• Adani may be forced to reconfigure plans for its Abbot Point terminal to protect sacred cultural sites. (AAP)Source: AAP
The mining giant may be required to reconfigure its plans for the Abbott Point Port, after revelations the Indigenous organisation which carried out cultural heritage assessments received more than $1 million in secret payments from Adani.
Ella Archibald-Binge

22 Jun 2018 - 12:04 PM  UPDATED 22 Jun 2018 - 2:05 PM

In court documents, the Townsville-based Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation admitted it failed to report around $1.5 million in payments from Adani in the financial years ending 2015 and 2016.

The organisation then paid its own directors up to $1,000 a day cash-in-hand to conduct now-invalidated cultural heritage assessments for the mining conglomerate, the Guardian reports.

The federal court last month found that Kyburra wasn't authorised to conduct the assessments on behalf of Juru Traditional Owners who hold native title over land north of Bowen, where Adani plans to build its Abbot Point coal port.

Justice Steven Rares ruled that Kyburra - now in liquidation following investigations into its finances - was unauthorised to replace Juru Enterprises as the nominated body representing the interests of Traditional Owners in dealings with Adani.

"That is because, first, Kyburra had not complied with the standards of accountability required by laws under which it was established and, secondly, it was and remains in administration," Justice Rares said.

Juru Enterprises could now ask Adani to reconfigure plans for the Abbot Point port, which may impact sacred sites.

A spokesperson for Adani Australia told NITV News the company accepted the court decision, and said Adani was legally required to make payments to the Kyburra Munda Yalga Corporation under the registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement. 

“Adani Australia had no oversight, and no authority for oversight, of Kyburra Munda Yalga Corporation’s financial matters," they said in a statement.

"Along with the public we were made aware of details of those financial matters through the recent legal proceedings."

The spokesperson declined to say whether Adani would reconfigure its Abbot Point plans if requested by Juru Enterprises, saying only that the company would "continue to work collaboratively with all Juru Traditional Owners, including under guidance of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements and the Cultural Heritage Management Plans which are currently in place".

NITV News has requested comment from Juru Enterprises and has attempted to reach Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation.

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