The Australian Greens have called on the chief executive of Rio Tinto Iron Ore, Chris Salisbury, to resign or be sacked over the growing scandal regarding his company’s destruction of the sacred Pilbara site.
The Greens will also move for Rio Tinto and the Federal Environment Minister to be called before the Senate Environment References Committee.
“The mining industry in WA have a long history of disregard of First Nations peoples connection to their sacred sites and land. The Aboriginal Heritage Act in WA is so weak because of the mining industry influence and their agenda of prioritising profit and access to land over all else,” Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues Rachel Siewert said.
“This site was knowingly destroyed and someone must be held accountable. Rio Tinto knew this site was of deep cultural significance and should have been protected, not blown up.
“This time Rio Tinto have been caught out and they will be held accountable.
“This must be the last time this wanton destruction occurs. All laws must be strengthened to ensure this never happens again.
“I am deeply upset for the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people.”
“After this morning’s train wreck of an interview it is clear that Chris Salisbury needs to resign or be sacked,” Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said.
“Rio can not just wash its hands and move on. They can’t walk away from this. Responsibility rests at the top and they need to be held accountable.
“Continuing to obfuscate and pretend they didn’t know what they were doing is just further injury."
Chair of the Senate Environment References Committee Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the Greens will move for Rio Tinto and the Federal Environment Minister to be called before the committee.
“Rio Tinto needs to be held to account for what they have done and the Environment Minister has serious questions to answer about her involvement or lack thereof,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“It seems lots of people knew about this and nobody did anything to stop it.
“More than 40000 years of heritage and history has been destroyed. If it was Stonehenge or the Pyramids there would be global outrage.
“Every Australian should be angry that our nation’s history has been trashed in the name of corporate profit.
“This has happened on Sussan Ley’s watch and if we are going to stop such wanton destruction from happening again we need to know what went so wrong and what changes are needed to the law to make this type of destruction illegal.”
BANDT - Will Kelly; 0427 819 461
SIEWERT - Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180
HANSON-YOUNG - Karina Natt; 0427 604 760