• Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council spokeswoman Murrawah Johnson speaks to reporters on Monday. (NITV)Source: NITV
The hearing comes after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk set a mid-June deadline for the mine’s two remaining approvals.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

27 May 2019 - 4:25 PM  UPDATED 27 May 2019 - 4:25 PM

Traditional Owners opposed to the Adani coal mine have returned to the Brisbane federal court in a bid to strike out an Indigenous land use agreement for the mining project.

The 2016 deal between Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners and Adani allows the mining company to extinguish native title over a section of land in exchange for benefits for the local Indigenous community.

Five Traditional Owners have labelled that deal a “sham” and sought to have it struck out.

Murrawah Johnson, a spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, said the appeal was important.

“We’re at the Federal Court again because we are driven by a need for justice," she said.

"Whether our appeal against the Adani ILUA delivers that justice remains with the full bench of the Federal Court.”

Last year, the court dismissed their case, on the basis it had “no merit”.

They are now appealing that decision to the full bench of the federal court on two grounds.

The first relates to a crucial meeting three years ago that authorised the land deal.

The applicants claim Adani didn’t make all reasonable efforts to ensure the people at that meeting were qualified to make decisions on native title matters.

W&J barrister Stephen Keim told the court the identification process "lacked rigour" and "fell below the standard of all reasonable efforts".

The applicants also claim the mining company didn’t properly identify the section of land where native title would be extinguished under the deal.

NITV News understands Traditional Owners will take their case to the high court if the appeal is unsuccessful.

Adani says the outcome of the case won’t stop the mine going ahead.

"Construction of the mine is not dependent on the outcome of the appeal," an Adani spokeswoman said in a written statement.

"Therefore, we will begin construction of the Carmichael Project after the Queensland State Government signs off the two outstanding environmental management plans.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has set a deadline of June 13 for the state government to resolve the remaining approvals.

Ms Johnson says Traditional Owners are concerned W&J native title may be extinguished before the court case is finalised.

“Native title is mean to protect us,” she said.

“We are on high alert as the Queensland government buckles under political pressure to deliver approvals to Adani. That means our land and waters our culture and law could be under assault within the next few weeks.”

The hearing continues in Brisbane on Tuesday.

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The Indian mining giant intends to extract millions of tons of coal from land that is sacred to the Wangan and Jagalingou people.