Australian news, and some related international items

Adani tries to bankrupt Wangan and Jagalingou man, Adrian Burragubba, I

It’s the multi-billion dollar mega-mine set for Queensland. But one man is trying to stop it going ahead. And he isn’t going away.  Charis Chang@CharisChang2 7 Jan 19Adrian Burragubba has been a thorn in Adani’s side for years and now the mining giant has had enough.  

Last month Adani filed an order seeking to bankrupt the Wangan and Jagalingou man by demanding payment of more than $600,000 in legal costs.

The extreme action follows numerous failed court actions that Mr Burragubba has been party to since 2015 to stop Adani’s coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin from going ahead.

Mr Burragubba is part of the W&J People, who have a native title claim over about 30,000sq km of land in central Queensland, west of Rockhampton, including the townships of Clermont, Alpha, Rubyvale and Capella.

He’s a vocal member of the W&J Family Council disputing the validity of the indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) which Adani has secured from the traditional owners of the land.

The W&J had been negotiating with Adani since 2011 but were unable to reach an agreement so the company applied to the National Native Title Tribunal to grant them two mining leases.

The tribunal can order that mining leases be granted even if an agreement with traditional owners has not been reached.

In October 2013, the Queensland Government gave notice it intended to grant the leases and a six-month negotiation process started between the mining company and native title holders.

Australia’s first Indigenous silk Tony McAvoy has previously criticised the native title system because the tribunal rarely rejects applications for mining leases.

Mr McAvoy is a W&J traditional owner and he said Aboriginal people were being coerced into agreements with mining companies because if an agreement was not reached, they lost their opportunity to negotiate compensation or royalties.

If we don’t agree, the native title tribunal will let it go through, and we will lose our land and won’t be compensated either. That’s the position we’re in,” Mr McAvoy told The Guardian.

….At the meeting, which Mr Burragubba has claimed is not valid, there were 294 votes to approve the agreement and only one against.

But Mr Burragubba said the company failed to explain that once native title is relinquished it cannot be reclaimed.

Our position has always been the same — that there has never been any free or informed consent with any agreement with Adani,” Mr Burragubba said in August.

However, legal action challenging the registration of the land use agreement was dismissed on August 17, 2018.

The decision was delivered after the Federal Government passed legislation to override a separate Federal Court ruling that all members of a native title group had to approve of an agreement for it to be valid.

The law change was important for Adani because its agreement did not get approval from all 12 families represented.

At that point, state and federal governments had already granted Adani all necessary state and federal approvals, although it still needs to submit groundwater and other plans.

But Mr Burragubba has refused to give up.

Another appeal was filed on September 7 and is due to be heard in May.

Adani tried to stop the most recent action, which was originally scheduled for February, by asking the court to force W&J representatives to pay $160,000 in security costs or have their appeal dismissed.

Adani’s lawyers said it had tried to recoup payment of $637,000 in legal fees from previous cases and had been unsuccessful. While the court agreed to the payment, it reduced the amount to $50,000 that must be paid by the end of January.

The decision was a blow to Adani, partly because its move also saw the court case delayed further and it will be heard in May instead.

After weathering years of legal actions from the W&J Family Council and other environmental activist groups, Adani appears to have had enough and is playing hardball.

January 8, 2019 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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