Court dismisses Aboriginal appeal against Carmichael mine

A GROUP of traditional owners opposed to the Adani mine have left the door open to take their fight over native title to the nation's highest court.

Yesterday, the full bench of the Federal Court rejected the Wangan and Jagalingou people's bid to overturn the Adani indigenous land use agreement between the mine and the State Government, which permanently extinguished the rights of the traditional owners.

Lawyer Colin Hardie, who represents the five members of the group, including activist Adrian Burragubba, said they were yet to decide whether there were grounds to appeal.

The ruling confirmed the single-judge decision handed down in The Federal Court last year, where Justice John Reeves found the challengers' arguments had no merit.

The group, including Delia Kemppi, activist Adrian Burragubba and three others, claimed in their appeal the land use agreement was not valid because Adani had paid money to those recruiting Aboriginal people to attend meetings where traditional owners would decide on the crucial mining deal.

The traditional owners argued there were about 200 people who attended the meeting to vote on the mine who had not pre-registered or were not known by elders at the meeting.

They also argued some who voted on the mine were not verified as native title holders through rigorous identification and genealogy checks.

In their appeal, they challenged two steps leading to the registration of the Adani ILUA.

The group claimed Justice Reeves did not correctly interpret the Native Title Act and Adani's ILUA did not provide a "complete description" of the area of land in which native title would be surrendered.

In the decision handed down yesterday, the full bench of the court found there was a "complete description of the boundaries" of the area.

Adani said in a statement it welcomed the decision.

"This continuing court action has been pursued by a very small minority of the W&J people,"the statement said.

"The majority of W&J people support the development of the mine and the vote to accept the ILUA reflected this."


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