Saturday deadline: W&J landowners challenge Qld govt over lease of their Country to Adani

Latest News / Friday, August 30th, 2019
  • Stand-off looms over ‘trespass’ claims by Adani
  • Occupation of country by original owners their common law right
  • Legal challenge to land hand-over will follow if leases are issued

Brisbane, Queensland. With the Queensland Coordinator General set to lease Wangan and Jagalingou country to Adani by tomorrow Saturday 31 August, W&J landowners fighting the Carmichael coal mine are today demanding that the Queensland government respect their legal right to defend their ancestral country. They say the Government must halt the issuing of leases to Adani over lands currently occupied by W&J people and engage in direct dialogue.

Wangan & Jagalingou cultural leader and Family Council spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba, who was this month bankrupted by Adani for pursuing their rights in court, said: “We will not be made trespassers on our own Country. The Government must not violate our property rights. We will continue our fight to ensure our ancestral lands are not destroyed. The Government must meet us in respect of our rights, and not fast track Adani’s destruction”.

A stand-off looms over the transfer of W&J traditional land by the Queensland Government to Adani, with the threat of Traditional Owners currently on the land being charged with trespass. Last weekend W&J established a Cultural Sovereignty Camp on Country, on the land Adani wants to seize for the mine’s critical infrastructure. Images of last weekend’s ceremony at Cultural Sovereignty Camp here. Video available on request. 

“The land to be leased to foreign billionaire Adani for his devastating coal mine always has been and always will be Wangan and Jagalingou Country,” Mr Burragubba said. 

“It is shameful that the Queensland State government is again preparing to hand Adani rights to our land, without our consent. We are asking to meet the Premier and Minister Lyhnam to discuss their intended transfer of our land to Adani. We are also taking legal advice on whether the correct process is being followed and will take action to halt or reverse this decision.

“We are on our country because it’s our common law native title right. We are occupying our ancestral lands as we have always done. We are the First Nations landowners, and our property rights must be treated with respect”.

Mr Burragubba said billionaire miner Adani should not be allowed to trample their rights to protect country, law and culture, yet the Queensland government is set to hand Adani the keys to do just that.

“Adani has started some work on the site, trying to mark it as theirs. Adani remains without finance, without insurance, without contractors and – most importantly – without our consent.

“We believe Adani and the State are already in breach of the very ILUA they hide behind. The land use agreement legalises our dispossession and covers for the lack of genuine free, prior and informed consent.

“We will continue to pursue our rights and are entitled to remain in occupation of our land. This fight has been going on since colonisation. We have stopped Adani for eight long years and we will keep fighting to ensure our ancestral lands are not destroyed by the actions of the Government and Adani,” he concluded.

Media contact: Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743

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