Terms of Reference

The Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia to inquire into and report on, by 9 December 2020:
The destruction of 46,000 year old caves at the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia with particular reference to:
(a)
the operation of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA) and approvals provided under the Act;
(b)
the consultation that Rio Tinto engaged in prior to the destruction of the caves with Indigenous peoples;
(c)
the sequence of events and decision-making process undertaken by Rio Tinto that led to the destruction;
(d)
the loss or damage to the Traditional Owners, Puutu, Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, from the destruction of the site;
(e)
the heritage and preservation work that has been conducted at the site;
(f)
the interaction, of state indigenous heritage regulations with Commonwealth laws;
(g)
the effectiveness and adequacy of state and federal laws in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage in each of the Australian jurisdictions;
(h)
how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage laws might be improved to guarantee the protection of culturally and historically significant sites;
(i)
opportunities to improve indigenous heritage protection through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; and
(j)
any other related matters

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About this inquiry

On Thursday 11 June 2020 The Senate referred the following inquiry to the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia for inquiry and report by 30 September 2020:

The destruction of 46,000 year old caves at the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

On Monday, 7 December 2020 The Senate agreed to a reporting extension for the following inquiry to the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia for inquiry and report by 18 October 2021.

Submissions Closed.

Track Inquiry

Past Public Hearings

27 Aug 2021: Canberra
08 Jul 2021: Canberra
06 Jul 2021: Canberra