Today, Adani and the new QLD State government ducked the real issues when the Wangan and Jagalingou people, the Traditional Owners of Queensland’s Galilee Basin, announced that they had refused an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Indian conglomerate Adani, and the QLD Government, for the huge Carmichael coal mine – the biggest in Australian history.
Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “The project would destroy our ancestral lands, rip the heart out of our country and sever our ancient connection to it. The mine can now proceed only if the QLD Labor Government compulsorily acquires our lands and issues a mining lease, on the basis of legal action taken by Adani against us. ”
The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Representative Council today called on the Queensland Government, including the responsible Minister, Anthony Lynham, to rule out any compulsory acquisition, and reject Adani’s application for a mining lease.
At a Parliament House media conference, the group presented a “Declaration of Defence of Country” to Speaker of the QLD Parliament, Peter Wellington, who graciously received the document and undertook to convey it to his parliamentary colleagues.
“Unfortunately, this kind of respect was not shown to the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples by Adani or the QLD Government”, said Mr Burragubba.
Adani has tried to discredit the group and its spokesperson Adrian Burragubba, claiming he is not an authorised representative of the Wangan and Jagalingou people, and that negotiations over the Carmichael mine are still underway.
Mr. Burragubba said, “Let’s get this straight. I am the authorised spokesperson of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Representative Council. I am a member of the Native Title applicant group. Our Group rejected a Land Use Agreement with Adani on 4 October 2014 at a meeting the Native Title claim group convened to make a decision about the Indigenous Land Use Agreement. We said no to Adani. Adani knows this because they had their lawyers present. To claim otherwise is all spin and lies”.
“The Wangan and Jagalingou Council have now authorised me to speak on their behalf about our opposition to the mine. We have never consented to a mining lease or the surrender of our native title to Adani. We never will”, he said.
“Adani does not get to determine who speaks for us, we do.”
Mr. Burragubba also expressed disappointment in the new Mines Minister, Dr. Anthony Lynham. “When approached by the media regarding our call on him to rule out compulsory acquisition of our land and issuing a mining lease to Adani, he handballed the issue to his Department. It then released a statement about a Native Title matter involving the Bidjara group that has no relevance the lands slated for Carmichael”.
Mr Burragubba said, “Either he doesn’t know what his Department is doing or this is a smokescreen from the Minister. The fact is that the Bidjara bid covers a small area at the south of the Wangan and Jagalingou claim area. This does not include the land slated for the Carmichael mine. The Carmichael mine is on undisputed Wangan and Jagalingou land”.
“Will the Minister show us proper respect and acknowledge that Wangan and Jagalingou are the Traditional Owners of the area of the Carmichael mine and that he has a responsibility to address our concerns?”
“The previous LNP QLD Government and Adani tried to run roughshod over us. We expect better from this new government”, he said.
“Our door is always open. We’ll welcome Minister Lynham’s call.”
Annemarie Jonson 0428 278 880
Kate Dennehy 0419 432 624
Mick Gibb 0423 149 494
TRADITIONAL OWNERS & SPOKESPEOPLE:
Adrian Burragubba, 0428 949 115
Murrawah Johnson, 0439 919 891