More than 30 health and community organisation leaders have called on Reconciliation Australia to distance itself from Woolworths over a controversial Dan Murphy's megastore in Darwin.
A letter sent to Reconciliation Australia chief executive Karen Mundine on Thursday compared the food giant's actions to Rio Tinto and its destruction of an archaeologically rich cave at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia.
Health and community groups opposed to the proposed liquor store say Woolworths' Reconciliation Action Plan and the promises it made to Indigenous Australians aren't in keeping with its actions in the Northern Territory.
They've sent a letter to Ms Mundine calling on Reconciliation Australia to dump the food conglomerate.
"We ask that you revoke Woolworths' Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan and suspend Woolworths from the RAP program," the letter dated February 18 said.
"Together we must take a stand against large corporations ignoring the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations."
The group alleged Woolworths was pushing ahead with the store despite knowing it could have a devastating effect on nearby Indigenous communities.
It also said Woolworths hadn't sufficiently consulted with community groups or health and social service organisations over the planned store.
"Over the past five years, Woolworths has relentlessly fought to build what will be one of Australia's largest alcohol stores near three dry Aboriginal communities in Darwin," the letter said.
"Just as Rio Tinto was held accountable for the destruction of Juukan Gorge and their RAP was revoked by Reconciliation Australia, Woolworths should also be held accountable for their actions," the letter said.
Woolworth's application to build the bottle shop was approved in December by the NT's Director of Liquor Licensing on the proviso the store closed by 9pm and customers were made to identify where they intended to consume the alcohol they proposed to purchase.
The director said at the time that Dan Murphy's parent company Endeavour Group - which is owned by Woolworths Group - had consulted with Indigenous groups.
A day before the application was approved Woolworths announced it had commissioned an independent panel review of its plans.
It said the panel would review health concerns, stakeholder engagement and the processes behind it.
"While stakeholder engagement has been extensive to date, we acknowledge that there are some in the community that feel they have not been adequately consulted regarding the proposed store," Woolworths Group chairman Gordon Cairns said in a statement at the time.
"The IPR will provide a further opportunity for them and other stakeholders with a legitimate interest in the development to express their views."
The IPR is expected to hand down its report in April.
Reconciliation Australia said it had contacted Woolworths and expressed its concerns about the bottle shop.
"We await the report of the IPR at the end of March and Woolworths Group's response before taking further action," Ms Mundine said.
"The executive and board of Reconciliation Australia make the final decision to remove an organisation from the RAP program, and it is not made lightly."
Endeavour Group has previously agreed to move the proposed bottle store 1.3 kilometres further away from the three nearby dry Indigenous communities.
Reconciliation Australia is a not-for-profit foundation established to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Australian Associated Press