[Editor’s note: story in Koori mail 18 june 2014, including an editorial on QYAC High Court Challenge.]
GOOD on the Quandamookapeople for standing up to the bully-boy tactics of the Queensland Newman Government. Having had a signed and registered agreement to phase out sandmining on North Stradbroke Island, the Quandamooka people have been forced into the High Court to defend their rights. No wonder their Elders are devastated. A deal is a deal – and a decent government would have the integrity to honour an agreement even if it didnʼt like it.
While the Premier told the Koori Mail in an email that the mining company did not receive special treatment, documents would appear to make a liar of the man. His Mines Minister – after outlining the commercial reasons that the mining company wanted the legislation passed quick smart – asked Mr Newman to “relax the requirement” for a 20-day waiting period between preparing and introducing legislation. And the Premier signed off on it. “Relaxing” a requirement sure looks like special treatment. Especially to a company that spent tens of thousands of dollars campaigning in Mr Newmanʼs electorate. All native title holders will be watching developments with interest – if a state government can ride roughshod over a registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement, then what is the point of having them?
As Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Cameron Costello said, it is “totally unacceptable” for the Queensland Government to go back on a deal with Aboriginal people. “Itʼs been gut-wrenching for our Elders. Itʼs extremely disappointing and draining,” he said. “Instead of enjoying the fruits of the ILUA – which really is compensation for what has happened to our people – instead of setting up the foundations for a non- mining economy, all this time and energy is being used dealing with the state trying to get them to honour a deal that was already done.” Best of luck to the Quandamooka people defending their rights. And best of luck, too, to the NSW Police Integrity Commission and others involved in prosecuting the police officers involved in a brutal assault on a young Aboriginal man in 2011 in Ballina, northern NSW. Too many times we have seen police brutality covered up and officers get away with assaulting Aboriginal men and women. Hopefully this time justice will actually be done … see pdf’s below: