Landscape, Hope Downs, Pilbara Operations

Recognition through a Voice

On Saturday, 14 October 2023, eligible Australian citizens had their say on whether our Constitution should recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, with the outcome resulting in a majority “No” vote.

The history

Indigenous people have been asking for a say in their affairs for more than a century. 

In 2017, over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates gathered and issued the Uluru Statement from the Heart to the Australian people. It was the product of a series of regional dialogues held across the country and represents the largest consensus of First Nations peoples on a proposal for substantive recognition in Australian history. 

It was a profound moment of unity in the Indigenous community, and a gift to all Australians who want to work together to find a better future, close the gaps in life outcomes, and, in the words of the Uluru Statement, to reach Makarrata, a Yolgnu word meaning “a coming together after a struggle”. 

The Voice was a direct outcome of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and proposed a permanent representation and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution to give Indigenous communities - at a national, local and regional level - a way to help inform policy and legal decisions that impact their lives.

Uluru Statement
Uluru Statement from the Heart - artwork © Christine Brumby, Charmaine Kulitja, Rene Kulitja, Happy Reid /Copyright Agency, 2023

Our position

This decision does not change our support for constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians and our commitment to elevating Indigenous voices, including those of our employees, in our business and beyond. 

We will continue to listen, learn and ensure Indigenous Australian voices are strong in our business.  

As one of the largest employers of Indigenous Australians and a company that operates on the lands of Indigenous peoples, we have long supported constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians. We backed the ‘Recognise’ campaign in 2015, through to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

The relationships we have with Indigenous peoples, including the agreements we have with Traditional Owners of the lands on which we operate, are a priority for us. This includes a focus on promoting greater recognition and inclusion of Indigenous people in decision-making processes, particularly relating to our mining operations and the impact on Indigenous lands and communities.

“Within our own company, we are working hard to build a more inclusive and culturally aware workplace that values Indigenous views and voices, including more than 1,500 Indigenous Australian employees and 54 Indigenous leaders.

We are committed to meaningful engagement, trust, mutual benefit, and genuine understanding of Indigenous peoples’ views and interests and believe the people to guide Indigenous policy and practice are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves.”

- Kellie Parker, Chief Executive, Australia

Our commitment to local communities

We have a long history of partnering on local and national community initiatives to benefit people across Australia.

One of our priorities is ensuring Indigenous people are heard and their participation in our business and throughout Australia is increased.

In 2022, we supported a range of community initiatives and partnerships across Australia, directly investing more than A$53 million. Our commitment goes well beyond financial support. Our people share their time and expertise with the communities where they live and work.

Examples of our support include:

  • Preparing young Indigenous leaders for the future through partnerships with the Clontarf Foundation and Polly Farmer Foundation.
  • Building capability and capacity of Indigenous businesses and leaders across Australia through partnership like the Indigenous Emerging Business Forum.
  • Supporting equal access to health care for regional and remote Indigenous communities through our partnerships with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (WA and QLD).
  • Providing support for Indigenous people in the Pilbara to develop skills for ongoing employment through the Aboriginal Training and Liaison (ATAL) program.
  • Supporting the Dhuka Mala all-Indigenous work-readiness program in North-East Arnhem Land.
  • Working with Indigenous partners to preserve the Murujuga rock art on the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago.
  • Supporting Local Aboriginal Persons to undertake tertiary studies as a pathway into specialised positions at our Weipa operations.
  • Partnering with the Pilbara Cultural Land Management Project and directly supporting three ranger programs in the Pilbara to care for Country.

We also support local businesses, employ local people and buy local products – especially from Indigenous, small and regional businesses. In 2022, we spent more than A$565 million with Indigenous businesses across Australia – an increase of 40% on the year before.