Australian news, and some related international items

Adani ‘investment decision’ meaningless without Indigenous consent

 Federal Court sets date for W&J litigation against Adani’s sham ILUA for March 2018

Native Title Bill still to pass, but won’t stop court action
On the day the Federal Court sets a hearing date for Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed coal mine,
the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council has labelled
Adani’s announcement in Townsville as disingenuous.

Senior spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J)Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says

““Adani can put on whatever song and dance they like but the reality is that we have never consented to Adani’s mine being constructed on our land.

““The company and the Queensland Government do not have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with our people.
We are fighting this mine of mass destruction, and no matter what the Senate does in its next sitting in terms of voting for the Native Title Bill, the Federal Court will hear our case against Adani’s phony deal.”

““Adani is going nowhere fast. They have no money for their project, and they don’t have the crucial Traditional Owners’ consent they need to build it. We have them in the Federal Court until March 2018 at least.”

“Members of the Wangan and Jagalingou Registered Native Title Claimant are currently in the Federal Court seeking to strike out Adani’s purported Indigenous Land Use Agreement [ILUA],
filed by Adani Mining with the National Native Title Tribunal.
An ILUA has been opposed by the native title claim group on three occasions since 2012.

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson,
giving a keynote address at the National Native Title Conference in Townsville tomorrow, says

““Adani’s approach seems to be ‘fake it until you make it’, but
the reality is that they can’t and won’t proceed in the face of our resistance”. …

June 9, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Queensland Land Court recommends scrapping Acland coal mine expansion

Acland coal mine: Queensland Land Court recommends scrapping expansion, ABC News, By Andrew Kos, 31 May 17, Landholders and farmers in the Darling Downs are claiming a big win following a Land Court decision recommending the $900 million Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland Coal Mine be scrapped.

More than 60 property owners have been fighting the New Hope Group’s proposed project since the State Government indicated support for it in 2012.

The expansion, which would see the mine produce coal for a further decade, was granted Federal Government approval earlier this year.

Opponents took the matter to the Land Court last year arguing the mine expansion would damage groundwater levels, air quality and prime agricultural land.

The case became the longest in Land Court history, with more than 100 days of hearings and 2,000 exhibits.

In a judgment today, the court recommended the Mining Leases and Environmental Authority amendment for Stage 3 not be granted for the proposed expansion…..

Government could still permit project

In a statement to the ASX, the New Hope Group said it remained committed to delivering the project and would actively progress it through the final stages of approval…… The State Government is the final decision maker for the project and will need to decide whether to follow the court’s recommendations or approve it regardless.

A spokeswoman said the Government was examining the court’s judgment.,-court-rules/8576886

June 2, 2017 Posted by | legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Solar panels and the law: Can you stop your neighbour from blocking your sunlight?

It’s a problem central Adelaide resident Jo Thomas was forced to confront when she learned a developer had plans to build a four-storey building next door.

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May 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, solar | Leave a comment

What is driving the nuclear industry to dump its nuclear waste in South Australia

By Annie McGovern. 23rd April 2017  (this is an extract from the Adelaide Forum held very recently, to discuss this question) “….ENDNOTE  These observations have been gleaned from a fairly random search for relevant information which was also confined by the time available to process and present these findings. These are offered at this time as an additional body of information that may help fill some of the gaps in the thrust to force further nuclear energy production and waste disposal on the people of S. A.

Amongst the many recommendations of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission there were 3 major points which raise concerns regarding the possible imminent changes to Legislation in S.A. The Royal Commission has urged the State Government to fast-track these Legislative changes, even though there are no current viable plans for any nuclear industry developments in S.A. at this time.

  1. Modification of the State Waste Dump Prohibition Laws. This Legislation was almost immediately amended following presentation of the Royal Commission’s findings, to allow Government spending on proposals for the Waste Dumps. The further question of approval of nuclear waste dumps in S.A. was put to the Labour State Conference and became a stalemate to which no decision could be made. Progress of changes to Legislation on this proposal was interrupted.
  1. Legislation that would allow contracts of Uranium sales to be tied to obligations on S.A. taking back the resultant waste. The Royal Commission sees this possibility as an enhancement to capture sales of Uranium, despite there being no approval for waste disposal in S. A. at this time, and, the fact that no such facility would be capable of fulfilling the contract until well into the future. The Royal Commission appears to be determined to place the people of S.A. into an intractable situation where industry is forcing obligation through contractual arrangements. However, a caveat might be placed on such contracts that are not plausible…an explicit caveat and the risk is borne by the signing parties. A letter of advice is provided to the signatory and the Annual AGM of companies involved informed of this unethical business practice.
  2. Legislative changes to allow Nuclear Power production. Despite there being no overt plans for these developments within the foreseeable future, the Royal Commission is encouraging making changes now for future development. The absence of a ready nuclear waste disposal dump has historically been a constraint on Australia and the world in the development of greater Nuclear ambitions. Reports of illegal dumping and covert placement of radioactive waste abound both here and across the world. Reports of French waste being held at Lucas Heights and American wasteat Pine Gap are recent additions to these claims.Despite peoples’ efforts over many generations to call for and act on Peaceful Principles in our World, Environmental Sustainability and Productivity based on Need rather than Greed, capitalism and its theory of perpetual growth continues to drive forward in an overtly destructive manner.

    The continued focus on South Australia to perpetuate the nuclear travesty on our planet is acknowledged through this Forum and collectively we stand against this invasion. We walk with the Protectors of Country with Respect for Life.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | legal, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

News on fracking in Australia

Renowned scientist Tim Flannery warns NT against investing in gas
The former chief commissioner of Australia’s Climate Council says the NT should take heed of the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing when considering gas projects such as the proposed Jemena pipeline.

Western Australia
Tribunal rules against Indigenous anti-fracking protestor in WA
An Aboriginal man who has spent more than two years protesting mining companies from a makeshift camp in northern WA declares victory, despite a tribunal ruling likely to end his campaign.

May 7, 2017 Posted by | legal, Northern Territory, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Racial abuse at BHP mining site in Western Australia? Aboriginal woman takes legal action

Aboriginal woman launches legal action over alleged racial abuse at WA mining site BHP Billiton is facing legal action over alleged racial abuse at one of its mine sites in Western Australia. By  Ryan Emery 18 APR 2017 An Aboriginal woman has launched legal action against BHP Billiton after months of alleged racial abuse on a Western Australian mining site.

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April 19, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Indigenous Treaty Now, Not Just Constitutional Recognition Paul Gregoire 9 April 2017:

Treaty now

“A treaty is a formal settlement or agreement made between independent states. Treaties establish binding obligations and formal relations between two parties.

“Mr Terry Mason explained that treaties between the government and each of the land’s Indigenous nations would deal with matters of self-determination, land rights and custodianship.
And he believes they would guard against “discriminating legislation,” such as the Turnbull government’s recent attempts to amend native title laws.

““Aboriginal peoples must be able to take control of their own lives and resources  in a progressive manner at both political and economic levels,” Mason added. … “

April 17, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Northern Australia fund board  risks legal action over Adani loan
~  Laura Tingle, Political Editor, Australian Financial Review@latingle April 2017:

“Directors of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility are likely to be in breach of their duties
if they approve a controversial $900 million government loan for a railway to serve the Adani coal mine,
and face possible legal action, according to legal advice received by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Lawyers at Environmental Justice Australia wrote to the directors of the NAIF on Tuesday
sharing legal advice that the loan would put the directors personally in breach of duties to consider the financial risks associated with climate change if they make an investment decision in support of the Galilee Basin rail project. … “

April 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Adani coal railway line plan in breach of Australian government policy

Adani mine railway loan would breach government’s policy, says legal group
Complaint lodged over prospect of Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility partially funding 400km rail line, Guardian, 
, 6 Apr 17, A $1bn federal loan to builders of a railway line between the proposed Adani coalmine and the coast would be a direct breach of government policy, a legal group has claimed.

Environmental Justice Australia has lodged a formal complaint with the Productivity Commission over the prospect of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility partially funding the 400km rail line.

It is believed two companies – an Adani-related entity and the rail company Aurizon – have made rival bids for $1bn in government loans.

But EJA said government funding of the line would be a clear breach of competitive neutrality principles and potentially against the criteria of the “developing the north” white paper.

Competitive neutrality principles require governments not to use their legislative or fiscal powers “to advantage their own businesses over the private sector”, according to government agreements.

 “We submit that for the Adani and Aurizon proposals there is no ‘market failure’ and Naif support would encroach upon the domain of the private sector in breach of competitive neutrality principles,” said the complaint, filed on behalf of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

“We also submit that the Naif is non-transparent, ineffective, inefficient and has an inadequate governing framework.”

EJA based its complaint on a report by the Productivity Commission into the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation in 2012. It said said the commission found Efic should cease supporting onshore resource projects and related infrastructure because the private sector was already active in that market.

It also suggested the framework of Efic and Naif were similar, in that it had a “market gap” not “market failure” mandate……

Naif’s mandatory criteria also includes the requirement that the funded project be of benefit to the public and “serve or have the capacity to serve multiple users”.

While Adani’s proposal for the rail line is believed to be for its sole use transporting coal between the Carmichael mine in the Galilee basin and the coastline for export, Aurizon’s has reportedly scoped for a multi-use line – albeit with Adani as the sole operator initially.

Barnden said this did not affect the group’s complaint, and suggested Aurizon would have difficulty justifying a proposal for a multi-user line because the Abbot Point terminal on the coast only had capacity for Carmichael.

“I think we’re reasonably confident that the commission will make findings which would lead to recommendations to the minister to not finance or not provide financial support to large private infrastructure projects in Australia.”…..

April 7, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Adnyamantha Aboriginal elder considering legal action against federal government’s proposed nuclear waste dump

Aboriginal Elder Tony Clark concerned with nuclear waste facility, Transcontinental, Matt Carcich@MattCarcich 23 Mar 2017, Adnyamantha and Kujani Traditional Elder Tony Clark says if the federal government’s proposed nuclear waste facility at Barndioota continues to the next stage, a federal court legal intervention may take place.

Mr Clark has previously led the charge of the Kujani people’s Federal Court win against the federal government’s proposed nuclear waste facility for Woomera in 2004.

The potential intervention would come from a group of Adnyamantha and Kujani people who are concerned the proposed facility holds a significant risk to the survival of the Pungu Purrungha song line.

The songline travels across a body of water more than 70 kilometres in length from Hawker to Lake Torrens, and is an important piece of local Aboriginal history.

It’s also believed to be at least 85,000 years old.

Mr Clark said he’s opposed to the facility and that he and others are not afraid of taking potential legal action. “If they proceed to the next step on our country … then we would look towards seeking legal intervention in the federal courts,” he said.

The proposed site,130 kilometres north of Port Augusta, will store low-level and some intermediate-level nuclear waste. The low level purpose-built repository would be about the size of four Olympic size swimming pools with a 100 hectare buffer on the 25,000 hectare property.

Designs have not been prepared for the national repository but it will be modelled on above-ground storage and disposal facilities overseas……

Mr Clark said the ‘cultural and spiritual well-being’ of the Adnyamantha people is at risk if the facility proceeds, and he believes section 47 of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act (1989) plays an important role in the facility’s future.

The act states an Aboriginal person may enter, travel across or stay on pastoral land for the purpose of following the traditional pursuits of the Aboriginal people.

Mr Clark said the Adnyamantha people’s cultural and spiritual well-being may be at risk if they can’t access the Pungu Purrungha song line and that this section shows no Pastoralist can stop Aboriginal people accessing a traditional site like the Pungu Purrungha song line.

“Our cultural and spiritual well-being is at risk, along with our physical contact to the land under various acts of parliament, including section 47 of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act (1989).”

A Spokesperson for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said the (federal) government has said it will deliver a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in a centralised, purpose-built repository.

“The government has not formed a view that it should be located in Barndioota,” the spokesperson said….. 

March 24, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Former Minister Macfarlane keen to “protect miners from native title”

Minister-turned-lobbyist Ian Macfarlane says mines need protection from native title
Macfarlane urges MPs to pass legislation to protect land use agreements as Indigenous leaders call for consultation,
Guardian, , 13 Mar 17, The former federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane has said the majority of 126 mining projects under Indigenous land use agreements could be shut down pending renegotiations following a federal court ruling on native title.

His comments come after a federal court ruling in the McGlade native title case found that an Indigenous land use agreement (Ilua) was invalid because not all Indigenous representatives had signed it.

Macfarlane, who heads the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), said the ruling jeopardised mining projects already in operation under Indigenous land use agreements (Iluas) which had been signed by a majority of Indigenous owners but not every owner. This meant those projects – a majority of which are in Queensland – could be shut down pending new agreements.

The ruling could also affect the controversial Adani Carmichael coalmine.

Macfarlane said the implication of the ruling was that mining companies would need to seek the signatures of all Indigenous owners, including deceased people. …….

The legal and constitutional affairs legislation committee is examining a government bill that would amend the native title legislation to confirm the legal status of registered Iluas with a majority but not all the signatures of all claimants. Macfarlane urged the parliament to pass the bill.

But Labor and the Greens have argued that the Coalition is rushing the bill through without proper consultation with Indigenous communities.

Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners opposed to Adani’s Carmichael mine want the inquiry to be extended to allow proper consultation with Aboriginal communities.

“We are dealing with mining proponents who wish to destroy our country and disrespect our protocols on how we make decisions,” spokesman Adrian Burragubba told the committee.

“If the federal government intends to override the McGlade decision, the federal government would further disenfranchise the Wangan and Jagalingou people and further eliminate the voice of the true rightful traditional owners.”

The Cape York land council has objected to the legislation because it provides blanket validation for all agreements but it did not dispute certainty was required over Iluas……..

March 15, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Decision reserved by Federal Court on Adani coal mine issue

justiceFederal Court reserves Adani decision CarmichaelMine2au/business/mining-and-resources/federal-court-reserves-adani-decision-20170303-guq2gd.html  

The Australian Conservation Foundation must wait to learn if its latest challenge against the controversial Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been successful.

The ACF appeared before the Federal Court in Brisbane on Friday to appeal a decision last year that gave the huge Carmichael project the green light.

But the full bench reserved its judgment after it heard submissions from the environmental group, federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and Adani.

ACF barrister Saul Holt QC argued the original judge had erred when he found in favour of Mr Frydenberg and the Indian mining giant in August.

Mr Holt claimed the environment minister had not applied or misconstrued the law when he claimed if the mine didn’t go ahead, the same amount of coal could still be produced somewhere else in the world.

Mr Holt said the argument failed to address the impact the Adani mine would have on global warming and in particular, warmer water temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef.

“What someone else might do if this action doesn’t go ahead is irrelevant,” he said.

“The harm is still done by the emission of the carbon by Adani’s coal.”

However Richard Lancaster SC, representing Mr Frydenberg, said the original judge was correct when he agreed his client could only be “speculative” when it came to the impact Adani’s possible emissions would have on global warming.

Mr Lancaster said the projection that 4.64 billion tonnes of coal, or one-183rd of total worldwide emissions, could be produced by the Queensland mine was the “worst case scenario”.

Mr Lancaster said neither the original judge nor the environment minister had erred in their interpretation of the relevant acts.

The full bench of the Federal Court will hand down its decision at a later date.

March 4, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners v Adani in Federal Court today then to Canberra to discuss Native Title Amendments

justiceaboriginal-flag-native-title Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council  27 February 2017:

“Traditional owners fighting the Carmichael megamine are on the front foot this week,                                   challenging in court the native title process which allowed the Qld Government  to issue a mining lease without their consent, and meeting with Federal MPs to present arguments why the Government’s amendments to the Native Title Act threaten the rights of Traditional Owners and fail to deal with the real issues arising from the recent McGlade decision.

Senior spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J)
Traditional Owners Council, Mr Adrian Burragubba
, says,
“The W&J Family Council have voted three times since 2012 to reject Adani’s sham deal, while the National Native Title Tribunal gave the green light to the Qld Government to issue Adani with a mining lease, after the mining company applied to have our decision overridden.
This is the crux of our appeal before the full bench of the Federal Court on Monday”.

Spokespeople for W&J, Mr Burragubba and Ms Murrawah Johnson, will also visit Canberra this week to meet with key Federal MPs about the Government’s Native Title Act Amendment Bill and explain the failures of the native title process.
Labor and The Greens voted against rushing the Bill through the House of Representatives last week. The Bill is now being scrutinised by a Senate committee which is due to report on 17 March 2017. … “

March 1, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, politics | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners construct ‘legal line of defence’ against Adani and Qld Govt

legal actioncoal CarmichaelMine2 7 December 2016:

“Announce Full Bench Supreme Court Appeal – natural justice sought

“Express Anger at Gautam Adani’s Failure to Meet

“The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council have today announced a further action in their legal line of defence of their lands and rights against the imposition of Adani’s “mine of mass destruction”.  They have also expressed offence at multi-billionaire Mr Gautam Adani’s failure to meet with them during his visit to Australia to spruik the Carmichael project.

“Leading Aboriginal rights advocate, primary W&J Traditional Owner and Council spokesperson, Mr. Adrian Burragubba, says,  “We are constructing a legal line of defence because the Queensland Government and Adani are trying to bulldoze us aside.  We will not stand by while they sing from the same song sheet about their grandiose but hollow plans.

We are acting in the courts to stop this destructive project.  Our people, the Australian community, and the world deserve better than this cavalier, unjust and outdated approach to our shared future” …

“W&J youth leader and council spokesperson, Ms. Murrawah Johnson, says,
“It is our obligation as Traditional Owners to safeguard the future for our people and secure our lands and waters against this ‘mine of mass destruction’.
The W&J Council members have vowed to do everything in our power to stop the mine proceeding,
and we will take our concerns to the High Court if necessary.

““We are not easily intimidated. We will fight this mine until Mr Adani and his people pack their bags and head home”, she said.

“Lawyer for the Supreme Court Appeal and other matters, Mr. Colin Hardie says,
“There are  reasonable grounds for my clients to argue that they were denied natural justice
by the Minister for Mines in the issuing of the mining leases for the Carmichael Mine.
The denial of natural justice can create significant costs and cause distress to Traditional Owners,
leading to a profound devaluing of their native title to land and waters. … “

December 9, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Traditional landowners running legal challenges against Adani coal project

legal actionAdani faces more legal action as traditional owners vow to halt Carmichael coal mine Kathy McLeish, 7 Dec 16, Traditional owners are set to launch further legal action against Adani’s Carmichael coal mine slated for central Queensland.

The Wangan and Jagalingou people claimed the $22 billion project impinges on their native title rights, and would extinguish their interests over 28 square kilometres of land if it goes ahead.

Spokesman Adrian Burragubba said the group was running four separate legal challenges to the project, and vowed to continue fighting. Continue reading

December 9, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment