Features, The Adani Saga

Adani banishes Traditional Owners from land

Pic: W&J Council pic no caption needed.

Fossil Fool Bulletin • 22 October 2019

In its latest act of harassment, Adani Mining was in the Queensland Supreme Court this week to get an order arming them with the ability to use police enforcement against members of the W&J Council if they return to their ceremonial ground.

The interim injunction specifically prevents First Nation land owners, Adrian Burragubba and Coedie McAvoy, from returning to the ceremonial site on the area where native title was recently extinguished by the Queensland Government for Adani. It would prevent all other W&J Family Council members from exercising their rights and practicing their culture on that land.

The Courier-Mail reported: “Adani successfully argued in court that Burragubba, McAvoy and other activists trespassed on the mine land 160km northwest of Clermont between August 30 and September 5 when they set up a small protest camp.

“Burragubba and his followers are alleged to have set up their protest camp around August 26, when the land was part of Adani’s pastoral lease.

“Adani claims their alleged trespassing began on August 30 after the state government converted the land to freehold title under Adani’s exclusive control.”

Doing Adani’s dirty work

Wangan & Jagalingou cultural leader, Adrian Burragubba, said: “Adani wants the state to do its dirty work after making us trespassers on our own country. This lame legal manoeuvre by Adani shows how perverse the situation has become.

“Adani is demanding we ask them for consent to access our cultural sites. They are using the courts to tell us not to interfere with Adani’s ‘ownership’ of our land, or interfere with or damage things on the land. The irony of this would be high farce if it were not so brutal in its intention. With the help of the state, Adani is continuing the colonisation of our land.

Colonial exploitation continues

“Our people have struggled since the 1860s to hold onto our lands and human rights, our culture and dignity, in the face of colonial exploitation and dispossession. Today we still refuse to give our consent to the taking and destruction of our country.

“There has never been free, prior informed consent for Adani’s destructive mine. As a First Nations people we’ve been subjected to legalised racial discrimination. The Native Title system does not allow us to say no to mining projects. It has usurped our rights and laws and customs. It has coerced our people into a mining land use agreement, which misrepresents what our people really want and hides the destruction the mine will have on our beautiful country and culture.

“Even when conducting ceremonies to make peace with our ancestor spirits and country in the face of Adani’s mining onslaught, we are confronted by Adani security who monitor our movements in and out of the area and threaten us with trespass. Adani wants to break our connection to our sites and ceremonial places.

“The Government has failed us in the first place. It is the state’s policy, lacking any real First Nations consultation and consent, to open up the Galilee Basin. The state have enabled and backed Adani. This Government is now being used by Adani to extinguish our property rights and cultural sovereignty, and guarantee Adani’s entitlement against us.

“Any act of enforcement is a form of coercion that will prove the lack of consent for this mine. It will defeat attempts at reconciliation and treaties with First Nations people,” Burragubba concluded.

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