Naomi Klein commends new UQ Traditional Owners Flagship Project

Latest News / Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Exciting UQ Global Change Institute collaboration

MEDIA RELEASE  9 November 2016 |

Leaders of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council (W&J) will tonight announce, on a panel with Naomi Klein, a new flagship project with the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, collaborating with UQ researchers and Australian human rights lawyers.

The project – We Are The People From That Land: Centring Indigenous peoples’ rights in the transition to a sustainable, low carbon future – will explore the international Indigenous movement that is reimagining human rights and social and economic development in the global era of scarce water resources, climate change and energy transition. The initiative is backed by a major supporter of the Global Change Institute, Mr Graeme Wood.

Aboriginal youth leader and spokesperson for the W&J Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, will announce the project tonight in Sydney, as a panelist with acclaimed journalist, author and international activist Naomi Klein, who is this year’s Sydney Peace Prize recipient. The panel features some of Australia’s most powerful voices from frontline communities working for climate justice.

Murrawah Johnson says, “Our project in the Global Change Institute is recognition from leading researchers that the W&J story is a powerful one that deserves to be told for the important contribution it makes to our understanding of critical global change issues.

“This is a great opportunity for the Wangan and Jagalingou people to chart a new path to justice and sustainability, and to social and economic opportunities in the transition to a low carbon world.

“The project will help shape a shared understanding of how to sustain our lands and waters and enrich our culture, and build our futures on this. It will address Indigenous rights in the context of domestic and International human rights law.

Naomi Klein says, “Murrawah Johnson is a powerful spokesperson and organiser who is on the front line of holding back one of the largest proposed coal mines in the world. With her elders and Council, she is shining a light on the urgent need for a justice-based transition in the face of the climate crisis. The W&J Traditional Owners standing up for their internationally recognised rights are at the forefront of fossil fuel resistance and protecting their land, water and culture”.

The panel discussion will be attended by leading Aboriginal rights advocate, senior W&J Traditional Owner and Council spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba.

Adrian Burragubba says, “We need to protect the traditional lands and waters of our peoples, as well as safeguard the future for all of us. We want to share our knowledge and give the world an appreciation of the significance of our culture and the way in which the protection of lands and waters is a matter of Indigenous law and environmental sustainability”.

Major supporter of the Global Change Institute and advocate for the W&J Council’s challenge to the Carmichael coal mine, Mr Graeme Wood, will also attend.

Graeme Wood says, “Through their work, Wangan and Jagalingou council leaders are forging new ground in our understanding of Indigenous rights in Australia in the transition to a low carbon and just future”.

The legal analysis for the project will be led by Benedict Coyne, international human rights lawyer and Senior Associate of Anderson Fredericks Turner.

Benedict Coyne says, “This project will greatly enhance our understanding of the intersection of the important issues at play in contemporary Australia and internationally regarding climate change, natural resource conservation and human rights – particularly the rights of Indigenous peoples”.


For more information: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council adviser: 0418 152 743

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