Patrick Malone, applicant & cultural heritage co-ordinator Wangan & Jagalingou people – Photo: Cameron Laird
Patrick Malone, applicant & cultural heritage co-ordinator Wangan & Jagalingou people – Photo: Cameron Laird

State challenges native title feud for Adani land

AN ABORIGINAL group fighting to be recognised as the custodians of a large area of mining land in Central Queensland has asked the State Government to stop back and forth court proceedings.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Native Title claim encompasses more than three million hectares in Clermont and parts of the Galilee Basin stretching west almost to Jericho, south to Sedgeford and east to Wolfang.

The fight for recognition from the State Government is due to play out in a Federal Court sitting in Clermont next week.

Aboriginal campaigner Adrian Burragubba with native title lawyer Colin Hardie outside Federal Court in relation to Carmichael coal mine land use agreement. Wednesday 10th July 2019. (AAP Image – Richard Waugh)
Aboriginal campaigner Adrian Burragubba with native title lawyer Colin Hardie outside Federal Court in relation to Carmichael coal mine land use agreement. Wednesday 10th July 2019. (AAP Image – Richard Waugh)

Queensland Resources Council estimated six proposed coal projects in the Galilee Basin would result in a combined investment of $36 billion and would support 13,900 construction jobs and 12,803 jobs during operation.

A positive native title determination would give native title holders a seat at the table with other stakeholders in the area.

Patrick Malone is one of eight claimants. He said the State Government was ignoring expert advice from four anthropologists, which support the Wangan and Jagalingou claim to Native Title according to documents obtained by News Corp Australia.

"The state's position seems at odds with the history of claims in the area," Mr Malone said.

"The claim group shares the same laws and customs with other groups in the region where a number of consent determinations have already been made.

Norm Johnson Jr (applicant), Patrick Malone (applicant & cultural heritage co-ordinator), Kelvin Dunrobin Sr (cultural heritage officer) Wangan & Jagalingou people – Photo: Cameron Laird
Norm Johnson Jr (applicant), Patrick Malone (applicant & cultural heritage co-ordinator), Kelvin Dunrobin Sr (cultural heritage officer) Wangan & Jagalingou people – Photo: Cameron Laird

"Why is the State Government against us and economic prosperity for traditional owners?"

Mr Malone said without the determination the Wangan and Jagalingou were "locked out of any business and employment opportunities and trapped in a cycle of poverty and disadvantage".

Elder, and spokeswoman of the Pitjara and Jagalingu people, Erica Walker told News Queensland she believed she had the documentation supporting the strongest claim on the land covering the Carmichael mine site.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council remain divided on the proposition of mining on their sacred land.

But Mr Malone said Adani's Carmichael mine project could be a "region-leading project for indigenous employment".

"Adani has led the way with its commitment to 7.5 per cent indigenous employment," Mr Malone said.

"We are also seeking support for the 7.5 per cent indigenous employment target across the six coal projects in the Galilee Basin, which would provide 1042 indigenous jobs during construction and 960 in ongoing operations."

In October, the ABC reported Adani had made legal moves exposing two traditional owners to possible jail time if they returned to a ceremonial camp on the company's Queensland mine site.

"All we want is the ability to negotiate," Mr Malone said.