A Way Forward

October 2021

© Commonwealth of Australia 2021
ISBN: 978-1-76092-310-5

View the report as a single document:

View the report as separate downloadable parts:




Terms of Reference


List of Recommendations

1. Introduction

  The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples
  Conduct of the inquiry

2. Juukan Gorge destruction

  Different perspectives
  Rio Tinto
  PKKP and its representatives
  State administrative failures
  Update on Rio Tinto: Responses to Juukan Gorge and Never Again
  Other industry responses
  Committee comment

3. Broader Western Australia experience

  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences
  Burden of administration of legislative protections
  Registration of cultural sites
  Agreement making
  Committee comment

4. Western Australian legislation

  The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972
  Critiques of the Aboriginal Heritage Act
  Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020
  Committee comment

5. State and territory legislative frameworks

  New South Wales
  South Australia
  Australian Capital Territory
  Northern Territory
  Legislative exemptions from cultural heritage protections
  Committee comment

6. Commonwealth law and international agreements

  Commonwealth legislation
  Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018
  International conventions and declarations

7. A pathway forward

  1−Need for an overarching Commonwealth legislative framework
  2−Heritage standards
  3−Economic benefits

Additional Comments from Senator Smith and Mr Christensen MP

Additional Comments from Senator Thorpe

A. List of submissions

B. List of public hearings and witnesses

C. Interim report recommendations

D. Chronology of events

  Chronology of events submitted by Rio Tinto: 2003-2020
  Chronology of events submitted by PKKP: 2019-2020

E. Map of PKKP lands

F. Timeline of cultural heritage laws

G. ATSIHP Act case law

Sacred Country (2020)

Committee Secretariat contact:

PO Box 6021
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 4162

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.

Past Public Hearings

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