A Federal Court appeal against Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has been called ‘shambolic’ and confused.
The lawyers for the indigenous Wangan and Jagalingou people have been accused of a chaotic approach to their case claiming Adani committed fraud, according to The Chronicle.
They are challenging a Native Title Tribunal decision to allow the mine the face of indigenous objection.
Judge John Reeves said the group, working for indigenous representative Adrian Burragubba, has been altering their submissions to the case under questioning.
Altered submissions were put forth on Monday, however they somn changed the submission once it came under questioning by the judge, government, and Adani.
"(This was) a shambolic almost process we were engaging before lunch with you chopping and changing every question," Reeves said.
"Now you're doing it again."
Lawyers for Burragubba also changed the crux of their case, moving from claiming Adani committed fraud by apparently inflating job numbers, instead saying their action was “conduct analogous to fraud”.
They also accused the tribunal of ignoring evidence that the coal mine could destroy sacred indigenous sites.
This is not the first time the mine has faced court.
In early August the mine’s future was in doubt following its environmental approvals being overturned in the Federal Court.
In a case led by the Mackay Conservation Group, represented by the Environmental Legal Centre EDO NSW, Federal Court justice Anna Katzman set aside the federal approval granted on 24 June 2014.
Principal solicitor Sue Higginson said the decision was based on a failure by federal environment minister Greg Hunt to regard conservation advice about two endangered species, the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.
“The conservation advices were approved by the Minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland,” she said.
“The law requires that the Minister consider these conservation advices so that he understands the impacts of the decision that he is making on matters of National Environmental Significance, in this case the threatened species.”
Carmichael developer Adani Mining said the reason for the federal court decision was based on a technicality.
Due to this apparent technicality the appeal was overturned, with the mine getting the greenlight.
At the time the Wangan and Jagalingou people voiced their outrage, which led to this current court case.
“Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s re-approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine is a travesty which the Traditional Owners of Queensland’s Galilee Basin, the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people, say is indicative of the Federal Government’s dogged attempts to breathe life into a project that should be abandoned,” the Traditional Owners Council said.
“Our ancient lands are no playground for coal giants. We will keep fighting for our rights and our culture until this project dies and becomes an ugly memory,” Adrian Burragubba, a W&J leader and spokesperson for the Traditional Owners Council, said.
“The W&J people have twice rejected a Land Use Agreement with Adani for the Carmichael coal mine on their land in the Galilee, and have mounted their own separate Federal Court action to stop the mine proceeding. The case goes to a hearing on November 23 and 24,” he said.
“This disastrous project didn’t have our consent before Minister Hunt reissued his approval, and it doesn’t have it now.”
The case has been adjourned to December 10.