MEDIA RELEASE // QLD Mines Minister Lynham’s Adani mine approval shows gutless and morally bankrupt approach of Government to Traditional Owners’ rights

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MEDIA RELEASE  3 APRIL 2016

QLD Mines Minister Lynham’s Adani mine approval shows gutless and morally bankrupt approach of Government to Traditional Owners’ rights

Minister prefers Adani’s misleading and inflated jobs figures to respect for the law and human rights, say Wangan and Jagalingou people

The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people today responded to the announcement by QLD Mines Minister Anthony Lynham that he is issuing mining leases to Adani for the Carmichael coal mine. The coal mine is the biggest proposed in Australian history and if built will permanently destroy the W&J’s vast traditional homelands in the Galilee Basin.

W&J spokesperson and traditional owner Adrian Burragubba said, “This is a disgraceful new low in the exercise of Government power at the expense of Traditional Owners’ rights. Minister Lynham and Premier Palaszczuk should hang their heads in shame. History will condemn them. This is the wrong mine, at the wrong time, on the wrong side of history. Their actions are reckless and dishonourable.

“In October 2015 Minister Lynham confirmed in a letter to our legal counsel that he would await the outcome of our Federal Court action against the mine before considering issuing the leases. Late last year and again this year he said he would wait for the matters before the courts to be resolved so as not to run the risk of having his decision invalidated.”

Mr Burragubba’s legal representative and human rights lawyer, Benedict Coyne of law firm Boe Williams Anderson, said: “The granting of these leases by the Minister is a concern given that there is a judicial review proceeding for a related matter pending before the Federal Court of Australia. It is curious as to why the Minister was unable to wait for the proper legal processes to be concluded. We will be seeking a statement of reasons for the decision from the Minister and from there we will consider our client’s legal options”.

Mr Burragubba said, “Now, after being stitched up in the Qld Parliament by the LNP, and caving to pressure from foreign coal billionaire Adani and the coal lobby, the Minister has trashed our rights and pushed the leases out the door in one of the worst acts of bad faith towards Queensland’s Indigenous people in living memory”.

“For the third time, on 19 March this year, the W&J claim group met en masse and voted down the prospect of an indigenous land use agreement with Adani. We said it again, and we said it loud and clear: Wangan and Jagalingou do not consent to this mine and we never will.

Mr Burragubba said: “Our resolve is doubled. Minister Lynham can issue all the bits of paper he likes, hide behind false claims of jobs and benefits, and pander to big coal for an unviable project. These leases are issued by a Government that regards our people’s rights as expendable. We will not stand by while the Minister forces our people to give up our rights and heritage in our ancestral lands – and exposes the public to the massive risks this mine poses to land, water, to endangered plants and animals, and to a safe climate – just to appease industry lobbyists and political opponents.”

“This is a shameful day”, Mr Burragubba concluded. “This act of infamy will be challenged all the way to the High Court if necessary, and we will continue to pursue our rights under international law. The Minister may think this is the end of the matter, but for us it is just another chapter in the long struggle we have to get proper respect and protection for our rights under law, and ensure our sacred homelands are preserved for time immemorial.”

“We have said no to the Adani Carmichael mine. And when we say no, we mean no”.

For comment:
Adrian Burragubba 0428949115

For comment on legal matters:
Benedict Coyne  0434 915 713

For further information:
Anthony Esposito 0418 152 743

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