Members of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council say there is nothing in today’s court decision on the Native Title Act Section 66B application that will stop them in their fight against Adani in the courts.
Senior spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council, and member of the existing Applicant, Mr Adrian Burragubba said, “The decision today shows how vulnerable the rights of Traditional Owners are when they don’t agree to the destruction of their country by big miners like Adani.
“Adani has actively worked to divide our community, undermine our representatives, and register a sham agreement with our people to pave the way for the destruction of our lands and waters.
“Today’s judgment is one we will seek leave to appeal. We believe it’s a hollow judgement that ignores important elements of the full bench decision in McGlade regarding the role of native title Applicants on behalf of the claim group.
“We are unhappy with Justice Reeves’ exercise of discretion, which takes as fact matters which are the subject of other litigation regarding the purported Adani ILUA. While we respect that the judge has our native title claim in mind, we also believe the judge was mistaken in thinking today’s decision allows the W&J people to successfully prosecute its land claims.
“This may suit Adani’s interests, but it is bad for our native title, our people, and our lands and waters”, he said.
Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, said, “Adani are pretending this mine is inevitable but it still faces a series of other court cases we are running. We are currently in the Federal Court, working to prove Adani does not in any event have our consent and its land use ‘deal’ is a sham and a cover for the destruction of our country.
“Adani is also before the Queensland Court of Appeal in May, when we challenge the Queensland government’s issuing of mining leases to Adani”.
“This proposed mine project will wreck our land and waters, and destroy our culture. It will ride roughshod over our rights. It will unleash enormous environmental damage and drive dangerous climate change in the process.
“For years Adani, its lawyers, and Federal and State Governments have worked against us because we have said ‘no’ to the destruction of our lands and waters. They have consistently interfered in our right to self-determination and to free, prior informed consent. Today we stand strong – we will never give up,” Ms Johnson said.
W&J Council is calling for a halt to government backing for the Adani mine, pointing to recent national polling which shows that nearly two thirds (64.1%) of Australians believe the Federal and State governments should not push ahead with Adani’s mine without the consent of Aboriginal traditional owners.
For more information and to arrange interviews:
Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.