Shareholders can require proponents (e.g. mining companies) to include a detailed analysis of Aboriginal engagement and heritage protection in their corporate social governance reporting. This should include clearly articulated statistics regarding the number of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites impacted and those that were avoided. The numbers of consent-based Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plans (ACHMPs), versus those that were imposed by the Aboriginal Affairs Minister over the objections of Traditional Owners, should also be reported. Investors can then choose whether the reported standards align with the ethical principles to which they subscribe. Shareholders can also petition proponents to improve these standards via Annual General Meetings and other mechanisms.
In December 2021, we welcomed the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors release of a significant research report, and resulting company engagement, with Aboriginal People that discusses why it makes sound business sense to build long-term, constructive and mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal people – and how this can be achieved.