MEDIA RELEASE 25 November 2016
We will not be halted in our fight to protect our land and water, say Traditional Owners
Further appeal being considered, full bench of the Federal Court still to rule
Today’s decision in the Supreme Court to dismiss Traditional Owners’ challenge to the issuing of the mining leases to Adani by Mines Minister Anthony Lynham only strengthens our resolve and proves how worthless the State considers our common law native title rights to be, said leading Aboriginal rights advocate, senior Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owner and W&J Council spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba.
Mr Burragubba and four other members of the W&J Council sought a judicial review in the Queensland Supreme Court of the Mines Minister’s decision to issue mining leases for the Carmichael Coal Mine.
Mr Burragubba says, “Although the scope for the review was narrow, we are disappointed the decision went against us. We remind the Queensland government that the matter doesn’t end here. The validity of the decision making of the National Native Title Tribunal, prior to the Minister for Mining issuing the leases, is still the subject of an appeal to the Full Bench of the Federal Court to be heard in February 2017”.
“Our resolve is only strengthened by this decision. We know we have a long way to go to establish our rights to land and waters, and the continuity of our laws and customs, in the face of a State that treats us as nothing more than an obstacle on their path to destroying our ancestral country and ripping up coal”.
“We will not be halted in our determination by the constant political and media attempts to shame us into compliance, or to reduce us to a footnote in Adani’s scheme to destroy our country and culture”, Mr Burragubba said.
Mr Burragubba and other members of the W&J council have several cases still running that will challenge the legal basis of the leases and defend the rights of Traditional Owners to speak for their country and say no to the destruction the mine will bring.
“Adani is not in the clear, and the State and Commonwealth governments will be held to account by us for their abject failure to uphold our rights as Indigenous people, and to lead in a time of climate crisis,” Mr Burragubba said.
“We will fight on the legal and political frontline for our rights and the protection of country against big miners, and governments that are in a frenzy to do their bidding. We will take our cause to the High Court if necessary,” Mr Burragubba concluded.
Lawyer for the five applicants to the Judicial Review, Mr Colin Hardie says, “My clients will review the decision and consider their grounds for an appeal, looking especially at the way in which they believe they were denied natural justice before the Minister granted the mining leases”.
“We are concerned with the way in which the Minister has failed to consider the native title rights of our clients, and their obvious and plain rejection of the Adani project. The fully informed and prior consent of traditional owners for mining projects is increasingly being recognised in international law and it should not be any different in Queensland”, Mr Hardie said.
For more information and to arrange interviews: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council adviser: 0418 152 743