Senate Inquiry report tabled: Labor support for Native Title Bill profoundly disappointing

 

MEDIA RELEASE
21 March 2017

Senate Inquiry report tabled: Labor support for Native Title Bill profoundly disappointing

  • Labor abandons support for Aboriginal land rights
  • Major parties clear way for Adani to ignore Indigenous objections to Adani coal mine
  • Wangan and Jagalingou to meet with UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Rights to express concern
Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s Carmichael mine are profoundly disappointed that Labor senators have today backed in the Government’s rushed and ill-considered amendments to the Native Title Act, giving a free kick to Indian billionaire Gautam Adani and plans for a Qld coal mine.

The Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 is designed to overturn the recent McGlade decision that upheld the Native Title Act requirement that all applicants are needed to sign a land use agreement. The bill is expected to be debated in the Senate today.

Senior spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council Mr Adrian Burragubba said, Labor has lined up with the Government to wind back our rights – and their own commitment to land rights. They have swallowed the arguments of the mining and agricultural lobby that there is a crisis that needs an urgent response.

“Hiding behind the argument that these changes are small and technical is a ruse. The consequences of this bill are profound and adverse, affecting not just us, but Aboriginal people around the country and our future generations.

“By pushing this Bill through, The Coalition and Labor are attacking the integrity of our decision making, and our rights to self-determination. Aboriginal people should be able to say ‘no’ to destruction of our country and heritage. The Senate report is inadequate in dealing with the real intent and failures of the bill, and cuts off genuine Native Title Act reform.

“The Greens have had the courage and decency to stand up for our rights. We extend our support to those Noongar people who have been today denied their rights which they fought for and won in the Federal Court”, he said.

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council Ms Murrawah Johnson said, “The major parties have given Adani and their dirty mine a free kick today.

“Politicians at the Federal and State level are falling over themselves to push this controversial proposed mine through, denying us our rights to self-determination.  

“The Queensland Premier ‘belled the cat’ in India last week when she reassured Gautam Adani “there will be [no] obstacles … in the federal parliament”.

“Adani believes their mine will go ahead, because our political leaders keep telling them they’ll remove all the obstacles in their way”.

“Indigenous people will continue to fight these moves. We are meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Rights, on an official visit to Australia this week. We are also continuing to pursue Adani’s fake land use agreement in the courts”, she said.

Mr Colin Hardie, Lawyer for the W&J native title claimants objecting to Adani’s purported ILUA said, “The risk involved in this legislation is so great it should not be proceeding. It is a case where the cure is worse than the complaint. My clients will retain their objection to the purported Adani ILUA in the court, and consider grounds for challenging the legislation”.

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

 

The Senate Committee report is here.

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