A member of the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) has come out against CEO Simon Hawkins, saying he has “lost the respect from the mob”.
Yamatji man and YMAC member, Fred Taylor, said people are angry about the way YMAC has handled the fallout from the Juukan Gorge blasts.
“From what I’ve been reading and seeing … it’s shocking,” Taylor said.
“It should have never ever come to that, where Aboriginal sites are destroyed.
“YMAC didn’t inform their clients what the full agreement was about and then didn’t break it down in a way where the Elders of that group understood it.
“I feel very sad for what’s happened.”
After it was revealed PKKP Traditional Owners felt YMAC failed to accurately present their agreement to them, Taylor said YMAC members are angry—not at PKKP, but their own CEO, Simon Hawkins.
“[Members] want an inquiry and a review into YMAC, open it right up,” he said.
“A person that’s been their CEO for nearly 20 years has got to go … they’ve had enough.”
“It’s time for him to step aside … he’s culturally inappropriate for us, he’s got no idea.”
Taylor also said Hawkins denying responsibility for the draft section 18 application was “quite strange”. At Tuesday’s public hearing of the Juukan Gorge inquiry, Hawkins said passing on the application was “not YMAC’s responsibility”.
“Why would you say that about your clients?” Taylor said.
“Everything should be passed on to the clients. I just can’t understand why [the draft application] wasn’t passed on to the clients,” he said.
“It should have been sent to the people. [They] should have been told … they’re representing those Native Title holders as a Native Title Representative Body, haven’t they got statutory obligations under the Native Title Act?”
NIT understands it’s common practice in the Native Title sector for Native Title Representative Bodies to forward on future act notices or other important communications to relevant corporations and Prescribed Bodies Corporate.
With extensive experience in heritage and the Native Title sector as well as being YMAC’s former Regional Manager and senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Taylor said the PKKP people should have been given the opportunity to get a second legal opinion on their 740-page participation agreement.
“As a Native Title holder myself, I would’ve taken it to another law firm just to have a look.”
As details of the cultural heritage disaster continue to emerge via the federal inquiry, Taylor had one thing to say about YMAC: “They can’t be trusted”.
YMAC CEO Simon Hawkins has been contacted for comment.
By Hannah Cross