MEDIA RELEASE – Adani’s Carmichael woes escalate: Traditional owners file Federal Court challenge, mount World Banks Tour to block finance

Latest News / Friday, May 29th, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE – Friday 29 May 2015

Adani’s Carmichael woes escalate: Traditional owners file Federal Court challenge, mount World Banks Tour to block finance

Brisbane, Australia: Indian giant Adani’s planned Carmichael coalmine in the northern state of Queensland has hit double trouble as Traditional Owners today announce a landmark Federal Court challenge, on the eve of their world tour to urge Wall St and European investment banks to shun the damaging project.

The Wangan and Jagalingou people, Indigenous Traditional Owners of central Queensland’s coal-rich Galilee Basin, have vowed to stop the AUD $16.5bn Carmichael mine – the biggest in Australian history and one of the world’s largest. If the mine goes ahead, the W&J’s vast traditional lands and their ancient connection to country would be “disappeared” forever.

W&J Traditional Owner and spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “This is a very special day, on which we significantly step up our campaign to make sure Carmichael never gets built.

“First, we announce that we have filed an appeal and judicial review in the Federal Court of Australia. This court action challenges the decision of Australia’s National Native Title Tribunal that the Queensland government may issue mining leases for Carmichael. This challenge is unprecedented in the history of Native Title Tribunal decisions. If necessary, we will take our case all the way to the High Court”, Mr Burragubba said.

“But this disastrous mine needs billions of dollars of finance if it is to ever go ahead”, said Mr Burragubba. “We also announce today that in 48 hours, on Sunday 31 May, we will embark a world tour to hold high-level talks with investment banks on Wall St, in European finance capitals, and in Asia.

“We will communicate to the banks that we do not consent to Carmichael, and the reasons we cannot allow this mine to go ahead. We will remind them that any bank that funds Carmichael will be breaching important human rights principles to which they are signatory; principles requiring that projects that affect Indigenous Owners have their consent. We’ll urge them to honour their obligations and commit to ruling out funding,” said Mr Burragubba.

While in North America, the W&J will also meet with First Nations Traditional Owners opposing massive fossil fuel projects, including the tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada.

W&J Traditional Owner and spokesperson Murrawah Johnson said, “This tour is an incredible opportunity to meet with, learn from and form alliances with other Traditional Owners internationally. By building solidarity across the globe we can strengthen and draw inspiration for our individual battles to protect land, culture and way of life from destructive mining. We look forward to sharing stories and insights with our brothers and sisters in North America”.

Ms Johnson said, “State and Federal governments have trampled our rights and interests and approved the mine. Adani tried to divide and conquer after we rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and refused their ‘shut-up’ money. Australia’s Native Title Tribunal has also dispossessed us, saying the mining leases may go ahead.

“We won’t take it. We will do whatever is necessary to stand up for Country. We will ensure that Adani and its friends in government and finance understand that when we say no, we mean no”, said Ms Johnson. “Our legal challenge and World Banks Tour are key to that plan.”

Mr Burragubba said, “We won’t rest until this disastrous project is thrown on the scrapheap of history. Our culture will live strong and thrive into the future as it has from time immemorial.”

— ENDS —


Media contacts

Australia: Alison Orme 0423 332 104 / Annemarie Jonson 0428 278 880

International: James Lorenz +61 400 376 021.


Video of Adrian Burragubba speaking on W&J country here.

Images from original W&J campaign launch March 2015 inc. of spokespeople Adrian Burragubba and Murrawah Johnson, plus launch collateral here.

Images of Adrian Burragubba here and Murrawah Johnson here.

Bios of W&J spokespeople Adrian Burragubba here and Murrawah Johnson here.

Notice of Appeal here & Originating Application for Review to Federal Court here.

W&J Declaration to Banks here.

Briefing on Federal Court challenge here.

Backgrounder on Adani and Carmichael here.

W&J World Tour Itinerary [subject to change – to be advised]

[Australian media: opportunities for live crosses or recorded interviews from media events in key locations, including NYC, DC, London. Phone/ skype interviews available throughout. Media packages of images / footage will be released to media post-event throughout the tour.]

Mon June 1 – San Francisco – W&J spokespeople available for interview.

Tues 2 June

San Francisco – W&J will meet First Nations peoples. After 2pm – opportunity to interview W&J spokespeople and First Nations spokespeople re their historic meeting.

Wed 3 and Thurs 4 June

Edmonton, Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Canada – W&J will meet First Nations peoples opposing tar sands projects. Opportunity for interviews and filming on site in tar sands region; and to cover media event involving W&J with First Nations communities tbc.

Fri 5 to Sun 7 June

Travel to NYC and rest; interviews may be available by arrangement in NYC on weekend tbc.

Mon 8 June

NYC – Meetings with investment banks Goldman Sachs, Citi, Bank of America; late PM, media action, banks declaration, with music, dance and ceremony by Australian indigenous owners W&J outside BoA, midtown Manhattan, details tbc. W&J spokespeople available for interview.

Tues 9 June NYC – W&J spokespeople available for interview; PM travel to Washington DC.

Wed 10 June

Washington DC – Meetings with US Export Import Bank; media event tbc, possibly involving W&J together with First Nations peoples opposing coal expansion in Powder River Basin, Utah tbc. W&J spokespeople available for interview.

Thurs 11 June  – Travel to London.

Fri 12 June

London – meet Standard Chartered; public/media event outside bank. Details tbc. W&J spokespeople available for interview.

Sat 13 and Sun 14 June  – Rest and travel to Zurich. Interviews may be available by arrangement tbc.

Mon 15 June

Zurich – meet investment banks UBS and Credit Suisse. Media event outside bank tbc. W&J spokespeople available for interview.

Tues 16 June – Travel to Hong Kong.

Wed 17 June

HK – meetings with HSBC. Media event tbc. W&J spokespeople available for interview.

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