"Our people are the last line of legal defence against the Adani mine"

Adrian Burragubba & Murrawah Johnson

Indigenous traditional land owners fighting the proposed Adani coal mine, the largest in Australia and one of the largest in the world, have expressed profound disappointment at the passage of changes to the Native Title Act, stressing that while indigenous land rights have just been diminished they will continue to fight for their rights. Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, Adani’s problems with the Wangan and Jagalingou people are not solved this week. The trial to decide the fate of Adani’s supposed deal with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners is scheduled for the Federal Court in March 2018.


Our people are the last line of legal defence against this mine and its corrosive impact on our rights, and the destruction of country that would occur.

Senator Brandis [the Australian justice minister] has been disingenuous in prosecuting his argument for these changes to native title laws, while the hands of native title bureaucrats and the mining lobby are all over the outcome.

This swift overturning of a Federal Court decision, without adequate consultation with Indigenous people, was a significant move, not a mere technical consideration as the Turnbull Government has tried to make out.

It is appalling and false for George Brandis to pretend that by holding a ‘workshop’ with the CEOs of the native title service bodies, he has the unanimous agreement of Traditional Owners across Australia. No amount of claimed ‘beseeching’ by the head of the Native Title Council, Glen Kelly, can disguise this.

The public were not properly informed about the bill, and nor were Indigenous people around the country, who were not consulted and did not consent to these changes.

We draw the line today. We declare our right to our land. There is no surrender. There is no land use agreement. We are the people from that land. We’re the rightful Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou country, and we are in court to prove that others are usurping our rights”, he said.

Spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, says, Whatever else this change does, we know that the Turnbull Government went into overdrive for Adani’s interests.

Brandis’ intervention in our court case challenging the sham ILUA [Indigenous Land Use Agreement] was about Adani. Most of what Senator Matt Canavan had to say in arguing his ill-informed case for native title changes was about Adani. The Chairman of Senate Committee inquiring into the bill, Senator Ian McFarlane, referring to the native title amendments as the Adani bill” was about Adani. And the PM telling Chairman Gautam Adani that he’d fix native title was about Adani”.

We are continuing to fight Adani in court and our grounds are strong. If anyone tells you this is settled because the bill was passed, they are lying”, she said.

Adrian Burragubba says, The Labor Opposition seems to understand this, even though they supported passage of the bill. Senator Pat Dodson went so far as to say this bill does not provide some kind of green light for the Adani mine, as some suggest.

Pat Dodson acknowledged that W&J have several legal actions afoot against Adani and we are glad that in the midst of this dismal response to the rights of Indigenous people some MPs, including the Greens who voted against the bill, recognise the serious claim we have to justice.

Mr Dodson said in the Senate that most of this litigation will be entirely unaffected by the passage of this bill. In particular, there are very serious allegations of fraud that have been made against Adani regarding the processes under which agreements with the Wangan and Jagalingou people were purportedly reached. And those proceedings, which may impact on the validity of any ILUA, will only commence hearings in March next year. Other legal action is also underway, including a case challenging the validity of the licences issued by the Queensland government.”

This week researchers from the University of Queensland released a report titled ‘Unfinished Business: Adani, the state, and the Indigenous rights struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council‘.

For more information and to arrange interviews:  Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.


Previous coverage here on linksunten: https://linksunten.indymedia.org/search/apachesolr_search/adani




Who is Gautam Adani, the man behind Australia’s most controversial mine?



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Guarding the Galilee documentaryCommunities across the country are busy ramping up the pressure on our elected representatives to #StopAdani. Thousands of determined people are flooding MP offices with calls, letters and emails, meeting with MPs and rallying outside their offices.

And the pressure is working. We’ve already seen MPs from both major parties break ranks over this issue. Several Labor MPs have outright opposed Adani’s mega-polluting coal mine and two Liberal MPs have spoken out against a $1 billion loan for Adani.

We know local pressure works. If we can inform, inspire and fire up our family, friends and neighbours we can get elected representatives across the country taking a stand.
Will you host a screening of the #StopAdani documentary to get your community fired up?

When Premier Palaszczuk ruled out acting as a middleman to deliver the $1billion loan to Adani a couple of weeks ago we thought the loan might have been dead. But since then, we learned the Queensland Treasurer signed a deal with the Turnbull Government that could allow the money to pass directly from the federal government to Adani. 

We have to put an end to this dodgy deal once and for all.

It’s been incredible to see communities across the country unite to stop Adani from wrecking our climate and our magnificent reef. Now it’s time to turn it up a notch.

Guarding the Galilee is a 30-minute film about the massive movement to stop Adani’s coal mine. It’s a great way to bring the community together and get them fired up and ready to go locally.

Sign up to host a screening and activate your community on Adani now.

We are growing a powerful, united movement loud enough, large enough and strong enough to show our elected representatives Adani has no place in Australia’s future.


Basha Stasak
Healthy Ecosystems Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation

Adani's Abbot Point coal portMargaret Gleeson 

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Environmental approval for the expansion of Adani’s coal port at Abbot Point was ruled lawful in the Queensland Supreme Court on June 15.


Local group Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) had challenged the legality of the Queensland government’s decision to approve the controversial Abbot Point coal terminal expansion in Queensland’s Supreme Court on October 7.


The case questioned whether the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection had properly assessed the project, as required by law, before it approved the controversial billion dollar project that would sit in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. WRAD was represented by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO).


The terminal would be constructed between a turtle nesting beach and the nationally recognised Caley Valley wetlands. It would require the dredging of more than 1 million cubic metres of sea floor and see millions of tonnes of coal transported through the Great Barrier Reef.


WRAD argued that any expansion of the coal port will put the Great Barrier Reef in peril as it battles unprecedented consecutive coral bleaching events. 


Spokesperson for WRAD Sandra Williams said: “This court decision is a blow for our Reef but WRAD and the local Whitsunday community will not give up. We will keep up the fight to protect this natural wonder and the tourism jobs it supports, especially after shocking new surveys show that the Great Barrier Reef is under threat like never before from coral bleaching.


“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has found significant coral decline and habitat loss on the Reef over the past two years, as back-to-back bleaching events have hit the corals hard. An estimated 70% of shallow water corals have died on the Reef north of Port Douglas. If Adani opens up the Galilee Basin to coalmining, coral bleaching events will become more intense and devastating. 


“We have a critical window in which to act to protect our coral reefs. Instead the Queensland and Federal Governments are doing all they can to support Adani with free water, royalties reductions and pushing for a $1 billion taxpayer-funded loan to help get their dangerous project off the ground. Politicians should align themselves with the 70,000 workers who depend on the health of the Reef for their livelihoods and look to a future without polluting mining.


“The Labor Government, elected on a strong ‘Save the Reef’ platform, has failed miserably to do so. The best thing the Premier can do for the Reef now is to oppose the $1 billion loan that Adani is depending on to get its coalmine off the ground.


“The death of the Reef is heartbreaking, but I know there is not yet reason to give up hope. We know the community shares our vision of a healthy and thriving Reef that supports local tourism jobs and industries.”


The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said it was disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision, but vowed to fight on to stop Adani’s Reef-wrecking project.


AMCS Fight For Our Reef Campaign Director Imogen Zethoven said: “The Supreme Court decision is a setback, but Whitsunday residents and people from all walks of life will continue to fight to protect our World Heritage listed Reef from this extremely damaging project.


“There is still time to save the Reef from global warming but governments must act now to avoid any new coalmines, including Adani’s Carmichael mine.


“Adani has already admitted it breached its licence to pollute at Abbot Point. During Cyclone Debbie it released 800% more than its licence allowed. Adani has already demonstrated that it can’t be trusted to operate within Australian law.


“Adani has no social licence for the Carmichael coal mine, its taxpayer subsidised rail link project or Abbot Point. It’s time to move on to the future which is renewable energy.”


See also Government and Labor back mining interests over traditional owners