• Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council gather in protest. (Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council FB)
Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners have asked the Federal Court to strike out an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with mining giant Adani -
By
Rachael Hocking

14 Feb 2017 - 1:32 PM  UPDATED 14 Feb 2017 - 1:47 PM

A move which they hope will block the $16 billion Carmichael coal project in central Queensland, despite efforts by the Government to change the Native Title Act.

The applicants are seeking a declaration that Adani was not entitled to lodge an application to register an ILUA, on the grounds that it is not representative.

W&J Traditional Owner, Adrian Burragubba said in a statement that they will continue their efforts.

"We will continue our action in the Federal Court to have it struck out, regardless of what dodgy deals are tried on in Canberra to prevent justice."

“The registration of Adani’s sham land use agreement is not being held up because of the decision in Western Australia this month. It’s being challenged by us because it was engineered through rent-a-crowds, deceit and dishonest tactics,"  he said.

"We will continue our action in the Federal Court to have it struck out, regardless of what dodgy deals are tried on in Canberra to prevent justice."

The critical land-use agreement with TOs was due to be registered by the National Native Title Tribunal on Friday, but was instead frozen when the NNTT declared a moratorium on all ILUAs still in the registration stage.

It comes as a consequence of the unprecedented Federal Court decision two weeks ago, which invalidated the $1.3 billion Noongar Native Title Agreement in Western Australia.

The decision contradicts a 2010 opinion that allowed just one representative of the Native Title group to sign an ILUA on behalf of many.

“I instructed them to prepare legislation to overcome the effects, to reverse the effect of the full court’s decision which had changed the previous understanding of what the law had been."

Attorney-General George Brandis said, during an interview with Sky News, amendments to the Native Title Act would be introduced into federal parliament this week, because of the 'uncertainty' the Noongar decision has created.

“Last week I got a briefing from my department, and I instructed them to prepare legislation to overcome the effects, to reverse the effect of the full court’s decision which had changed the previous understanding of what the law had been."

But Wangan and Jagalingou Council spokesperson, Murrawah Johnson, says the Noongar decision is important because it protects their land rights.

“This goes to Adani’s divide and conquer tactics,” she said.

“They were saying, ‘if we can buy off enough people, and we have the majority of the claimant onside, then we can railroad the W&J people and get the so-called consent that we need.’

“In light of the Noongar decision [Adani] don’t have what they need,” Johnson claimed. 

The current moratorium does not affect the recent bid to strike out the Adani ILUA, but the fight against the Carmichael coalmine could be affected by the proposed amendments to the Native Title Act.

Johnson says such a move would undermine Aboriginal land rights in Australia.

“When they say that Native Title is the way you can claim that continued connection to your country, then what do we have if every time there’s a win for Aboriginal people the Federal Government go and undermine that through the parliamentary process,” she said.

“Also if they were to make further amendments to the Native Title Act around the Noongar decision, they would be undermining a decision by the full bench of the federal court of Australia."

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