MEDIA ALERT: FED CT BRIS FRI 4.15PM Trad Owners v Adani and others judgment
17 August 2018
Critical judgment in W&J Traditional Owners fight for their land rights against Adani
WHAT: Justice Reeves of the Federal Court delivers his decision in the case in which Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners have challenged the legitimacy of a meeting funded by Adani to ‘authorise’ an ILUA (Indigenous Land Use Agreement), the certification of that purported ILUA by Queensland South Native Title Services, and the subsequent registration of the ‘Adani ILUA’ by the National Native Title Tribunal. Further background to the case below.
WHEN: 4.15pm, Friday 17 August 2018.
WHERE: Federal Court, Court No. 2, Level 7, Cth Law Courts 119 North Quay (Tank St entry), Brisbane.
Adrian Burragubba, spokesperson for the five W&J applicants, and the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council, is available for comment before and after the decision.
Mr Adrian Burragubba says: “No matter what happens today, we are calling on the Queensland Government to rule out extinguishing our native title in any part of our land. No matter who wins, we expect an appeal.
“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.
“We know it’s the Queensland Government’s choice. Enough is enough. We have called on the UN for international scrutiny of what’s happening here. The Government must bring itself into the modern era on our human rights and leave us to protect our country and chart a better future than coal mining.”
Media enquiries: Anthony Esposito, W&J Traditional Owner Council advisor – 0418 152 743
W&J website: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/
W&J facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WanganandJagalingou/fBackground to the case
W&J Traditional Owners have not given their free and informed consent to the Carmichael Mine, and at four authorisation meetings of the native title group since 2012 have voted to reject Adani’s land use agreement. On their behalf, five applicants have pursued a legal course to try to prevent the ‘Adani ILUA’ being used by the Queensland Government to justify extinguishment of their native title for Adani.
They make their argument on the basis that the Adani meeting in April 2016, which purportedly agreed to an ILUA, was “a sham” because it included large numbers who are not Wangan and Jagalingou people or primary members of the claim group, and who were given money to attend; while large numbers of people who are Wangan and Jagalingou and had already rejected the agreement, refused to participate and lend legitimacy to the meeting.
Some Adani supporters within the W&J Applicant were being compensated for getting people to attend. Evidence of the expert anthropologist for Queensland South Native Title Services (QSNTS), at trial, was that virtually nothing was done to ascertain that the people registered to attend were actually people who held or were likely to hold native title within the Wangan and Jagalingou claim area. It was left to the same Adani supporters who were rounding up people to attend and being paid compensation for doing so. The CEO of QSNTS who signed the certificate had no knowledge of what, if any, efforts had been made to identify the people attending as people who held or may hold native title.
People at the meeting were not given actual specifications of the area to be extinguished, so there is no prior informed consent and the Native Title registrar does not know what land is actually to be surrendered.