Human rights are great but there’s money to make!

Downer EDI provides engineering and mining infrastructure services to mining companies.

In 2015 it was chosen as a contractor for Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin. A coal mine that cannot go ahead if we are to give ourselves a chance of avoiding two degrees of global warming. Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owner, Adrian Burragubba, was at the Downer EDI Annual General Meeting today and asked whether Downer would continue their partnership with Adani considering the objections of the traditional owners to the project.

Mr. Burragubba and the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council he represents are fighting to stop the Carmichael mine from being built. They have said they oppose the mine as it would lead to the destruction of their homelands, their culture, and the integrity of their laws and customs connected to the land and water of their ancestors. Mr. Burragubba told the board that Wangan and Jagalingou have not consented to a mining lease or the surrender of their native title to Adani Mining.

If the Carmichael mine were to proceed without free prior informed consent from the traditional owners it would be a breach of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Australia has ratified.

Mr Burragubba asked the Downer EDI board:

  • Will you commit to meet with me and other representatives of our Traditional Owners Family Council who reject the imposition of this mine?
  • Will you refrain from finalising and entering into contracts with Adani for the Carmichael mine project until all matters of our Free Prior Informed Consent, and other rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and all our International law submissions and Australian legal cases, are resolved?
  • And will you respond in writing to these matters?

Disappointingly, the board responded by confirming its plans to work with Adani on the Carmichael mine. Listen to Mr Burragubba’s question and the answer below:

Downer EDI has made it clear that it puts profits over people. If the Carmichael mine is built it would not only have a devastating impact for traditional owners on their rights and country, it would also have a terrible impact for the global community, many of which are already suffering the consequences of climate change.

Take action 
The giant Carmichael coal mine is unlikely to go ahead without the support of the major banks here in Australia. While NAB and a number of major international banks have ruled out funding this mine, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac have so far failed to join them. Let them know that they need to take action to protect our climate and the Great Barrier Reef from what could become Australia’s biggest coal mine.