“Where there’s mining there is no justice”
Responding to a Supreme Court decision in Brisbane today, Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine say that yet again the Queensland Government and Adani have benefited from laws designed to suppress Aboriginal peoples’ rights.
The Queensland Court of Appeal today upheld an earlier decision that the Queensland Minister for Mines did not have to afford Wangan and Jagalingou people natural justice when he issued the mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael Mine. The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council is now seeking legal advice on grounds to appeal to the High Court.
Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, “Where there’s mining there is no justice for Traditional Owners. The mineral resources regime so often puts massive barriers in the way of Traditional Owners and the wider community which opposes coal mining in Queensland.
“We appealed the decision of Queensland Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham MP, to issue leases over our country to Adani, only to find our common law right to natural justice is of little worth. We have always aimed higher than this in pursuit of our rights. We are not deterred by today’s outcome.
“The Court decision has let the Minister get away with sacrificing our heritage and sacred places to promote his own political interests.
“Instead of standing up for our rights in the lands and water of our ancestors, in April 2016 the Queensland Government preferred not to wait for our fight to be resolved in the Federal Court court and instead issued leases to Adani.
“Adani is a company that has no money, is subject to investigations for multi-million dollar corruption and fraud in its own country, and doesn’t have an economically viable project.
“As Traditional Owners we wait more than a decade for our native title claim to be dealt with, while Adani can get a lease quickly, without our consent and with no money for its project.
“We have clearly and unambiguously rejected a land use deal with this shyster company, yet they push on.
“The Minister had no business issuing those mining leases. Granting the leases is proof that the Queensland Government is in bed with Adani and is willing to take our rights away by force. To add insult to injury, his cavalier decision-making comes with a legal sanction under the Queensland Mineral Resources Act.
“The Queensland government and Adani must understand that they are not in the clear. An appeal still in the full bench of the Federal Court challenges the the Minister’s authority to have issued those leases and completely disregard our refusal to consent to the Carmichael project.
“In Queensland, mining is State development. We know our rights are not protected and that no matter how many times we have said no to Adani, the Government will try to force its way forward and pave the way for this mine of mass destruction.
“We are not done yet. We will exhaust all legal avenues in our fight to for our rights and to protect our country. Adani cannot move on the critical infrastructure for the mine until they can get us out of the way. We have further litigation challenging their fake ‘land use agreement’ in the Court, with a hearing date set for March 2018.
“There will be no surrender. We will stand our ground and never consent to this terrible project. We have consistently said no to this mine. No means no”, Mr Burragubba concluded.
For more background, and to arrange interviews with W&J Council spokespeople:
Contact Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.