Plan to extinguish native title and give freehold to Adani

December 3, 2015
The Queensland Coordinator General plans to extinguish native title over parts of the proposed Carmichael mining site in the Gal

On November 27 the ABC published documents showing that the Queensland Coordinator General plans to extinguish native title over parts of the proposed Carmichael mining site in the Galilee basin and give the freehold to Adani.

The document said: "The Moray Downs Land acquisition includes the takeover of native title rights and interests of the Wangan and Jagalingou people to allow for the leasehold land to be converted to freehold.

"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 proposal goes ahead, 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.

The acquisition would permit Adani to begin building infrastructure, such as an airport, power station and accommodation, in spite of the likelihood that the project will be a stranded asset unable to secure necessary financial backing and having grossly overstated the benefit to Queensland in terms of jobs and royalties.

There have been a number of legal challenges to the Adani project and three decisions are still to be handed down, including the Australian Conservation Foundation's challenge in the Federal Court to the environment minister's recent re-approval of Adani's mining application. Another is the application by Adrian Burragubba from the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners' Council, to quash the April ruling by the Native Title Tribunal, which had given the green light to the Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin.

The project is patently unviable from financial, social and economic perspectives. If it proceeds, it would have a huge impact on climate change.

The Australia Institute's report Carmichael in Context said: “If the Carmichael project proceeds, its output of carbon-equivalent will neutralise many of the gains made through the effort of the international community to prevent dangerous global warming. Specifically, the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the operating of Carmichael and the burning of its coal product will entirely offset Australia's carbon reduction goals.”

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