You can support our Declaration by sharing on social media, or forwarding it to the leaders of the Queensland State and Federal Governments.


We have made our position clear – The Wangan and Jagalingou Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians are the common law possessory title holders of our ancestral lands and waters, including the Carmichael Mine site. We publicly oppose Adani’s Carmichael mine because of its devastating impacts on our Human Rights as the original custodians of the land — rights we claim without limits.

As the original First Peoples of the area known as the Carmichael mine, our continued sacred ceremony, called the Waddananggu, confirms our connection to Country and our presence is evidence that our rights and interests have never been abandoned, lost or signed away in any Indigenous land use or cultural heritage agreements, or mining lease.

An obligation is owed to us by Australian people and their governments to protect our rights and interests under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and pursuant to the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019 while ever we are present at Waddananggu and performing cultural ceremonies.

Sacred sites located on the mining lease have been interfered with by the mining company Adani, causing damaging spiritual effects on our cultural values and beliefs. We will continue to remain vigilant while conducting our Waddananggu ceremony, ensuring that our religious and cultural observances are treated respectfully and in accordance with our cultural protocols.

We, along with other members of our community, will continue to assert that as First Peoples our rights to protect and conserve the land and environment, the waters and our natural and cultural resources, and to practice our laws and customs, must not be denied or limited.

We, the Wangan and Jagalingou Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians will use all means in our power to defend our rights and interests as First Peoples.

We, the Wangan and Jagalingou original custodians believe that damage to the integrity of our moiety dreaming will have catastrophic consequences for all people across this continent for all generations.

Our ancient connection, through to the present, endows us with the knowledge of our traditional ownership and of our distinct identity as Wangan & Jagalingou peoples – the Wirdi speaking people.

We stand in our rights and call upon the Australian people to demand of their governments that they recognise the original sovereignty in the land, the source of our laws and customs, and enter into treaties with us as the rightful custodians of Country.

We ask that all limitations of our rights, as a consequence of the legal entitlements granted to Adani, be removed and that restitution be made.

Adrian Burragubba
Senior Wangan & Jagalingou
Cultural Custodian

Date: 23 June 2022

Concerns regarding Deutsche Bank’s sponsorship of First Nations fellowship

This letter was sent to Sydney Film Festival 1 June 2022 regarding the Festival’s major corporate sponsor Deutsche Bank, who is financing Adani Enterprises.

Dear Ms Weir,

As a First Nations custodian representing the Wangan and Jagalingou Peoples, I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the Sydney Film Festival’s major corporate sponsor Deutsche Bank, and particularly its sponsorship of the Deutsche Bank Fellowship for First Nations Film Creatives.

I applaud the intention of the Sydney Film Festival to highlight First Nations filmmakers and stories, but I am concerned Deutsche Bank’s involvement compromises the credibility of this intention. Deutsche Bank claims it supports the Indigenous community via this initiative, but at the same time the bank is financing Adani Enterprises, which is trampling the rights of Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. 

I am concerned Deutsche Bank is exploiting the Sydney Film Festival’s good reputation through this sponsorship to give cover to the bank’s destructive lending activities. I encourage you to rethink the bank’s connection to this prize and the Festival.  

Back in 2014, Deutsche Bank was one of the first banks to rule out funding the disastrous Adani Carmichael thermal coal project in Australia. This project does not have the free, prior and informed consent of the Wangan & Jagalingou people.

However, Deutsche Bank has breached this promise and its policy of not directly or indirectly financing new thermal coal mines via its financing of the Adani Group, and in particular the Adani Enterprises subsidiary, which constructed, owns and operates the Carmichael mine and rail line. Adani Group has described Deutsche Bank as one of its “relationship banks”.

The Wangan and Jagalingou people have voted against the Adani Carmichael coal mine several times and we continue our active and ongoing resistance to it as its development threatens our land and culture. We have been at Waddananggu, at the mine site, conducting continuous cultural ceremony on our land since August 2021. We’ve lost so much already, we can’t afford to lose anymore.

I encourage you to reconsider Deutsche Bank’s sponsorship of this Fellowship. The importance of this opportunity for First Nations people should not be tarnished by Deutsche Bank’s involvement in the prize.

Sincerely,

Coedie McAvoy, Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodian

Help us reform the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Acts

Help us reform the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Acts, to better protect First Nations cultural heritage in Queensland – submissions due 31 March

You can support us and the protection of cultural heritage by uploading your submission using the online form here, or by emailing CHA_Review@dsdsatsip.qld.gov.au. Let us know how you went by cc-ing us at wanganandjagalingousog@gmail.com.

The Queensland Government is currently reviewing the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld)and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld)(Cultural Heritage Acts), with submissions open on the review until 31 March 2022

Help us to empower First Nations to protect their cultural heritage across Queensland by supporting our submissions to this review. 

Queensland’s Cultural Heritage Acts have failed to protect the precious cultural heritage of the Wangan and Jagalingou People on the Carmichael Coal Mine site. To prevent this happening for the Wangan and Jagalingou People and all other Traditional Owners in Queensland in future, we are asking the Queensland Government to: 

  1. Amend the definition of ‘Aboriginal party’ so that Traditional Owners with cultural connection to Country are always involved in consultation and negotiation processes, regardless of their status as a native title party.
  2. Create greater enforcement powers for First Nations, so that we aren’t reliant on the State to protect our cultural heritage if it is in imminent danger of harm or destruction.
  3. Establish an independent First Nations-led decision-making body that is responsible for dispute resolution and mediation, and for assessing who the right people to speak for Country are.

Queensland’s laws currently fail to recognise the right people to speak for Country

As many of you know, the Carmichael Coal Mine is located on ancestral Wangan and Jagalingou Country. Hundreds of artefacts have been found on the mine site and it is a record of the Wangan and Jagalingou People’s occupation of the area and evidence the area has been used by our people for thousands of years. 

As there is significant cultural heritage on the mine site, the proponents of the mine, Bravus Mining and Resources (Bravus), were required to consult with the ‘Aboriginal party’ and enter into a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) with them. 

The Cultural Heritage Acts currently rely on the native title framework to determine who the ‘Aboriginal party’ is. This meant that Bravus only negotiated a CHMP with the native title party for the area, the Clermont-Belyando native title applicants. 

Other Wangan and Jagalingou People who are not native title applicants were not consulted about the impact to their cultural heritage, even though they have cultural knowledge and responsibility for areas on the mine site and are the right people to speak for Country.

Under the CHMP, a Cultural Heritage Committee was appointed, who were meant to represent the interests and knowledge of the Traditional Owners for that Country. In practice, decisions about our cultural heritage are being made by a select few individuals without consultation with the Traditional Owners for that Country. 

The Cultural Heritage Acts have failed the Wangan and Jagalingou People. By relying on native title status to decide who the ‘Aboriginal party’ is, the Cultural Heritage Acts have excluded Wangan and Jagalingou People with cultural knowledge and connection to Country from participating in the protection and management of cultural heritage.

The definition of ‘Aboriginal party’ in the Cultural Heritage Acts should be changed so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with particular knowledge about both tangible and intangible cultural heritage in an area are able to be recognised as a party and consulted on cultural heritage management and protection, regardless of whether there is already a native title party recognised for that area.

Enforcement powers for Traditional Owners to protect our own cultural heritage

Under the Cultural Heritage Acts we had little to no ability to stop this recent destruction of our cultural heritage, leaving us reliant on the government to protect our cultural heritage. 

This is due to the broad defences available to Bravus under the Acts, and the high risk of adverse costs orders in seeking an injunction. The Queensland Government has subsequently refused to investigate whether the actions destroying our cultural heritage were legal, taking only the word of Bravus as to the legality of the destruction. 

In October 2021, we became concerned that Wangan and Jagalingou cultural heritage located on the Carmichael coal mine site was being destroyed. We wrote to the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships requesting he exercise his power under section 32 of the Cultural Heritage Act to issue a stop order to Bravus and prevent the carrying out of excavation works which were threatening our cultural heritage. We also requested that he investigate whether this activity was in breach of the Cultural Heritage Acts.

Despite our concerns, a decision was made not to issue a stop order and not to investigate the allegations of offences under the Cultural Heritage Acts. Because of this, Bravus have been allowed to proceed with excavation works, potentially harming or destroying cultural heritage in the process. 

Not only did the State fail to act to protect our cultural heritage from harm, but we were also prevented from seeking an injunction to stop the excavation because of the high costs of legal action.

We need greater powers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to prevent or seek redress for illegal impacts to our cultural heritage without high risks of adverse costs orders. The State should also provide financial assistance to Traditional Owners seeking to protect their cultural heritage under the law.

Independent First Nations-led decision-making body needed

An independent, First Nations-led body should be created that is responsible for managing and protecting cultural heritage in Queensland and to assist with resolving disputes in a way that is culturally competent and which avoids having to go to court. 

A First Nations-led body could also be responsible for assessing and determining who the right people to speak for Country are. Currently, the Cultural Heritage Acts rely on native title to determine who should be consulted about cultural heritage. Having an independent, First Nations-led body responsible for determining who should be consulted would ensure that traditional owners with cultural knowledge and responsibility aren’t excluded from consultation and negotiation, like the Wangan and Jagalingou People have been. This body could also assist with decisions on registering cultural heritage sites under the Act. 

For too long Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have had to rely on non-Indigenous bureaucrats or Ministers to protect our cultural heritage and to make decisions as to who is appropriate to speak for Country, often without cultural competency or sufficient knowledge of our culture to make these decisions. 

We need First Nations to be empowered to facilitate the protection of Country and the right Traditional Owners to speak for Country by introducing a new First Nations-led, independent body in Queensland.

Conclusion

The Cultural Heritage Acts in Queensland have failed the Wangan and Jagalingou People, and many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Currently these Acts simply allow developers a smooth ride to gain their approvals without meaningful consultation with the Traditional Owners for Country and without sufficient accountability when acting illegally. 

The management and protection of cultural heritage should be in our hands, and not in the hands of the State or developers. We are calling for the following reforms, that are needed at a minimum to improve the protection of cultural heritage in Queensland:

  • Amend the definition of ‘Aboriginal party’ so that traditional owners with cultural connection to Country can be involved in consultation and negotiation processes, regardless of their status as a native title party.
  • Create greater enforcement powers for First Nations, so that we aren’t reliant on the State to protect our cultural heritage if it is in imminent danger of harm or destruction.
  • Establish an independent First Nations-led decision-making body that is responsible for dispute resolution and mediation, and for assessing who the right people to speak for Country are.

We will be making a more detailed submission to the Cultural Heritage Acts Review, which is open for submissions until 31 March 2022. Find out more here

You can support us and the protection of cultural heritage by uploading your submission using the online form here, or by emailing CHA_Review@dsdsatsip.qld.gov.au.

Media release: Wangan and Jagalingou people vow to protect country as Adani moves to ship coal: ‘Adani has never had our consent’

Please attribute all quotes to Adrian Burragubba, Nagana Yarrbayn Senior Elder and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodians.

On Opposition to Adani’s Mine

“Wangan and Jagalinagou people first said no to Adani’s mine in 2012, and we continue to say no. Adani has never had Free Prior and Informed Consent from the Wangan and Jagalingou people. 

“We will continue to resist Adani’s coal mine, practice our culture, and assert our human rights as the First Nations people of this country. We are not going away: this is our land and we have Human Rights.

“Wangan and Jagalingou people have been conducting the cultural ceremony Waddananggu for over 120 days on Wangan and Jagalingou country and Adani’s mining lease. This Ceremony will continue and our Human Rights to practice ceremony on country must be respected.

On Adani’s agreements

“The Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodians assert that we are the original ethnic people, currently in occupation of land on Moray Downs leasehold area, manifesting our cultural and religious practices protected under the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019.

“The Indigenous Land Use Agreement that Adani purports to have became invalid this week, by way of the Federal Court ruling removing the Native Title Party’s ability to approve the mining project.

“Without the approval from the Original Custodians, Adani is in violation of International Human Rights by segregating our people.

On Risks to Water 

“Adani’s draining of groundwater threatens to dry up the Doongmabulla Springs, a site that has sustained our people and all life in our country for millennia. 

We wrote to Queensland Environment Minister Scanlon on Adani’s breaches relating to water on the mine site. But the Minister refused to investigate and simply took Adani’s word for it, despite evidence of breaches of Queensland law. We need a full investigation into Adani’s extraction and management of water on the Carmichael mine site.

“Adani must tell us where it plans to get the vast quantities of water for the Carmichael mine, and what impacts this will have on sacred sites like the Doongmabulla Springs.

On Destruction of Cultural Heritage

This month, Adani bulldozed and blew up the site containing the highest concentration of artifacts ever found on Adani’s vast mining lease. The site was an ancient stone tool making area that our people utilised for thousands of years.  

“Every day that Adani keeps digging this mine, it is destroying thousands of years of our old people’s history without our consent. This cannot continue and is why we continue to resist and assert our human and cultural rights to defend our country.”

Timeline: 10 years of saying no – Wangan and Jagalingou people vs Adani’s coal mine

●  2012: Wangan and Jagalingou people vote against Adani mine for the first time

●  2014: Wangan and Jagalingou people vote against Adani mine for a second time

●  May 2015: Launch Federal court challenge against Adani’s Carmichael mine

●  May 2015 Launch Banks Declaration and world tour to meet with banks in USA and Europe 

●  March 2016: Wangan and Jagalingou people vote against Adani’s mine for a third time

●  April 2016: Criticise Adani’s sham meeting for an Indigenous Land Use Agreement

●  April 2016 File legal challenge against Adani mining leases

●  November 2016 File legal challenge to Adani’s sham Indigenous Land Use Agreement

●  October 2016 Meet with UN Special Rapporteur over Adani’s mine and human rights

●  June 2017 Federal Native Title Act Amended for Adani, removing Wangan & Jagalingou rights

●  December 2017: Wangan and Jagalingou people vote against Adani mine for a fourth time

●  September 2018: Apply to the Full Bench of the QLD Supreme Court for appeal against mine

●  November 2018: Tour South Korea to meet Adani investors: all rule out further investment

●  December 2018: Adani applies to QLD Supreme Court to bankrupt W&J Senior Leader

●  February 2019: Adani’s ‘attack dog’ legal strategy leaked to media, targets W&J people

●  August 2019 QLD government extinguishes W&J Native Title, handing land title to Adani

●  October 2019 Adani applies to QLD Supreme Court to block W&J people from country

●  August 2020 Wangan and Jagalingou people issue eviction notice to Adani

●  September 2020 W&J file complaint with QLD Human Rights Commission

●  April 2021 W&J requests QLD Government investigate Adani breach on mine site

●  August 2021 W&J people begin cultural ceremony on the mine site: Waddananggu

●  October 2021 W&J call on QLD Minister & Adani to stop destruction of cultural heritage site

●  November 2021 W&J people block BNY Mellon financing deal involving Carmichael mine

●  December 2021 Adani destroys W&J cultural heritage site, QLD Minister refuses to act.

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners release disturbing footage of Adani/Bravus security guards’ violent behavior

Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodians refute claims made in the media by Adani/Bravus CEO, Lucas Dow yesterday.  The Traditional Owners who continue to reoccupy an area of Adani/Bravus’ mining lease to conduct the Waddananggu ceremony say Adani/Bravus is waging a smear campaign against them, and using violent security guards and intimidation to attempt to remove the cultural group. They have also released footage they say Adani/Bravus does not want the public to see.

Wangan and Jagalingou man Coedie McAvoy says

“This is not a protest, this is not a protest camp. This is not about fossil fuel activism.This is a cultural ceremony called Waddananggu (‘the talking’). We are not disrupting work on the mine site. We have been performing ceremony for over 114 days now.  I am here legally under section 28 of the QLD human rights act. I am here practicing my culture and I am also here highlighting the destruction that Adani/Bravus is doing to our cultural heritage”.   

“Adani’s claims that we are here squatting illegally is completely fabricated, defamatory and disregards our human rights to be here. 

Adani is spreading blatant misinformation and using media outlets in a smear campaign attempt. They are trying to distract the public from the fact that they are the aggressor in our situation, their company is currently destroying our cultural heritage, including blowing up ancient artifact sites and dumping artifact material. 

“Adani and Lucas Dow seem to be trying to hide from the public the fact  that I am allowed to be here.  I am a Traditional Owner on my own Country. They are trying to kick me off my Country again,and they are using the media to try and kick me off my Country again, like they used the media to kick my old people off their homelands. Earlier this year QLD Police issued my father with a statement of regret after Adani/Bravus used the police to unlawfully remove us from a nearby pastoral lease.”

The Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodians say Adani CEO Lucas Dow’s comments in the media yesterday have nothing to do with the ceremony, and the ceremony will continue despite Adani’s attempts to disrupt it.

“Adani says that we are the minority. We are some of the few families left who hold the remaining language, songs, dances and stories, we hold the cultural sovereignty, so we must be given the right to practice our ceremonies and preserve what we have left. We have the right to conduct our ceremonies on any part of our Country that is legal for us to do so. We should also be given the right to conduct our cultural business in privacy, but there has been no privacy since the start.” Said Mr McAvoy. 

“Some of the ways that Adani tries to intimidate and interrupt us include: 

  • Adani’s security watches the ceremony camp and films us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from when we first arrived. This is not for their protection or for ours, they are doing this to try to interrupt us, intimidate us, spy on us and antagonise us to get footage for use in their attempt to smear our reputations. 
  • Flies helicopters and drone directly above the camp, intruding on our privacy, looking at people when they are half naked trying to get dressed.
  • Adani parks their ‘security’ cars so close to the ceremony camp that their headlights shine into our tents, keeping people awake.
  • Employees stalk ceremony participants up and down the public road, and routinely follow and harass young women as they walk or ride up the road. 
  • In one incident, Adani security unnecessarily drove right into the back of the camp early one morning and proceeded to film. When one Traditional Owner then stood in front of a vehicle to stop them from driving back through their private camp area, a security guard grabbed this young man with both of his hands,and put an arm around his neck (see photo). The Adani employees should not have used violence and should not be trying to escalate violence. They should not have set their hand on the young man, and they shouldn’t have been in the camp in the first place. 
Adani security assaults Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owner
  •  In another incident, I sat in a chair in front of a security vehicle in an attempt to stop the vehicle driving into the camp. Instead of staying still, or moving away from the area, the Adani employee drove the car into me” ( see video) 

“Adani violates the privacy of our ceremony camp, and impinges on our right to practice our culture unhindered. Our ceremony is over 1km from the coal mine, not 200m as an Adani CEO falsely stated in the media yesterday.  All interaction with security guards has been when they have come into our space, breached our privacy and made antagonistic moves to get a response from us, knowing that we have been here legally the whole time. Running people over and then saying you are there to keep them safe does not make sense”. 

“In another of Adani’s recent media statements, they falsely stated that we chartered a helicopter to deliver alcohol. The fact of the matter is that some of our visitors were stuck on the road to the Waddananggu camp, caught in between two flooded crossings for 5 days and we had to rescue them when they ran out of food and water, and get our groceries delivered due to flooding in the area. On the big stations out here, getting groceries delivered by helicopter is normal in wet season. Adani employees flew over our stranded friends and did not stop to check if they were ok. Their disregard for human life is disturbing. Adani tried to make a scandal over a box of vb. My view is that Queenslanders are not going to have a problem with people having beer. I don’t even drink it myself, though it is good for damper. No one is allowed to drink alcohol in the ceremony area. Meanwhile  Adani sells booze every day to their own workers. The’ve have had rape allegations, one or more deaths and a drug kingpin employee missing from the workers camp for nearly two months. It seems that Adani’s camp is the place where booze and unsafe behavior is common.” 

 “The real issue is that Adani don’t like us exercising our human rights to conduct our ceremony on our Country, and they don’t like people talking about how they are blowing up our cultural heritage sites, sending species extinct and damaging the sacred Doongmabulla Springs.”

ENDS

Video footage and images available here.

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Queensland Government gives Adani green light to blow up major Wangan and Jagalingou cultural heritage site

Media Release December 6: The Queensland Government has rejected a request from seven Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners to investigate a potential breach of the QLD Cultural Heritage Act and prevent destruction of Aboriginal cultural heritage, giving Adani the go-ahead to detonate and destroy the site with the highest concentration of ancient cultural artifacts found to date. See Sydney Morning Herald today.

Please attribute all quotes to Adrian Burragubba, Nagana Yarrbayn Senior Elder and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalinbgou Cultural Custodians.

“The Queensland government has allowed Adani to destroy an ancient Aboriginal cultural heritage site at its Carmichael mine, ignoring concerns raised by Traditional Owners. Adani bulldozed and blew up the site containing the highest concentration of artifacts ever found on Adani’s vast mining lease.

“The site was an ancient stone tool making area that our people utilised for thousands of years. These artifacts are a reminder of who we are – they must not be destroyed. Some artifacts have been collected, but thousands more have been blown up and bulldozed into piles. 

“With our lawyers, we requested the Queensland Government act to issue a stop work order and halt Adani’s destruction of our cultural heritage. 

“We provided evidence of a potential breach of Queensland Cultural Heritage Act, and requested the government investigate. 

“The Queensland Government has notified us it is refusing to investigate or act. They took Adani’s word for it, and allowed Adani to destroy ancient Aboriginal cultural heritage.

“Adani only plans to mine coal for 24 years, but is destroying ancient cultural sites that are thousands of years old.  

“This is the price that Wangan and Jagalingou people are paying for Adani’s coal: the permanent loss of our cultural heritage and destruction of cultural sites with thousands of artifacts made by our old people.

“Adani has an obligation to ensure excavation work does not harm Aboriginal cultural heritage. The Queensland government has an obligation to uphold the law: but says there is no evidence Adani has harmed or will have a significant adverse impact on our cultural heritage. In what universe is bulldozing and detonating an ancient cultural heritage site not harmful?   

“After Rio Tinto blew up Juukan Gorge, many thought things would change. Now Adani is blowing up ancient Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in Queensland. 

“Australia’s cultural heritage laws are broken and they must change. We are being denied our rights in shonky deals and a sham process. We must be given rights to veto the destruction of our cultural heritage. 

“We believe Adani has broken the law by breaching the Queensland Cultural Heritage Act. It is time for Adani to be held to account and stopped before it is too late. Since the Queensland Government is refusing to investigate and hold Adani accountable, we will seek to use our legal rights to do so.

“Adani’s destruction of our cultural heritage is a clear violation of our human rights to maintain and strengthen our distinctive spiritual, material and economic relationship with the land, and to conserve and protect the environment under the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019.

“Adani knew about the significance of this sacred site for years, but failed to inform Aboriginal people until the last minute, and pushed on to destroy the site when we spoke up. 

“The Chair of Adani’s Cultural Heritage Committee Patrick Malone made demands of Adani relating to the management of this site, including not to dump the artifacts at Red Hill. Adani appears to have ignored these requests. Now Adani has told the Queensland Government that Patrick Malone says the site has been “culturally cleared”, and acknowledges the artifacts are now at Red Hill. 

“The truth is that all Wangan and Jagalingou people have been excluded from knowledge and decision-making about this important site. We are devastated by its destruction by Adani on the say-so of one or two individuals.”

“Adani has to face the truth: they destroyed our cultural heritage. They didn’t care about it – they bulldozed and blew up our sacred site.

“Adani has only just started its mine, and has years of construction to go. But Adani’s management of Aboriginal cultural heritage is only resulting in devastating destruction and it cannot go on.”

Red Hill site where the artifacts have been dumped, against the initial request of archaeologists and the Chair of the Cultural Heritage Committee. November 2021.

Photos and footage

Traditional Owners reject Adani statement on destruction of cultural heritage

Day 72 of Waddananggu.

Today Adani/Bravus has made a public statement. This is the rebuttal.

According to Archeo, the Wangan and Jagalingou service provider, Adani has had full knowledge of the site since 2018 and had failed to inform the applicants until right before mitigation in August 2021. Leaving no room to object and only given a short period of 9 days to mitigate thousands of artefacts and only concentrating the site to a small area.

Adani failed to informed all applicants that this site was being demolished, only a select few applicants were informed and given the opportunity to retrieve our ancestor’s possessions. Adani failed to understand the cultural and spiritual significance of that site containing stone arrangements and the stories that were told for thousands of years from that site being used as a teaching place.

Adani was given instructions from Archeo that the site must be excavated to 1.5m deep. Adani then proceeded to use a “soft wheeled” excavator to remove 60cm of topsoil. No professional archaeological dig was undertaken.

Adani dug up our old people’s possessions for a mine and dumped those piles of topsoil filled with artefacts in an area then told our people they can sort it out there.

Adani/Bravus strong armed our people into picking up their ancestor’s belongings because they’ve signed a Cultural Heritage Management Plan they cannot veto any works no matter how significant the site is.

Just like when Adani strong armed our people when all 500+ Wangan and Jagalingou people said No to Adani In Rockhampton 2014, Anthony Lynham gave Adani the mining lease before an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) was signed.

Adani used that as leverage against our people by saying the Qld government had forcefully taken the mining lease. They then forced our people to sign an ILUA for three small blocks of property or the government will take that too and our people would have been left with no jobs and training.

No money, training or jobs have been given to the people that signed the ILUA since 2016.

The ILUA

The ILUA was not properly signed by 3 Native Title executives in 2016 and only signed by 1 which made the ILUA illegitimate and was brought to light in a 2019 federal court case but the judges were given instructions to disregard that finding as it was not ” relevant” to the court case.

A security for the 2016 Maryborough ILUA meeting working at the front door was given strict instructions to not let Adrian Burragubba in.

The 294 to 1 Maryborough ILUA vote was fabricated to make it seem as Adrian Burragubba was that “rogue” one. When in fact Adrian Burragubba along with over 200+ other Wangan and Jagalingou people boycotted the 2016 Maryborough meeting. We all agreed as one mob with 500+ people not to go back to Adani after we all said No in 2014.

We are not fossil fuel activists.

This is not a stunt.

We want our country back, and we will sit here until we force you to give it back.

Traditional Owners call on Queensland Government to stop Adani bulldozing major cultural site at coal mine

Adani is preparing to bulldoze a highly significant Wangan and Jagalingou cultural site at its Carmichael coal mine, just days after the Federal Government Inquiry into the destruction of the Juukan Gorge rock shelters recommended new laws to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage sites. The news broke on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald today.

The site is an ancient stone tool making area that Wangan and Jagalingou people utilised for thousands of years. It contains the highest concentrations of artefacts found on Adani’s mining lease to date.

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners have written to the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships calling on them to issue a stop work order for clearance works under Section 32 of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003.

Traditional Owners are worried Adani will destroy the site in the coming days. The site is 3000 cubic meters in volume, larger than an Olympic swimming pool. It is within Adani’s coal pit area, which is currently being dug as Adani advances towards exporting its first coal later this year.

Adani plans to bulldoze and remove material and artefacts from the cultural site and relocate it to another culturally important site. Traditional Owners are concerned that dumping of the artefacts would also contaminate the proposed relocation site and change its cultural significance. Adani’s relocation site is in an area earmarked for underground mining operations. There is a risk the land on this site will subside as underground mining takes place, making it unsuitable for safekeeping of cultural artefacts.

Today marks 60 days since Wangan and Jagalingou people commenced a cultural ceremony and occupation of land opposite the gates of Adani’s Carmichael mine, stating their clear and ongoing opposition to the destruction of land and water. The Queensland Police recently refused Adani’s requests to move the Traditional Owners on. Adani claims the group is trespassing, but Queensland police have acknowledged their cultural rights to be there under the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019.

Wangan and Jagalingou Senior Custodian Adrian Burragubba says

“Adani plans to desecrate and destroy sacred sites in the path of its coal mine. We’re upset and we want this to stop. This site cannot be allowed to be rolled over and crushed with bulldozers.

“It is our birthright to participate in the preservation and protection of our cultural heritage. Our family is being deliberately excluded from participating in the monitoring and recording of any disturbances of our artefacts. This denial and rejection of our right to our cultural identity is comparable with what the settler society did to our ancestors.

“These artefacts are a reminder of who we are. We don’t want Adani to desecrate and destroy this site. It contains generational history that is thousands of years old. In the absence of appropriate spiritual practices, the cultural integrity of these significant sites are being compromised.

“It is clear this site meets the definition of Aboriginal cultural heritage under section 8 of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) as it is a significant Aboriginal area, contains significant Aboriginal artefacts and is of archaeological significance. Hundreds of artefacts have already been collected, and thousands more remain – they cannot be destroyed.

“Adani has a cultural heritage duty of care under section 23 of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) to take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure excavation work does not harm Aboriginal cultural heritage. It is an offence to breach this duty of care and Adani and the Queensland government must act today.

“We want to protect our cultural heritage from this mine and from The Adani Group. Adani is disrespecting us and our authority as Traditional Owners. This is why we have been speaking up all these years. This is why we are on country now, where we have been having ceremony for the last 60 days.

“The Queensland Government must make a stop-work order immediately to reduce any further conflict and hold the mining company to account for what has already been done in treating our sacred sites with violent disrespect.”

Wangan and Jagalingou woman and registered Clermont Belyando native title applicant Lyndell Turbane says:

“This is very distressing for us. Adani is digging up our land, our artefacts, and our cultural history. Adani needs to stop the destruction of this site right now.

“This is a very significant cultural site. Something this significant should be brought to the Native Title applicants, so we can bring it back to talk to our families, not for a couple of people to sign away.

“We are being excluded from knowledge and decisions about our land. The destruction of this very significant cultural site is wrong – and it needs to stop now.”

Contact

Adrian Burragubba 0497 503 594
Lyndell Turbane 0487 296 028

Protect the sacred Doongmabulla Springs and uphold W&J human rights

Friends, 

Adani threatens our sacred Doongmabulla Springs with destruction. 

And as Adani drains and pollutes the underground water for its massive mining project, we have put the Environment Minister under fire. 

The Queensland Government is failing in its duty of care to guarantee the human rights of all Wangan & Jagalingou people.

We need your support!

Write to the minister now and urge her to meet with the Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians, to hear our concerns and take the actions we have requested.

I spoke to a solidarity rally of W&J supporters on 30 August, outside Qld Parliament, to raise the pressure on the Palaszczuk Government. See this Channel Nine news story.   

We are witnessing the rapid destruction of our land, water, and culture by Adani. 

The government is responsible for this, yet continues to ignore our calls for urgent action. We won’t be fobbed off.

The Environment Minister, the Hon. Meaghan Scanlon, has the power to stop work on Adani’s mine and order an independent investigation into the mounting threats to our sacred Doongmabulla Springs.

We are asking the Minister to show us proper respect and meet with us to hear our story and learn what’s happening on our country. 

Take action: let the Queensland government know you want them to work with W&J cultural custodians to protect the sacred Doongmabulla Springs and uphold W&J human rights.

Our lawyers are preparing legal challenges while we stand our ground on Country. The government must enforce environmental protection laws. 

But if the Government won’t act, we will take enforcement action ourselves.

Adani must stop work!

We’re the real custodians – we’re the ones who stand up and fight for our country and the survival of our people, our law, our culture and our language. That’s why we’re here. This is our life – we lay our life down for the law of the land.

This government hasn’t heard anything I’ve told them. They are acting at the behest of Adani. We asked them to stand with us and fight against this mining company – and all they did was gang up and fight against us.

Our human rights are threatened, right here and now.

We need your support to bring legal challenges to protect the water and defend our human rights

Hear about the Nagana Yarrbayn cultural custodians, and protecting the water, in our latest video.

“We manifest our culture. Nagana Yarrbayn, that’s who we are. We’re the cultural custodians.”

We are present on Country, at the edge of Adani’s coal mine, to conduct a ceremony called Waddananggu – which means ‘the talking’. We are making ceremony here. We’re making peace with the old people, calling the ancestors to come in and protect us from this destruction.

Learn about the Waddananggu ceremony in this new video.  

We have set up a stone Bora ring and ceremonial ground opposite Adani’s mine and are asserting our human rights, as Wangan and Jagalingou First Nation people, to practice culture.

We will remain on Country for as long as it takes to protect our ancestral homelands, including the sacred Doongmabulla Springs, from Adani’s destruction. 

You are invited to join us and show your support.

Come to witness Waddananggu – ‘the talking’ – and stand with us to protect our human rights to practice ceremony and culture, and protect our homelands.

Our fight is long and we still need your support. 

Please donate to support the work of the W&J Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians.

And learn more about what we’ve been doing by visiting our website and FaceBook page

Yours for Country. 

Adrian Burragubba

Wangan and Jagalingou tribal leader

Nagana Yarrbayn senior cultural custodian

Waddananggu Celebration

One year of Reoccupation

Everyone is invited and welcome to join us on Wangan and Jagalingou Country, to celebrate one year of reoccupation at Waddananggu and learn about the power and significance of reoccupying land to protect Culture.

From 22nd to 26th August we’ll be celebrating with ceremonies, workshops, speakers and music at Waddananggu!

You can also travel to Waddananggu at any time outside of the celebration dates. Register here

Waddamuli (Hello)

ngadyu narri coedie (My name is coedie)

Ngaya Waddana Ngadyu yamba nani mundu (I am speaking from my homelands)

Yinda Daga-gu Yina Banna (You need to come here)

Gundarrana Ngaligu Binda (We’re fighting to live.)

I’m asking every man and woman to come to my homelands to join me and my family at Waddananggu – ‘The Talking’. Waddananggu is an evolving and multifaceted ceremony.

We have set up a stone Bora ring and ceremonial ground opposite Adani’s mine and are asserting our human rights as Wangan and Jagalingou people to practice culture.

Come to witness Waddananggu – ‘the talking’ – and stand with us to protect our human rights to practice ceremony and culture, and protect our homelands.

ngali yinda banna, yumbaba-gi. (We need you, to be heard.)

Coedie – Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodian

Media Contact:

Media can contact 0448 745 850 or wanganandjagalingousog@gmail.com

Call to action – demand a Stop Work on Adani mine

NEWSLETTER

Tuesday 20 JULY 2021

Friends, I need your support.

Today I have written to the Honourable Meaghan Scanlon MP, Minister for the Environment, to call for an immediate stop work order on construction of the Carmichael mine.

I have asked her to intervene and support our human rights by ensuring that our lands and waters, and our sacred Doongmabulla Springs, are protected from Adani.

You can help strengthen our demands.

Please write to Minister Scanlon expressing your support for the W&J cultural custodians and our call for immediate action to protect our sacred Doongmabulla Springs

Email her at environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au – and please Cc us at wanganandjagalingousog@gmail.com so we can see your messages too.

The Queensland Government has so far failed to address our call for urgent action. We have raised the dire warning about the threat to our sacred springs – a place of profound cultural heritage to us. We fear that the very large volume of water extraction by Adani that is now evident has already locked in future environmental damage to our sacred site

The Department of Environment and Science concluded its investigation into our complaint with “no further action will be taken”, despite the evidence we provided about the harm being done to the Doongmabulla Springs.

Adani continues to act with impunity and our lands and waters are in peril. 

We have raised many times that the Adani mine breaches our human rights, as there was no free, prior, and informed consent for the issuing of the mining leases and that our lands and waters are in peril. 

The Government is now responsible for the terrible impacts occurring on our Country and to our sacred sites. 

You can help us change this. We have asked the Minister to meet with us and ensure four things happen. Let her know you support –

  1. A ‘Stop Work’ on the mine until our sacred Doongmabulla Springs are protected
  2. Independent verification of the results of the department’s investigation into our complaint
  3. A comprehensive, independent, scientific review to help protect the water and the springs
  4. The right of our cultural custodians’ group to hold Adani to account for its destruction of our lands and waters

We must act urgently! The very large volume of water being extracted by Adani is locking in future environmental damage to our sacred site. This can only get worse. 

Please donate to support the work of the W&J Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians.

We know from experience and history that the consequences for our people will be severe, causing ongoing loss of connection to Country and to our culture, intergenerational trauma, grief, and psychological harm.

Our culture is inseparable from our lands and waters, including groundwater. Where the groundwater flows to the surface, at the Doongmabulla Springs, is our most sacred site. Mining our land and extracting our groundwater denies us our right to enjoy, maintain and protect our culture and traditional stories. 

We need you to help ensure that we are not subjected to forced destruction of our culture. We are building new legal arguments to defend our human rights and protect the water. Please help us in this work.

We need your support to bring new legal challenges to defend our human rights. 

With your support we will pursue all avenues to protect our cultural rights and our lands and waters.

To see more about the W&J cultural custodians and how we are standing our ground, visit our website and FaceBook page

Yours for Country. 

Adrian Burragubba

Wangan and Jagalingou tribal leader

& W&J Nagana Yarrbayn senior cultural custodian

Help us bring new legal challenges to protect our lands and waters, and defend our human rights

NEWSLETTER

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Friends, this is NAIDOC week – and the theme of events this year is ‘Heal Country’. But for us, healing Country won’t happen while Adani accelerates the destruction of our lands and waters, and the Government aids and abets them.

We have seen the destruction that the operations of the Carmichael Coal Mining Project are already causing in our Country, and we are angered by the Queensland Government’s failure to address our call for urgent action. 

We have never given our free, prior, informed consent to this mine. Everything authorised by Governments and carried out by Adani is in breach of our human rights. We have called for an immediate halt to the construction of the mine.  

We are the cultural custodians, but are denied our right to protect our heritage and environment and practice our culture. 

We will always stand strong to defend our human rights, our Country and our culture from interference by people like Adani, who have no respect for our laws and customs and who are harming the land.

And we still need your support. Help us mount the next stage of our resistance as we take our fight for our human rights to the next level. 

Please donate to support the work of the W&J Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians.

Damage to the environment is damage to our Country and culture, and is a breach of our human rights as First Nations people. 

We are taking action to prevent the destruction of our sacred Doongmabulla Springs. We need your support to bring new legal challenges to protect our lands and waters, and defend our human rights.

Adani and their Government backers can’t be trusted with our people’s cultural heritage. Our role as cultural custodians derives from our laws and customs and our specific relationship to our Ancestor Dreaming. We must protect our sacred springs and the water that nourishes our lives and our culture.

Help us maintain a permanent presence on Country, to fulfil our cultural obligations to protect the land and bring up our young people, thus safeguarding the future of our Dreaming stories. 

No one will suffer more if the Galilee Basin is truly opened up for coal, than our people.

We have seen the way governments and mining corporations disregard Aboriginal cultural heritage. Right now, Adani has a license to destroy our culture and Country. 

We take our cultural and custodial obligations seriously and have proven over a decade that attacks on our Country, our people and our rights will be met with unflinching resistance. Our right to maintain and strengthen our distinctive spiritual, material, and economic relationship with our land and waters is protected under Queensland’s Human Rights Act and this is a right we will continue to assert.

We need your support to bring new legal challenges to defend our human rights. 

We will pursue all legal avenues to protect our cultural rights, which are supported in international law, and are now recognised under Queensland’s Human Rights Act.

And we are planning further actions.

Please sign on to our pledge to receive important updates and information on actions you can take.

And please donate to support the work of our Cultural Custodians to protect our cultural heritage.

Yours for Country. 

Adrian Burragubba

Wangan and Jagalingou tribal leader

W&J Nagana Yarrbayn senior cultural custodian