Indigenous people have launched their own separate fight against Adani Group, the major investor in the controversial Carmichael Mine located in the Galilee Basin in Queensland.
Adrian Burragubba started a fundraising campaign to finance a court battle against the Indian mining giant. He represents the Wangan and Jagalingou (W & J) Traditional Owners Council for the Wangan and Jagalingou people but they need more funds to be able to push through with the legal battle.
W&J people lodged a native title claim over most of the Galilee Basin in 2004 covering an area of around 30,000 sq km of central Queensland. Burragubba said the Carmichael mine would destroy their ancestral lands and cultural heritage, but the approval of dredging and dumping into the World Heritage Area have been approved by the state government and the authority overseeing the project.
“When we rejected Indian mining company Adani’s offer to exploit our land, they took aggressive legal action to overrule our rights just six days later. Now we have to fight to protect our land in court,” Burragubba said.
The indigenous leader claimed Adani misrepresented and betrayed indigenous people when they took action to “remove their rights through a legal system designed to favour big mining over the rights of Indigenous peoples.”
His group intends to appeal to the National Native Title Tribunal’s decision to allow the Queensland Government to issue mining leases to Adani, despite their refusal to enter an agreement with the company.
The Tribunal has recognised the indigenous group had not consented to the mine, but still overruled their internationally recognised rights in favour of Adani.
Burragubba said the Tribunal has sanctioned the destruction of ancestral lands and cultural heritage on the grounds that mining is in the ‘public interest’.
If enough funds are raised, they will contest the idea that building one of the world’s largest coal mines is good for the people and the country.
Our right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent is being trampled.We have to fight back, but we can only do it with the help of our supporters.
The Burragubba group is one among the many activists and environmental groups which oppose the Carmichael Mine. The United Nations have warned the project would cause irreparable damaged to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site.