W&J leaders call on Qld Govt not to extinguish native title

MEDIA RELEASE

18 August 2018

 

Traditional Owners vow to continue to defend their land rights against Adani

~ W&J leaders say appeal pending against court decision favouring Adani’s land grab

~ Request no action from Queensland Government on extinguishment of native title

~ Senior Counsel advice says the State not obliged to wipe out land title

~ Appeal to UN for urgent action on failure of Australian law to protect the right to ‘free prior informed consent’

~ Adani ILUA proves Native Title system needs major reform

 

In the wake of yesterday’s adverse Federal Court decision against their challenge to Adani’s ILUA,  Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners say yesterday’s judgement merely confirms the limitations of the native title system, and fails to address their right as Indigenous people to free, prior and informed consent, which is at the heart of their action.

Mr Adrian Burragubba, one of five applicants in the case, and W&J cultural leader says: “We are calling on the Queensland Government to rule out extinguishing our native title in any part of our land.

“Once native title is gone, it is gone forever. It would be a travesty for the Government to wipe out our title for Adani. If Queensland can stop them dredging the Reef before Adani has money, or pull the pin on $1 billion NAIF funding, they can surely protect our rights to our land. They must not hand a private corporation land title at our expense, based on discriminatory laws.

“The Queensland Government has a clear choice here, and yesterday’s ruling in no way forces them to proceed to extinguish our native title. Don’t be fooled, it is up to the Government what happens next.

“Adani can’t be trusted; how can they say they respect ‘the rights, history, future intentions and requests of the traditional owners’? We are Traditional Owners, we are the people from that land, and they have never respected our decisions, or our right to free prior informed consent, or our aspirations to care for our ancestral country. They split our people for their own ends and then try to claim they care. They should walk away in shame for all the damage they have done”.

Ms Linda Bobongie, another applicant and chairperson of the Traditional Owners Council, says: “While we respect the decisions of the courts, we aren’t satisfied by this judgement and will work with our legal team to prepare an appeal to a higher court.

“We know the Queensland Government has no obligation to act on extinguishment for Adani. They should wait until all our appeals are exhausted.”

“We held out hope for this legal avenue, but anticipated a conservative judgement within the Native Title system, and were prepared for the decision. Our Council has vowed to continue to defend our lands and waters from Adani’s destruction.

“We call on Adani to immediately withdraw from this damaging project on our land. No administrative decisions that block our rights will stop us standing our ground to defend and protect Wangan and Jagalingou Country and our connection to it. We do not consent to a mine that will destroy our culture and land, and rob our people of a sustainable future, so a rich company can get richer exploiting and burning the coal beneath our feet”.

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Media enquiries:

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

W&J website: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/

W&J facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WanganandJagalingou/

 

Letter to the Premier of Queensland et al:

Re: Wangan Jagalingou people, the Adani Mining Project and native title extinguishment

http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/180712-Letter-to-Premier-et-al_WJ-TOC-1.pdf

 

UN Submission:

Traditional Owners take land rights fight to U.N. to head off threat of native title extinguishment for Adani: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/wj-council-takes-land-rights-fight-to-u-n/

 

ABC News:

Indigenous group takes anti-Adani fight to the United Nations claiming human rights violation:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-03/anti-adani-campaign-by-indigenous-group-goes-to-the-un/10065240

 

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