21 March 2016
The Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council (W&J) – traditional owners of the proposed site of the Carmichael coal mine – on the weekend voted to reject a land use agreement with mine proponents Adani. This was the third time W&J traditional owners have refused the Indian energy giant’s proposal, with spokesperson Adrian Burragubba confirming “no further negotiations with Adani will take place”.
If built, Carmichael would be Australia’s biggest coal mine, spelling disaster for traditional owners’ connection to country and guaranteeing local environmental degradation. That’s not to mention the 80-odd million tonnes of carbon its coal will add to the atmosphere each year of the mine’s life – enough to derail desperately-needed moves to curtail global warming.
Speaking about the Family Council’s latest decision, W&J traditional owner and spokesperson Murrawah Johnson said, “If Adani and its backers in government persist in their efforts to impose this mine without our consent, we will challenge this country’s failed native title regime. We will stand against the Queensland and Federal government’s neglect. And we will reserve our right to take action against Adani for its continual interference in our affairs, its attempts to throw its power and money around to buy off and dupe our people, and its devious efforts to engineer an agreement that crushes our rights and interests”.
As Ms Johnson indicates, the Queensland and federal government have remained lamentably supportive of the horror Carmichael project, as evidenced once again last week when Queensland parliament passed a motion calling for the project’s swift approval.
With government clearly onside, one of the major hurdles remaining for Adani is attracting finance for the project, which is expected to cost more than $20 billion. Along with others, Market Forces have worked hard to prevent the necessary finance being raised so far, but our job is far from finished.
NAB is the only big Australian bank that has so far ruled out providing finance to the project, a decision they first announced in a meeting with W&J and Market Forces representatives. It was a great moment, but only one step towards ensuring this dangerous and destructive project never sees the light of day. NAB’s announcement echoed those of twelve international banks who have ruled out financing all or part of the Galilee coal supply chain, but the real danger lies back home.
We need to keep the pressure up on the rest of Australia’s big four because we know that if one of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank or Westpac get involved in financing Carmichael, it’s almost inevitable that the mine will go ahead.
We are proud to have supported the W&J traditional owners in their fight to save their ancestral lands from the destruction that Carmichael would impose. Please take a moment to watch their ‘No still means no’ video below and visit their website: wanganjagalingou.com.au