• Adrian Burragubba's complaint to the Queensland Human Rights Commission against QPS has been upheld. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Queensland Police have sent a letter of regret to Wangan and Jagalingou man Adrian Burragubba after they attempted to move on Traditional Owners performing Ceremony on Country.
Keira Jenkins

10 Jul 2021 - 5:52 PM  UPDATED 10 Jul 2021 - 5:52 PM

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owner Adrian Burragubba has received a letter from Queensland Police, saying they regret forcing him and others off an area covered by pastoral lease during ceremony.

Mr Burragubba told NITV News Traditional Owners were conducting a ceremony five kilometres from the Bravus (formerly Adani) Carmichael Mine in central Queensland's Galilee Basin in August 2020 when police turned up.

The Police attempted to enforce trespass on the group, which Mr Burragubba said was "offensive" considering Traditional Owners have a right to perform ceremonies on their Country.

He lodged a complaint with the Queensland Human Rights Commission.

"We as the Wangan Jagalingou Custodians, have a responsibility to our people and a responsibility to our land," he said.

"Because we're the ones that manifest and practice culture on that Country, we feel responsible for what happens on our Country and how mining affects our customary laws."

"We were really offended in the first instance with the police, how the police ignored our rights and our legal advice."

Following a conciliation process with QPS in March, Mr Burragubba received a letter from the police.

QPS would not provide a copy of the letter to NITV News due to confidentiality concerns but confirmed in a statement that the conciliation process had occurred “to the satisfaction of both parties with a letter of regret provided by the QPS”.

Mr Burragubba said he wants others to know they have the right to do ceremonies on land covered by pastoral lease.

"The police admitted that this occurred, that they regret what happened," he said.

'Damage to Country'

Meanwhile Mr Burragubba is calling for a stop work on the mine, raising concerns about the company's environmental practices.

Mr Burragubba said the operations at the mine are threatening a sacred Doongmabulla Springs site.

"Damage to the environment is damage to our Country and culture and is a breach of our human rights as First Nations people," he said.

"We need to know that our cultural heritage is beyond the cavalier disregard displayed by Adani and its contractors and beyond the political interests of the Government of the day."

Mr Burragubba said he does not trust the mining company with his people's cultural heritage.

"The mine will drain the life out of the land and destroy our dreaming the sacred Doongmabulla Springs," he said.

"It will be a catastrophe every bit as destructive to our culture and hurtful to our people as the blasting of the caves at Juukan Gorge."


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