Australian news, and some related international items

Suppression of native title for the Mirarr people- extinguishment of rights?

Timber Creek Aboriginal custodians win historic $3.3 million payout for native title rights loss, ABC News,  By Avani Dias and Jessicah Mendes  25 Aug 16  “………Extinguishment principle ‘hard to accept’

In a separate decision, the Federal Court has partially recognised the rights of the Mirarr people to one of the longest-running native title claims in the Territory.

The court has recognised the Mirarr’s rights over sections of the township of Jabiru that have been subleased to government entities. But those rights only apply if and when the leases expire — a move described as the “suppression” of native title.

The ruling also rejected or ‘extinguished’ the Mirarr’s rights over areas of the town subleased to private companies such as Energy Resources Australia — the operators of the Ranger uranium mine.

Mr Morrison said the case had been a complicated one.

“I think it was a very difficult case but I think it also sets an important precedent to partially recognise, through suppression, native title in parts of Jabiru,” he said.

But he said the concept of a native title claim being rejected or “extinguished” could be very difficult for Aboriginal people to accept.

“Aboriginal people right around the country have said it’s an abhorrent feature of the Native Title Act, this extinguishment principle.”

August 26, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Landmark payout for Aboriginal custidians who have lost their native title rights.

Timber Creek Aboriginal custodians win historic $3.3 million payout for native title rights loss, ABC News,  By Avani Dias and Jessicah Mendes  25 Aug 16 More than 20 years after the landmark Mabo decision, the Federal Court has for the first time determined how to award compensation to traditional owners who have lost their native title rights.

Key points:

  • First time court has quantified loss of cultural attachment to land
  • Decision expected to trigger new cases
  • NLC ‘very happy’ with outcome of decision

Aboriginal custodians of Timber Creek, 600km south-west of Darwin, have been awarded $3.3 million in compensation for the loss of their native title rights. Continue reading

August 26, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Adani court decision: Traditional Owners say fight to stop QLD’s Carmichael mine continues

19 August 2016

legal actionCourt decision:

Traditional Owners say govt acted shamefully,

fight to stop Adani’s Carmichael mine continues

Defence of rights and country still has a long way to run

Senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners family council, Mr Adrian Burragubba, says he is not surprised  by the decision handed down in the Federal Court in Brisbane today, while reiterating that they stand strong together and will continue to defend their human rights, and protect their traditional lands from Adani’s destructive Carmichael mine.

““The issuing by the Palaszczuk government of the mining leases, in support of Adani running roughshod over our right to say ‘no’ to this mine, was a shameful episode. We will continue to pursue all legal avenues, Australian and international, to defend our rights and stop this massive coal mine going ahead,” Mr Burragubba said.

“Wangan and Jagalingou council representatives, including Mr Burragubba, are currently challenging the leasesthat have been issued by the Palaszczuk government for the Adani Carmichael coal mine ina Judicial Review in the Queensland Supreme Court. The matter will be heard in November; and further legal actions are underway. …

Lawyer for Mr Burragubba, Mr Benedict Coyne said: “My client will take some time to review the reasons for judgment, and consider his appeal options in the context of numerous other legal avenues he is pursuing for justice for his people, both domestically and internationally.” …

August 19, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Indigenous challenge to Adani Carmichael coal mine dismissed by Federal Court

coal CarmichaelMine2 Andrew Kos 19 August 2016

“The Federal Court has dismissed a challenge from a Queensland traditional owner to mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

“A member of the Wangan and Jagalingou people was trying to put a stop to the multi-billion-dollar Galilee basin project.

Senior traditional owner for the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners, Adrian Burragubba argued that a determination made in April 2015 by the National Native Title Tribunal, relating to the proposed granting of two mining leases, was made incorrectly.

“He argued the approval of mining leases would extinguish native title over parts of the group’s lands.

“Mr Burragubba made the application for judicial review against the Queensland Government, Adani and the National Native Title Tribunal. …

“In his judgement, Justice John Reeves concluded that none of Mr Burragubba’s grounds of review had merit. “Justice Reeves said the tribunal did not fail to observe the rules of natural justice or constructively fail to exercise its jurisdiction. …

“While I respect the judgement of Justice Reeves, we will seek advice from our legal team on an appeal,” Mr Burragubba said. … “

August 19, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | 1 Comment

Aboriginal people will fight planned Vimy uranium mine, despite EPA’s approoval of it

Indigenous people living in the area have a bad history with uranium developments. It’s a few hundred kilometres from Cundalee, the mission where Spinifex people from the Great Victoria Desert were placed after being pushed off their traditional lands by the British government’s nuclear testing program in Maralinga, South Australia, in the 1950s and 60s

handsoffPilanguru people to fight on as uranium mine gets environmental approval
Traditional owners say the Indigenous community has not been adequately consulted about Vimy Resources’ planned Mulga Rock open-pit mine,
Guardian, , 15 Aug 16, Traditional owners have vowed to fight a proposed uranium mine at Mulga Rock, about 240km west of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, which was given conditional environmental approval on Monday.

The Environmental Protection Authority of WA recommended the Barnett government approve construction of the open-pit mine and uranium processing plant, operated by Perth-based Vimy Resources Limited, after a three-month public environmental review. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Mulga Rock uranium plan faces serious opposition

handsoff Environment groups and Traditional Owners have vowed to fight the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, 260 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, despite today’s recommendation by the state EPA that the Environment Minister approve the mine.

Environment groups and Traditional Owners said the mine threatened the pristine environmentally and culturally significant area.

Bruce Hogan from the Council of Tribal Elders and Chair of Pilanguru Native Title Group said “We use to go out there with our Elders. We can’t see how this mine could go ahead. The seven sister’s tjukupa (dreaming) goes through there and the two wadis (lore men) went through that area too. The elders use to take us there for cultural practice, they would leave us there for a few days and then come back to pick us up. We don’t want that mine to go ahead. We will fight against that mine at Mulga Rock.”

Conservation Council Nuclear Free Campaigner Mia Pepper said “Conservation groups will be lodging an official appeal against this recommendation by the EPA.

“The Mulga Rock uranium proposal is unsafe and unwanted. The company has continually dismissed the cultural values and importance of the area and has failed to properly consult with Traditional Owners.”

“The Mulga Rock area is a rare and significant environment and part of the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community. The planned mine threatens a number of rare and endangered species. Taking this unique and pristine desert ecosystem and turning it into a polluted, radioactive uranium mine is not a proposal that should ever be entertained” Ms Pepper concluded.

“The planned mine does not enjoy bi-partisan state political support, broad social license or favourable market conditions,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Vimy Resources faces many hurdles and roadblocks. Today’s EPA recommendation is a long way from a green light for mining yellow cake at Mulga Rock.”

August 15, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Dr Stan Grant. From Reconciliation to Rights: Shaping a Bigger Australia

Stan Grant Wallace Wurth Lecture: From Reconciliation to Rights ~ UNSWTV, YouTube

Dr Stan Grant delivers the Wallace Wurth Lecture at UNSW Sydney,  a powerful and emotive speech entitled “From Reconciliation to Rights: Shaping a Bigger Australia.’

“The speech comes in the wake of damning allegations about the treatment of Indigenous childrenin the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The Australian Government immediately called a Royal Commission.

“Dr Grant, however, argues the need for a national truth and reconciliation commission  “a full reckoning of our Nation’s past that may set loose the chains of history that bind this country’s first and today most miserably impoverished people.”

“He also calls for a treaty with Indigenous Australians, similar to those in New Zealand, the United States.”

Important questions are posed for all Australians to consider including the need to look to the examples of New Zealand, the United States and Canada and negotiate a treaty with the Indigenous population.

“What a damning state of affairs,” he said, “to be the only Commonwealth nation not to enshrine the sovereign rights of its first peoples.”





August 15, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

In Western Australia Native title win for the Ngurra Kayanta people.

thumbs-upNative title win in WA’s remote desert  AAP on August 11, 2016,

 A native title claim for a 20,000sq km area in a remote part of the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia has been won by the Ngurra Kayanta people.

They first applied for native title over the land, which straddles the Shire of East Pilbara and the Shire of Halls Creek, in December 2012.

Federal Court of Australia Justice Michael Barker said none of the claimants now lived permanently in the area but continued to adhere to traditional laws and customs by visiting and maintaining a physical association with the country, and passing on traditional songs, stories and knowledge of sites to children and grandchildren.

“The claimants have maintained a presence in the determination area since the acquisition of British sovereignty,” Justice Barker said. “In addition, evidence of the continuing physical or spiritual involvement of the claimants in the determination area is accepted to conclude that this connection has not been severed.

“Ultimately, the state is satisfied that the material presented is sufficient to evidence the maintenance of connection according to traditional laws and customs.”

August 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Native title claims over Lake Torrens area not extinguished, but were dismissed by Federal Court

SA native title claims dismissed,
 Valerina Changarathil, The Advertiser August 10, 2016 
THE Federal Court yesterday dismissed three overlapping native title claims near key exploration projects in the state’s mid-north, but the issue is far from resolved with some groups assessing their appeal options.

The claims by the Kokatha, Adnyamanthanha and Barngarla people were over the lands and waters of Lake Torrens — Australia’s second largest salt lake — which is in proximity to OZ Minerals’ proposed Carrapateena copper-gold project, Argonaut Resources’ and Aeris Resources’ jointly proposed Torrens iron-oxide, copper-gold project and BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam operations.

A native title application is a claim for legal recognition that a group hold rights and interests in an area of land and/or water according to their traditional laws and customs.

Justice J Mansfield yesterday said he was not “persuaded that a determination of native title in favour of any of the three applicants should be made in respect of any part of the claim area”.

“While the archaeological evidence in this matter supports Aboriginal activity and use on and around the western shore of Lake Torrens of considerable antiquity, I have not found the archaeological evidence in this matter persuasive of a particular conclusion directed in favour of one or other of the three applicants,” he said.

He was not satisfied the Kokatha people occupied or possessed the claim area according to their traditional laws and customs at sovereignty and while the ethno-historical records provided some support for the Adnyamathanha (Kuyani) and Barngarla peoples’ connections to part of the claim area, it was difficult to date it back to the time of sovereignty or establish a continual connection to the present time.

SA Native Title Services, a solicitor for the Kokatha people, said that while applications were dismissed, there was no finding that native title rights and interests did not exist or were extinguished……..

August 12, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Eastern Guruma Aborigines “worse off than when no mining existed” – snub Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto snubbed by Pilbara’s Aboriginal elder, The Australian, s  Andrew Burrell The Australian Business Review. August 6, 2016 

Unfortunately, we cannot stand here today and welcome you to country when our people are worse off than when no mining existed,” the elders said.

Aboriginal elders refused to perform a “welcome to country” ceremony at a Rio Tinto (RIO) function to mark the company’s 50-year anniversary of mining in the Pilbara in a protest over what they say is a failure to pay royalties and create jobs for indigenous communities.

In an embarrassing snub, the Eastern Guruma native title holders instead took to the stage at the event in Tom Price to attack Rio’s record in the Pilbara.

Rio has long touted its credentials on indigenous issues, describing itself as one of the largest private sector employers of indigenous Australians.

The company has no legal obligation to pay mining royalties to the native title holders on six of its Pilbara mines because they were established before the Native Title Act came into effect in 1994.

At the recent function, three of the Eastern Guruma elders — Sue Boyd, July Hicks and Judith Hughes — refused to perform a “welcome to country” ceremony that is commonly used by traditional owners to welcome visitors to their land.

“Unfortunately, we cannot stand here today and welcome you to country when our people are worse off than when no mining existed,” the elders said.

“We are not being paid compensation for three Rio Tinto mines operating on our country. We are not being employed. We are not getting the contracts and business opportunities that the mining industry prides itself on.

“Outcomes for the Eastern Guruma people have been poor.

“Rio always wants us to consent to the destruction of our country for mining so that Rio can make more money for its shareholders. None of us know exactly how much money Rio Tinto has made from mining our traditional county.”……..

August 6, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Traditional Aboriginal owners re-affirm their opposition to uranium mining at Yeelirrie

handsoffTraditional Owners welcome Yeelirrie decision and re-affirm anti uranium mining position 4th August 2016

Traditional Owners at Yeelirrie have fought against uranium mining for over 40 years.

The decision from the EPA comes as welcome relief but Traditional Owners remain wary.

Richard Evans Koara elder and co-founder of the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance has said “The EPA decision to protect subterranean fauna is a good decision and the right decision and we are happy with the outcome.

But we believe the EPA has underestimated the risk to bush foods, public health and water and most importantly our cultural heritage and our community’s opposition to the mine.”

“I invite the Minister (who has never spoken to us before) to come and meet with us the Traditional Owners of Yeelirrie before making a decision about our country. No Minister has come to talk to us about that country.

Yeelirrie is an important place in our culture, it is a dreaming site it important to us and other tribes around us.

In the short time since WA was colonised there have been drastic changes to the ecosystem and the country.” …

“It’s not just about protecting this country for us – but uranium threatens communities and country from the cradle to the grave, at home and overseas.

This is our responsibility and we take that responsibility seriously. We have to leave this poison where it is.” … “

August 5, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

To the ‘Minister for Adani’ — Matthew Canavan — “No Still Means No”

 ~ Wangan & Jagalingou People 2 August 2016

“On ABC’s Q&A last night, National Party Senator, Matthew Canavan – the ‘Minister for Adani’– made a vague reference to “native title” groups’ near unanimous support for the proposed Carmichael mine.

He complained that the media doesn’t cover such supposed ‘good news’, as though his Government’s interests are not constantly boosted in the press. …

“What the Minister failed to mention, or referred to only obliquely, is that we have several legal cases running to demonstrate that Adani does not have our free, prior, informed consent, they have engaged in conduct ‘analogous to fraud’ and that, along with the State and some statutory representatives,manipulated the native title process to override our rights and interests and divide our people. … “

August 5, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Garma festival: Indigenous leaders call for land ownership settlement, slam land rights ‘failures’

Indigenous leaders at the Garma festival in northeast Arnhem Land have called for land ownership settlement, slamming the ‘failures’ of the Land Rights Act and Native Title Act that have allowed mining companies access to indigenous land.

August 3, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

WALKATJURRA WALKABOUT continue the fight to stop uranium mining

handsoffWalkatjurra Walkabout – Walking for Country

will be lead by the

Walkatjurra Rangers

in partnership with

Footprints for Peace

Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA)

the Anti Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia (ANAWA) and

the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA)

Wiluna to Leonora from August 7th – September 7th 2016

Muir,-Kado‘WALKATJURRA WALKABOUT is a celebration of Wangkatja country, a testament to the

strength of the community who have fought to stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie for over forty years, and a chance to come together to continue share our commitment to a sustainable future without nuclear.

It is a chance to reconnect with the land, and to revive the tradition of walking for country.’

‘We invite all people, from all places, to come together to walk with us, to send a clear message

that we want the environment here, and our sacred places left alone.’ Kado Muir, Traditional Owner, Yeelirrie

July 30, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Wakaya Traditional Aboriginal Owners steadfast against fracked gas pipeline

text-relevantNT Traditional Owners walk out on fracked gas pipeline deal Lock The Gate Alliance, July 28, 2016 Northern Territory Traditional Owners whose land is being targeted for the proposed new gas pipeline between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa have yesterday afternoon walked out of a joint Central and Northern Land Council meeting, pushing against a planned access route deal for Jemena’s Northern Gas Pipeline, due to concerns about the impacts of fracking gasfields.

A Land Council notice for the meeting asked, ‘are you ready to say yes or no to the pipeline?’ (see here). But the concerns and objections raised by Traditional Owners about the rushed consultation process and the proposed pipeline’s reliance on fracked gas has now meant the decision meeting is postponed until late September……

A final investment decision on the pipeline is due in December 2016 but Wakaya Traditional Owners say they will not back down and allow the project to proceed on their land. Continue reading

July 29, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment


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