Jun 4th 2021

Ben Wyatt waltzes through the revolving door between government and Big Mining

Former Western Australian treasurer Ben Wyatt has been appointed to the board of not one, but two major mining corporations — including the one that destroyed Juukan Gorge while he was Aboriginal Affairs Minister.

Just three months after retiring from politics, Wyatt has joined the boards of Woodside Energy and Rio Tinto Australia. Wyatt famously gave Rio Tinto the approval to destroy the 46,000-year-old sacred rock shelters at Juukan Gorge.

Wyatt also helped draft the revised WA Aboriginal Heritage Act, which is supposed to prevent mining corporations from committing any more atrocities like Juukan Gorge again. Woodside is currently lobbying to have the Act watered down. 

GetUp First Nations Justice Campaign Director Larissa Baldwin said:

"I'd like to congratulate Ben Wyatt on the massive payout he'll receive for being on the board of two mining corporations that have track records of destroying Aboriginal culture on a continental scale. I hope that money, and all the nice things it'll buy, is worth selling out First Nations people and our cultural heritage. 

"The revolving door between state and federal governments and the resources industry in this country is truly spectacular. 

"Wyatt played a key role in drafting revisions to the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act — the exact piece of legislation Woodside is trying to water down.

"And to all those people who think that a politician signing up for a fat paycheck with the mining corporations he was supposed to be regulating is a disgusting and blatant display of cronyism that shows how fundamentally broken and unfair our political system is — lighten up! This is Australia!

"So congratulations, Ben! Try not to oversee any more Juukan Gorges, if you can."

Media contact: Alex McKinnon 0411 829 334


Larissa Baldwin, First Nations Justice Campaign Director at GetUp