New Publication: From Conflict to Co-operation

Statement by the MCA Chief Executive, Brendan Pearson

New Publication: From Conflict to Co-operation by Professor Marcia Langton

A new MCA monograph, written by Professor Marcia Langton charts the transformation in engagement between the minerals industry and Indigenous Australians over the past two decades. 

The monograph, titled From Conflict to Cooperation, details the profound shift in land access agreement-making, the expansion of minerals industry-led employment programs and the investment in procurement from Indigenous businesses over the past two decades.

“The transformative capacity of agreement-making is evident in the collaboration between Indigenous parties and minerals companies in Australia that has extended the engagement beyond the legal requirements for land access for projects,” Professor Langton writes

“Mutually beneficial agreement-making has produced substantial Indigenous employment and enterprise outcomes,” the monograph notes.

The changes have firmly established the minerals sector as a major driver of employment and economic development in Indigenous communities, employing more Indigenous Australians than any other industry sector.

The economic dividend from the relationship is substantial.

The minerals sector  last year spent approximately $2.2 billion in procurement from Indigenous businesses annually and contributes an estimated $3 billion in native-title related payments each year.

In highlighting the tangible economic benefits being delivered to remote and regional communities, Professor Langton notes that industry has now reached its capacity of what it can achieve to help ‘close the gap’.  The monograph argues that in order to maximise Indigenous economic development further policy reforms will be necessary.

These include policy and legislative reforms to education and training programs for Indigenous youth, improved governance for agreement-making, and the adoption of the Indigenous Community Development Corporation model to unlock the potential for greater Indigenous economic empowerment.

“The immediate and future business case for the ICDC structure to better generate economic participation for Indigenous communities is significant”, states Professor Langton.

With the reform imperative for ‘closing the gap’ clear, From Conflict to Cooperation is an important contribution to the debate on Indigenous economic development.

You can download the Monograph here:


About the publication

Professor Marcia Langton’s From Conflict to Cooperation: Transformations and challenges in the engagement between the Australian minerals industry and Australian Indigenous peoples (2015, MCA) is part of the MCA’s monograph series of publications authored independently by key opinion leaders and policy-makers.

The monograph will be launched by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion in the Mural Hall at Parliament House from 6.30pm on 25 February, 2014.

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