Saturday 31 August 2019
BREAKING NEWS: In a shameful act, the Queensland Government has extinguished native title over Wangan and Jagalingou Country for Adani’s coal project, ignoring the refusal of W&J landowners to give their consent. W&J Council say they will maintain their defence of country and continue to stay on their homelands to care for their land and waters, despite Adani demanding police remove them from a ceremonial camp established last weekend at the site. (ABC today, Adani native title anger prompts police query about ‘sensitivities’ over removing protesters).
W&J Council leader Adrian Burragubba, and a group of Wangan and Jagalingou representatives had been calling on the government to rule out transferring their land. But in a meeting with Government officials yesterday, seeking a halt on leases being issued for the mines critical infrastructure, they learned that the State had instead granted Adani exclusive possession freehold title over large swathes of their lands, including the area currently occupied for ceremonial purposes.
Wangan & Jagalingou cultural leader, Adrian Burragubba, said: “We have been made trespassers on our own Country. Our ceremonial grounds, in place for a time of mourning for our lands as Adani begins its destructive processes, are now controlled by billionaire miner Adani.
“With insider knowledge that the deal was already done, Adani had engaged Queensland police and threatened us with trespass.
“In a notice received by the Council, police advised the area on our country that we currently occupy “is to be handed over to Adani on 31 August 2019”. It says “that Adani will request the assistance of police to remove Mr Burragubba and his supporters from the camp”.
“This Government and mining corporation, working hand in hand, had already sealed the deal in secret. They are criminalising our cultural laws and practice. It is now so perverse, that in a threatening letter from Adani Mining to our Council, denying our common law native title right to access our land, we are told we need Adani’s ‘prior consent’ to be on our own Country.
“The mining State of Queensland and its corporate vanguard, Adani, have never had our free prior consent to occupy our lands, or determine that a coal mine will be allowed to destroy them. Adani are the trespassers. They have denied us our right to self determination and would now deny us our right to practice our law and culture”.
“Our Council does not trust the Government to deliver a fair process, or respect our rights. The Premier and Minister have ignored us and subverted us at every turn. They have backed this mining bully and stood by while I was bankrupted for standing with my people to defend our rights and country.
“Never once since the native title group’s ‘no’ decision five years ago, has the Government had the decency to meet us face to face. Instead they put the knife in by stealth and used the discriminatory Howard-era native title regime to deny us our right to free prior informed consent and dispossess of of our lands.
“The Government are in dishonour for the suffering they have caused our people, and the harm they do to our ancestors. They should hang their heads in shame for how they have enabled this abuse of power by Adani.
“We will never consent to these decisions and will maintain our defence of country. We will be on our homelands to care for our lands and waters, hold ceremonies and uphold the ancient, abiding law of the land. We will hold this Government to account. Premier Palaszczuk must understand how egregious and harmful her Government’s actions are, and how they have enabled an abuse of power by Adani,” Mr Burragubba said.
CONTACT: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743