Unlawful FMG heritage dealing & massive sites damage at Solomon Project
The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) is calling on Federal Minister, Tony Burke, to invoke emergency powers to stop the destruction by Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) of Yindjibarndi sacred sites and ‘living heritage’ areas that date back thousands of years.
YAC has received evidence showing FMG forced heritage consultants to change a heritage report about the significance of the area by threatening to withhold payments on their invoices.
On 23 October YAC representatives travelled to FMG’s Firetail lease (Solomon Project) to check on the safety of their sites, but were barred by FMG security guards for “safety reasons”, because a blasting program was under way. On 28 October Michael Woodley and other senior Yindjibarndi Lawmen took time out from Birdarra ceremonies to travel into the area, avoiding FMG checkpoints. To their horror they found the landscape mutilated and sites damaged.
FMG’s conduct is a direct assault on the 40,000 year-old traditions and heritage of the Yindjibarndi people and contravenes the most fundamental international human rights covenants. These actions show FMG conduct to be unethical and in breech of the State Aboriginal Heritage Act.
Mr Woodley said, “The world threw up its arms in horror when the Taliban blew up Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. How will Australia respond to desecration of our cultural sites that date back tens of thousands of years, right here, under their noses?”
This Wednesday 9 November, Mr Woodley will be seeking leave to directly address shareholders and investors at FMG’s AGM, to present evidence of their appalling conduct and to ask that the Fortescue board and executive be held to account, and ordered to abide by basic business ethics.
(FMG AGM Venue: Hyatt Regency Perth, 99 Adelaide Terrace, East Perth 11.00AM)