The Greens say they are very concerned about gag clauses in participation and land use agreements and the impact they have on the ability of Traditional Owners to raise objections to development proposals.
“Today we heard from witnesses to the Juukan Gorge inquiry that confidential participation agreements with “gag clauses” negotiated before or during the signing of Land Use Agreements with Traditional Owners are “potentially illegal” and impinge on basic human rights” said Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on First Nation issues.
“Communities should be able to express their opinions publicly if they have concerns about proposals that impact on cultural and heritage sites.
“We really need to ask why huge mining corporations have gag laws in place that effectively take away peoples’ rights under Australian laws.
“Traditional Owners should be able to hold mining companies to account if they so wish.
“Today we heard that Agreements with non-disclosure provisions can be signed before full anthropological or archaeological work on a site has been done and that there is too much pressure on traditional owners to negotiate ILUAs in a hurry meaning that the legislation and process favours companies over of Traditional Owners. This needs to stop."
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180