The Federal Court of Australia has ruled that Adani Mining Pty Ltd has a valid native title agreement to develop its Carmichael Project on Indigenous land in Central Queensland.
In 2016, the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) People voted 294 to 1 in favour of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the Carmichael Project (W&J ILUA).
The W&J ILUA was signed by the Queensland Government, the W&J People and Adani Mining, was certified by QSNTS and on 8 December 2017, it was registered with the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT).
In April 2017, a group of W&J people filed an Application in the Federal Court of Australia against the State of Queensland, QSNTS and Adani claiming that the certification of the W&J ILUA was void and a declaration that the Registrar of the NNTT lacked jurisdiction to register the W&J ILUA.
Following this, in August 2018, Adani defended these claims and the Federal Court handed down a decision in that case in which it dismissed the claims in full.
The group of W&J People appealed this decision, and the judgement of this was handed down in the Federal Court on Friday 12 July.
According to the W&J People, the decision hinged only on the question of whether the certification and registration of the Adani ILUA were handled according to the legal requirements of the Native Title Act.
“It did not ‘pull back the veil’ on the contested dealings leading up to and after the Adani meeting more than three years ago,” they commented.
Murrawah Johnson, a spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Council detailed that the W&J Family Council will continue to pursue all legal and political avenues in opposition to the coal mine and the ‘destruction of Wangan and Jagalingou Country’.
“We will review the decision of the Federal Court and take legal advice. We will consider any grounds to seek leave to the High Court. The Adani ILUA has been upheld, as Justice Perry said, “notwithstanding any deficiencies which might have tainted the validity of the certification.”
“With Adani commencing initial works, our focus will shift to exposing the failure of the State Government in issuing the mining leases without an ILUA and without consent,” Mr Johnson added.
A spokesperson from Adani Mining said they welcome the judgement from the Federal Court.
“We will continue to work with the W&J people under the guidance of the ILUA, while respecting the rights, history, future intentions and requests of the Traditional Owners.”