Rio’s latest rock shelter damage highlights need for Aboriginal Voice, advocates say – by Melanie Burton (Reuters – October 2, 2023)

MELBOURNE, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Damage caused to an Aboriginal rock shelter by mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) in August underscores the need for better heritage protection laws and a greater say for Indigenous groups promised in this month’s Voice referendum, advocates say.

Rio admitted on Sept. 21 to damaging a rock shelter on Aug. 6 in Western Australia’s Pilbara region while blasting at a nearby iron ore mine. Rio is now working with the Muntulgura Guruma people to assess what had happened, it said.

Rio’s destruction of rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in 2020 prompted a global outcry, the departure of top executives and a parliamentary enquiry that recommended an overhaul of Australia’s Aboriginal heritage protection laws.

“Regrettably, it seems as though Rio’s blast management plan has failed on this occasion leaving the Muntulgura Guruma People to pick up the pieces,” said Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC), which represents the Muntulgura, in a statement. “Any impact is of course unwelcome.”

For the rest of this article:,month’s%20Voice%20referendum%2C%20advocates%20say.