• Opponents of the mine rally outside parliament house in Brisbane. (NITV)Source: NITV
Days out from their pivotal court hearing, Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners opposed to the Adani coal mine have called on the Queensland government not to extinguish their native title before their legal challenge is resolved.
Ella Archibald-Binge

8 Mar 2018 - 4:02 PM  UPDATED 8 Mar 2018 - 4:02 PM

An injunction against Adani was lifted on February 15, paving the way for the Palaszczuk government to permanently extinguish the W&J group's native title rights over a portion of land in the Galilee Basin, to allow construction of infrastructure for the billion-dollar mine. 

The surrender of native title in exchange for benefits was part of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) originally endorsed by seven out of 12 W&J native title claimants, though one claimant has since withdrawn his support. 

The remainder of claimants have labelled the ILUA a "sham", and are seeking to invalidate the agreement in the federal court next week, potentially thwarting Adani's chances of obtaining financial backing from the major banks. But they fear the government may move to extinguish their native title before the case is finalised - a move which would likely be irreversible, even if the ILUA is later found to be illegitimate. 

Flanked by symbolic fire extinguishers, hundreds of protestors rallied outside parliament house in Brisbane on Thursday, chanting "no means no!" and "no extinguishment!". 

"We would like our supporters to send a clear message to the Palaszczuk government today not to be involved in our court case and not to extinguish our native title, and to take their hands of the ILUA and have no involvement with this until such time as the government is prepared to come and speak to us," W&J family council spokesperson Adrian Burragubba told the crowd. 

"We should be classed as equal when it comes to our laws and customs, and we shouldn’t be oppressed, we shouldn’t be pushed to the side. We, just like everyone else, should be allowed to have a voice in this country… and we speak for our ancestors."

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Mr Burragubba said he was confident ahead of next week's court case. 

"We’ll prove that we’re right, as always, and we’re gonna win, and we’re gonna stop this mine. We’re gonna stop Adani from destroying our country and our ancestors’ dreaming," he said. 

NITV News asked Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk whether the government would pledge not to extinguish W&J native title before the court case was resolved, but a response was not received by the time of printing. 

The federal court case, which will test the validity of Adani's ILUA with traditional owners, is schedule for March 12-14. 

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