MEDIA RELEASE – 11 April 2017
The Turnbull government is willing to sacrifice Aboriginal people’s rights in pursuit of a deal with Adani for its proposed coal megamine, sanctioning the destruction of the lands and waters of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners. The Prime Minister has courted Gautam Adani with the offer of ‘fixing the native title problem.’ This is an act of national betrayal, says the W&J Traditional Owners Council.
According to media reports, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is understood to have told the Adani group chairman that the issue of Native Title in Australia will soon be resolved.
Senior spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council Mr Adrian Burragubba said, “The Prime Minister is another in a long line of political leaders, Federal and State, who are willing to sacrifice Aboriginal peoples’ rights if a profit or a deal is attractive enough. It is extraordinary to have the Prime Minister travelling to India to tell a businessman that he will change the Native Title Act in Australia and undermine our rights so that his destructive project can proceed.
“Mr Turnbull is selling out the country and the Australian people will be horrified that the Prime Minister is in India trading away our rights in an act of national betrayal.
“We call on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to clarify if Labor has done a deal with the Government to support this sell out to Adani”, he said.
Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, said, “The Prime Minister has promised a foreign billionaire and head of a shady industrial conglomerate that he will fix his ‘native title problem’ by changing the law in Australia. We have always maintained that the Government’s rushed changes to the Native Title Act were ‘Adani amendments’. Today the Prime Minister has made it plain that this is another special favour for Adani.
“What the major parties need to understand is that changing the Native Title Act to suit Adani won’t solve Adani’s problems with their dodgy land use deal. The matter is being litigated by W&J traditional owners in the Federal Court and does not rely on the McGlade decision. We are resolved to stop this project, and neither the Prime Minister or any other Adani sycophants will get in our way”, she said.
For more information and to arrange interviews:
Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.