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The state of disclosures on Aboriginal engagement: an examination of Australian mining companies

Amanpreet Kaur (UniSA Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Wei Qian (UniSA Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 5 October 2020

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021

384

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the nature and level of disclosures on engagement with Aboriginal communities by Australian mining companies.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis of annual and sustainability reports of Australian Stock Exchange listed companies was undertaken to address the central research aim of this paper. An Aboriginal engagement framework was developed based on the five dimensions suggested by Reconciliation Australia.

Findings

The findings of the study report an overall low level of disclosures on Aboriginal engagement by mining companies and reveal that corporate disclosures largely focus on Land and Native title agreements, Aboriginal employment and corporate investment in Aboriginal socio-economic development. The least reported issues include Aboriginal immersion experience, Aboriginal inclusion in leadership roles and commitment to the reconciliation process. The findings of the study suggest that although corporate engagement practices have started to recognise and incorporate marginalised stakeholder rights and issues, only a few companies have created necessary avenues to empower Aboriginal communities. Regarding the reconciliation process, the findings reveal that the companies are mostly reporting on only three out of the five dimensions of the framework.

Practical implications

This study provides a better understanding of the current state of Aboriginal engagement practices in the mining sector, in particular the issues and gaps in reporting Aboriginal engagement to align it with the national reconciliation process, which will be useful for policymakers and, possibly, standard setters to develop future Aboriginal engagement and disclosure policies.

Originality/value

In spite of the rapid development of corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure, disclosure of corporate impacts on Aboriginal people and reconciliation with Aboriginal communities has been given little attention in business CSR practice and previous CSR disclosure literature. This research fills this gap and investigates the increasing uptake of Aboriginal engagement disclosures by business corporations.

Keywords

Citation

Kaur, A. and Qian, W. (2021), "The state of disclosures on Aboriginal engagement: an examination of Australian mining companies", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 345-370. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-01-2020-0702

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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