• Adrian Burragubba is amongst the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners who are determined not to surrender their native title rights. (Severnhan)Source: Severnhan
Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners who oppose the Adani coal mine have sought to extend their injunction against the multi-billion dollar project.
Ella Archibald-Binge

31 Jan 2018 - 2:56 PM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2018 - 2:57 PM

The group was granted an interim injunction in December, ten days after the National Native Title Tribunal registered an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA), which implies the Wangan and Jagalingou people’s support for the mine, despite pending legal action challenging the ILUA's legitimacy.

The ILUA was registered with the support of seven out of the 12 Wangan and Jagalingou native title claimants, however one of those claimants has since withdrawn his support, leaving the group split down the middle. 

The injunction seeks to prevent the extinguishment of native title by the Queensland government to allow Adani's infrastructure plans to progress at several key sites, some of which threaten sacred cultural heritage, according to the Wangan and Jagalingou applicants.

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Under an ILUA, native title claimants may surrender land to the government in exchange for benefits. However, the extinguishment of native title may be irreversible, even if the ILUA is found to be illegitimate when the legal action is heard in March. 

In the Brisbane federal court on Tuesday, Justice John Reeves said the traditional owners opposing the mine were "patently not acting in accordance" with the views of the claimant group who authorised the ILUA.

"They’re seeking to undermine [the native title system]. They don’t have authority as five of 12 members to do anything… they’ve got to act as a group," he said.  

Despite already spending $1.4 billion on the mining project, Adani's barrister argued the development would be "stymied" by unnecessary delays if the injunction were to be extended.  

A decision is expected in the coming weeks. 

The legal challenge to test the legitimacy of the ILUA is scheduled for 12 March. Most major banks require an ILUA in order to finance mining projects. 

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