Native title question over mine extension
By JUDITH KERR
21.10.13 Native title question over mine extension reprinted from Bayside Bulletin.
North Stradbroke Island s Enterprise sand mine will be allowed to continue operating until 2035 after Mines Minister Andrew Cripps moved to amend the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act on Thursday.
THE state government said this week’s proposed changes to the North Stradbroke Island Sustainability Act do not breach native title agreements with the indigenous Quandamooka People.
The amendments, put to parliament this week by Mines Minister Andrew Cripps, allow sand mining on the island after 2019 to 2035.
Mr Cripps said the amendments did not require the government to alter the Indigenous Land Use Agreements with the Quandamooka People and said the mining leases to be extended were not in national parks.
He said the legislation was to protect jobs and help the island switch from a sand mining-based economy to other industries and it was too early to phase out sand mining.
Quandamooka Yulluburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Cameron Costello, who said he was not consulted before the amendment was put to parliament, contested Mr Cripps’ claim the land use agreements did not have to be altered.
“We don’t believe that is true and the only way people can continue to use our land is by amending the land use agreements,” Mr Costello said.
Miner Sibelco welcomed the move and said it gave its operations certainty and the island time to build other industries.
Sibelco’s Paul Smith said the land use agreements did not have to be altered as the leases being extended were outside the land use agreements.
“The Bill is consistent with the native title Act and, we understand from the government, it does not breach the ILUA (land use agreements),” Mr Smith said.
“The Bill does not impact on areas subject to indigenous joint management and therefore also has no effect on the existing national park.”
Member for Cleveland Mark Robinson said the last election, where he won the three major booths on the island, gave the LNP government a mandate to continue mining on Straddie.
Australian Conservation Foundation claimed the Enterprise mine did not have federal approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and extending the mine’s life was detrimental to the environment and disrespectful of native title.
The foundation’s Jess Abrahams said the leases should not be extending while the Environment Department was investigating approval for the mine under the Act.
“The Quandamooka people must be properly consulted and given the opportunity to give or withhold their consent before this occurs,” he said.