New Adani na­tive ti­tle ap­peal

Com­pany vows to ‘vig­or­ously’ de­fend court chal­lenge

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - MICHELLE GATELY michelle.gately@cap­news.com.au

TRA­DI­TIONAL own­ers of land pro­posed as the site for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine have filed an ap­peal against a Fed­eral Court de­ci­sion on their na­tive ti­tle.

The State Gov­ern­ment this week con­firmed it would only act to re­move na­tive ti­tle for the Wan­gan and Ja­galin­gou land once the In­dian min­ing com­pany proved it had the fi­nance to com­plete the project.

Adani has pledged to “vig­or­ously” de­fend the ap­peal, say­ing the Fed­eral Court had al­ready found “ev­ery sub­stan­tive claim that was made by this mi­nor­ity group had ‘no merit’ what­so­ever”.

The Wan­gan and Ja­galin­gou peo­ple plan to op­pose last month’s de­ci­sion to up­hold the Adani Indige­nous Land Use Agree­ment (ILUA).

Tra­di­tional owner and W&J Coun­cil spokesman Adrian Burragubba said the com­mu­nity “will not abide by a rul­ing that says it’s le­gal to have our an­cient laws and cul­ture, and our en­dur­ing rights in our lands and wa­ters, merely voted away by a group of peo­ple who do not have the tra­di­tional au­thor­ity to sur­ren­der our na­tive ti­tle”.

“While-ever we have this court case run­ning in the higher courts, whether it takes many months or years, Adani has not achieved ‘con­clu­sive reg­is­tra­tion’ of its ILUA. The gov­ern­ment should refuse to act on it, and banks should refuse to fi­nance the project,” he said.

Adani has pre­vi­ously stated the ILUA was agreed in a fair and trans­par­ent process, com­pli­ant with the com­pany’s le­gal obli­ga­tions.

In 2016, the W&J peo­ple voted 294 to one in favour of the ILUA for the project.

The ILUA was signed by the State Gov­ern­ment, the W&J peo­ple, and Adani in De­cem­ber and reg­is­tered with the Na­tional Na­tive Ti­tle Tri­bunal.

Last week, Adani Min­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Lu­cas Dow told The Morn­ing Bul­letin he was con­fi­dent the project would go ahead.

The com­pany an­nounced it would cut about half the cost of the rail­way (pre­vi­ously $2.3 bil­lion) by build­ing a nar­row gauge track to con­nect the mine to Ab­bot Point Port us­ing Aur­i­zon’s rail network.

ADANI HAS NOT ACHIEVED ‘CON­CLU­SIVE REG­IS­TRA­TION’ OF ITS ILUA. ADRIAN BURRAGUBBA

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