First Nation owners barred from their lands in Supreme Court decision
Brisbane: 24 April 2020
In an uncontested decision in the Queensland Supreme Court, Adani achieved its goal of banning Traditional Owners from parts of their ancestral lands.
Adrian Burragubba, his son Coedie McAvoy, and members of the W&J Council are prevented from entering the area over which the State Government extinguished native title and handed it as freehold to the mining corporation for the Carmichael mine infrastructure.
Adrian Burragubba, who faces imprisonment if he enters the area where a ceremonial site is established to honour the ancestors and the land that is facing destruction, says it’s just more of the same dishonesty from Adani.
He says he and others with rights in the land were in prior occupation of the area they are now excluded from, which was Unallocated State Land before the Government changed the tenure to freehold and gave it to Adani, making them trespassers in their own land.
Mr Burragubba, the cultural leader and senior spokesperson for the W&J Council said:
“This move by Adani simply continues the injustices against us. Adani had already secured its legal entitlements against my rights and interests. But they continue their vindictiveness, and spying on us, because we refuse to concede. This is just the latest stand-off in our battle with Adani.
“We did not enter the land as trespassers, the land tenure was changed after we were there. The State Government extinguished our native title on the Unallocated State Land and handed it to Adani. We were camped and holding ceremonies in our country and told to leave.
“We have not returned to our ceremonial site since Adani’s security force confronted us. The video evidence Adani uses is of us leaving the area.
“We did not engage in this Supreme Court legal action taken by Adani because we know from experience that the rules were already set against us and Adani would just incur more costs for us.
“We know their mine and their licenses lack legitimacy in the face of our rights; and as Aboriginal people we have always known that. That it is made legal to destroy our country and our way of life, and bar us from access to our sites, doesn’t make it just. Adani relies on draconian laws, that benefit the State and corporations, to control us and take away our rights.
“But I have an inalienable right to my culture and the lands of my ancestors. I will always be connected to my Country, and speak for it. I’m not a trespasser on my own land and never will be. It is still my land. And that fact derives from a law much older than the legal instruments that Adani wields against us.”
For more information contact:
Anthony Esposito, W&J Council adviser. 0418 152 743