The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and its members are focused on ensuring effective processes for preventing and handling community complaints and grievances. Discussion, knowledge and capacity building are integral to enabling a more professionalised approach to community relations and conflict management, and improving industry performance in this area.
This report aims to contribute to this process by outlining potential ‘topics for discussion’ for further industry dialogue on rights-compatible, non-judicial community grievance mechanisms and Australian minerals companies. There have been increasing calls from a range of stakeholders, including civil society and international non-government organisations (NGOs) – Oxfam Australia in particular – for more effective corporate accountability mechanisms. International interest in this area continues to grow. The MCA and its member companies are primarily concerned with improving operational-level approaches to resolving community complaints and grievances, however, are aware of growing interest and activity on this issue internationally, and are open to contributing to discussion on the practical aspects of third-party mechanisms, where they meet community need through suitable avenues, including the ICMM.
Community complaints and grievance mechanisms are just one part of a suite of processes thataim to prevent, defuse and resolve community-company tension and conflict. This report focuses on rights-compatible, non-judicial community grievance mechanisms at two levels: (i) operations and (ii) industry. Discussion about an industry-level mechanism is centred on a third-party model; that is, a model which provides a level of independence from the industry. The active participation of the Australian mining industry is essential to understanding relevance in the Australian context.