‘Bucket loads of extinguishment’ of Native Title to assist Adani Mine

"I wonder how he (Barry Broe) kept his job" 
                   - sacked public servant.

Here are some key points (some missed, some not) in the article by the ABC (below) :

  • When Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating introduced the Native Title Act many aboriginal leaders predicted ‘bucket loads of extinguishment’ of Land Rights for Aboriginal people.
  • Same State co-coordinator General Director General, Barry Broe, as the one that approved expansion of New Hope mine  at Ackland on the Darling Downs! [Pls Note: “A document from the Queensland coordinator-general’s office”].
  • Barry Broe is one of few executive heads that survived the purge by the Qld Labor Government of DGs appointed by Campbell Newman LNP government.
  • Adani cannot start mine construction until it obtains freehold and native title is extinguished.
  • The company wants to start building an airport, power station and accommodation.
  • Document reveals proposal to extinguish native title over a section of Adani site.
  •  Native Title Claimants ‘failed’  bureaucratic detail test – did not put in an objection to native title extinguishment (sic).

Ian Curr
November, 2015


Photo: Documents reveal that a land acquisition application was prepared in a bid to help Adani. (ABC News)

Carmichael coal mine: Coordinator-general proposes extinguishing native title over key mine property

Queensland’s coordinator-general is proposing to extinguish native title over a leasehold property held by the Indian mining giant Adani, which would allow the company to begin building infrastructure for its $16 billion Carmichael coal mine.

Adani bought the pastoral lease for Moray Downs in 2012. But the company now wants part of the property converted to freehold so it can build an airport, power station and accommodation for its mine in central Queensland.

Moray Downs is at the northern end of the mine site and the company cannot proceed with construction until it gains freehold title and has any native title rights over the area extinguished.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Indigenous people have claimed native title over an area that includes Moray Downs, but the Federal Court is still to determine whether to uphold that claim.

adani-mineAdani has been negotiating with the Wangan and Jagalingou people for three years over a proposed Indigenous Land Use Agreement in an effort to have native title over Moray Downs removed, but no agreement has been reached.

A document from the Queensland coordinator-general’s office, obtained by the ABC, reveals that a land acquisition application has been prepared to take part of the Moray Downs property in a bid to help Adani.

The document states:

“The Moray Downs Land acquisition includes the take of native title rights and interests of the Wangan and Jagalingou People to allow for the leasehold land to be converted to freehold.

“No objection to the acquisition of the native title rights and interests was received.

“When the acquisition of land at Moray Downs was proposed in July 2015, the approach was for the coordinator-general to acquire the land, agree an interim licence with Adani, then within a period of around two months, have the freehold land transferred to Adani.”

If the acquisition goes ahead, native title claimants would be free to claim compensation.

The Queensland coordinator-general has the authority to plan and deliver large-scale infrastructure projects, and has the power under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act to compulsorily acquire land and native title rights.

The current coordinator-general, Barry Broe, works under the State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham.
‘Controversial’ native title plan could be a first

The coordinator-general has extinguished native title in the past, including for the Townsville State Development Area and the Tarong Power station.

If the proposal goes ahead, it is believed that it would be the first time native title has been extinguished against the wishes of traditional owners for the sake of a private sector infrastructure project.

“It’s only ever used by the Government for very large projects for obvious reasons, because it’s a fairly draconian power,” Professor Jonathan Fulcher of the University of Queensland Centre for International Minerals and Energy Law said.

“The controversy here is the exercise of that power without consent, and that is a controversial thing to do, particularly in relation to native title land.”

Adrian Burragubba, from the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners’ Council, is challenging Adani’s Carmichael mine in the Federal Court.

Last December he received a “notice of intention to resume native title rights and interests” letter from the coordinator-general’s office.

It offered Mr Burragubba, as a registered native title claimant, the right to object to the proposal.

“Unfortunately under the native title regime there are time constraints and we were pushed to the limits,” Mr Burragubba said.

“We’ve said no. We’ll end up with nothing at the end of it. The Government will come and compulsorily take our land.”

The office of the minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham, has been contacted for comment.

defenders adani

By the ABC National Reporting Team’s Mark Willacy and Angela Lavoipierre

Related Story: Adani boss oversaw mine at centre of African pollution disaster

6 thoughts on “‘Bucket loads of extinguishment’ of Native Title to assist Adani Mine

  1. ‘Not here, not now, not this time’ ... says:


    ‘Not here, not now, not this time’ say Traditional Owners

    Adrian Burragubba, senior spokesperson of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council, has strongly condemned plans by Queensland’s Coordinator General Barry Broe, under the imprimatur of Minister for Mines Anthony Lynham, to extinguish native title on parts of the W&J’s traditional lands in the Galilee Basin in order to enable Indian giant Adani to develop infrastructure for its $16.5bn Carmichael coal mine, the biggest in Australian history.

    The plans were revealed in documents obtained by the ABC.

    Mr Burragubba said, “It is beyond comprehension that the Government would consider such a shameful and absurd proposal in an era when our rights are sanctioned under international law; and when we are already in the Federal Court contesting the State Government and Adani’s attempts to override our rights.”

    “Premier Palaszczuk needs to rule out this outrageous proposal immediately”, Mr Burragubba said. “I assure the Premier she will be bringing on one of the biggest human rights battles we’ve seen in Queensland in a long time. If destroying our rights and handing our lands to a foreign mining company is on her agenda, she better think again.”

    Mr Burragubba vowed to fight any proposal to extinguish native title on the W&J people’s land by force. “This proposal won’t stand,” he said. “Not here, not now, not this time. We will fight this all the way to the High Court if need be”.

    “We do not consent to Carmichael mine, and we never will. We have twice rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani. This week, we took on Adani and the Queensland Government in the Federal Court, and our case resumes in February.

    “It would be pre-empting the outcome of those proceedings for the Government to attempt to compulsorily acquire our native title. The Government should face up to the justice system and argue its case properly; and not resort to a forcible takeover of our lands so they can be destroyed by a coal mining company.

    “It would be a shocking precedent for a government in Australia to extinguish title over land against the express opposition of traditional owners, and to hand that land to a private business interest – in this case a massive foreign miner with a disgraceful record of destroying environments and disrupting traditional communities overseas.

    “These revelations that our rights in land could be stolen away from us by Minister Lynham and the Queensland Government are an ugly new low in violating the rights of Indigenous peoples of this country.

    “The Government must also clarify the information in the Coordinator General’s document that we did not object to compulsory acquisition. Our rejection of the ILUA and the Federal Court challenge are our clear, unambiguous and final signal to Adani and its backers in the Queensland government, like Mines Minister Lynham, that we vehemently object to the taking of our land and the destruction of our culture and heritage without our consent.

    “Adani’s disastrous mega-mine threatens to devastate my people’s lands and waters. It will annihilate the ancient, spiritual connection to Country that makes us who we are. Its scale and impacts mean our Country would literally disappear.

    “We will fight this mine until we secure our rights to self-determination in and on our land. We will pursue our rights through the Courts. And we will continue the work we are doing through United Nations to stop this mine and assert our rights.

    “My people’s future is in self-determination without dependency on mining. Let us be clear again: when we refuse our consent, No Means No.”


    For further comment – Adrian Burragubba – 0428 949 115
    For background – Anthony Esposito – 0418 152 743

  2. Qld state co-ordinator general has form ... says:

    [PN: The Queensland government’s extinguishment of native title held by Wangan & Jagalingou people exhibits a higher level of injustice and the exercise of a draconian power beyond the already accumulated theft of land.]

    Question: Is the extinguishment of Wangan & Jagalingou Native Title in order to approve the Adani coal mine the first since the Native Title Act was introduced in 1993?

    [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/235549503" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

    I think the term “extinguish” is used in different ways . One where a court hearing a native title claim finds that the grant of land made by the crown is inconsistent with native title rights existing over that land. The other, as in this case, is when a government grants rights over land when there is a native title claim still pending or even when the claim has been determined in favour of the aboriginal claimants and the grant effectively defeats the native title claim perhaps converting it into a claim for money compensation.

    The coordinator-general has extinguished native title in the past, including for the Townsville State Development Area and the Tarong Power station.

    If the proposal goes ahead, it is believed that it would be the first time native title has been extinguished against the wishes of traditional owners for the sake of a private sector infrastructure project.

    “It’s only ever used by the Government for very large projects for obvious reasons, because it’s a fairly draconian power,” Professor Jonathan Fulcher of the University of Queensland Centre for International Minerals and Energy Law said.

    “The controversy here is the exercise of that power without consent, and that is a controversial thing to do, particularly in relation to native title land.”


  3. Courts use a bigger bucket ... says:

    The biggest case of extinguishment of Native Title in Australian History was State of Western Australia v Ward [2000] FCA 191

    The determination was made on 24 November 1998 by Justice Lee in favour of the Miriuwung and Gajerrong people however there was a savage twist in tail. The court extinguished native title over the Ord River and the Argyle mine.

    The claim covered an area of land and waters in the north-east of Western Australia, known as the East Kimberley District, and adjoining land in the Northern Territory. The total claim area was approximately 7,900 square kilometres and included part of the township of Kununurra, Lake Argyle and Lake Kununurra, part of the Ord River irrigation area and the Argyle Diamond Mine. The claim area also included some vacant Crown land and Crown land that had been leased or reserved for various purposes, including for conservation, preservation of Aboriginal art, mining and the Keep River National Park. At one time or another a great deal of the claim area has been the subject of pastoral leases.

    However there was an important exception.

    “For the general reasons we have given in respect of the extinguishment issues that arise in relation to the Ord Project, we are of the opinion that in respect of the area covered by the Argyle Diamond Project also, all native title has been extinguished. “

    Answer: So, even though the judges found in favour of the traditional owners they did extinguish native title in respect of big infrastructure and big mining.

    Ian Curr

  4. 'State & Federal government's are acting unlawfully' - Adrian Burragubba ... says:

    Adrian Burragubba speaks to Louise (4ZZZ) about the extinguishment of native title on country of Wagan & Jingalou people and about their challenge in the Federal Court. Adrian discusses the international repercussions if Adani Mine goes ahead.
    [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/235549503" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

  5. Sign the petition ... says:

    Stop Adani destroying our land and our culture.

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  6. Australian Conservation Council ... says:

    Just moments ago, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt made a decision that will have a huge impact on life on Earth.

    He approved Adani’s giant Carmichael Coal Mine – a move that blows apart global efforts to cut pollution and threatens life locally and globally.

    It’s reckless and irresponsible and shows a blatant disregard for the community.

    But most of all it’s senseless to prop up a dirty, dying industry while the rest of Australia and the world races to a bright future powered by clean energy.

    We’ll be doing everything we can to stop this mine and hold the government to account. And we’ll be bringing people together for the biggest rally the world has ever seen ahead of November’s global climate meeting. Will you stand with us?

    If you’re already coming, tell your friends and family. We’re stronger when we stand together!

    Where our federal government is failing, Australian states, cities and towns are embracing industries that support life, not destroy it.

    South Australia and the ACT are leading the country on clean energy. Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide are racing to cut pollution.

    Even regional towns like Lismore are racing ahead with a goal of 100 percent clean energy in 10 years.

    Poll after poll shows Australians want clean air and water, a healthy Reef and a future powered by sun, wind and waves.

    And countries around the world, from China, to the Netherlands to the USA all the way to Costa Rica are taking great leaps to leave the dirty energy of the past behind and embrace the clean energy of the future.

    Minister Hunt should never have approved this mine. It’s clear our environment laws are not strong enough to protect our air, water and wildlife from big polluters.

    If it goes ahead, this one mine will add more pollution to global warming than the whole of New Zealand, drain billions of litres of precious groundwater, irreversibly damage our Reef and drive threatened wildlife like the Southern Black-throated Finch further towards extinction.

    Don’t be disheartened. We can stop this. Community power is achieving incredible things.

    Minister Hunt’s decision is so outrageous it will only drive more public support for cutting pollution and building a new generation of environment laws that properly protect our air, water, wildlife and the places we love.

    Soon we’ll power all of our cities and homes with 100 percent clean energy from the sun, wind and waves. Strong laws will protect life, our air will be cleaner and we’ll restore land and water damaged by old mines.

    We’ll scrutinise this approval and do everything we can to make sure this disastrous mine is never built. We’ll dance, sing and march in the streets to call for cuts to pollution. And we’ll escalate our campaign for a new generation of environment laws.

    When our government fails in its duty of care, it’s up to all of us to hold them to account. Together, let’s create the kind of world that embraces life, not destroys it.

    We are marching because we know we can change the world when we work together. We want our politicians to listen to our communities and help us build a brighter and fairer future for all. Will you stand with us?

    By Geoff Cousins | October 23, 2015

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