Traditional Owners mount Korea tour to block Adani finance

Media Release – 5 November 2018

BREAKING: Korea Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of Korea and KDB Infrastructure Asset Management rule out finance ahead of visit

Brisbane, Australia: With Adani claiming to be close to securing finance, and media reporting the miner is holding talks with Korean finance companies interested in buying a stake in their port, leading Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners are today travelling to Korea to urge investment banks there to shun the Adani coal project, pointing to the final violation of their rights that will occur if the mine proceeds. Three investment banks have ruled out finance in response to W&J’s tour (ABC today). 

The heavyweight Korean lender Korea Development Bank (KDB) ruled out involvement last Wednesday, writing they “have no intent to provide finance”, as has the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) and KDB Infrastructure Asset Management, following meeting requests from the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council. Documentation here. Meetings with the The National Pension Service, Mirae Asset Daewoo and NH-Amundi have been requested and W&J will visit their offices to conduct media events. In 2015 a visit by W&J to Europe, the UK and United States saw major institutions, including UK’s largest investment bank Standard Chartered, publicly back away from financing the mine. Further background below.

W&J Traditional Owner and lead spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “Whoever assists Adani financially at this crucial time will become complicit in a grave breach of our rights, and the destruction of our lands and waters and sacred places. They are also exposing themselves to financial risk because success in our Federal Court appeal due next year would deliver great uncertainty to investors.

“We will tell Korean financiers that we have never given our free, prior and informed consent for our rights to be extinguished, or for the development of the Carmichael mine on our traditional lands – a development that would destroy large parts of our ancestral homelands to which our law and culture is deeply connected.

“We will also tell these institutions we are in ongoing communication with United Nations human rights bodies about violations of our human rights arising from the development of the Carmichael mine.

“Korean financial institutions must rule out financing Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine or investing in the associated rail and port infrastructure. They have a corporate responsibility to withhold finance from projects that violate our human rights, in breach of international law”.

W&J Traditional Owner and spokesperson Murrawah Johnson, who is also making the trip to the Republic of Korea, said, “The development of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project without our consent will lead to a violation of our fundamental human rights. In these circumstances, any Korean institution or business that directly or indirectly provides financial support to Adani’s project will be complicit in these violations.

“Korean financial institutions have a binding responsibility to respect human rights and ensure that their actions do not endorse or contribute to any violation of our internationally recognised rights as Indigenous People.

“Thirty-two major financial institutions have ruled out financing all or part of Adani’s proposed project, either confirming this directly or changing their policies. The interest in Adani from Korean banks or potential equity financiers needs to be made clear after reports that Adani has held talks with Korean finance companies. We are seeking to close the door on this financing avenue.

“We have shown we are determined to stop this disastrous project, waging a legal, political and human rights campaign over four years that has held Adani back. We won’t let them slip through at this late stage as their desperation shows. We will advise Korean banks, and anyone who would consider supporting this project, that our lands and people, our culture, and the future of the environment and climate, are at stake.

“No financial institution in its right mind should back this unethical and destructive new coal mine.”

Media contacts

Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council
In Korea: Anthony Esposito, Adviser, W&J Council +61 (0) 418 152 743 Skype: aje_now
Australian contact for W&J: Karrina Nolan +61 (0) 403 920 195

Finance Assistant travelling with W&J representatives: Julian Vincent, Executive Director, Market Forces. Ph: +61 (0) 419 179 529 Skype: julien-vincent  Market Forces works to shift finance away from activities that create severe environmental and social impacts. The W&J have previously enlisted the support of Market Forces to arrange meetings with financial institutions in the US and Europe and have done so again for this Korean visit.

Commentary on the Korean business landscape: Joojin Kim, Managing Director of Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC), a Seoul based environmental group focusing on climate finance, power market governance, carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidies. +82 10-8788-1988

Vision: Opportunities for live crosses or recorded interviews from media events in Korea can be arranged. Phone / skype interviews available throughout. Media packages of images / footage can be made available on request.

Further background

From 7-9 November 2018 representatives of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners’ Council (W&J) will visit Korea. The Traditional Owners have rejected an agreement with Adani and refused to allow the extinguishment of their rights for the Carmichael Mine on four occasions since 2012.

Adani has recently responded to years of failed attempts to secure finance by reducing the initial scale of the proposed mine and rail line, and deferring the expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal to enable a cheaper, “Phase 1” project. A key component of Adani’s recent strategy is to sell a stake in the existing Abbot Point coal export terminal, which could net hundreds of millions of dollars in equity that could then be redeployed to finance the mine and/or rail line.

The Courier Mail reported in September 2018It [Adani] is understood to be holding talks with Korean finance companies who are interested in buying a stake in the port. It could be done within months.

In July 2018 Mirae Asset Daewoo refinanced $330 milion of Adani’s debt, acquired when it bought the coal port in 2011. This debt was then on-sold to insurance company NH-Amundi.

W&J’s US based attorneys –  Earthjustice – have provided W&J with international law advice on the ‘business and human rights’ obligations of banks and organisations. The advice builds upon submissions from W&J to various UN human rights agencies and councils and calls for urgent UN action. This advice accompanied a letter sent by W&J to every Korean financial institution contacted. [The text of the letter sent to Korea Development Bank and others is here and Earthjustice advice is here.]

The W&J have had their rights breached under Australia’s coercive native title regime, and have never given their free, prior and informed consent to the forfeiting of their rights to their lands and waters for Adani, or for the development of the Carmichael mine on their traditional lands – a development that would destroy large parts of their ancestral homelands to which their law and culture is deeply connected.

The Queensland Government has now said it will would not extinguish the W&J’s native title rights until Adani has reached financial close for the Carmichael mine.

Creating further pressure on the Government and potential financiers is the W&J’s litigation before the Federal Court of Australia challenging the validity of an agreement that Adani purports to have made with the Traditional Owners.

W&J also has ongoing communication with United Nations human rights bodies about violations of their human rights arising from the development of the Carmichael mine.

Currently there is a an urgent action request before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD); and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been updated ahead of a session with the UN Human Rights Council.

If native title was extinguished by the Qld government this would open the way for funding for Adani’s port, rail or mine which would breach W&J’s rights under international law, including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

Traditional Owners announce Adani court appeal

MEDIA RELEASE
15 September 2018

Traditional Owners announce Adani court appeal

Call on Qld Government to never extinguish their native title

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners opposing Adani’s Carmichael Mine have this week served notice of a Federal Court full bench appeal. (See ABC today: “Adani mine site to remain under native title until finance confirmed, Minister says”). The Traditional Owners strongly reject last month’s decision of a single Judge of the Federal Court and will seek to have the decision reversed and the Adani Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) thrown out.

Mr Adrian Burragubba, a Traditional Owner of W&J country, and W&J Council spokesperson says: “We will not abide a ruling that says it’s legal to have our ancient laws and culture, and our enduring rights in our lands and waters, merely voted away by a group of people who do not have the traditional authority to surrender our native title”.

In a new development, the Queensland Government has confirmed that it will only act to take W&J native title for the Adani project when it has the financial capacity to complete it. This follows a resolution of the Queensland ALP state conference in early September 2018.

Mr Adrian Burragubba says, “We are not conceding our rights under our laws and customs to this court decision. We are resolute in putting a stop to the pretense that the ‘Adani ILUA’ amounts to the consent of the Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou country to the extinguishment of our native title.

“Whilever we have this court case running in the higher courts, whether it takes many months or years, Adani has not achieved ‘conclusive registration’ of its ILUA. The Government should refuse to act on it, and banks should refuse to finance the project.

“Adani engineered this pretence, the Government chose not to side with us, and their lawyers and the Native Title services bureaucrats provided the paperwork for an act of betrayal. Nothing changes those facts for us. They refused to accept our original decisions and interfered in our business”, he said.

Ms Linda Bobongie, Chairperson of the W&J Council says: “The State ALP has gone some way in passing a resolution calling for financial close before they take our native title for Adani, but the Queensland Government must unequivocally rule out extinguishing our native title – now or ever.”

“Extinguishing our native title is a deeply troubling issue for us. The Government knows it does not have to extinguish our rights in the land for Adani, even if the Adani ILUA remains on the Tribunal register.

“The ILUA itself makes that clear. The Queensland Government has ‘unfettered discretion’ and is not obliged to extinguish native title. Its signing of the ILUA ‘does not constitute approval or endorsement of the project’.

“The problem with the ILUA is Adani and the State government failed to obtain our genuine consent and signed a sham agreement.

“We suffer under bad laws and processes. It is imperative that the Native Title Act be reformed in line with Australia’s obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

“It’s time for Governments to stand up for our rights”, she concluded.

~~~

Media enquiries: Anthony Esposito, W&J Traditional Owners Council advisor – 0418 152 743

 

Traditional Owners disturbed by ‘illegal’ action by Adani

MEDIA RELEASE
13 September 2018

Traditional Owners disturbed by allegations of illegal works by Adani

Call on Qld Government to prosecute any unlawful activity by Adani’s coal operation

Revelations yesterday that Adani Mining may have breached environmental laws while operating on Wangan and Jagalingou country has deeply disturbed Traditional Owners.

The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council are calling on the Queensland Government to investigate and prosecute any illegal activity on their homelands.

Mr Adrian Burragubba, a traditional owner of W&J country and spokesperson for the Council says: “The Queensland Government has licensed this unscrupulous corporation and now they must take responsibility for any destruction that is occuring on our country. They must investigate and prosecute Adani for any unlawful activity.

“We are very concerned about the impacts on our cultural heritage and ancient story places from Adani’s land clearing and other industrial disturbance. It is a grave matter for us that their works could do permanent damage to our sacred Doongmabulla springs.

“We have been concerned about activity by Adani contractors on our country over some months now. We will be making our own investigations into what Adani have been doing there and will hold both the company and the Government to account.

“Adani have been camped on our country hoping to one day build their mine. Starting work illegally only adds insult to the injury that they are there without our consent. We will continue to pursue them through the courts, and with our demands on the Government.

“We have seen the report from the lawyers at the Environmental Defenders Office, and it appears that coal seam dewatering bores and other extensive groundwork is being done in breach of Adani’s environmental license, and that Adani may have lied to the Queensland Government about it.

“We have known all along that Adani can’t be trusted with our country, to respect our rights, or be custodians of the environment. The Government can restore some faith by interrogating Adani’s conduct and taking whatever action needed to safeguard our country and culture”, he concluded.

~~~

Media enquiries: Anthony Esposito, W&J Traditional Owners Council advisor – 0418 152 743

 

W&J leaders call on Qld Govt not to extinguish native title

MEDIA RELEASE

18 August 2018

 

Traditional Owners vow to continue to defend their land rights against Adani

~ W&J leaders say appeal pending against court decision favouring Adani’s land grab

~ Request no action from Queensland Government on extinguishment of native title

~ Senior Counsel advice says the State not obliged to wipe out land title

~ Appeal to UN for urgent action on failure of Australian law to protect the right to ‘free prior informed consent’

~ Adani ILUA proves Native Title system needs major reform

 

In the wake of yesterday’s adverse Federal Court decision against their challenge to Adani’s ILUA,  Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners say yesterday’s judgement merely confirms the limitations of the native title system, and fails to address their right as Indigenous people to free, prior and informed consent, which is at the heart of their action.

Mr Adrian Burragubba, one of five applicants in the case, and W&J cultural leader says: “We are calling on the Queensland Government to rule out extinguishing our native title in any part of our land.

“Once native title is gone, it is gone forever. It would be a travesty for the Government to wipe out our title for Adani. If Queensland can stop them dredging the Reef before Adani has money, or pull the pin on $1 billion NAIF funding, they can surely protect our rights to our land. They must not hand a private corporation land title at our expense, based on discriminatory laws.

“The Queensland Government has a clear choice here, and yesterday’s ruling in no way forces them to proceed to extinguish our native title. Don’t be fooled, it is up to the Government what happens next.

“Adani can’t be trusted; how can they say they respect ‘the rights, history, future intentions and requests of the traditional owners’? We are Traditional Owners, we are the people from that land, and they have never respected our decisions, or our right to free prior informed consent, or our aspirations to care for our ancestral country. They split our people for their own ends and then try to claim they care. They should walk away in shame for all the damage they have done”.

Ms Linda Bobongie, another applicant and chairperson of the Traditional Owners Council, says: “While we respect the decisions of the courts, we aren’t satisfied by this judgement and will work with our legal team to prepare an appeal to a higher court.

“We know the Queensland Government has no obligation to act on extinguishment for Adani. They should wait until all our appeals are exhausted.”

“We held out hope for this legal avenue, but anticipated a conservative judgement within the Native Title system, and were prepared for the decision. Our Council has vowed to continue to defend our lands and waters from Adani’s destruction.

“We call on Adani to immediately withdraw from this damaging project on our land. No administrative decisions that block our rights will stop us standing our ground to defend and protect Wangan and Jagalingou Country and our connection to it. We do not consent to a mine that will destroy our culture and land, and rob our people of a sustainable future, so a rich company can get richer exploiting and burning the coal beneath our feet”.

___

Media enquiries:

Anthony Esposito, W&J Traditional Owners Council advisor – 0418 152 743

W&J website: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/

W&J facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WanganandJagalingou/

 

Letter to the Premier of Queensland et al:

Re: Wangan Jagalingou people, the Adani Mining Project and native title extinguishment

http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/180712-Letter-to-Premier-et-al_WJ-TOC-1.pdf

 

UN Submission:

Traditional Owners take land rights fight to U.N. to head off threat of native title extinguishment for Adani: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/wj-council-takes-land-rights-fight-to-u-n/

 

ABC News:

Indigenous group takes anti-Adani fight to the United Nations claiming human rights violation:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-03/anti-adani-campaign-by-indigenous-group-goes-to-the-un/10065240

 

MEDIA ALERT: FED CT BRIS FRI 4.15PM Trad Owners v Adani and others judgment

MEDIA ALERT: FED CT BRIS FRI 4.15PM Trad Owners v Adani and others judgment

17 August 2018

Critical judgment in W&J Traditional Owners fight for their land rights against Adani

WHAT: Justice Reeves of the Federal Court delivers his decision in the case in which Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners have challenged the legitimacy of a meeting funded by Adani to ‘authorise’ an ILUA (Indigenous Land Use Agreement), the certification of that purported ILUA by Queensland South Native Title Services, and the subsequent registration of the ‘Adani ILUA’ by the National Native Title Tribunal. Further background to the case below.

WHEN: 4.15pm, Friday 17 August 2018.   

WHERE: Federal Court, Court No. 2, Level 7, Cth Law Courts 119 North Quay (Tank St entry), Brisbane.

Adrian Burragubba, spokesperson for the five W&J applicants, and the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council, is available for comment before and after the decision.

Mr Adrian Burragubba says: “No matter what happens today, we are calling on the Queensland Government to rule out extinguishing our native title in any part of our land. No matter who wins, we expect an appeal.

“It would be a travesty for the Government to wipe out our title for Adani. If Queensland can stop them dredging the Reef before Adani has money, or pull the pin on $1 billion NAIF funding, they can surely protect our rights to our land. They must not hand a private corporation land title at our expense, based on discriminatory laws.

“We know it’s the Queensland Government’s choice. Enough is enough. We have called on the UN for international scrutiny of what’s happening here. The Government must bring itself into the modern era on our human rights and leave us to protect our country and chart a better future than coal mining.”

Media enquiries: 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/fBackground to the case

W&J Traditional Owners have not given their free and informed consent to the Carmichael Mine, and at four authorisation meetings of the native title group since 2012 have voted to reject Adani’s land use agreement. On their behalf, five applicants have pursued a legal course to try to prevent the ‘Adani ILUA’ being used by the Queensland Government to justify extinguishment of their native title for Adani.

They make their argument on the basis that the Adani meeting in April 2016, which purportedly agreed to an ILUA, was “a sham” because it included large numbers who are not Wangan and Jagalingou people or primary members of the claim group, and who were given money to attend; while large numbers of people who are Wangan and Jagalingou and had already rejected the agreement, refused to participate and lend legitimacy to the meeting.

Some Adani supporters within the W&J Applicant were being compensated for getting people to attend. Evidence of the expert anthropologist for Queensland South Native Title Services (QSNTS), at trial, was that virtually nothing was done to ascertain that the people registered to attend were actually people who held or were likely to hold native title within the Wangan and Jagalingou claim area. It was left to the same Adani supporters who were rounding up people to attend and being paid compensation for doing so. The CEO of QSNTS who signed the certificate had no knowledge of what, if any, efforts had been made to identify the people attending as people who held or may hold native title.

People at the meeting were not given actual specifications of the area to be extinguished, so there is no prior informed consent and the Native Title registrar does not know what land is actually to be surrendered.

W&J Council takes land rights fight to U.N.

MEDIA RELEASE

3 August 2018

Traditional Owners take land rights fight to U.N. to head off threat of native title extinguishment for Adani

Authorised representatives of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba and Murrawah Johnson, have submitted a request to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for urgent action under the early warning and urgent action procedure.

The request to the CERD is in relation to Australia’s violations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, for the Committee’s consideration during its upcoming 96th session in Geneva. The complaint raises six violations of Australia’s international obligations under the Convention. (Link to the CERD submission)

The complaint was also sent to the Queensland Premier and Ministers in the Queensland Government, as well as the Foreign Affairs Minister and Federal Attorney General.

Adrian Burragubba, Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council spokesperson and cultural leader said, “We are seeking the United Nations’ help to stop the destruction of our ancestral homelands, waters, and sacred sites by Adani’s massive Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project.

“The threatened extinguishment of our native title rights by the Queensland Government compels us to act. We have called upon the Queensland Government many times to rule out extinguishing our native title, a key measure in upholding our rights as Indigenous People. We have provided them with senior counsel advice that they do not have to extinguish our native title under any circumstances. The threat that W&J will lose our native title forever is real, we cannot wait around for a definitive position from them. This is why we have taken this urgent action,” Mr Burragubba said.

International lawyer Noni Austin, who assisted the Wangan and Jagalingou to prepare their request for urgent action, said, “The Wangan and Jagalingou are fighting for their very survival. If the Carmichael coal mine proceeds, the Wangan and Jagalingou face the permanent destruction of their ancestral homelands and culture, and the extinguishment of their native title rights in part of their lands.

“This is a violation of the Wangan and Jagalingou’s fundamental human rights, which Australia has an international obligation to protect. The actions of the Australian and Queensland governments and Adani Mining are responsible for this human rights violation.”

“The Wangan and Jagalingou have now been forced to ask the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to urgently protect their fundamental human rights because Australia has failed to meet its international responsibility to ensure that their culture and existence as a people can continue. Australia should be able to protect its peoples’ human rights without those people having to seek international protection.

“The Australian and Queensland governments are prioritizing a foreign company’s profits over the permanent loss of a people who have been connected to the land since time immemorial. Surely Australia is better than this,” Ms Austin said.

Linda Bobongie, Chairperson of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council said, “We have told Governments on many occasions of our profound grievance regarding the Adani Carmichael Mine and the manner in which a purported Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) was obtained. We are especially concerned with the Queensland Government’s role in enabling and participating in this.

“The flawed and discriminatory Native Title Act provides the cover for their intended action and allows them to hide behind the pretence of the ‘Adani ILUA’ to claim that ‘a majority’ of the W&J people have given their consent to the mine.

“Our right to say no, our right to self-determination, is not upheld by the Native Title Act and we are being coerced into accepting a deal with Adani that we have rejected four times”, Ms Bobongie said.

Murrawah Johnson, Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ youth spokesperson said, “We are calling upon the Queensland Government to refuse to extinguish any native title of the Wangan and Jagalingou People for the Carmichael coal mine. And we demand State and Commonwealth Governments update their laws and policies to ensure they are entirely consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including our right to free prior and informed consent.

“The Wangan and Jagalingou leaders uphold the four decisions since 2012 of the native title claim group to reject any deal with Adani. We have opposed them in the courts and are prosecuting a case against the purported authorisation of the ‘Adani ILUA’ and its subsequent certification by the Queensland South Native Title Services body, and its registration by the National Native Title Tribunal.

“We are expecting a decision any time, and expect that no matter who is successful in the primary judgement, it will be appealed. We are clear that under no circumstances is the Government obliged to extinguish our native title. The State retains the power to refuse to extinguish our native title if it chooses”, Ms Johnson said.

Media Contact: Anthony Esposito
W&J Traditional Owners Council advisor – 0418 152 743

Related stories:

ABC NewsIndigenous group takes anti-Adani fight to the United Nations claiming human rights violation

The GuardianNative title system ’embeds racism’, Australia’s first Indigenous silk says

W&J website:  http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/

W&J facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WanganandJagalingou/

 

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