The South Australian resources industry is committed to advancing opportunities for Indigenous South Australians, well beyond the scope of contracted benefits and agreements with traditional owners. This may be facilitated through a Native Title agreement such as an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA - structured to bring benefits to local Aboriginal communities) or through initiatives to employ and train Aboriginal people residing near their operations, or improve health and educational outcomes.
Companies often fund Indigenous initiatives, such as the massive $17.5 million BHP Billiton granted to the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2016 to run the national Indigenous arts festival, Tarnanthi, for five years. Other initiatives of the mining and petroleum industry include pre-employment and employment training courses, use of Aboriginal contractors, collaborations with external bodies to provide better opportunities for Indigenous people, educational scholarships and sponsorship of local community events and initiatives.
Intract Indigenous Contractors (above), based out of Dry Creek, was launched in 2010 through a unique partnership between SA’s Aboriginal Foundation and industry to provide opportunities for Aboriginal people, chiefly through the resources sector. Its evolving journey has brought diversification and growth into other states and industries, demonstrating the social benefits of commercial achievement.
Since 1999 SACOME has been a party to the State Government initiative negotiating ILUAs, this has contributed to South Australia's increase in minerals exploration over the past decade. Partners to these agreements include SACOME, SA Native Title Services (SANTS), the relevant Aboriginal Claim groups and the State. ILUAs are Indigenous Land Use Agreements; the South Australian goverment's preferred method for negotiating agreements as part of the native title resolution process.
ILUAs are structured in such a way as to bring significant benefits into Aboriginal communities. They not only improve on the benefits that may come under the current regimes but, with improved access to land, increase the possibility of community benefits that might derive from a discovery. Not only would a discovery generate a highly beneficial cash flow for the advantage of the whole community, but would generate opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.
In a first for South Australia, the Aboriginal Business Industry Chamber of South Australia (ABICSA) was established in 2015 to promote and support Aboriginal enterprise and entrepreneurship in South Australia.
ABICSA was launched at the Inaugural SA Aboriginal Business Summit on 4 June 2015 in Adelaide. The Summit also showcased the diverse range of Aboriginal businesses and business people in South Australia.
Native Title Act Review
The Australian Law Reform Commission is currently undertaking a review of the Native Title Act 1993, releasing an Issues Paper in March 2014.
The review focusses on connection requirements relating to the recognition and scope of native title rights and interests, and any barriers imposed by the Act’s authorisation and joinder provisions to claimants’, potential claimants’ and respondents’ access to justice. SACOME has participated in a response to this paper and expects to consult further prior to the Commission submitting its final report early in 2015.
Aboriginal Heritage Act Review
March 2016: Amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act have been introduced into State Parliament. SACOME has long pushed for improvements to the Act and we support the changes as they provide improved complementarity with the native title system. The repeal of the requirement for the Minister to delegate to traditional owners his functions to give authorisations under the Act is particularly welcome. The amendments have passed the Legislative Council and transferred to the House of Assembly, where the bill is expected to be passed.
Following the release of a draft bill in September 2013, SACOME prepared a submission upon consultation with members to the Department of Premier and Cabinet. The draft bill remains with Cabinet for consideration pending a decision on next steps.
Aboriginal Lands Trust Review
The Aboriginal Lands Trust Bill 2013 was introduced into Parliament in September 2013 unamended by the consultation. SACOME has made and continues to make representations to the Legislative Council ALT Bill committee and the Opposition regarding the unaddressed concerns of the industry detailed in the original submission. The new legislation has now passed with the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 2013 commending operation in mid-2014.