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

 

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.