Country, Culture, People, Future

Simon Hawkins

Wajarri Yamatji Achieve Native Title Recognition

Posted: October 20th, 2017

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On Thursday 19 October 2017, the Wajarri Yamatji community celebrated Native Title recognition at an on-Country Federal Court hearing held on Wooleen Station. Over 300 people attended to witness the historic occasion, that had taken over 20 years to achieve.

Wajarri people proudly showing their consent determination

Wajarri people proudly showing their consent determination

The consent determination covers the majority of the Wajarri Yamatji claim area (68,743 square kilometres of the total 97,676 square kilometres). The area encompasses parts of the Shires of Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Murchison, Upper Gascoyne, Cue and Yalgoo; as well as 56 pastoral leases.

The journey to this native title determination commenced in 1995 and has involved the coming together of many families to achieve native title recognition. The Wajarri people have inhabited their Country since time immemorial, and have continued to look after their Country. Through their culture and knowledge, Wajarri people have maintained a deep connection to their land that continues to be passed on through the generations.

Mr Simon Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer of YMAC said, “There are many stakeholders involved in the native title process. On behalf of the Board of Directors and everyone at YMAC, I would like to acknowledge the State, the Federal Court, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the National Native Title Tribunal, pastoralists, mining companies and all other parties for their cooperation and hard work over the past two decades to achieve this historic outcome. Congratulations everyone.”

Media Release: Wajarri Yamatji Achieve Native Title Recognition

Budina People Celebrate Native Title Win

Posted: October 17th, 2017

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The Budina community is today celebrating the legal recognition of their land and culture at an on-Country Federal Court hearing at Lyndon Pastoral Station. The event was co-hosted by Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) and Budina Aboriginal Corporation (BAC).

The Budina are a small but close community who have continuously maintained their association with Country. The Budina People continue to look after their Country and pass on cultural knowledge through traditional law and traditional customs.

His Honour Justice Griffiths congratulated the parties involved in the native title determination process.

Clive Lyndon, Budina Elder said, “This is an important outcome for the Budina and I’m so glad to see so many people could make it out here to celebrate with us. I’d like to thank YMAC for all of the work that they have done…”

YMAC CEO Simon Hawkins said, “The Budina determination is a great outcome for a beautiful group of people. Justice Griffiths took a very personal approach to conducting the Court hearing that was enjoyed by everyone present. I’d like to acknowledge the great relationship between the Budina people and the Lyndon Station owners, Sean and Cathy Darcy. This is a unique relationship and the wonderful celebrations are a credit to everyone involved.”

Media release: Budina Celebrate Native Title Win

Budina Celebrate Native Title Win

Budina Celebrate Native Title Win

Read our excerpt from “The Miners”

Posted: November 26th, 2013

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Yamatji Marlpa’s CEO Simon Hawkins was featured in the recently published The Miners – Stories from the industry that drives modern Australia, by Barry Avery.

The Miners is available at www.theminers.net.au with proceeds going to the Starlight Foundation:

Read the excerpt here:

The 1992 event that has become known as the Mabo Decision changed the landscape of mining and exploration in Australia forever. This was a landmark High Court ruling that recognised the legal concept of Native Title for the first time, rejecting the previously held doctrine of terra nullius. It gave the Indigenous traditional owners certain legal rights to their land.

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The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), of which Simon Hawkins has been chief executive for the past decade, is an organisation that represents 25 Aboriginal cultural groups across the Pilbara, Murchison and Gascoyne regions of Western Australia – including dealing with Australia’s major resource developers with respect to Native Title claims. Hawkins explains that recognition of Native Title does not give a veto over mining or development, as traditional owners cannot stop mining from going ahead. What it does give these groups is a right to negotiate, allowing development to go ahead while claims are being resolved. ‘This gives traditional owners a seat at the table – to have a say about how mining will unfold on their country,’ he says.

‘When I started as chief executive in 2003, the mining boom was ramping up and companies which previously had poor relationships with Aboriginal people were now knocking on our door. Within my first few weeks on the job, Rio Tinto said it wanted to do a comprehensive agreement in the Pilbara. (more…)

Badimia People sign Native Title Agreement with Top Iron

Posted: May 23rd, 2013

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L-R: Greg Knox (Top Iron), Nick Revell (Top Iron), Badimia Traditional Owner Frank Walsh Jnr., Bruce Richardson (Top Iron), Kevin Stemp (Top Iron), with YMAC claim lawyer Paul Avina.

The Badimia People, Traditional Owners of land in the Midwest region of Western Australia, are pleased to announce they have entered into an agreement with Top Iron Pty Ltd. The agreement paves the way for the iron ore miners to develop their Greater Mummaloo Project in Badimia country, near the existing Extension Hill project.

The Badimia people will benefit from preferential contracting opportunities and employment targets on the project, as well as financial compensation linked to the project’s production. The company has also agreed to hand over all housing units and light vehicles to the Badimia people at the end of the project, further enhancing opportunities for Badimia businesses.

The agreement also includes several provisions to protect and promote Badimia culture and heritage, including heritage survey protocols, Badimia cultural awareness workshops for Top Iron employees, and avoidance of certain areas that are important to Badimia cultural heritage.

Badimia working group member Frank Walsh Jnr. said of the agreement, ‘Badimia people have once again shown that they can reach agreements like this with mining companies in our region and that we are quite supportive of those companies who totally respect and understand our Badimia people and culture.

‘At the end of the day it is about empowering our people and communities. The financial aspects of these agreements are important, but the economic and employment opportunities, as well as heritage protections that arise out of these agreements, are also very significant’.

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) CEO Simon Hawkins said, ‘The agreement was reached swiftly, after Top Iron made efforts to develop a positive relationship with the Badimia people before the formal negotiations began.

‘The company made an effort to understand the community’s aspirations and concerns, so the negotiations went very smoothly and only took two formal meetings. This has laid the foundations for a good relationship between both parties for the future of the agreement’.

Yinhawangka People Sign Pilbara Native Title Agreement with Dragon Energy

Posted: May 10th, 2013

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Yinhawangka Community Members with Representatives from Dragon Energy and YMAC

The Yinhawangka people recently announced a native title agreement with Dragon Energy, paving the way for its flagship Pilbara Iron Project.

Under the agreement, Yinhawangka consent to all activities associated with the development of an iron ore mine at Dragon’s Rocklea Central and North deposits. It also allows for further mining leases within the area.

The Agreement follows 12 months of constructive consultation and covers milestone and production payments, employment opportunities as well as cross-cultural exchanges and consultation on environmental matters.

Yinhawangka representative Roma Butcher said, “It was a pleasure doing business with Dragon Energy. Dragon’s General Manager Gang Xu was so easy to talk to and clearly has a huge respect for Yinhawangka People.

“I feel that Dragon worked with us respectfully and understood things we had to say about the Country, the flora and fauna, and how these things are important for us, our community and our health. Dragon Energy had empathy for what we are trying to achieve, and that meant that in return we also wanted to work with them. Maybe some of the Chinese cultural values that Gang Xu brought to our meetings were similar and led to understandings of our Aboriginal culture.

“Our flora and fauna are very important to us – as our Country is – and it’s good to know that Dragon Energy respects that, and respects our knowledge of the Country and the river system, and have agreed to include Yinhawangka People in ongoing environmental management.”

Dragon Energy’s Managing Director, Mr Gang Xu, commented that the parties had developed an excellent working relationship and looked forward to this continuing with the development of Pilbara Iron Project.

“Our negotiations with the Yinhawangka People have been based upon a strong mutual respect and have focussed on achieving outcomes that will benefit of both parties.

“We look forward to working with the group to develop our Pilbara Iron Project and at the same time provide opportunities to the Yinhawangka community and preserve their heritage and customs.”

Simon Hawkins, CEO, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation said, “Dragon Energy listened to concerns the Yinhawangka People had regarding impact to the Hardey River and have put in place an ongoing program to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge. Both parties showed great flexibility which has led to a strong relationship.”

Yugunga-Nya People Sign Native Title Agreement with Ventnor Resources

Posted: April 30th, 2013

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The Yugunga-Nya People, Traditional Owners of land within the Eastern Murchison region of Western Australia, have announced the signing of an agreement with Australian base metals company Ventnor Resources Limited (Ventnor) for the Thaduna/Green Dragon Copper Project over 640 hectares of their traditional country in Doolgunna Western Australia.

The agreement recognises the cultural and environmental significance of the area for Traditional Owners and aims to deliver significant financial and social outcomes to the Yugunga-Nya People through commercial and community development opportunities.

Yugunga-Nya Traditional Evelyn Gilla said, ‘I am happy that this agreement was signed. The
company was friendly, and it was a good agreement for Yugunga-Nya people’

Ventnor Managing Director Bruce Maluish responded, ‘we at Ventnor extend our appreciation
to the Yugunga-Nya People for the goodwill they have exhibited throughout our negotiations
that have culminated in this important agreement. Ventnor looks forward to working with the
group in the future’.

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) CEO Simon Hawkins said, ‘This agreement
shows what can be achieved when companies are open from the outset. The mutual
cooperation throughout negotiations meant this agreement was finalised within a short
timeframe and both parties were happy with the result’.

Ngarlawangga People and Montezuma Sign Agreement South of Newman

Posted: December 20th, 2012

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The Ngarlawangga native title group today announced the signing of an agreement with Montezuma Mining Company Ltd (Montezuma) for the Butcherbird manganese project over 23,000 hectares of their traditional country, south of Newman, as well as consents to future mining in the area.

The agreement has seen Traditional Owners and Montezuma develop a framework for how they will continue working with each other, including assisting Ngarlawangga people into employment, agreed processes and timeframes by which heritage clearances will take place and support for tendering for new contracts for community businesses.

The signing includes an agreed process should the mining company apply for permission to disturb heritage sites, which provides both parties with a guaranteed consultation process under the Aboriginal Heritage Act (WA).

Ngarlawangga Traditional Owner Dianne Limerick said, “The discussions with Montezuma went well – we’re now hoping for jobs and business contracts to develop from this agreement.”
Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) CEO Simon Hawkins said, “Montezuma listened and responded to the community’s needs throughout the process. In turn, the Ngarlawangga people were able to reach agreement quickly, giving the company certainty. Both parties are particularly focused on supporting new and existing Ngarlawangga contracting companies to benefit from this project, including incentives for community businesses”.
Click here to read the full media release.

Native title agreement recognises the importance of water

Posted: November 20th, 2012

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Kurama and Marthudunera Traditional Owners Bernadette Evans, Roy Evans, Joan Evans and Cyril Lockyer with YMAC staff and IOH representatives

The Kurama and Marthudunera (K&M) native title group today announced the signing of an agreement with Iron Ore Holdings Ltd (IOH) over their Buckland Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

It is the Pilbara’s first native title agreement to provide payments in respect of the use of water and clearance of native vegetation, giving an incentive for IOH to minimise their impact on the environment. IOH also showed flexibility in planning their mine footprint in order to avoid any impact on culturally sensitive sites near the area.

In addition to strong cultural and environmental protection, the agreement provides milestone and production payments, which are now standard features of native title land access agreements.

Kurama and Marthudunera Traditional Owner, Cyril Lockyer said, “The important thing now is to continue our good working relationship. This area is of great significance to the families involved and we want to work closely with Iron Ore Holdings to see these sensitive places protected.”

“This unique agreement is due to the genuine good-will and flexibility shown by both parties, and recognises the cultural and environmental significance of the area for the Traditional Owners. It goes well beyond the requirements of the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act by recognising that water and habitat are inextricably linked to cultural values,” said Simon Hawkins, CEO of Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation.

2012 Annual Report now available for download

Posted: October 31st, 2012

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YMAC is proud to release our Annual Report for the 2011/12 financial year. In addition to our complete financial statements, the report also contains many highlights from the year, a message from the CEO, a report from the Board of Directors and many beautiful pictures of country.

Click here to download our Annual Report from our website or email srosenfeld@ymac.org.au to request a hard copy.