record number of daily cases.

French Health Agency chief Jerome Salomon said large family reunions, such as weddings, and work places are prevalent places of infection. “One can only be worried as hundreds of new people are hospitalized,” Salomon told France Inter. He urged people to socially distance to avoid the crisis of March and April that “no one wants to go through again.”

It was always going to be a gamble as countries sought to open up their economies in an attempt to mitigate the unfolding financial collapse. Closing businesses and ordering people to stay at home again is something political leaders remain reluctant to do given the dark economic forecast and millions of jobs at risk, particularly in tourism.

Spanish Warning

As infections continued to rise in Spain, the main business lobby on Thursday warned that any second lockdown would have catastrophic consequences and urged the government to promote the use of a new app developed by the Economy Ministry to trace cases of Covid-19. New cases in Spain jumped to the highest since at least May 25, when the government changed its methodology for reporting data.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been removing lockdown measures, though he has been concerned not to trigger a second wave of cases from arrivals from abroad. His government already faces an inquiry into its handling of the crisis after Britain recorded Europe’s highest death toll.

Hundreds of thousands of British tourists now face being forced to quarantine on their return home after the government added France, the Netherlands and Malta to its list of virus trouble-spot destinations.

The new rules, which come into force from 4 a.m. on Saturday, are likely to spark a chaotic scramblefor tickets on flights, trains and car ferries for 160,000 Britons currently holidaying in France. The French government said the decision was regrettable and warned it would lead to reciprocal action.

“The biggest priority has to be to protect our hard-won gains in getting the virus under control and not re-importing it as people return home,” U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Times Radio on Friday. “It’s a public health issue we simply can’t turn our backs on.”

A family from Frankfurt is sunbathing on the beach on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Wire photography: Clara Margais/picture alliance via Getty Images.
Clara Margais—picture alliance/Getty Images

“Calculated Risk”

Back in June, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke of how he was taking a “calculated risk” to allow foreign visitors to return to the country’s beaches and resorts.

After a jump in cases, he urged young people to be cautious and said additional protection measures will be announced, the ANA news agency reported. He also requested those returning from vacations to be cautious for a week at least.

There has been concern in Greece and Croatia, two countries in the European Union that rely most on tourism, that the virus is being imported by visitors. Croatia recorded 150 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the most so far, with the expectation of a record on Friday. Meanwhile, Austria warned against travel to Croatia, a major holiday destination and home country of many Austrian immigrants, effective Aug. 17.

Indeed, the east of the continent is seeing rising number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, especially in Ukraine and Romania. On Friday, Ukraine reported a record-high daily number of new infections for the sixth time this month.

Romania reported its second-highest daily number of cases since the start of the pandemic. The nation with the highest death toll in eastern Europe also reported 44 deaths on Friday, after hitting a record on Thursday.

Poland, whose population of 38 million is almost twice as large as that of Romania, is also seeing the rise in infections, with 832 cases on Friday being the second-highest daily number. The Health Ministry mostly blames weddings for the rebound in cases.

More coronavirus coverage from Fortune:

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Canberra school boys caught driving dangerously on endangered grasslands identified as possible sacred site

Four teenagers caught drifting and doing circlework on a possible sacred Aboriginal site near the Australian War Memorial in Canberra have been fined and had their cars impounded.

The boys, three from Daramalan College and another from Dickson College, were caught by police on Friday as they attempted to leave the site.

Locals said they had called police at least a dozen times in the past year warning that P-platers were using the grasslands near the for dangerous driving, damaging an endangered habitat and risking their own safety.

The land is under assessment by the federal Environment Department for its significance as a sacred Ngambri site.

On Friday, a resident told the ABC that he saw several boys were once again at the site, drinking and swapping cars as they took turns skidding across the wet grass.

He said he became concerned when a car scraped a tree.

A blue sedan skids along wet grass and pavement, as several cockatoos take flight
One witness reported a Subaru lost control while drifting and hit a tree.(Supplied)

“It came out off Quick Street … it spun around on there and went onto the footpath,” he said.

Police officers caught the cars as they were leaving, and fined four of the boys for driving on a nature strip, not displaying P-plates, failing to stop at a stop sign, and improper control of a vehicle.

“Police interviewed all the occupants of the vehicles, and after receiving assistance from the occupants, four of the drivers were issued with Traffic Infringement Notices,” a spokesman for ACT Policing said.

“Further investigations into similar activity identified another driver who has been responsible for similar behaviour in the same area between November 2019 to August 2020.”

Two boys in school uniforms run towards a car drifting on grassland.
The high school boys were seen running between cars as they drifted, reportedly taking turns to drive.(Supplied)

Police said none of the identified drivers returned positive alcohol breath tests.

The resident, who had made multiple complaints to police in the past 12 months — including the previous Friday when a separate car was seen drifting — said government inaction had led to more teenagers abusing the site.

“When one of them, the white four-wheel drive, starts to show it off, the others say ‘well okay, that’s where you can do this kind of thing’, because the ACT Government does nothing, basically.”

A red sedan drives along grasslands.
A red Audi was reported a week before the four teenagers were caught at the site, seen driving dangerously on the grasslands.(Supplied)

ACT Policing said it was investigating other reports into similar behaviour at the site.

“The area is identified as an area of significance to the traditional owners,” the spokesman said.

“Police are urging members of the public with any information regarding dangerous driving of vehicles in this area to contact Crime Stoppers.”

‘Deep-seated frustration’ at destruction of claimed Aboriginal site

The site has been identified by the ACT Government as an important habitat for several endangered flora and fauna, but the grasslands have been significantly damaged by vandalism.

Earlier this year, the ABC reported that claims the land was also a sacred Ngambri site, used for men’s business, had been ignored.

Ngambri man Shane Mortimer, who raised the claim to the site’s Aboriginal significance, said he felt the land had been disregarded.

“It’s a deep-seated frustration, it’s an intergenerational frustration. The land really does need to be cared for,” Mr Mortimer said.

A man wearing stands in a clearing surrounded by rocky outcrops, with Parliament House visible in the distance.
Ngambri man Shane Mortimer said the grasslands had been ‘obliterated’ by P-platers vandalising the site.(ABC News: Jake Evans)

Daramalan College said it could not comment on issues concerning individual students.

However Mr Mortimer said the school had agreed to organise for its Year 12 students to visit the site and learn about its significance.

“We really have to look now for that opportunity out of adversity,” Mr Mortimer said.

The ACT Education Directorate told the ABC that because the incident was outside of school hours and off school grounds, it had not been involved.

Minister agrees to investigate installing bollards

Residents said they had been calling for the ACT Government to do more to protect the site for some time.

A white ute drives along dust and paths.
The same white ute recently photographed at the site has been spotted drifting there before, including here in 2019.(Supplied)

In June, ACT Greens leader and Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury wrote to the City Services Minister Chris Steel asking for them to be installed urgently.

“Last week, I became aware that there has been regular illegal driving on a piece of ACT land adjacent to the CSIRO site in Campbell,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The area is natural temperate grassland with significant geological features onsite. It is an important ecosystem incorporating significant Aboriginal heritage [and] susceptible species such as the Canberra spider orchid, sunray daisy, golden sun moth and button wrinklewort.

“I write to request that you consider asking City Services to erect a series of bollards on Quick St in Ainslie, where vehicles are gaining access to this site in order to protect the significant ecology and cultural significance as a matter of urgency.”

A spokesman for the ACT Government said it would undertake an assessment of vehicle access through the section, and work with the owners of the adjacent land, now Doma Group, on options to limit access for vehicles.

Mr Rattenbury said it was disappointing to hear the site had been damaged again since he first raised the issue.

“This area should be protected, and the solution here isn’t complicated. Bollards along the border of the site could have prevented this unnecessary damage from taking place,” he said.

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Is the dressing room still sacred, or was Wayne Bennett wrong to be angry at Latrell Mitchell questions?

Wayne Bennett jumped to the defence of Latrell Mitchell just after South Sydney’s win above the Warriors on Friday night time, describing the improve home as “sacred” and expressing it was none of the media’s small business as to why his star fullback was noticed visibly upset in the sheds.

But just how sacred are dressing rooms in the modern day period?

Like it or not, Australian dressing rooms are significantly from the sealed-off, concealed sanctums they after were.

“The changeroom for me has always been a sacred put,” Bennett claimed in Friday night’s publish-match press convention.

Rabbitohs mentor Wayne Bennett was upset at becoming requested about dressing place events.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts, file photo)

“Regrettably the game gave away a lot of our legal rights to people places.

Bennett is correct that the recreation has specified absent the right to full privacy considering the fact that putting in cameras in the dressing rooms.

In many years long gone by, the closest supporters received to the sheds was footage from the tunnel, the flapping doorway revealing a tantalising glimpse into what was occurring inside.

Now, that privateness has been perfectly and definitely eroded.

Is it for the much better?

Television businesses pushing boundaries in sports coverage is not new, be it cameras in the dressing rooms, mic-ing up gamers on the discipline, or conducting interviews for the duration of AFL interchanges.

Speaking to in 2014, former Queensland Origin player Brent Tait remembered his personal instant of despair currently being broadcast on a dressing-place digital camera in 2010.

Tait’s distraught response to what was a 3rd critical knee personal injury in four several years, throughout an global match among Australia and New Zealand, was broadcast to all and sundry.

Tait admitted to blended feelings, but explained that even then, Bennett was against the intrusion.

“I do not truly have an belief on it. I try to remember Wayne [Bennett] being truly animated at the time expressing that it was personal, and I guess when you sit down, it was private, but it really is definitely not a significant offer to me. It really is the activity we play presently.

If nothing at all else, at the very least Bennett is steady in his criticism.

US sports grant journalists unparalleled access to dressing rooms

As significantly as Bennett believes dressing rooms must keep on being shut off, in American sports, it is really practically the finish reverse.

Journalists in the US have this sort of outstanding access to gamers in their dressing rooms that they can peer straight into their lockers.

Michael Jordan is almost completely obscured by microphones during media availability in the Chicago Bulls' locker room.
Michael Jordan was swamped in front of his locker often through his career.(Equipped: Netflix)

In the course of the 1998 residence run chase in Significant League Baseball, that meant AP reporter Steve Wilstein could search into Mark McGwire’s locker to come across a bottle of then-authorized steroids.

The coronavirus outbreak has put a halt to that access for now, but there is certainly no question that the decades-aged practice will return as soon as attainable.

Things have not long gone that much in Australia but, but cameras are now just about omnipresent.

Behind-the-scenes obtain will make for viewing gold, but there is a line

As has been proven by the surge in attractiveness of recent athletics documentaries, fans crave fly-on-the-wall glimpses of their favourite sporting activities teams.


Assume Justin Langer buying up rubbish or Steve Smith flinging down his gloves in the Lord’s dressing area in Amazon Prime’s The Exam.

Broadcasters of domestic football codes want a piece of that action much too, where by fans can see their stars when they are at their most susceptible.

Which brings us to Friday night time and the scenes of Latrell Mitchell sobbing on digicam upcoming to mentor Wayne Bennett and remaining consoled by his teammates.

It produced an instant media storm and prompted quick thoughts of Bennett in the press convention.

The master coach reacted angrily when questioned for the motives for Mitchell’s present of emotion.

“No I am not going to inform you why,” Bennett mentioned when questioned why Mitchell was in tears.

“It is really received nothing at all to do with you to be straightforward.

“I have got no far more to say about it.”

The changeroom has ‘moved on’ from remaining a sacred place

On the Fox Sports broadcast just after the match, Corey Parker and Greg Alexander have been adamant that it was in the general public interest to know why Mitchell was upset.

“For Wayne to say the changeroom is a sacred spot, it’s moved on from that,” Parker, who played below Bennett at the Broncos, mentioned.

But was the media suitable to speculate above what would cause a young person to be in this kind of very clear distress?

Latrell Mitchell screams as the ball bounces up in the air behind him after scoring a try for the Rabbitohs against the Titans.
Latrell Mitchell moved to the Rabbitohs forward of the 2020 season.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

To Wayne Bennett, 1 of the previous surviving bastions of the old faculty, there can be nothing extra sacred than the sanctity of the dressing sheds.

The aged adage of what goes on tour, stays on tour is now only relevant for the community suburban club’s yearly excursion to the Gold Coast, not for expert sporting activities golf equipment.

In simple fact, as NRL golf equipment have observed to their expense, cameras are likely to comply with them almost everywhere, notably all through illegal lockdown jaunts or on Mad Monday celebrations.

The speculation all around what we are seeing on digital camera is an inescapable by-product or service of that powering-the-scenes obtain.

Regardless of whether that’s appropriate, is a further story.

Supply connection

Australian Indigenous Groups Vow to Protect Sacred Sites From Mining

SYDNEY – Mining giant BHP has suspended plans to expand a mine in Western Australia because of fears it could destroy dozens of indigenous sacred sites. The decision follows anger over the destruction of 46,000-year-old aboriginal caves by another resources company, Rio Tinto, last month.

The ancient Juukan Gorge caves in Western Australia’s Pilbara region were destroyed by Rio Tinto as it expanded a multi-billion-dollar iron ore mine. There were protests outside its offices in Perth. The company has apologized for the distress it caused, but indigenous leader Robert Eggington says it was vandalism on a massive scale.

“Something you could equate to as if they blew up the Pyramids in Egypt because they have either had uranium or found gold under the Pyramids,” Eggingtonsaid. “It is about time that the politicians and the social structures of this country start to put some proper laws in place to stop this on lands that once destroyed can never come back.”Several prehistoric artefacts have been found at the remote site about 1,000 kilometers north of Perth.

The mining giant did have government approval to destroy the ancient rock shelters, but officials now concede the destruction of the caves was a “genuine mistake.”

Campaigners want the right to appeal against ministerial decisions and aboriginal heritage laws in Western Australia that date back to the 1970s are being reviewed.

Indigenous elder Delores Corbett says sacred sites must be protected.

“I just hope this never ever happens again in Australia in regards to Rio (Tinto), mining companies, anyone blowing up without fully understanding the hurt that Aboriginal people go through,” Corbett said.

The backlash has prompted another resources giant, BHP, to halt plans to destroy up to 40 cultural sites to expand a mine in Western Australia. It says it will consult closely with aboriginal groups. In a statement, the company said it had a “commitment to understanding the cultural significance of the region.”

Land lies at the heart of indigenous culture, and it has immense spiritual, physical and social importance. The earth is seen as the Mother of creation, and a living, breathing mass that is full of secrets and wisdom.

Aboriginal Australians make up about 3 per cent of the population. Elders say that colonization by the British in 1788, and the dispossession that followed, has inflicted great harm on people who have lived in Australia for 65,000 years.

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