Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Ensuring the mining boom delivers sustainable benefits for traditional owners

The Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has announced a partnership between the Australian Government and Rio Tinto Iron Ore to help ensure a landmark native title agreement in the Pilbara delivers sustainable benefits for Indigenous people.

The partnership will see the Australian Government and Rio Tinto deliver key native title groups in the Pilbara with governance support and assistance.

This will help ensure native title holders build a robust corporate structure to manage the significant benefits they will receive under the native title agreement reached with Rio Tinto in June.

The partnership is based on the success of a pilot program run earlier this year and will involve four traditional owner groups in the Pilbara region-Kuruma & Marthudunera, Puutu Kunti Kurrama & Pinikura, Nyiyaparli and Ngarlawangga.

The traditional owner groups will be offered induction training for new directors; corporate governance workshops; ongoing corporate governance support and mentoring services for directors. This will be coordinated by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

The Australian Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure native title agreements produce sustainable economic development opportunities for communities.

The benefits from the mining boom must be used to improve the lives of current and future generations of Indigenous Australians.

The private sector also has an important role to play in ensuring that the mining boom delivers sustainable benefits and Rio Tinto Iron Ore is providing valuable support to achieve this.

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, the native title representative body for the traditional owners of the Pilbara, also played an important role in the establishment of the partnership.