I support the call made today by Traditional Owners at Parliament House to prohibit the use of ‘gag clauses’ in land use agreements between mining companies and Aboriginal groups.
I don’t think that it’s fair or reasonable for a mining company to ask an Aboriginal group to sign off in perpetuity their Traditional Owner rights under heritage laws.
Ultimately, the best way for these companies to continue their operations and deliver a return on investment is to maintain their ‘social licence’.
That involves maintaining a good and healthy relationship with Traditional Owners, and not relying upon the threat of legal action to silence protest.
If mining companies are not prepared to remove gag clauses from existing land use agreements, the State Government must demonstrate leadership and pass legislation prohibiting the use of such clauses.