Social License to Operate

Keogh Bay Consulting is able to help project proponents develop relationships, agreements and the internal standards and procedures that address their Aboriginal cultural heritage and native title obligations. Our advice aims to help your business develop mutually beneficial long-term relationships with Aboriginal stakeholders.

The relationship between Aboriginal people, miners and other project developers has changed significantly in the last 20 years. KBC helps proponents to develop mutually beneficial, respectful relationships with Traditional Owners, founded on well-structured, practical agreements. Our aim is to avoid adversarial and exploitative engagements between the parties.

The need for agreement making is driven by two sets of laws:

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage laws: The Aboriginal Heritage laws around Australia place a number of obligations on proponents centering on the need to work with Aboriginal people to identify sites or items of significance and to negotiate with them towards the effective management of heritage in the project context. KBC has experience drafting and negotiating cultural heritage management agreements, as well as managing cultural heritage surveys.
  • Native Title laws: In mining and resource developments the Native Title Act 1994 requires good faith negotiations concerning exploration and project development with native title holders or claimants.

Our advice covers the following areas

  • Aboriginal Engagement Strategies: The need for an agreement is often the first time that an organisation focuses on its relationship with Traditional Owners. Your approach to agreement making should be founded on a strong business case, policy and a wider perspective than the immediate need to tick the agreement box. Keogh Bay can assist you in developing a general approach to your long term engagement founded on strong principles.

Kundat Jaru Community – the site of recently concluded Northern Minerals agreement with Jaru people

  • Agreement negotiation strategies: KBC works with resource businesses to develop agreement negotiation strategies and to assist them in their implementation. Our strategies include advice on costs and timing, likely agreement contents and position options.
  • Agreement implementation and relationship building: The making of an agreement with Traditional Owners is just the start of a relationship, not the end. Effective implementation of agreements can be as challenging as their negotiation. KBC has extensive experience assisting organisations to develop internal systems that allow them to meet Aboriginal training and employment, land access, cultural awareness and other agreement obligations.

KBC’s consultants do not specialize in any single aspect or discipline in the agreement-making process. We are not lawyers or archaeologists. Instead, we bring an overall management experience to agreement-making that allows us to better advise businesses on the entirety of their relationships with Traditional Owners and oversee the range of people and skills needed to reach an agreement.

Where specialist advice is required, KBC has associate relationships with a portfolio of archaeologists, anthropologists, negotiators, lawyers and Aboriginal consultants with liaison skills.

Download full Keogh Bay Capability statement concerning agreements
social license to operate