The Maritime Union of Australia says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is trying to rob traditional land owners of their voice, after he assured Adani mine’s Indian bosses the Federal Government would resolve a native title issue over their site.
During his India visit last week, Turnbull met privately with company founder and chairman Gautam Adani, who requested an early resolution of native title issues surrounding the Queensland site for his $21 billion Carmichael mine project.
MUA Indigenous spokesperson Terry O’Shane said it’s outrageous that Turnbull promised to fix native title issues raised by Mr Adani, before he makes a final investment decision on the mine project.
“How dare the prime minister put the interests of a foreign billionaire ahead of Australia’s own indigenous people,” said Mr O’Shane, who is also a board member of the North Queensland Land Council.
“This is a new level of arrogance from Malcolm Turnbull thinking he can speak on behalf of Australia’s traditional land owners on native title issues.”
“The headlong rush to support Adani’s development of the Carmichael Mine project at the expense of recognition of the Human Rights of Australia’s most vulnerable people borders on the insane.
“This coal has been in the ground for millions of years, so a bit more time spent reaching agreement with the final members of the Traditional Owners will be time well spent.”
The vast coal mining project was hit by a Federal Court ruling that has invalidated deals with traditional owners across Australia.
The Federal Government is trying to pass legislation when parliament resumes in May that would reverse that court ruling.
Turnbull told reporters in New Delhi last week: “It’s a decision that can’t be allowed in practical terms to let stand.”
“The Australian Parliament shouldn’t even have to consider, let alone vote on this disgraceful piece of legislation,” Mr O’Shane said.
“It’s time for the prime minister to stand up and show some leadership for all Australians and abandon this silly idea.”
The Wangan Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council claims the project impinges on their rights.
“Every time there is conflict between Westminster Law and Native Title, people like Malcolm Turnbull come out on the side of development using the jobs, jobs, jobs mantra as an excuse to develop at all costs,” Mr O’Shane said.
“They all need to follow the developments in the United Nations where international trends require the free, prior and informed consent of people before decisions are made that will impact on their lives.
“It appears the land of the “Fair Go” is only for those who can afford it.”
Media Contact: Terry O’Shane 0400 129 517