Traditional Owners announce Adani court appeal

MEDIA RELEASE
15 September 2018

Traditional Owners announce Adani court appeal

Call on Qld Government to never extinguish their native title

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners opposing Adani’s Carmichael Mine have this week served notice of a Federal Court full bench appeal. (See ABC today: “Adani mine site to remain under native title until finance confirmed, Minister says”). The Traditional Owners strongly reject last month’s decision of a single Judge of the Federal Court and will seek to have the decision reversed and the Adani Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) thrown out.

Mr Adrian Burragubba, a Traditional Owner of W&J country, and W&J Council spokesperson says: “We will not abide a ruling that says it’s legal to have our ancient laws and culture, and our enduring rights in our lands and waters, merely voted away by a group of people who do not have the traditional authority to surrender our native title”.

In a new development, the Queensland Government has confirmed that it will only act to take W&J native title for the Adani project when it has the financial capacity to complete it. This follows a resolution of the Queensland ALP state conference in early September 2018.

Mr Adrian Burragubba says, “We are not conceding our rights under our laws and customs to this court decision. We are resolute in putting a stop to the pretense that the ‘Adani ILUA’ amounts to the consent of the Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou country to the extinguishment of our native title.

“Whilever we have this court case running in the higher courts, whether it takes many months or years, Adani has not achieved ‘conclusive registration’ of its ILUA. The Government should refuse to act on it, and banks should refuse to finance the project.

“Adani engineered this pretence, the Government chose not to side with us, and their lawyers and the Native Title services bureaucrats provided the paperwork for an act of betrayal. Nothing changes those facts for us. They refused to accept our original decisions and interfered in our business”, he said.

Ms Linda Bobongie, Chairperson of the W&J Council says: “The State ALP has gone some way in passing a resolution calling for financial close before they take our native title for Adani, but the Queensland Government must unequivocally rule out extinguishing our native title – now or ever.”

“Extinguishing our native title is a deeply troubling issue for us. The Government knows it does not have to extinguish our rights in the land for Adani, even if the Adani ILUA remains on the Tribunal register.

“The ILUA itself makes that clear. The Queensland Government has ‘unfettered discretion’ and is not obliged to extinguish native title. Its signing of the ILUA ‘does not constitute approval or endorsement of the project’.

“The problem with the ILUA is Adani and the State government failed to obtain our genuine consent and signed a sham agreement.

“We suffer under bad laws and processes. It is imperative that the Native Title Act be reformed in line with Australia’s obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

“It’s time for Governments to stand up for our rights”, she concluded.

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Media enquiries: Anthony Esposito, W&J Traditional Owners Council advisor – 0418 152 743

 

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