Stradbroke Mining Bill passed on National Sorry Day
Editor’s Note: Word is just in that the Newman government legislation extending sand-mining on Straddie has been repealed.
Hopefully this will restore some justice for Quandamooka traditional owners and reinstatement of 2019 end-date for mining. Quandamooka struggle for sovereignty continues.
Below is Hon Leeanne Enoch’s speech in support of the Government Bill: North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and other Acts Amendment Bill 2015 as recorded in Hansard 25.5.16
27 May 2016
Hon. LM ENOCH (Algester—ALP)(Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business) (8.41 pm): I rise to contribute to the debate on the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015. As I have previously advised the House, I am a Quandamooka woman and recognised traditional owner of the Quandamooka lands and seas and a member of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation.
Whilst I have no direct pecuniary interest to declare in accordance with standing order 260, I do wish to record my interest as a Quandamooka woman so as to avoid any perceived conflict of interest about decisions made by the House which may affect members of my family. I have previously sought advice on this issue from the Integrity Commissioner. I table a copy of the commissioner’s letter of reply.
Tabled paper: Letter, dated 4 January 2016, from Mr Richard Bingham, Queensland Integrity Commissioner, to the Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, Hon. Leeanne Enoch, regarding potential conflicts of interest.
I confirm that I have also sought advice through the office of the Clerk of the Parliament about my position as a member of this House when matters relating to North Stradbroke Island are debated. I seek leave to speak in the language of Quandamooka people.
Minister Enoch then addressed the House in the traditional language of the Quandamooka people.
Ms ENOCH: To translate, ‘Hello. I am a saltwater goori from North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island. I acknowledge our ancestors present and past and also the Yuggera and Turrbal people and their country.
Quandamooka is my home and also my ancestors’ from long ago. Gooris from Quandamooka are strong people. Our country is also strong. So let us all welcome the good spirits here where we talk, think and understand.’
This is the first time that I am speaking publicly on this matter. I can declare to the House that I have removed myself from cabinet whenever this matter has been brought forward. I have remained neutral with my own family whom I recognise are in the gallery tonight. I have remained neutral because I am a Quandamooka woman.
I stand as a Quandamooka woman with more than 3,000 generations before me. I love my family very much. I recognise that they have varying views on this, but, at the same time, we are one family. We are the Quandamooka people. We stand here with more than 3,000 generations that have gone before us.
On 4 July this year the Quandamooka people will mark the fifth anniversary of our native title determination. I remember that day in 2011. It was an historic day.
There were tears. There was great excitement. Many of my family, some of whom are here—Aunty Joan and Uncle Bob—never dreamed that they would see the day when the rights of the Quandamooka people would be returned to them.
I was so grateful that my father got to see that day before he passed away. It took 16 years to reach that historic moment. Many of my family gave everything they had—their health, their wealth—to keep that fight alive.
There is a reason the Quandamooka people fought so hard for our determination—why Aboriginal people fight for determinations. That is because we are here with 3,000 generations deep of our family. I am 3,000 generations deep in Quandamooka land.
That is where my family have been for all that time. That is why we fight for this. That is why we fought for our native title determination. There are responsibilities that we hold and have carried through thousands of generations to ensure that our country, the place where our ancestors have been connected and we are connected, we connect to and we take care of.
In 2013 the LNP government, led by the Newman-Nicholls team, legislated against the native title rights of the Quandamooka people. They stripped that from us. They prevented traditional owners from having a say. In fact the LNP government had met more times with the mining company than the actual traditional owners.
As I understand it, the committee report at the time admitted that the government had not consulted with the Quandamooka people on the legislation that breached the Queensland Legislative Standards Act 1992. Without consent, the LNP changed a range of measures that had previously been agreed on by the Quandamooka people who were standing there 2,000 generations deep.
What we have seen since is the LNP actively working to turn families against families. It has been absolutely heartbreaking to hear elders in tears because they have not spoken to their own sister or brother over this matter. We have had the member for Cleveland around kitchen tables with elders turning them against their own families.
Dr ROBINSON: I rise to a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I find those comments offensive and I ask that they be withdrawn.
Ms ENOCH: I withdraw. It is not the place of politicians or corporations to get in the middle of families and to turn kinship structures inside out to benefit their own political agenda. That is not the place of politicians.
My father worked in that sand mine as a young man. He would say that it was the right kind of economy for that time. Many of my family members have benefitted from the economy that it generated. My father always knew that it was a temporary industry because of the impact on the island. In the final years of his life he reflected on the question of what next for his beloved island home.
Much of the mining lease, for instance, covers traditional places of great cultural significance, places that traditional owners, my family, representing thousands of generations, do not have access to, cannot teach children about, cannot pass on to the next generation. That is why it is important to understand that it is time for a new economy for North Stradbroke Island.
That is why the transition plan in particular is one of the most generous that we have ever seen from the Queensland government, one that will make a difference in terms of what kind of economy will go forward but at the same time allow traditional owners the right to fulfil their own responsibilities that they have carried for thousands of generations. It provides that opportunity so that Quandamooka people, who five years ago celebrated that historic win in our native title determination, with the passing of the government’s bill, will once again have ownership, that we will once again be treated respectfully and have our say over our own country.
I pay tribute to all of my family, elders, cousins, brothers and sisters who have fought so hard for this and who have continued the fight to remain respected and to ensure that future generations will be able to partake in the culture that we have been holding so close for thousands of generations. I am very proud to be part of a government that puts the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the place that it should be—in a respectful place, respecting the fact that we have lived here for more than 3,000 generations. I commend the government’s bill to the House.
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles
Bill to phase out sand mining on North Stradbroke passed in Parliament
Sand mining on North Stradbroke Island is to substantially cease by 2019, with the Queensland Parliament voting in favour of the phase-out to allow the creation of new, sustainable jobs.
The North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015 to end sand mining was passed in the Queensland Parliament early today (Thursday).
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said it was a good result for the environment and would ultimately open up new and exciting opportunities for the island community, leading to positive economic outcomes.
“Today marks the start of a new chapter for North Stradbroke Island,” Dr Miles said.
“The debate is over. Sand mining was always going to end on North Stradbroke Island.
“The community, the business sector, traditional owners and new investors, supported by the Palaszczuk Government, can now move forward to transition North Stradbroke Island away from sand mining to new exciting, sustainable jobs of the future.
“Straddie, as we all know it, has the potential to be one of the state’s greatest tourism assets, so it was important we opened up the island to all Queenslanders.
“It is a place of incredible conservation value and special habitats including mangroves, wetlands, endangered heathlands, old growth forests, freshwater lakes and woodlands.
“These habitats are home to threatened animal and plant species including orchids, as well as a genetically distinct population of the koala.
“We widely consulted on the draft Bill and are pleased to have achieved support to protect the environment and unlock positive economic change for the island,’ he said.
Dr Miles said the Queensland Government continued to engage in positive discussions with the Quandamooka people, traditional owners of North Stradbroke Island, about future use of their native title land.
“The passage of the Bill is a great boost for the Quandamooka people’s vision for the future of the island as Australia’s most sustainable island community and as a global ecotourism destination,’ he said.
Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) Chief Executive Officer Cameron Costello, said the Bill represented restoration of justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“To have the voice of Indigenous communities restored on National Sorry Day is very significant,” Mr Costello said.
“The passing of the Bill sends a clear message to the nation that native title agreements are to be respected and honoured.
“The current Queensland Government has restored integrity and faith in the native title system, and in our view honoured the legacy of Eddie Mabo.
“Our vision is for Minjerribah to be a global eco-cultural tourism destination, and we now look forward to getting on with business,’ he said.
North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other 2080 Acts Amendment Bill; North Stradbroke Island Protection and 25 May 2016 Sustainability (Renewal of Mining Leases) Amendment Bill