Queensland’s Labor government has secretly extinguished Wangan and Jagalingou native title rights over the Galilee Basin in its latest act of fawning support for Indian mining giant Adani.
The Wangan and Jagalingou people have repeatedly refused to give consent to Adani for its proposed coal mine in the region.
The extinguishment of native title happened some time ago but was only revealed on August 30.
Wangan and Jagalingou representatives were in a meeting with state government officials when they found out that Adani had been granted “exclusive possession freehold title over large swathes of their lands, including the area currently occupied for ceremonial purposes,” according to an August 31 media statement.
Wangan and Jagalingou cultural leader Adrian Burragubba said: “We have been made trespassers on our own Country.
“Our ceremonial grounds, in place for a time of mourning for our lands as Adani begins its destructive processes, are now controlled by billionaire miner Adani…
“This government and mining corporation, working hand in hand, had already sealed the deal in secret. They are criminalising our cultural laws and practice.
“It is now so perverse, that in a threatening letter from Adani Mining to our Council, denying our common law native title right to access our land, we are told we need Adani’s ‘prior consent’ to be on our own Country.
“The mining state of Queensland and its corporate vanguard, Adani, have never had our free prior consent to occupy our lands, or determine that a coal mine will be allowed to destroy them. Adani are the trespassers…
“We will never consent to these decisions and will maintain our defence of country. We will be on our homelands to care for our lands and waters, hold ceremonies and uphold the ancient, abiding law of the land.
“We will hold this government to account. Premier [Annastacia] Palaszczuk must understand how egregious and harmful her government’s actions are, and how they have enabled an abuse of power by Adani.”
Stop Adani Brisbane’s Moira Williams told Green Left Weekly that it is “incredibly disappointing that the government seems to have sided with a big billionaire coal company and not with Traditional Owners who are fighting for the right to their land”.
However, she added, this did not mean the fight was over “for the millions of Australian who want to stop this project.”
Socialist Alliance activist in Brisbane Kamala Emanuel told GLW it was an “outrage” that the government had sided with “a corporate lawbreaker and climate vandal” against Traditional Owners. “The sores are still open and here is the government inflicting another wound.”
[For more information on how you can support or donate to the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council visit wanganjagalingou.com.au.]