Federal parliament has passed changes to native title law, removing legal uncertainties surrounding development of Adani’s $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.
The amendment aims to resolve uncertainty around the Carmichael development as well as about 120 other land use agreements relating to major resources projects. The amended bill passed the Senate yesterday, and then received final approval in the lower house.
It was made in response to the McGlade judgment in the Federal Court on February 1, which held that all named applicants on a registered native title claim must sign Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) as a condition precedent to its registration.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) applauded both sides of politics for working together to pass the amendments, which returned the status quo to all Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) – “protecting hundreds of mining and petroleum leases, national parks and other infrastructure.”
“These amendments alone protect thousands of jobs as well as the economic security for many Queenslanders,” the QRC stated.
However, traditional owners, who continue to fight Adani’s proposed coal mine, expressed profound disappointment at the amendments to the Native Title Act.
“Adani’s problems with the Wangan and Jagalingou people are not solved this week. The trial to decide the fate of Adani’s supposed deal with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners is scheduled for the Federal Court in March 2018,” senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council Adrian Burragubba said.
“Our people are the last line of legal defence against this mine and its corrosive impact on our rights, and the destruction of country that would occur.
“Senator Brandis has been disingenuous in prosecuting his argument for these changes to native title laws, while the hands of native title bureaucrats and the mining lobby are all over the outcome.”
Earlier this month, Adani confirmed it would start work on the development in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Pre-construction work on the project is expected to begin in the September quarter.
The company believes the project will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, though opponents have challenged that claim.