“This issue is deeper than sand-mining on Stradbroke Island”, Aboriginal community leader Dale Ruska told a group of protesters outside the Magistrates' Court on September 7.
“It's also about justice for Aboriginal people. This mining company has stolen more than $80 million in illegal sand, and will probably be given a modest fine.
“Meanwhile, Aboriginal people are being jailed for minor offences. We need justice for Indigenous people now.”
The rally for equal justice was called by environmental and Indigenous groups to support a court case in which mining company UNIMIN was facing charges of unlawfully taking and selling sand for more than a decade from Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay.
“The state government allowed this to occur, collecting royalty payments from the illegal sand sales”, an August 31 statement by rally organisers.
“There needs to be a fully legal inquiry, investigating the state government and the mining company's unlawful operations. Is there one scale of justice for society and another for wealthy mining companies and governments?”
The maximum the company could be fined is $800,000 — about 1% of the value of the stolen sand.