It’s time the Queensland Government stood up for our rights

Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council


Delivered at Speakers Corner, Qld Parliament House

Brisbane, Thursday 8th March 2018


It’s time the Queensland Government stood up for our rights.

We are determined to prevent our land being taken without our consent and to protect our Country and sacred places from destruction.

We have never given consent to the Adani project or the surrender of our land rights. Our people have rejected a deal with Adani four times since 2012. We oppose the destruction of our Country.

And without the Queensland Government’s support, and their willingness to override our rights and interests – which they have done before – Adani would be nowhere right now.

Our native title is now at risk of extinguishment by the State Government.

But it is within their power to make sure this doesn’t happen.

It’s time the Premier stopped dodging her Government’s complicity in overturning our decisions and aiding and abetting Adani.

Three years ago, we stood here and asked to meet with the then new Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, after our people had voted down a land use agreement with Adani. In the whole last term, she never spoke to us.

We have written four times to the Premier since our people met again in December last year and rejected Adani’s deal for the fourth time. She hasn’t replied once.

We are demanding a meeting to explain why there is no consent from us for Adani’s dirty deal, and why the Qld Government should remove its support for Adani’s dodgy ILUA and stop opposing us in the courts.

And most of all, why the Government should not extinguish our native title.

Not for Adani. Not now. Not ever.

Let the Premier know you share our concerns. Call or email her today.

Annastacia Palaszczuk
Phone: (07) 3719 7000
Twitter: AnnastaciaPalaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP)
Facebook: Annastacia Palaszczuk MP

Ask Annastacia Palaszczuk to meet with W&J Council representatives, and tell her you support our demands that the Queensland Government –

  1.     Acknowledge that Adani does not have our consent for the Carmichael mine and the mass destruction of our country
  2.     Publicly rule out extinguishing our Native Title for Adani
  3.     Remove the Governments signature from Adani’s dodgy Land Use Agreement, and
  4.     Stop spending public funds opposing us in the courts

Demand the Queensland Government protect our rights – we say what happens on our Country.

No extinguishment of our native title for Adani!

No means no!


Injunction lifted in favour of Adani, leaving native title at risk


  • Lifting of injunction
  • Adani’s duplicity

After nearly two months of an interim injunction, and only a few weeks away from the trial brought by W&J applicants to argue the invalidity of the “Adani ILUA”, the court order that had restrained Adani from seeking, and the State of Queensland from acting on, the extinguishment of native title, was lifted on February 15. 

This leaves W&J peoples’ native title at great risk.

Adani has been pressing for months to get the extinguishment done and the Queensland Government had paved the way in readiness. It is now only a Cabinet decision away from happening.

The injunction decision was close run, with Justice Reeves indicating that it was the lack of an ‘undertaking as to damages’ by W&J applicants that tipped the ‘balance of convenience’ to Adani.

The injunction application decision therefore turned on whether Adani would be out of pocket from a delay. Adani said they would run the commercial risk of the $1.4b they had thrown into their increasingly stranded asset, but couldn’t afford the risk of delay in undertaking $1m in design works that were already well behind schedule.

They promptly turned around after the decision and announced they had deferred indefinitely the final investment decision they were to make by the end of March, casting further doubt on whether the project could ever proceed.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council Chairperson immediately filed an affidavit in the substantive proceeding to draw this to Justice Reeve’s attention.

Adani claimed the court outcome as a ‘milestone’ and professed their ‘respect’ for ‘the Wangan and Jagalingou People’ and other Traditional Owners in their project area.

Lost on them apparently is that representatives of W&J people were in the court seeking to restrain them, and are working to overturn the ‘land use agreement’ Adani is relying on as a representation of their ‘consent’ – consent that has never been given, for an ‘agreement’ they have never signed.

Adani’s ‘respect’ went so far as arguing in court that there may not even be native title to be protected. Adani also called into doubt the statements Justice Reeves accepted as evidence, from senior Traditonal Owners, about their connection to that country and the important culture and sacred areas that would be damaged.

The matter proceeds to trial on 12-14 March 2018 in the Federal Court in Brisbane.


Court rulings on the injunction:

FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA. Kemppi v Adani Mining Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 105

Application for interlocutory injunction: Kemppi v Adani Mining Pty Ltd (No 3) [2018] FCA 40

Application for leave to appeal: Kemppi v Adani Mining Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 105


For more information, contact:

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


Letter to the QLD Premier – there should be no extinguishment of Native Title




On 22 December 2017 the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council wrote to –

The QLD Premier,

The Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, and

The Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy


The W&J Council received its most recent mandate at a meeting of the W&J claim group on 2 December 2017. The letter informed the Government that the W&J claim group opposes the Adani Mining Pty Ltd project because of the damage that it will cause to the culture, and the lands and waters, of the Wangan and Jagalingou People.

W&J council also oppose the registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani Mining Pty Ltd purported to be authorised by the Wangan and Jagalingou People in controversial circumstances (“the Adani ILUA”).

W&J council uphold the decisions of the claim group who, on four separate occasions (the last being at the authorisation meeting of 2 December 2017), have rejected the Adani ILUA.

We noted the following –

1. There is no free prior informed consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou People to the Adani project or the Adani ILUA.

2. The Adani ILUA is not acceptable compensation for the destruction of our country and the loss and suffering that would occur. Nor does it provide an equitable consideration regarding jobs and benefits.

3. The circumstances in which the Government, in support of an ILUA, became directly involved in internal Wangan and Jagalingou discussion is of very serious concern to us.

4. The Adani ILUA contains a provision which allows for the immediate surrender and extinguishment of our native title.

We requested that the QLD Government give an undertaking not to grant any freehold title to Adani Mining Pty Ltd, thereby extinguishing native title of the Wangan and Jagalingou People.


The Full Letter is here.



URGENT: The Queensland Government is ready to extinguish Wangan Jagalingou native title for Adani



This is urgent!

The Queensland Government is ready to extinguish our Native Title rights.

Adani is trying to push through an illegitimate land use agreement and extinguish our native title. We have a Federal Court case to challenge it it March, and have filed for an injunction to prevent them moving to have our rights extinguished before then.

We asked the Government to promise that they wouldn’t act to extinguish our native title until the Federal Court heard our case. And they just refused.

That means they could move to extinguish our native title rights at any time.

And with Minister Anthony Lynham back in his seat, we expect him and Adani to act before our hearing, and slam native title extinguishment through!

Our native title rights are hanging in the balance. This is a race against time.


Write to or call Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, and Minister for Mines Anthony Lynham, and demand they respect the judicial process and refuse to act to extinguish any Wangan and Jagalingou native title before the injunction is dealt with this week and the court hears our case against the ILUA in March:

Premier Palaszczuk – (07) 3719 7000 –

Deputy Premier Trad – (07) 3719 7100 –

Minister Lynham – (07) 3719 7360 –

Please share this widely – send it to as many people as you can. We must let the Government know that any credit they get for vetoing the loan to Adani will be wiped out if they extinguish Wangan and Jagalingou peoples’ native title for Adani’s mine on our country.

Thank you for being there for us at this urgent time.

Adrian Burragubba & Murrawah Johnson

with Linda Bobongie (Chairperson)

for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council

Please continue to donate to our Defence of Country fund or purchase the Adani, No Means No t-shirt when you can to support our struggle

P.S. please share your communications to the Government with us at  


Traditional Owners do not ‘support’ Rockhampton FIFO hub


 5 October 2017

Mayor Strelow misrepresents Wangan and Jagalingou

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow’s ‘thanks’ to the the Wangan and Jagalingou people for ‘our support’ is disingenuous and clearly misrepresents the position of the Traditional Owners of the proposed Carmichael mine area.

We do not support a FIFO (fly in fly out) hub that allows a mass of people who have no respect for our land to fly in and destroy our country and culture, and fly out again.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council don’t know who Mayor Strelow is talking to, but it’s clearly not the W&J Applicant or the claim group or our families.

A majority of Wangan and Jagalingou families have consistently rejected Adani’s sham ILUA  for the mine. Adani has no agreement with Traditional Owners and an ILUA has not been registered. The purported ILUA is subject to a Federal Court trial in March 2018.

Our court action in March will expose the underhanded way in which our position on the mine is misrepresented by Adani, and our supposed support was engineered.

We have provided evidence to the court of Adani’s bad faith and we will pursue this constant misrepresentation of our people and our position on the mine until we can demonstrate once and for all we do not and never will support this coal mine or any project or enterprise aligned to it.

Mayor Margaret Strelow’s claim that the FIFO hub announcement “is a generational moment” for Rockhampton is clearly disconnected from our young people and the real world. We do not want marginal low paid jobs in a dirty and dying industry. Nor do we buy yet another one of Adani’s ‘fake it until you make it’ stunts, when we know they do not have our consent or a registered ILUA and they do not have finance for the mine.

Mayor Strelow can hold whatever view she likes on this industrial chimera but she cannot credibly thank the W&J people for our support.

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. 

W&J submission to the Inquiry into NAIF


W&J Submission to Senate Economics References Committee inquiry

into the governance and operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility


28 July 2017

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) are the Indigenous Traditional Owners of a vast area of land in central-western Queensland. We are the first people and our country – Wangan and Jagalingou country – is in what is now called the Galilee Basin; and in the area designated as Northern Australia for the operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

The W&J are directly impacted upon by the NAIF Board’s pending decision on an application by the Adani Group, as we are Traditional Owners of the area in which the Carmichael mine and related mining infrastructure is proposed.

The W&J Senate Committee submission is here.


Adani’s much touted Indigenous Participation Plan talks in big headline numbers but would deliver the equivalent to Aboriginal people in the region of about $5,000 a person per year.

The re-allocation of a relatively small proportion of the public investment sought for this project from NAIF could deliver substantially greater employment and development benefits to our people than anything available from this project. And it could instead be focused on sustainable, innovative and culturally compatible ventures and support for growth in new 21st Century industries, including renewable energy.

The development model deployed under current policy settings simply undervalues our peoples’ land, knowledge and cultural resources; perpetuates an economic model in which we cannot aspire to high levels of employment and education and enterprise; and assigns us the role of marginal mendicants to the dominant economic interests of a society grounded in colonial appropriation, and mired in an archaic industrial model.

The governance and operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) does not serve us specifically as Traditional Owners who are potentially adversely affected by the Carmichael mine project, with enabling funding from NAIF; nor as Indigenous people in Northern Australia, historically disenfranchised while others have and still prosper from the economically productive land base which was taken from us without consent or restitution.

The NAIF mandate does nothing to address this in a just and equitable manner and should be redrawn to bring about a proper consideration of, and investment in, culturally-aligned and self-determined Indigenous development.

The endorsed Submission of John Quiggin, Kristen Lyons, and Morgan Brigg of the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

We note the public interest submission of John Quiggin, Kristen Lyons, and Morgan Brigg of the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland [attached]. Their submission refers to a research paper, “Unfinished Business”, which arises from collaboration the W&J Council is undertaking with them, and the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, under a Global Change Institute Flagship Project [attached]. For more information –

The views in their submission and accompanying documents are endorsed by the W&J Council. We particularly endorse their views on Indigenous Development. The NAIF does not proceed from the basis of a defined, transparent and meaningful Indigenous Engagement Strategy leading to a clear agenda for Indigenous development.

In fact, there are no public terms for Indigenous engagement under NAIF, much less any substantive or meaningful process that could encompass the needs, preferences and different circumstances of Indigenous peoples throughout the vast area referred to as Northern Australia.

Further, as with all matters involving the Adani project and the W&J, there are contested and litigated aspects which make it clear that Adani does not have full ‘free, prior and informed consent’ of the W&J, as required to meet the international and legal rights of Indigenous Peoples, and is subject to ongoing court hearings. The most pertinent of these challenges is to a purported Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the Carmichael mine project, which is scheduled for hearing in the Federal Court in March 2018.


Naomi Klein praises W&J leaders’ Activist of the Year award

Julien Burnside QC presents Ngara Institute’s Inaugural Activist of the Year Award

Naomi Klein praises Adrian Burragubba and Murrawah Johnson for W&J fight against Adani

1 July 2017

NAOMI KLEIN, award-winning journalist and author of the international bestsellers, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, and No Logo, sent this generous testimonial to the Ngara Institute for its Inaugural Activist of the Year award:

“I am thrilled to learn that Murrawah Johnson and Adrian Burragubba will be joint winners of the Australian Activist of the Year Award. Murrawah and Adrian are on the front line of holding back one of the largest proposed coalmines in the world. They are also shining a light on the urgent need for a justice-based transition to the next economy in the face of overlapping crises of climate change, racial injustice and economic inequality.

The Wangan & Jagalingou traditional owners are fighting not just for their culture and country, but for a liveable planet for all of us. I bow my head to their leadership, wisdom and tenacity and congratulate them warmly on this richly deserved award. May this recognition serve to invite more people to support their struggle and see this reckless coalmine shelved once and for all.”

THE NGARA INSTITUTE Inaugural Activist of the Year Award, presented by Julien Burnside QC to Adrian Burragubba and Murrawah Johnson said:

“We proudly present the Ngara Institute’s inaugural Australian Activist of the Year award. This is a big occasion for all of us, and especially for millions of progressive activists who have given their time and energy to bring about change.

The award was decided by the Events Committee of the Ngara Institute. The criteria that guided us were:

  1. An Australian person or persons who have made a significant, long-term contribution to advancing social justice and human rights causes or agendas.
  2. Actions and practices that have attracted considerable public attention around a pressing issue and which have led to specific outcomes.
  3. Actions, practices and outcomes that demonstrate creative thinking, and which accord with the values and beliefs articulated in the Ngara Institute’s Mission Statement.
  4. Successful actions and practices that have involved networking with other activist organisations in Australia and/or overseas.

Our decision to grant the award to both Adrian and Murrawah was made in light of their outstanding commitment to fighting for the rights and homelands of Indigenous people in relation to the proposed Adani mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Adrian and Murrawah not only represent the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council of the people, they also reflect the passion and commitment of many Indigenous peoples around the world who have fought long and hard to protect their homelands and to stop further pollution of our planet.

Adrian and Murrawah have travelled far and wide to campaign against the funding of the Carmichael project, successfully persuading many leading international financial companies not to fund Adani. They have also been involved in numerous court cases, most recently over the federal government’s changes to native title legislation.

Their tireless struggle has become the focus of world attention, with masses of support coming from concerned citizens and environmental justice organisations. Theirs has been a historic campaign, on par with those struggles that have made a significant difference to our world.

In taking on governments, banks, the media, and powerful multinational corporations, Adrian, Murrawah and their colleagues and supporters have drawn a line under the rapacious practices wrecking our planet. They are saying no; they are calling for justice, and a different way of being.”

The campaign of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council is documented in a summary report from the University of Queensland: ‘Unfinished Business: Adani, the state, and the Indigenous rights struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council‘.

Native Title Reform: The need for consultation with Traditional Owners





8 MAY 2017

We urge Senators not to pass the Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Amendment Bill

Here are the reasons, we believe, that go to the heart of the concerns for Traditional Owners in Australia about this bill, and the process surrounding it. We concentrate on the importance of native title and the Act first created by the Keating Government honouring the Mabo decision, and forming a compact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The points raised also encompass our present position and we outline briefly here how the development of this bill works against Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners (W&J), and is inconsistent with our rights.

We have previously detailed our concerns and issues, and included a statement of rights under International law, in our submission and presentation to the Senate Inquiry – and to the UN Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.

To read the statement in full download this document


We hope in this 25th anniversary year of the Mabo decision that Senators will give native title reform a more thorough, genuine and worthy hearing than this cursory and limited process currently being run by the Government to secure the interests of a handful of lobbyists clamouring for ‘certainty’.

As Traditional Owners, we are entitled to know that our rights and interests in land, and our laws and customs that underpin them, are respected and protected by Australian law. We need the certainty that we can determine our own future, make our own decisions, and will be asked for our free prior and informed consent before Governments and other interests can impact upon our rights. This is especially so with legislation which is national in scope and far reaching in its effects such as the Native Title Act.

We ask Senators that they do all within their power to ensure the bill is not passed this week and that proper consultations on proposed amendments begin immediately. We encourage them to further use that opportunity, and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision, to begin a national dialogue on substantial Native Title Act reform.

URGENT: Senate could back native title amendments – Indigenous rights under threat!


Once again, the Government is coming after our lands. We don’t have much time.

Now that Parliament is back for the budget sitting, the Government will try again to curb our rights by fast-tracking amendments to native title laws through the Parliament.

The Government’s rushed changes to the Native Title Act arrive in front of the Senate this week. They are due to vote tomorrow.

Native title is about more than mining interests, and changes to the law must be about progress in rights and justice for our peoples. But instead we have seen Malcolm Turnbull, on his recent trip to India to visit Gautam Adani, making it about ‘fixing Native Title’ for the mining billionaire.

After successfully fending off George Brandis’ bill in the last sitting, with the enormous help of 6,500 of our supporters, we have worked to turn back these unacceptable changes.

Brandis has been holding closed-door meetings with some CEOs of native title services and representatives of the mining industry, to stitch together the appearance of consultation with ‘native title interests’.

A host of characters, from the Queensland government, unions, Newscorp, local government mayors, the National Party and the Deputy PM, have tried to strong-arm Opposition leader Bill Shorten into guaranteeing the bill’s passage.

The Government and Adani continue to propagate the lie that all that is needed for Adani to overcome its ‘final hurdle‘ – the rights of Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners – is for the Native Title Act amendment bill to pass tomorrow.

The Labor Opposition is now under huge pressure to line up and pass the changes – and we can see that crass inducements of steel contracts for South Australia are being dangled in front of the Xenophon Team to get their votes as insurance.

This is about our Native Title rights and interests, it is not about Adani.

Labor have said they will make sure traditional owners across Australia have certainty about their native title rights and that they will be questioning every element of Brandis’ process.

This is a good start — but we have to make sure they stay strong for the vote tomorrow.

Can you email key decision makers in Labor and ask them to stay strong in defence of our Native Title rights and interests?

Can you email:

Mark Dreyfus QC – Shadow Attorney General –

Tania Plibersek – Deputy Leader of the Opposition –

Penny Wong – Opposition Leader in the Senate –

Warren Snowden – Member for Lingiari –

And cc us on:

Ask them to ensure that Labor stands firm and does not pass this amendment bill. Remind them that Indigenous peoples’ rights and native title are the most important thing here – not the miners, or anyone else.

Let them know you support proper consultations and involvement from Traditional Owners around the country in any native title reform. And tell them that you haven’t fallen for Brandis’ scam emergency. Remind them that the timing of this bill should have nothing to do with Adani.

We will keep you updated over the next 48 hours, as the fate of the native title rights of W&J people, and Traditional Owners all around the country hang in the balance.

Adrian Burragubba & Murrawah Johnson
for the Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council

P.S. As always, our need for funds to sustain our effort is ongoing. Please donate when you can to assist with our long struggle. And share our web site, our Facebook page and our petition page so others can learn about and support our campaign too.

Adani’s ‘final hurdle’ is W&J’s rights

The Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, on behalf of the Government and a host of pro-Adani interests, continues to propagate the lie that all that is needed for Adani to overcome its ‘final hurdle’ – the rights of Wangan and Jagalingou people – is for the Native Title Act amendment bill to be passed in the Federal Parliament next week. After all, Malcolm Turnbull told Gautam Adani that it’s taken care of.

Joyce, in inimitable National Party style, is preempting the Parliament on the passage of proposed amendments to the Native Title Act, and preempting Court decisions on the consequences for Adani. But then, the Nationals never were very good on the separation of powers, due process and the rule of law. Maybe that’s why Adani Mining looks so good to them.

Even if the bill does eventually go through, there’s the matter of our legal action in the Federal Court against Adani’s sham agreement. The passing of the Bill won’t fix that. And that’s the con.

We know the Government has been working furiously behind the scenes, and we know they are exploiting the doubt and uncertainty they themselves created after the Federal Court reverted to the law and overturned business as usual for miners.

We know that all sorts of pressure is on Labor to line up and pass the changes – and can see that crass inducements of steel contracts for South Australia are being dangled in front of the Xenophon Team to get their votes as insurance.

None-the-less, we will continue to state our case to the Parliament to the end. There are many grounds on which this bill should not be passed next week and a proper process of law reform adhered to instead.

We will maintain our litigation against any registration of Adani’s purported ‘Indigenous Land Use Agreement’, which lacks the consent of the Traditional Owners. And we are still litigating the Queensland Government’s issuing of mining leases over our lands in the face of our clear NO vote against the deal.

Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj said it is only native title holding back the Carmichael project; that “the next three weeks will be game changers for the Galilee Basin”.

Indeed they will. We intend to prosecute our case against Adani in the Courts come what may in Parliament next week.

Faking momentum for public relations purposes and conning investors does not win court cases or add up to good law making. We will expose Adani’s sham land use agreement and force the State Government to take responsibility for this shonky deal.

The only starting post in sight is the commencement of legal proceedings against Adani’s fake ILUA.

See: Adani starting post in site