protecting cultural heritage



HESTA is proud to partner with the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance (FNHPA) and National Native Title Council (NNTC) to support stronger protection of cultural heritage.

This partnership aims to help address the risk to community and investors, including HESTA, of incidents like the destruction of significant cultural heritage at Juukan Gorge in 2020.

Why is it important for investors to work with First Nations leaders and organisations?

The destruction of the 46,000 year old cultural heritage site at Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto was a wake-up call for investors, exposing the risks investors face when there are gaps between a company’s policies and its actions.

Responsible investors, including HESTA, are developing relationships with First Nations organisations and leaders to learn about relationships with companies and governments from their perspective. This helps investors identify core issues, then engage with companies and governments to improve standards, which will ultimately reduce investment risk.


This is a powerful way we engage on social issues to help protect the value of your super investments now, and into the future.



Why partner with the FNHPA?

The FNHPA is a coalition of First Nations organisations that came together after the destruction of the Juukan Gorge heritage site. The alliance is focused on creating reforms to properly protect and celebrate First Nations cultural heritage in Australia.  It makes sense for investors responding to Juukan Gorge to build relationships with the Alliance as one of the primary First Nations networks negotiating with companies like BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue on how to improve their practices.

The Alliance has provided valuable insights to HESTA that help inform us on issues between First Nations peoples and the mining sector. It also reveals the challenges First Nations people face in protecting cultural heritage as a result of state and federal legislation that is not aligned with international standards.

The National Native Title Council (NNTC), which it the Secretariat of the Alliance, worked closely with the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors’ (ACSI) Rights and Cultural Heritage Risk Management Working Group as advisers on ACSI’s company engagement with First Nations People policy and research. HESTA is a member of this working group.


How are First Nations organisations and investors collaborating?

In November 2021, the Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Initiative (DNBII) was launched. The DNBII is led by the FNHPA in partnership with the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). The DNBII is the first initiative in Australia that brings these three sectors together.  It aims to build partnerships and deliver resources that can guide investors and businesses to engage with First Nations Peoples more respectfully. HESTA is a member of RIAA and sits on the DNBII Technical Working Group.

This initiative builds on the work by the Heritage Chairs and Officials of Australia and New Zealand on the Dhawura Ngilan Vision. The Vision lays out the intrinsic worth of cultural heritage for all Australians and its worthiness for national and international protection and celebration.

This original work also delivered guidelines to policy makers on how to enact this vision.

HESTA’s public policy advocacy in this area has centred on the Dhawura Ngilan vision and associated standards for cultural heritage legislation and suggests this is the standard Australia should strive for.     


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