W&J COUNCIL STATEMENT
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  FCA 105
Application for interlocutory injunction: Kemppi v Adani Mining Pty Ltd (No 3)  FCA 40
Application for leave to appeal: Kemppi v Adani Mining Pty Ltd  FCA 105
For more information, contact:
Anthony Esposito, W&J TO Council advisor – 0418 152 743