Traditional Owners condemn Brandis’ ‘Adani Amendment’ to Native Title Act as a con on the public

MEDIA RELEASE

13 February 2017

Say it won’t head off Court action to stop Adani’s fake land use agreement

Members of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council today condemned the Turnbull government for pandering to the interests of Indian miner Adani and the wealthy mining industry at the expense of the rights of Traditional Owners, by proposing rushed and ill-considered amendments to the Native Title Act. The W&J Council has called on Federal Labor not to roll over and support this unjust and premature manoeuvre by the Government.

Spokesperson for W&J Traditional Owner Council, Mr. Adrian Burragubba, says, “As always, the Liberal and National Parties will look for any means to override our rights and pander to their mates in the resources sector. Today they announced fast-tracked, knee-jerk amendments to the Native Title Act in an attempt to grease the wheels for the controversial Carmichael mine proposal, over our persistent objections and our rights.

“It’s clear Turnbull is willing to ride roughshod over Indigenous land rights for the sake of Adani and this dirty project. This move is a con on the public and part of a manufactured crisis. There is no commercial uncertainty. There is no wholesale threat to Indigenous Land Use Agreements and business interests in the country.

“We know this is all about Adani and that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in the pocket of Indian billionaire Adani and the mining lobby. Turnbull is blind to Indigenous communities’ right to say ‘no’ to projects which will destroy our lands, waters and culture. These amendments, designed to head off our legal actions because Adani was losing, won’t stop us.

“The registration of Adani’s sham land use agreement is not being held up because of the decision in Western Australia this month. It’s being challenged by us because it was engineered through rent-a-crowds, deceit and dishonest tactics. We will continue our action in the Federal Court to have it struck out, regardless of what dodgy deals are tried on in Canberra to prevent justice.

“The Labor Opposition should make a stand for proper consideration of Native Title reform and not be railroaded by the mining lobby and the coal-obsessed Liberal and National Parties.

“We call on Labor to see this ‘Adani amendment’ for what it is – a response to a political panic created by the head of the Queensland Resources Council, Ian MacFarlane, in the wake of a court decision, because plans for Adani’s proposed mine are unravelling. Labor should do the decent thing and block this move before it gets going.

“The Native Title system needs an overhaul for failing to give due consideration to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Any reform should involve full consultation, not occur in a piecemeal and chaotic way because of a panic generated by the mining industry,” Mr Burragubba said.  
For information & to arrange interviews: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor –  0418 152 743

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