No surrender – Traditional Owners move to defeat Adani’s ‘fake ILUA’

MEDIA RELEASE
7 February 2017

Traditional Owners act to defeat Adani’s invalid Indigenous Land Use Agreement in the wake of Noongar ruling

W&J Council will seek a declaration to knock out ‘fake ILUA’

Lawyers for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council have today written to Adani demanding it withdraw its application to have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for its proposed Carmichael mine registered by the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT). Should Adani refuse, a declaration will be sought in the Federal Court to have the ILUA struck out. See the Letter.

Members of the W&J Council lodged a formal objection last year to the purported ILUA. The NNTT was due to make its decision this Friday, however the Federal Court in the matter of McGlade v Native Title Registrar [2017] throws doubt on whether Adani’s agreement is a valid ILUA.

Leading Aboriginal rights advocate, a primary W&J Traditional Owner and Council spokesperson, Mr. Adrian Burragubba, says, “We make it plain to the Queensland and Federal Governments that we will not surrender our ancestral homelands for Adani’s mine of mass destruction. We will defeat this company’s attempts to divide and conquer us and continue our legal battles to remove the leases issued by the Queensland Government.

“Our fight is far from over. Anyone who wants to bankroll Adani, and the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, are on notice that we will not stand by if attempts are made, in response to the Noongar decision, to put our rights and interests, and our laws and customs, on the chopping block for the mining lobby,” he said.

Lawyer for the ILUA objection and other matters, Mr. Colin Hardie, says, “The attempt to portray the ruling in the Noongar case as the native title system in crisis is a beat-up designed to take the focus away from controversial ILUAs, such as Adani’s, which seek to exchange cash and other incentives for the surrender of the rights of Traditional Owners of country.

“It is not the case that many ILUAs will be affected by the Noongar decision, or that there is now some type of systemic crisis that requires the urgent amendment of the Native Title Act.

“The submissions of our clients regarding the purported ILUA that Adani was attempting to register show the meeting called to authorise the agreement was ‘a sham’. Our client provided evidence that the meeting was composed of a ‘rent a crowd’ of persons who had never previously identified as Wangan and Jagalingou.

“Our clients stand on strong grounds in their claim to W&J country and their refusal to consent to the mine,” he said.

W&J youth leader and Council spokesperson, Ms. Murrawah Johnson, says, “We have maintained all along that Adani does not have the consent of the rightful Traditional Owners. Our Traditional Owners group have rejected an ILUA with Adani three times. We will defeat Adani’s fake ILUA and continue to fight for our land and culture until the company and Governments respect our rights and abandon this disastrous proposal”.

In seeking Adani’s withdrawal, W&J Council has not removed its objection to the registration of the Adani ILUA by the NNTT.

 

For information & to arrange interviews: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor –  0418 152 743

 

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