Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council spokesman Adrian Burragubba (centre) hands over a declaration calling for the government to refuse the Adani's Carmichael Mine to independent Nicklin MP Peter Wellington. *Photo Pamela Frost
Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council spokesman Adrian Burragubba (centre) hands over a declaration calling for the government to refuse the Adani's Carmichael Mine to independent Nicklin MP Peter Wellington. *Photo Pamela Frost Pamela Frost

Calls to rule out compulsory land acquisition for mine

A STOUSH has erupted between Galilee Basin traditional owners and Adani after the Wangan and Jagalingou people refused to sign a land use agreement to allow the mining giant to build the Carmichael Mine but the mining company says the man behind the latest refusal does not represent the majority of the W&J group.

W&J Family Council spokesman Adrian Burragubba presented a declaration to the independent Nicklin MP Peter Wellington on Thursday, calling for the State Government to rule out compulsory acquisition of the land, which would allow the mine to go ahead.

Mr Burragubba said W&J people were the traditional owners of the land. "Adani wants to use our ancestral lands for a coal mine," he said.

"Aggressive mining like this will destroy our connection and our cultural heritage and our way of life. It will harm the delicate environment beyond repair, fracturing ties that we have with our sacred sites and our ancestors."

But an Adani spokesman said Mr Burragubba was not authorised to speak on behalf of W&J. He said there had been an unanimous decision from the authorised majority of W&J to not make a submission to the company's mining lease applications.

"Adani continues to negotiate with the W&J's authorised representatives towards terms acceptable to all parties," the spokesman said.

He also said Adani respected the W&J's cultural heritage and that the company had been working closely with the group since 2011 under an agreed cultural heritage management plan.

Mr Burragubba said he was insulted at claims he was not authorised to speak.

"It's an insult to me because they're undermining our decision-making process," he said. "And the decision has been made. No means no."

A W&J statement said the family representative group decided to object to Adani's application through the National Native Title Tribunal.

"At no time has the W&J people consented to a mining lease or the surrender of their native title to Adani Mining."

A spokeswoman from mines minister Anthony Lynham's office said the government had not been involved with any negotiations for an Indigenous Land Use Agreement between W&J and Adani but she said the W&J group was still to resolve a native title claim over the land between another Aboriginal group, the Bidjara people.

She said the government was not able to consent to W&J's native title claim, which was pending in the Federal Court, because it overlapped the same land, which was subject to another native title claim by the Bidjara people.

The spokeswoman said the government told W&J that their native title claim could not progress until it resolved the overlapped land issue with the Bidjara people.

Mr Wellington said he accepted the group's declaration as the independent Nicklin MP.

"There are 89 members of Parliament and I've been asked to receive this and convey this to our Premier. And I will certainly be doing that."

- APN NEWSDESK



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