THE WANGAN & JAGALINGOU DECLARATION TO BANKS
WE, THE WANGAN & JAGALINGOU PEOPLE, INDIGENOUS TRADITIONAL OWNERS OF THE GALILEE BASIN IN THE CENTRAL REGION OF THE AUSTRALIAN STATE OF QUEENSLAND:
1.1 The Adani Group, an Indian conglomerate, propose to build the AUD$16.5bn Carmichael coal mine and rail project, one of the largest in the world, on our land – land that our people have held sacred for as long as anyone can remember. The mine will have a footprint of over 28,000 hectares, seven times the size of Sydney Harbour. The project will also include rail infrastructure to the coast, where a new port will be established, risking damage to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.
1.2 The mine will tear out the heart of our country, permanently destroying our ancestral homelands, as well as sites and species we have held sacred for generations. This threatens the survival of our culture, and our ability to pass that culture onto our future generations.
1.3. We have not given our consent to the Adani Group or the state of Queensland for the development of the mine. Nor will we ever give consent, as we simply cannot consent to the destruction of our ancestral lands, cultural heritage and the environment. Nor can we allow a project that will contribute so substantially to the unfolding and direct effects of climate change that pose such great risks to all people. We formally rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement under Australia’s native title legislation that would have given our permission to the grant of mining leases for the mine. And we are currently appealing a decision of the Australian Native Title Tribunal that mining leases could be issued for the mine on our land.
1.4 Under international law, including as reflected in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we have the right to decide whether the Carmichael mine may be developed on our land. This is because harm caused by the mine is so significant that it will violate our rights to culture, physical and spiritual well-being, and self-determination – all of which are protected by international law.
1.5 Private entities, such as banks, have a responsibility to respect human rights that are protected under international law. They must also conform their behaviour to international human rights norms and ensure they do not ratify or contribute to any infringement of human rights. This responsibility is clearly enumerated in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which has been unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
1.6 The Equator Principles, adopted by 80 financial institutions worldwide, also require that projects with adverse impacts on Indigenous peoples as significant as the impacts of the Carmichael mine must have their free, prior and informed consent. Any signatory bank to the Equator Principles that commits to funding Carmichael will be in direct breach of those principles.
1.7 The Carmichael mine project presents a significant financial risk, due to its high infrastructure requirements and transportation costs against a low thermal coal price. The illegality of development of the mine in the absence of our consent also creates an uncertainty as to the viability of the mine project, which creates additional financial risk for any investors in the mine.
2.1 We request that Banks recognise and respect that the Wangan & Jagalingou do not consent to the development of the Carmichael mine on our traditional lands.
2.2. We request that Banks recognise that the determination of how our ancestral lands and waters are treated is a human right protected under international law.
2.3 We request that Bank honour the Equator Principles and commit to not fund the Carmichael coal mine project, or other proposed coal mines in the Galilee Basin.
- PROMISE: We will do whatever it takes to protect our sacred ancestral lands and waters, our rights and our interests, and to stop the financing of this mine and to see that the Carmichael mine does not go ahead.
Adrian Burragubba, senior representative of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council, for the Wangan and Jagalingou people. May 2015