Country, Culture, People, Future

Peter Jeffries

YMAC’s Regional Director in Pilbara Exhibition

Posted: February 12th, 2013

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Are you interested in finding out more about life and culture in the Pilbara region of Western Australia?

Perth’s FORM gallery is currently hosting Pilbara Stories, a photographic exhibition capturing the diversity and individuality of everyday Pilbara life.

The exhibition features YMAC’s own Pilbara Regional Manager, Peter Jeffries, and is open now at the FORM gallery in Perth until 20 April 2013, and the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland from 15 February to 11 April 2013.

Pilbara Stories is part of FORM’s ongoing ‘Pilbara Project’, which aims to encourage local people from the region to celebrate their own unique identity.

For more information, visit the Pilbara Stories website.

YMAC welcomes the Auditor General’s findings on heritage

Posted: October 17th, 2011

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YMAC welcomes the findings of the recent Auditor General’s report on compliance with mining conditions, which highlights what Traditional Owners already know: that Aboriginal heritage in WA is not being adequately protected by the State.


The Auditor General found that the Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA), which administers the Aboriginal Heritage Act, has failed in its responsibility to monitor compliance with conditions it places on miners for protection of heritage sites. The report states that DIA “has only undertaken inspections of heritage sites when responding to complaints it received, but has taken no enforcement action when it has found non-compliance.”

Peter Jeffries, Acting CEO of YMAC, said, “The AHA operates more as an approval mechanism for the destruction of Aboriginal heritage than as a means for protecting it. YMAC has worked hard over the years to make sure agreements are in place between native title groups and companies to protect heritage. If it weren’t for these private agreements, there would be no real protection for Aboriginal heritage in areas of high development like the Pilbara and Midwest. This report has shown that there are no consequences for illegally destroying Aboriginal heritage in the course of mining projects.”

The report highlights the need to improve the processes for protecting Aboriginal heritage in WA. A review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act was announced in June 2011, but past reviews have not led to improvements in the system.

“We sincerely hope that the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act leads to major reform that takes into account the importance of our State’s Aboriginal heritage and gives Aboriginal people a significant say in how approvals to destroy heritage are granted,” said Mr. Jeffries.

Midwest Traditional Owners look forward to agreement outcomes

Posted: January 12th, 2011

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The Yugunga-Nya native title group have announced a claim wide land access agreement over their traditional country with mining company, Sandfire Resources.

Yugunga-Nya country covers approximately 30,335 square kilometres of land in the Midwest region of Western Australia, and includes the mining towns of Meekatharra and Cue.

The land access agreement covers Sandfire Resources DeGrussa copper-gold project, situated 150km north of Meekatharra. The agreement provides a range of financial and non-financial benefits to the Yugunga-Nya community. These include employment and contracting opportunities, as well as cultural awareness training for Sandfire employees. The agreement also includes a position for a Yugunga-Nya member to be employed as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer, further developing the good working relationship established between the community and Sandfire.

Ron Shay is a well respected Yugunga-Nya community member and is looking forward to the new opportunities the land access agreement will bring to his people.

“We already have four Yugunga-Nya people working with Sandfire, but through this agreement we hope to see many more benefits flow through to our community, including future employment and training,” he said.

Peter Jeffries, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), said, “I would like to congratulate the Yugunga-Nya people on the successful completion of their negotiations with Sandfire Resources and look forward to the opportunities that this agreement will bring to the community.

It’s a great start to the year for Yugunga-Nya and we look forward to many more positive stories for Traditional Owners of the Midwest region in 2011.”