Yesterday, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) launched a landmark legal case challenging Clive Palmer’s proposed coal mine in the Galilee Basin on human rights and climate grounds.
EDO is representing Youth Verdict, a coalition of diverse young Queenslanders from around the state.
Murrawah Johnson, spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council, says –
“It is extremely important that this Environmental Defenders case against Clive Palmer’s Waratah coal mine be run, and we support this action. This is a chance for the courts to step up where governments so often fail. Mines are imposed upon us and we are denied our right to say no.
“This is a test case for the new Human Rights Act in Queensland, bringing together climate change, human rights and Aboriginal culture and law. As First Nations people we are adversely affected by the local and the global impacts of coal mining. We are on the frontlines of extraction and experience, first hand, the destruction of the land we’ve been in for thousands of generations.
“Burning the coal mined from our land accelerates global heating and threatens our connection to Country. Massive coal projects in the Galilee Basin destroy our way of life and our cultural rights. When our moieties, our totems, our reference points in Country are destroyed, we can no longer be who we are as the people from that land.
“Our birthright is to enjoy and protect our homelands and live by our law. We cannot do that when our lands are systematically targeted for destruction by the policies of the government, which takes away our right to care for the land and pass on our culture. Our connection to our sacred water, the essence of our being and livelihoods in Country, is severed by coal extraction and climate change.
“We have distinct and unique rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous cultural rights are strongly supported by the Human Rights Act but are not well understood. Our culture is in the law of the land and is the expression of who we are as a First Nation. It is time the courts took that properly into account before approving vast coal mines that further dispossess us and deny us our rights.”
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