Decision reserved on Wangan and Jagalingou Adani appeal

The Wangan and Jagalingou people are concerned that a flawed land use agreement with Adani will extinguish their right to their land.

The Federal Court reserved its decision on May 28 and adjourned so parties can consider a complex administrative issue that could mean that an appeal by Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council (W&J) against Adani could be thrown out.

The Full Court of the Federal Court came across the potential problem on the second day of the appeal hearing. It relates to a decision of a court registrar, not heard at the original trial, which threw out objections to Adani’s Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA). The agreement, which Adani requires to develop the mine, extinguished the group's land rights.

They have appealed that decision, with their barrister Stephen Keim SC this week providing examples of what he said were lax processes in identifying a group of unregistered people who turned up to meetings.

Outside the court, the traditional owners said they feared their land in central Queensland could be handed over to the mining giant before their court battle was over, following fallout from the May 18 federal election.

Murrawah Johnson, a spokeswoman for W&J, said the group believed the ILUA process was flawed.

Outside the court Johnson said: “We are deeply concerned by our experience of misconduct, corruption of process, and stacking of a meeting to obtain a contract that signs away our rights to the land without our free prior and informed consent.

“All along, the native title system has been allowed to play to sectional interests within the Aboriginal community.

“Only those who put their hands up to mining deals are favoured and promoted but when we say no to the opening up of the Galilee Basin, our traditional country, we are obstructed at every turn.”

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.