QLD GOVERNMENT PLANS TO EXTINGUISH NATIVE TITLE FOR ADANI’S COAL MINE A NEW LOW IN VIOLATING TRADITIONAL OWNERS’ RIGHTS

MEDIA RELEASE: FRIDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2015

QLD GOVERNMENT PLANS TO EXTINGUISH NATIVE TITLE FOR ADANI’S COAL MINE A NEW LOW IN VIOLATING TRADITIONAL OWNERS’ RIGHTS

‘Not here, not now, not this time’ say Traditional Owners

Adrian Burragubba, senior spokesperson of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council, has strongly condemned plans by Queensland’s Coordinator General Barry Broe, under the imprimatur of Minister for Mines Anthony Lynham, to extinguish native title on parts of the W&J’s traditional lands in the Galilee Basin in order to enable Indian giant Adani to develop infrastructure for its $16.5bn Carmichael coal mine, the biggest in Australian history.

The plans were revealed in documents obtained by the ABC.

Mr Burragubba said, “It is beyond comprehension that the Government would consider such a shameful and absurd proposal in an era when our rights are sanctioned under international law; and when we are already in the Federal Court contesting the State Government and Adani’s attempts to override our rights.”

“Premier Palaszczuk needs to rule out this outrageous proposal immediately”, Mr Burragubba said. “I assure the Premier she will be bringing on one of the biggest human rights battles we’ve seen in Queensland in a long time. If destroying our rights and handing our lands to a foreign mining company is on her agenda, she better think again.”

Mr Burragubba vowed to fight any proposal to extinguish native title on the W&J people’s land by force. “This proposal won’t stand,” he said. “Not here, not now, not this time. We will fight this all the way to the High Court if need be”.

“We do not consent to Carmichael mine, and we never will. We have twice rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani. This week, we took on Adani and the Queensland Government in the Federal Court, and our case resumes in February.

“It would be pre-empting the outcome of those proceedings for the Government to attempt to compulsorily acquire our native title. The Government should face up to the justice system and argue its case properly; and not resort to a forcible takeover of our lands so they can be destroyed by a coal mining company.

“It would be a shocking precedent for a government in Australia to extinguish title over land against the express opposition of traditional owners, and to hand that land to a private business interest – in this case a massive foreign miner with a disgraceful record of destroying environments and disrupting traditional communities overseas.

“These revelations that our rights in land could be stolen away from us by Minister Lynham and the Queensland Government are an ugly new low in violating the rights of Indigenous peoples of this country.

“The Government must also clarify the information in the Coordinator General’s document that we did not object to compulsory acquisition. Our rejection of the ILUA and the Federal Court challenge are our clear, unambiguous and final signal to Adani and its backers in the Queensland government, like Mines Minister Lynham, that we vehemently object to the taking of our land and the destruction of our culture and heritage without our consent.

“Adani’s disastrous mega-mine threatens to devastate my people’s lands and waters. It will annihilate the ancient, spiritual connection to Country that makes us who we are. Its scale and impacts mean our Country would literally disappear.

“We will fight this mine until we secure our rights to self-determination in and on our land. We will pursue our rights through the Courts. And we will continue the work we are doing through United Nations to stop this mine and assert our rights.

“My people’s future is in self-determination without dependency on mining. Let us be clear again: when we refuse our consent, No Means No.”

Contacts:

For further comment – Adrian Burragubba – 0428 949 115

For background – Anthony Esposito – 0418 152 743

 

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