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The 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum commemorates a significant turning point in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The anniversary is a time to reflect on how changes in the law have opened the way to a deeper understanding of Indigenous heritage and culture and a commitment to working in partnership with Indigenous Australians.

The Australian minerals industry acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of this nation.

As neighbours in rural and regional Australia, the minerals industry respects the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples and seeks to build strong relationships as the basis for reaching agreement on shared outcomes.

The Minerals Council of Australia is proud of the commitment shown by the minerals industry to building lasting partnerships with Indigenous Australians.

These partnerships continue to evolve as companies and Indigenous communities identify new ways for communities to put the benefits from mining to use in meeting their social, cultural and economic goals.

More than 60 per cent of minerals operations in Australia are neighbours to Indigenous communities.  The minerals industry has negotiated close to 2,000 land use agreements, which have provided unprecedented wealth creation opportunities for Indigenous communities. As well as access to land and resources, these agreements commonly cover issues such as training, employment, infrastructure, environmental management and business development.

The mining industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous Australians and mining generates employment opportunities for Indigenous people in a range of associated industries.

Indigenous businesses are increasingly represented in the mining industry supply chain.  Each year several billion dollars in procurement contracts go to Indigenous enterprises to carry out civil engineering work, land management, hospitality, transport and other vital support services.

The past 50 years have taught us the importance of leadership.  The Minerals Council of Australia believes in investing in the next generation of Indigenous leaders.  It proudly supports the Aurora Project to provide opportunities for Indigenous scholars to pursue their academic careers at the world’s leading universities.

The 1967 referendum was a significant first step in acknowledging the place of Indigenous Australians in the nation’s past – and their stake in its future.

Further tribute will be paid to the anniversaries of the 1967 referendum and the landmark Mabo decision when renowned academic and Indigenous leader Professor Marcia Langton delivers the third Australian Mining Industry Annual Lecture next month.

As we mark this historic 50th anniversary, the minerals industry is committed to continuing to work with Indigenous Australians to achieve reconciliation and a better future.

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