Earlier this year 2010 mineral sand mining firm, UNIMIN, was charged by Qld Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) for selling building sand from the silica sand mining process on North Stradbroke Island off Brisbane. The sand was unlawfully extracted from this site near Cooroompah creek on the island (See map).
I understand that the offences Unimin is currently charged with are:
a) Contravention of the Environmental Protection Act 1994;
b) Contravention of the Forestry Act 1959
c) Contravention of the Integrated Planning Act 1997.
Under the Mineral Resources Act, the government has the power to cancel a lease for breaches of lease conditions. Will DERM recommend to government the cancellation of any mining leases on Nth Stradbroke Island?
Interview with a representative of the indigenous community on Stradbroke Island, Mr. Dale Ruska 20 July 2010
On Sunday, June 20, 2010 the Premier and Minister for the Arts, Anna Bligh, made a statement titled Mining ends on North Stradbroke Island.
Two important issues of fact arise out of the Premiers statement. They are:
1. Native Title
In her media statement the Premier states that ‘the Quandamooka People have a connection with North Stradbroke Island and they also hold native title rights’ yet after the longest outstanding native title claim no such rights have been granted?
2. Indigenous Land Use Agreement.
The premier further states ‘We have agreed in principle with the Quandamooka People to negotiate an Indigenous Land Use Agreement’.
Yet the indigenous representative, Mr. Dale Ruska in the recorded interview with me yesterday (20 July 2010) said that the ‘the original claimant group (on Stradbroke Island) has not had any informed discussion and has not given any informed consent regarding the Premier’s announcement and decision about National Parks’.
Mr. Ruska went on to say that ‘again it is similar the 1990s ILUA proposal where, if we do not accept what the state is offering through their negotiations proposals such as the national parks proposal the state is not willing to agree to a consent determination of native title.’
Having heard of the way in which the native title claim had been frustrated over the past 16 years I wrote the following letter to Mr. Graeme Neate, the President of the National Native Title Tribunal.
In the course of an interview yesterday with a representative of the indigenous community on Stradbroke Island, Mr. Dale Ruska, I became aware that the Quandamooka people were the third community in Australia to lodge a claim for native title under legislation introduced by the then Keating federal government.
I understand that native title claim was lodged by them in 1994. The Quandamooka people have claimed unbroken ties to the land long before and during British colonisation right up to the present day.
During the intervening period much of the land belonging to Nuigi, Nunuccal and Goenpul people of Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) has been despoiled by unlawful sand mining, four wheel driving and real estate development.
Given that their native title claim is now in the Federal Court and a deadline has been set, could you please explain:
1) the stalling of native title claim to deny the land rights of the original first nation people;
2) what efforts you will make to ensure that their claim will be treated fairly and in a timely manner;
3) what efforts you will make to ensure that the first owners land will not be handed back to them destroyed by ongoing unlawful sand mining and development?
I remember Oodgeroo Nunuccal telling a small group of students at Moongalba around 1972 about the importance of caring for and showing respect for the land, the plants and the creatures on it.
4) How can such a delay by the Native Title Tribunal in processing their just claim not be seen as an attempt to protect unlawful mining interests;
Given the Qld State Premier’s recent declaration that much of Stradbroke will become a national park (without having any informed consultation with the Quandamooka people and withholding the environmental levy monies), the recent doubling of sales value of rutile minerals like zircon on world markets, and the continued collection by federal government of mining royalties:
5) what do you say to the charge that you are co-operating with state government attempts to ignore native title and to protect the state’s own plans for the economic development of the island?
If you wish to claim that it is a matter for the courts or desire to pass me on to some other government agency,
6) could you please explain why the Native Title Tribunal does not take some responsibility for the injustice to the Quandamooka people of the past 16 years since it received their native title claim?
Given the cost of ongoing delays, could you please give these questions your urgent attention.
07 3398 5215
21 July 2010
Urgent community notice: Stop Unimin from destroying Stradbroke Island
Dale Ruska addresses rally at Magistrates Court
Mining ends on North Stradbroke Island — statement by Premier and Minister for the Arts, Anna Bligh, Sunday, June 20, 2010