Adrian Burragubba, spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners's council outside the Brisbane Federal Court Monday. Photo: Geoff Egan / APN NEWSDESK
Adrian Burragubba, spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners's council outside the Brisbane Federal Court Monday. Photo: Geoff Egan / APN NEWSDESK

Elder appeals High Court decision in favour of Adani

IT'S a case of two steps forward, one step backwards in the saga of court claims against Adani Carmichael.

Last week, the mining giant won two of the court claims against them - an Australian Conservation Foundation application to overturn the government's approval of the Adani-owned mine and Adrian Burragubba's claim against Adani's Carmichael coal mine.

Mr Burragubba, senior traditional owner, ran the legal action on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou people of central Queensland against Adani and the State of Queensland.

One week later and Mr Burragubba has announced he has filed an appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia, challenging the decision of Justice John Reeves in relation to the Queensland Government's issuing of mining leases for Adani's Carmichael coal mine.

A spokesperson for Adani said today's announcement of yet another attempt to delay this project was consistent with activist-driven challenges that were part of a known minority campaign to extend the Federal and State approvals processes in court by years, not days.

"These activist continue to ignore very clear determinations from the Federal Court on these matters even in the past three weeks," the spokesperson said.

"These noisy, minority challenges fly in the face of the strong support the company's projects have from local communities in North and Central Queensland, the tireless work with landholders, and the years of work with local councils, business and resident groups who are keen to realise the benefits of these job-creating projects.

"The recent appeal to the full bench of the Federal court ignores the fact that the Wangan and Jagalingou have this year authorised an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani by a vote of 294-1."

Mr Burragubba said 'no means no' and so we will continue to resist this damaging coal mine that will tear the heart out of our country.

"The stakes are huge. In the spirit of our ancestors, we will continue to fight for justice until the project falls over," Mr Burragubba said.

"The decision of the Native Title Tribunal in April 2015 to allow the issuing of the mining leases by the Queensland government took away our right to free, prior and informed consent. It effectively allowed the government to override the decision that we made nearly two years ago to reject Adani's 'deal'," Mr Burragubba said.

The appeal, being run by Sydney Senior Counsel Craig James Leggatt SC and other barristers working pro bono, will make two arguments: that the matters Mr Burragubba put before the National Native Title Tribunal should have been taken into account by the Tribunal member when granting the Future Act mining rights to Adani and that Justice Reeves should have found that Adani was misleading before the Tribunal.

The appeal will proceed alongside a challenge brought by Mr Burragubba and other W&J Traditional Owners in the Qld Supreme Court against the mining leases that have been issued by Queensland Minister for Mines, the Hon Dr Andrew Lynham and the Queensland government for the Carmichael mine. That case will be heard by the Qld Supreme Court in November 2016.  Further legal actions are also underway in relation to Native Title matters.