Court hearing: W&J Traditional Owners fight Adani and Qld Govt

Media Release
– Three day Federal Court hearing commences
– Critical case – native title extinguishment essential to Adani

WHEN: Begins 10:15am Monday 12 March – Wednesday 14 March
WHERE: Court No. 2, L7. Cth Law Courts 119 North Quay (Tank St entry), Brisbane

Brisbane. A three day hearing in the Federal Court begins today, with Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners seeking a ruling invalidating Adani’s highly contested Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) and the registration of the ILUA without their consent.

This case and its outcome is critical, as this is one of the final approvals Adani needs, with native title extinguishment being essential to its ability to build the mine, in addition to raising finance for the project. The basis of the court action is outlined below.

Adrian Burragubba, cultural leader and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council says, “Both the Queensland and Federal governments have supported Adani against us, overriding our rights. And right now the Queensland Government has the power to extinguish our Native Title if they choose to, at any time.

The Queensland Government and Adani are relying on the ILUA to authorise extinguishment of our native title. The government does not have to go down this path. It should rule out ever extinguishing our native title for Adani.

“The Premier should have the decency not to rely on Adani’s sham agreement. We have voted four times against taking Adani’s shut up money, and against the destruction of our lands and waters, and our cultural heritage.

“This is no easy fight. Adani is a powerful, unscrupulous, multibillion dollar company which has trampled traditional communities and destroyed environments in its own country. They are pushing hard to extinguish our native title and to mask our profound opposition to their mine with the veneer of consent.

“We are determined to expose the underhanded and divisive tactics used to secure Adani’s sham agreement”.

Linda Bobongie, Chairperson of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council says, “There is no consent from us for Adani’s deal, and the Queensland Government should remove its support for this purported ILUA. The Queensland government’s opposition to us in the courts is proof it wants cover for the extinguishment of our rights in our traditional lands.

“Extinguishment of Native Title is a very serious matter which would take away the rights of our people now, and for generations to come. The Government should not act on a dubious land deal for the benefit of a crooked company which is playing us all for fools. It’s time the Queensland Government stood up for our rights.”

QUICK FACTS:

This case and its outcome is critical as it represents one of the final approvals Adani needs, with native title clearance being essential to its ability to build the mine, in addition to raising finance for the project.

Adani’s planned mega-coal mine – the biggest in Australian history – is sited on W&J’s traditional lands in the Galilee Basin. If built, the mine would obliterate the environment, cultural heritage and sacred places of the W&J people.

For the mine to proceed,  Adani requires extinguishment by the Queensland Government of native title on parts of W&J lands. W&J’s native title is immediately vulnerable to extinguishment by the State Government since the injunction against the State and Adani was lifted before the trial. The State is not obliged to wait for the outcome.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners for the area do not consent to the Carmichael Mine. Their claim group meetings have four times rejected a Land Use Agreement with Adani since 2012. W&J will do everything in their power to stop it, including taking High Court action.

The case is brought by five members of the W&J Native Title Applicant, acting on behalf of the claim group who voted down the purported agreement on four occasions (most recently on 2 December 2017). The action is supported by the Traditional Owners Family Council.

None of the five Traditional Owners who are applicants in the court case, who are also members of the Registered Applicant, have signed the Project Agreement or given their “acceptance”.

BASIS OF COURT ACTION:

The W&J will argue, amongst other things, that the Adani meeting in April 2016, from which it is purported the W&J people voted 294 to 1 for an ILUA, was rorted. The meeting was comprised of large numbers of people who were not members of the W&J group with the claim to native title in the area, and did not have the right to make the decision.

Knowing this, the ILUA should never have been certified by Queensland South Native Title Services, and consequently never registered by the National Native Title Tribunal.

W&J will also argue a decision could not authorise extinguishment of native title in the land because the areas to be extinguished were not identified by Adani. It’s a fundamental in Australian law that no one gives up their rights in property without knowing what is being taken from them.

Media Contact: Anthony Esposito, W&J Traditional Owner Council advisor – 0418 152 743
W&J website:  http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/
W&J facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WanganandJagalingou/

 

Traditional Owners opposing Adani hold smoking ceremony at QLD Parl, call on Premier not to extinguish native title

Media Release – 8 March 2018

At a smoking ceremony outside Queensland Parliament today the Wangan & Jagalingou Family Council called on the Queensland government to rule out extinguishing W&J Native Title for Adani, the week before a crucial Wangan & Jagalingou Council’s Federal Court case commences. High quality stills and vision can be made available.

Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “The Queensland Government has the power to extinguish our Native Title, but they don’t have to go down this path. Premier Palaszczuk should rule out ever extinguishing our native title for Adani.

“We are demanding a meeting with the Premier to explain why there is no consent from us for Adani’s dirty land deal, why the Queensland Government should remove its support for the Adani’s sham ILUA, stop opposing W&J Traditional Owners in the courts and not extinguish our native title.

“Adani’s destructive mine has no part in our future and would tear the heart out of our ancestral lands. Premier Palaszczuk must pledge to not extinguish our native title for a deal with Adani. [1] 

“We are determined to prevent our land being taken without our consent and to protect our country and sacred places from destruction, for an empty promise of jobs and some trinkets.

“We have never given consent to this mine or the surrender of our land rights and have voted to reject a deal with Adani four times since 2012. We will not rest until this destructive proposal is abandoned.

“A clear majority of Queenslanders are with us and do not support the government pushing ahead with Adani’s mine without the consent of Traditional Owners. [2]

“It’s time the Premier stopped dodging her Government’s complicity in overturning our decisions and aiding and abetting Adani. It’s time the Queensland Government stood up for our rights,” Mr Burragubba concluded.

Media contact: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

[1]  http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/wj-make-demands-of-new-labor-govt-on-adani/

[2] http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/WJ-Poll_24October17-QLD.pdf

W&J Traditional Owners win interim injunction in Federal Court

Media Release

  • Court order against Qld Government preventing native title extinguishment
  • Injunction hearing set for 30 January 2018, trial in March

Brisbane, 19 December 2017.  Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) representatives, seeking to prevent the extinguishment of their native title by the Queensland Government for Adani, have ensured that there will be no surrender of lands until the court hears their injunction application in late January.

Justice Reeves of the Federal Court made an order yesterday against the Qld Government, preventing any surrender of native title until the W&J application is heard. He also set the W&J interlocutory application for a hearing on 30 January 2018.

This full hearing is set for trial in March in the matter of Delia Kemppi & Others v Adani Mining Pty Ltd & Others.

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council Spokesperson, and one of the appellants, Adrian Burragubba said, “The interim injunction offers some respite. It ensures that extinguishment of our native title cannot be snuck through over the holiday period.

“Adani pressed hard and objected to the injunction. The Queensland Government sought to preserve its ability to advance swiftly on the Adani project, refusing to give an undertaking not to proceed. We are glad that they are restrained for now from taking away our rights in land without our consent.

“Extinguishment of native title is a very serious matter. The Queensland Government and Adani want to move quickly, ahead of our hearing in March in which we seek to void Adani’s supposed land use deal.  

“We have long argued Adani’s ‘Indigenous land use agreement’ (ILUA) is a sham, and that it should not have been registered. With the support of the W&J claim group who voted against the agreement for the fourth time on December 2, we are determined to prevent our land being taken without our consent and to protect our country and sacred places from destruction.  

“It is necessary for us to seek to restrain them. Any ILUA with Traditional Owners should be beyond reproach and demonstrate without doubt our free prior informed consent. Especially if extinguishment of native title results from it.

“We are satisfied that the Queensland Government chose not to oppose our application for an injunction. It is important to the public interest that the matters of justice we have brought are heard.

“We call on the Government to take a more pro-active role in standing up for our rights, and not Adani’s interests. The Government ignored us throughout the last term because they didn’t want to take no for an answer. It’s time they stopped to listen to us, and quit opposing us in the courts. Yesterday was a good start”, Mr Burragubba concluded.

Media contact: Anthony Esposito, W&J TO Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

 

Further background to Adani’s attempts to gain an ILUA

 

ABC News:

1 Dec 2017: Adani’s compensation for traditional owners ‘well below’ industry standard, report finds

2 Dec 2017: Adani accused of paying people to stack its meeting on crucial mine deal

3 Dec 2017: Adani mine: Traditional owners aiming to block native title ruling on mine site

 

Resolutions of the W&J authorisation meeting on the Adani ILUA,  2 December 2017

3 Dec 2017: W&J media release

 

NNTT registration of contested Adani land deal to be fought hard in Court by W&J

Media Release


Brisbane, 8 December 2017. Traditional Owners of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Family Council say they are troubled by the decision of the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) to register an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for Adani before a legal challenge to the ILUA scheduled for March 2018 can be heard in the Federal Court.

W&J representatives say they have never given consent or signed the ILUA and are not bound by it. The ILUA was rejected by W&J again at a claim group meeting only days ago.

Representatives of the native title claim group have filed an application in the Federal Court for an injunction against Adani and the Queensland Government, to restrain them should they attempt to use the registration of the ILUA to extinguish their native title, under its terms, before their challenge is resolved in the courts.

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “We expected the Native Title Tribunal to tick the boxes and register Adani’s sham land use agreement. It is still subject to a legal challenge in March 2018 and we will pursue this and seek to reverse any decisions that are made in the meantime.

“Our lawyers are immediately writing to the state government and are urgently pursuing an injunction. Our legal team have prepared for the eventuality that the tribunal would place the ILUA on the register.

“The tribunal knew this was not a clean process or an uncontested document, and despite receiving evidence this week that the Claim Group had de-authorised the ILUA, they proceeded to register it. We are looking at our options for judicial review of the Tribunal decision,” Mr Burragubba concluded.

Linda Bobongie, the Coordinator for the W&J Applicant, one of the convenors of the claim group meeting last weekend, and Chairperson of the W&J Traditional Owners Council, said, “It is a matter of justice that W&J’s court challenge to this ILUA be heard before the state acts to extinguish our native title for the mine. Our lawyers are seeking a response from the new Queensland Government that they will not act on any provisions of this ILUA document that will harm our rights or lead to the destruction of our country and heritage.

“We are contesting Adani’s purported land use agreement in the courts, and the Government would have its thumb on the scales of justice if it moved to support the mine and extinguish our native title before the trial. We have said no. The Government and Adani do not have our consent”, Ms Bobongie concluded.

 

Media contact: Anthony Esposito, W&J TO Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

 

Background

On 2 December, for the fourth time since 2012, W&J Traditional Owners voted unanimously at an authorisation meeting of the claim group to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani, underlining their sustained opposition to the mine.

The claim group meeting put beyond any doubt that the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council speaks for the claim group against the Adani mine. The authorisation meeting passed a resolution to confirm that the Council advocates for the traditional culture of the claim group, and supports the W&J people to remain connected to our country.

The Traditional Owners have filed an application for an injunction in the Federal Court against Adani and the Queensland Government, to restrain them should they attempt to extinguish their native title, under the ‘Adani ILUA’, before the Federal Court hearing of W&J’s litigation against the purported ILUA, set for March 2018.

The W&J Council will fight all the way to the High Court if necessary to defend their rights and protect their country from the destruction of the Carmichael Mine.

 

Further background to Adani’s attempts to gain an ILUA

ABC News –

1 Dec 2017: Adani’s compensation for traditional owners ‘well below’ industry standard, report finds

2 Dec 2017: Adani accused of paying people to stack its meeting on crucial mine deal

3 Dec 2017: Adani mine: Traditional owners aiming to block native title ruling on mine site

Resolutions of the W&J authorisation meeting on the Adani ILUA,  2 December 2017 –

3 Dec 2017: W&J media release

 

W&J make demands of new Labor Govt on Adani

Media Release

 

Traditional Owners fighting Adani make demands of new Labor Govt

New Queensland polling released showing support for mine delay

 

Brisbane, 8 December 2017. With the announcement of a new majority Qld Labor government, and with the National Native Title Tribunal set to decide today whether to register Adani’s sham Indigenous Land Use Agreement, the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council have presented a clear set of demands.

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “Our fight to protect our country and heritage will continue until Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk acknowledges that we are the people from that land, and Adani does not have the consent it requires from us for this destructive mine.

“We call on the Palaszczuk Government to stand up for our rights and not the interests of Adani. We have written to our more than 100,000 supporters in the wider community this morning, asking them to press the Premier and Deputy Premier to demand that the returned Palaszczuk Government –

  • acknowledge that Adani and the Queensland Government do not have the consent of W&J Traditional Owners for the Carmichael mine
  • remove Queensland’s ‘signature’ from Adani’s contested Indigenous Land Use Agreement
  • rule out extinguishing Native Title to allow Adani to proceed, even if the ILUA is registered by the NNTT
  • stop opposing the rightful W&J Traditional Owners in court and wait for all our cases to be heard, and
  • end Adani’s special treatment – which will enable the destruction of W&J country and heritage – including keeping the Premier’s election promise to veto Adani’s $1BN taxpayer-funded loan”

“This follows an an authorisation meeting of our Claim Group on 2 December at which, for the fourth time since 2012, our people voted unanimously to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani.

“Our people’s decision underlines our sustained opposition to the Carmichael mine. We are the ones who are going to determine our future. And it’s one in which the care and custodianship of our ancestral lands and waters is in our hands as the Traditional Owners who speak for that country – and not in the hands of a ruthless company that would destroy them”, he said.

Murrawah Johnson, youth spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council said, “We are tired of others speaking for us. Tired of government people like Senator Matt Canavan and Minister Anthony Lynham, self-appointed spokespeople like Warren Mundine and Marcia Langton, who think that one meeting organised and paid for by Adani, stacked with people who don’t come from our country, is the voice of the W&J people.

“Adani are pressing to have their sham agreement registered before our case can be heard in the Federal Court next March. This ‘agreement’ is vitally important to their project and to raising finance. Without our consent they cannot build the critical infrastructure for the mine or find willing financiers”, she said.

W&J Traditional Owners have filed in the Federal Court  for an injunction against Adani and the Queensland Government, to restrain them should they attempt to extinguish their native title, before their claims are resolved in the courts.

Linda Bobongie, the Coordinator for the W&J Applicant, one of the convenors of the authorisation meeting and Chairperson of the W&J Traditional Owners Council, said, “ The Premier needs to know we will hold Labor to account if they move against us before our day in court, and proceed to extinguish native title in our lands and waters.

“But the Government can’t be trusted on this, and neither can Adani. They overrode our rights once before, when they granted the mining leases.  They knew there was no W&J consent for it, but they did it anyway. So we have filed for an injunction against the State and Adani to prevent irreparable harm to our country and our rights” she said.

W&J today also released a new ReachTEL poll showing a clear majority of Queenslanders do not support the state government pushing ahead with Adani’s mine without their consent (here).

Mrs. Bobongie said: “New polling shows a clear majority of Queenslanders do not support the government tearing up our rights. They rightly understand that when we, as the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters, oppose Adani’s coal mine, the State Government should not proceed without our consent.

“Premier Palaszczuk has shown that she is willing to listen to the community by promising to veto Adani’s $1 billion loan. She must also listen to us, and the 56% of Queenslanders who oppose Adani’s mine proceeding unless we agree.

“Adani’s purported land use agreement is contested in the courts and the Government would have its thumb on the scales of justice if it moved to support the mine and extinguish our native title before the trail. We have said no. The Government and Adani do not have our consent”, she concluded.

 

Media contact: Anthony Esposito, W&J TO Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

 

Background

On 2 December, for the fourth time since 2012, W&J Traditional Owners voted unanimously at an authorisation meeting of the claim group to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani, underlining their sustained opposition to the mine.

The claim group meeting put beyond any doubt that the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council speaks for the claim group against the Adani mine. The authorisation meeting passed a resolution to confirm that the Council advocates for the traditional culture of the claim group, and supports the W&J people to remain connected to our country.

The Traditional Owners also announced they have filed an application for an injunction in the Federal Court against Adani and the Queensland Government, to restrain them should they attempt to extinguish their native title, if the NNTT registers the ‘Adani ILUA’ before the  Federal Court hearing of W&J’s litigation against the purported ILUA, set for March 2018.

The W&J Council will fight all the way to the High Court if necessary to defend their rights and protect their country from the destruction of the Carmichael Mine.

Further background to Adani’s attempts to gain an ILUA

ABC News –

1 Dec 2017: Adani’s compensation for traditional owners ‘well below’ industry standard, report finds

2 Dec 2017: Adani accused of paying people to stack its meeting on crucial mine deal

3 Dec 2017: Adani mine: Traditional owners aiming to block native title ruling on mine site

 

Resolutions of the W&J authorisation meeting on the Adani ILUA,  2 December 2017

A. This meeting of the Wangan and Jagalingou claim group:

  1. Does not authorise the Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the Wangan and Jagalingou People and Adani Mining Pty Ltd and the State of Queensland (“the Adani ILUA”).
  2. Does not authorise the Applicants to sign the Adani ILUA and to the extent that some Applicants have already signed it, determines that they no longer have the authority of the claim group to do so and declares that their signatures are to be treated as nullity.
  3. Do not consider the Adani ILUA to be binding on the Wangan and Jagalingou people.
  4. Determines that the Applicants are not to continue to seek to register the Adani ILUA and directs Colin Hardie of Just Us Lawyers to submit to the Registrar of the Native Title Tribunal and to the Federal Court that the Adani ILUA should not be registered and is invalid.
  5. Directs the Applicants to immediately communicate to the Registrar, National Native Title Tribunal and to the Federal Court the objection of the Applicant to the registration of the Adani ILUA purportedly executed by members of the Applicant.
  6. Abhors the provisions of the Adani ILUA that provide for the extinguishment and surrender of our Native Title.
  7. Objects strenuously to the Carmichael Mine.
  8. Considers that the Adani ILUA does not provide adequate compensation for the detrimental effect that the Adani Mining project will have on our culture and traditional lands.
  9. Deplores the degradation that the Adani Mining project will wreak on our culture, environment and our ancestral lands

B. This meeting of the Wangan and Jagalingou claim group directs the Applicants not to further engage with Adani Mining Pty Ltd or any other entity on behalf of Adani to negotiate or renegotiate any ILUA relating to the Carmichael Mining project unless and until authorisation is given to the Applicants at a lawful authorisation meeting and express approval is given by the claim group for such further negotiations.

C. This meeting notes the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine ILUA assessment prepared by Economics Consulting Services and that it is an interim report. This meeting directs the Applicants to further engage Economics Consulting Services to obtain a full assessment of the benefits package proposed by Adani.

 

W&J claimants again vote down Adani deal, seek injunction


~ Claim group reject ILUA for the fourth and final time

~ Injunction filed against Adani and Qld Govt


Brisbane, 3 December 2017.
For the fourth time since 2012, W&J Traditional Owners have voted unanimously at an authorisation meeting to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani, underlining their sustained opposition to the mine. Today the Traditional Owners also announced they have filed an injunction in the Federal Court against Adani and the Queensland Government, to restrain them should they attempt to extinguish their native title.

Linda Bobongie, the Coordinator for the W&J Applicant, one of the convenors of yesterday’s authorisation meeting and Chairperson of the W&J Traditional Owners Council, said, “The ILUA is a bad deal for our people. The W&J people strenuously object to the Carmichael Mine and deplore the degradation that the Adani Mining project will wreak on our culture, environment and ancestral lands”.

Adrian Burragubba, spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, and one of the appellants, says, “Adani is pushing to have their sham ILUA with our people registered before our Federal Court hearing against it in March next year. They want the Queensland Government to extinguish our native title while pretending to have our consent”.

“We have filed an injunction against Adani and the Queensland Government, seeking to restrain them should they attempt to extinguish our native title. There will be no surrender of our traditional lands and waters. Our people voted down the ILUA again yesterday and endorsed the legal challenges to prevent this destructive project.”

Murrawah Johnson, youth spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council said, “Our lands and waters, and our rights, will be smashed if this mine goes ahead, and all for a compensation deal that’s one of the worst in the country”, she said.

The claim meeting received a preliminary report from Murray Meaton, who was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for services to the mining industry.

“The report shows the pathetic and uncertain benefits that would be available to W&J in exchange for the extinguishment of our native title and the destruction of our ancient lands and culture, and the surrender of our rights”, she said.

“Adani plans to get richer on the destruction of our lands while throwing us some trinkets to keep us quiet. We do not want marginal low paid jobs in a dirty and dying industry. Instead of the crumbs off Adani’s table, and the servitude proffered by Governments, we deserve higher education, jobs in sustainable enterprises of the future, and to freely exercise our right to protect our lands and waters and practice our culture.”

The claim group meeting also put beyond any doubt that the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council speaks for the claim group against the Adani mine.

Mrs. Bobongie concluded, “The authorisation meeting passed a resolution to confirm that the Council advocates for the traditional culture of the claim group, and supports the W&J people to remain connected to our country. Yet again, our people have asserted our right to self-determination and demand that governments and mining proponents respect our right to free, prior and informed consent.”

Media contact: Anthony Esposito, W&J TO Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

Further background to Adani’s attempts to gain an ILUA:

ABC News:

1 Dec 2017: Adani’s compensation for traditional owners ‘well below’ industry standard, report finds

2 Dec 2017: Adani accused of paying people to stack its meeting on crucial mine deal

3 Dec 2017: Adani mine: Traditional owners aiming to block native title ruling on mine site

Resolutions of the W&J authorisation meeting on the Adani ILUA, 2 December 2017

This meeting of the Wangan and Jagalingou claim group:

  1. Does not authorise the Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the Wangan and Jagalingou People and Adani Mining Pty Ltd and the State of Queensland (“the Adani ILUA”).
  2. Does not authorise the Applicants to sign the Adani ILUA and to the extent that some Applicants have already signed it, determines that they no longer have the authority of the claim group to do so and declares that their signatures are to be treated as nullity.
  3. Do not consider the Adani ILUA to be binding on the Wangan and Jagalingou people.
  4. Determines that the Applicants are not to continue to seek to register the Adani ILUA and directs Colin Hardie of Just Us Lawyers to submit to the Registrar of the Native Title Tribunal and to the Federal Court that the Adani ILUA should not be registered and is invalid.
  5. Directs the Applicants to immediately communicate to the Registrar, National Native Title Tribunal and to the Federal Court the objection of the Applicant to the registration of the Adani ILUA purportedly executed by members of the Applicant.
  6. Abhors the provisions of the Adani ILUA that provide for the extinguishment and surrender of our Native Title.
  7. Objects strenuously to the Carmichael Mine.
  8. Considers that the Adani ILUA does not provide adequate compensation for the detrimental effect that the Adani Mining project will have on our culture and traditional lands.
  9. Deplores the degradation that the Adani Mining project will wreak on our culture, environment and our ancestral lands.

This meeting of the Wangan and Jagalingou claim group directs the Applicants not to further engage with Adani Mining Pty Ltd or any other entity on behalf of Adani to negotiate or renegotiate any ILUA relating to the Carmichael Mining project unless and until authorisation is given to the Applicants at a lawful authorisation meeting and express approval is given by the claim group for such further negotiations.

This meeting notes the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine ILUA assessment prepared by Economics Consulting Services and that it is an interim report. This meeting directs the Applicants to further engage Economics Consulting Services to obtain a full assessment of the benefits package proposed by Adani.

 

Fed Court decision: Adani leases issued despite Traditional Owners’ express rejection

The Queensland State continues to authorise dispossession

Responding to a Federal Court decision today, in one of the long running cases bought by Traditional Owners against the Adani mine, the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners expressed their profound frustration with the way the native title and court processes have over-ridden their decision to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani.

The appeal against the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT), which authorised the issuing of mining leases to Adani by the Queensland Government, was dismissed. The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Representative Council are seeking the advice of their senior counsel as to whether to pursue the matter in the High Court.

In May 2015, Adrian Burragubba, on behalf of W&J Representative Council, sought to uphold the decision of the W&J people in October 2014 to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani, the second time since 2012.

Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, “We have fought and will continue to fight for our right to say no to the destruction of our country through mining and to have our rights properly recognised and respected by the State Government.

“We are proud of our efforts to hold Adani and the Queensland Government to account through the Courts. The Courts are the place we have to pursue justice for our people and we will exhaust all legal avenues in pursuit of our right to self-determination and our right to give or withhold consent.

“Today’s decision hangs on the technical limits of judicial review of the issuing of leases for the Carmichael mine, and not the embodiment of our rights. We will redouble our commitment to uphold the original decisions of our people which are to oppose this mine of mass destruction.

“We now look to our trial in March 2018 which focuses on Adani’s fake ILUA. We have three times voted No to Adani’s grubby deal.

“Despite the entirely valid rejection of an ILUA by the W&J claim group in October 2014, Adani persisted. First by seeking a ruling from the NNTT to ignore our native title rights. Adani has actively worked to split our group. The ugliest display by Adani was to bankroll a sham meeting that they hold up as authorising an ILUA.

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Murrawah Johnson, says, “Adani and the State Government didn’t ‘negotiate’ and achieve the free, prior, informed consent of the W&J people. Instead Adani, backed by the State Government and past NNTT decisions, relied on the threat that they would compulsorily take our land.

“The meeting, that all these Adani supporters cite where the purported majority voted for the ILUA 294 to 1, is not a true expression of the W&J Traditional Owners. Over 220 of that meeting’s attendees are people that are not Wangan and Jagalingou people according to our law and custom. They have never been involved in the W&J claim or decision making, and are identified with other people and claims.  They were bussed in and paid for at Adani’s considerable expense, while hundreds of the rightful W&J Traditional Owners refused to attend this sham meeting.

“Our Traditional Owners Council, including representatives of 9 of the 12 apical families, has upheld the original decisions of the W&J claim group to reject an ILUA with Adani, and has followed through on the mandate given to it which is to reject a land deal with Adani.

“We will not stand by while a campaign is waged against us by the mining lobby to discredit our representatives, to compel us to accept a deal we don’t want, and to take away our rights to our ancestral lands and waters by legal compulsion.

“We will continue to expose the unfair and underhanded way in which Aboriginal people are stripped of their rights in this country when they say no to mining. There is no greater battlefront for this than coal mining in Queensland.

Legal representative in the case, Benedict Coyne, says, “Our client is carefully considering the judgement, and prospects of further appeal for special leave to the High Court of Australia.” 

 

For more legal comment:

Contact Benedict Coyne, Anderson Fredericks Turner  – 0434 915 713.

For more background, and to arrange interviews with W&J Council spokespeople:

Contact Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

Traditional Owners fighting Adani undeterred by Qld Court outcome

“Where there’s mining there is no justice”

Responding to a Supreme Court decision in Brisbane today, Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine say that yet again the Queensland Government and Adani have benefited from laws designed to suppress Aboriginal peoples’ rights.

The Queensland Court of Appeal today upheld an earlier decision that the Queensland Minister for Mines did not have to afford Wangan and Jagalingou people natural justice when he issued the mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael Mine. The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council is now seeking legal advice on grounds to appeal to the High Court.

Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, “Where there’s mining there is no justice for Traditional Owners. The mineral resources regime so often puts massive barriers in the way of Traditional Owners and the wider community which opposes coal mining in Queensland.

“We appealed the decision of Queensland Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham MP,  to issue leases over our country to Adani, only to find our common law right to natural justice is of little worth. We have always aimed higher than this in pursuit of our rights. We are not deterred by today’s outcome.

“The Court decision has let the Minister get away with sacrificing our heritage and sacred places to promote his own political interests.

“Instead of standing up for our rights in the lands and water of our ancestors, in April 2016 the Queensland Government preferred not to wait for our fight to be resolved in the Federal Court court and instead issued leases to Adani.

“Adani is a company that has no money, is subject to investigations for multi-million dollar corruption and fraud in its own country, and doesn’t have an economically viable project.

“As Traditional Owners we wait more than a decade for our native title claim to be dealt with, while Adani can get a lease quickly, without our consent and with no money for its project.

“We have clearly and unambiguously rejected a land use deal with this shyster company, yet they push on.

“The Minister had no business issuing those mining leases. Granting the leases is proof that the Queensland Government is in bed with Adani and is willing to take our rights away by force. To add insult to injury, his cavalier decision-making comes with a legal sanction under the Queensland Mineral Resources Act.

“The Queensland government and Adani must understand that they are not in the clear. An appeal still in the full bench of the Federal Court challenges the the Minister’s authority to have issued those leases and completely disregard our refusal to consent to the Carmichael project.

“In Queensland, mining is State development. We know our rights are not protected and that no matter how many times we have said no to Adani, the Government will try to force its way forward and pave the way for this mine of mass destruction.

“We are not done yet. We will exhaust all legal avenues in our fight to for our rights and to protect our country. Adani cannot move on the critical infrastructure for the mine until they can get us out of the way. We have further litigation challenging their fake ‘land use agreement’ in the Court, with a hearing date set for March 2018.

“There will be no surrender. We will stand our ground and never consent to this terrible project. We have consistently said no to this mine. No means no”, Mr Burragubba concluded.

 

For more background, and to arrange interviews with W&J Council spokespeople:

Contact Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

Native Title law now tainted by Adani

MEDIA RELEASE
14 June 2017

Traditional Owners slam passage of Native Title amendments

Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed coal mine have expressed profound disappointment at the passage of Attorney General Brandis’ amendments to the Native Title Act, stressing that while Mabo’s legacy has been diminished they will continue to fight for their rights.

Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, “Adani’s problems with the Wangan and Jagalingou people are not solved this week. The trial to decide the fate of Adani’s supposed deal with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners is scheduled for the Federal Court in March 2018.

“Our people are the last line of legal defence against this mine and its corrosive impact on our rights, and the destruction of country that would occur.

“Senator Brandis has been disingenuous in prosecuting his argument for these changes to native title laws, while the hands of native title bureaucrats and the mining lobby are all over the outcome.

“This swift overturning of a Federal Court decision, without adequate consultation with Indigenous people, was a significant move, not a mere technical consideration as the Turnbull Government has tried to make out.

“It is appalling and false for George Brandis to pretend that by holding a ‘workshop’ with the CEOs of the native title service bodies, he has the unanimous agreement of Traditional Owners across Australia. No amount of claimed ‘beseeching’ by the head of the Native Title Council, Glen Kelly, can disguise this.

“The public were not properly informed about the bill, and nor were Indigenous people around the country, who were not consulted and did not consent to these changes.

“We draw the line today. We declare our right to our land. There is no surrender. There is no land use agreement. We are the people from that land. We’re the rightful Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou country, and we are in court to prove that others are usurping our rights”, he said.

Spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, says, “Whatever else this change does, we know that the Turnbull Government went into overdrive for Adani’s interests.

“Brandis’ intervention in our court case challenging the sham ILUA was about Adani. Most of what Senator Matt Canavan had to say in argueing his ill-informed case for native title changes was about Adani. The Chairman of Senate Committee inquiring into the bill, Senator Ian McFarlane, referring to the native title amendments as “the Adani bill” was about Adani. And the PM telling Chairman Gautam Adani that he’d fix native title was about Adani”.

“We are continuing to fight Adani in court and our grounds are strong. If anyone tells you this is settled because the bill was passed, they are lying”, she said.

Adrian Burragubba says, “The Labor Opposition seems to understand this, even though they supported passage of the bill. Senator Pat Dodson went so far as to say this bill does not provide some kind of green light for the Adani mine, as some suggest.

“Pat Dodson acknowledged that W&J have several legal actions afoot against Adani and we are glad that in the midst of this dismal response to the rights of Indigenous people some MPs, including the Greens who voted against the bill, recognise the serious claim we have to justice.

Mr Dodson said in the Senate that: “most of this litigation will be entirely unaffected by the passage of this bill. In particular, there are very serious allegations of fraud that have been made against Adani regarding the processes under which agreements with the Wangan and Jagalingou people were purportedly reached. And those proceedings, which may impact on the validity of any ILUA, will only commence hearings in March next year. Other legal action is also underway, including a case challenging the validity of the licences issued by the Queensland government.”

This week researchers from the University of Queensland released a report titled ‘Unfinished Business: Adani, the state, and the Indigenous rights struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council‘.

For more information and to arrange interviews:  Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.

Native Title Bill fails us: Traditional Owners say Adani fight continues

MEDIA RELEASE – 13 June 2017

Native Title Bill fails us: Traditional Owners say Adani fight continues

Canberra, Australia. Traditional Owners fighting the Adani mine say passage of the Native Title Bill through the Senate today will be a further erosion of Mabo’s legacy, with Aboriginal law and custom and the property rights of Traditional Owners being trumped by the interests of miners and the native title bureaucracy.

Adani does not have the consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people for its mine. The W&J claim group have three times rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani since December 2012.

Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says “Adani’s problems with the Wangan and Jagalingou people will not be solved this week. We maintain our resistance and Adani will still have to contend with us. Adani is going nowhere fast – they don’t have money to fund their mine of mass destruction and they don’t have our consent.

“The trial to decide the fate of Adani’s supposed deal with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners is scheduled for the Federal Court in March 2018, as confirmed by one of Australia’s leading native title lawyers Tony McAvoy SC. This will proceed no matter what happens to these native title changes.  

“We have asked Labor to reconsider its position and for the Cross Benchers not to vote for the bill.

“Nothing has changed since the Bill was last rejected in the Senate in May, with no deeper or broader consultation with Indigenous communities around the country.

“It is clear from recent polling that Aboriginal people have not been informed about these changes or consented to them. The majority do not support the passage of the bill,” Mr Burragubba said.

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, says “The Bill abandons a principled commitment by the Parliament to Indigenous peoples’ rights. The major parties have jumped to the beat of the mining lobby and their backers in the native title services sector.

“Settling native title amendments has become synonymous with looking after Adani’s interests, not about good law-making for Indigenous people.

“Adani want the major parties to enable them to take away our rights to say no, to mount legal challenges and resist their destruction of our lands and waters,” Ms Johnson said.

Yesterday senior researchers from the University of Queensland released a report, ‘Unfinished Business: Adani, the state, and the new Indigenous rights struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council‘.

Ms Murrawah Johnson says,, “The Federal Government is complicit in a sham being perpetrated on the Australian public. The new report from the University of Queensland will enable people to better understand the truth behind our legal actions, this Bill and our objection to Adani’s proposed mine.”

For background and interviews: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743. 


Website Video: No Means No

Background

Members of the Wangan and Jagalingou Registered Native Title Claimant, and on behalf of the Traditional Owners Council, are currently in the Federal Court seeking to strike out Adani’s purported Indigenous Land Use Agreement [ILUA], filed by Adani Mining with the National Native Title Tribunal. An ILUA has been opposed by the native title claim group on three occasions since 2012. The ILUA litigation includes four grounds and will be heard in March 2018.

One of the grounds is that Adani does not have a valid ILUA capable of registration, since the law was confirmed in the recent Federal Court decision in McGlade. The Federal Government has been attempting to push through amendments to the Native Title Act to overturn the ruling in McGlade and protect Adani’s interests.

W&J has four legal actions underway in the Federal Court and Qld Supreme Court.


The W&J Council vow to do everything in their power to stop Adani’s proposed mega-coal mine proceeding, and will fight all the way to the High Court if necessary.


Adani’s planned Carmichael mine – the biggest in Australian history – would destroy a vast tract of W&J’s ancestral lands and waters in the Galilee Basin.