Adani’s contentious mine site access deal with traditional owners has won the Adanifrom native title authorities, months before a federal court ruling on whether the agreement is valid.
The National Native Title Tribunal on Friday registered Adani’s Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J), which is critical to gaining finance for the huge Carmichael coalmine.
The ILUA represents the Indigenous consent without which major banks will not back resources projects.
It also paves the way for the state to permanently extinguish native title rights over 2,750 hectares of the W&J’s ancestral homelands in the Galilee Basin.
But it comes amid growing doubts about Adani’s ability to clinch investors for the $22 billion project, after China’s biggest banks joined a list of 27 financiers who have ruled out any involvement.
Traditional owners opposing Adani implored the re-elected Palaszczuk Government to drop its backing of the ILUA.
Adrian Burragubba, a member of the W&J native title applicant group, which is split down the middle on the Adani mine, also called on the government to “give assurances” it would not move to wipe out native title at Adani’s request.
“We ask the government to take their hands off the ILUA, to not be a party to it,” he told the ABC.
“Also, to give us an assurance that they won’t go for compulsory acquisition.
“It’s very doubtful a Labor government would put themselves in that position.
“We are trying to save our native title rights. We don’t want that area to be extinguished for any reason.”
The mine opponents have already filed a federal court bid for an injunction against Adani and the government if they move to extinguish native title.
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Irene Simpson, who was instrumental in reviving the deal with Adani last year, is now employed as an Indigenous engagement officer by the mining giant.
Mr Burragubba said this was “certainly” a conflict of interest.
He said Ms Simpson had “reached out to Adani personally” to re-establish negotiations “to put the ILUA back on the table” after the W&J claim group rejected the miner in 2012 and 2014.
Ms Simpson did not respond to the ABC this week.
An Adani jobs roadshow with contractor Downer, which Ms Simpson was to attend next week in Townsville and Palm Island, was cancelled without explanation on Thursday.
Adani and its W&J supporters say the mine was authorised by 294 votes to one in a meeting in April last year in Maryborough.
Another authorisation meeting held last week rejected the ILUA.
The W&J Adani opponents have enlisted high-profile barrister Stephen Keim for their legal challenge.
The tribunal decision to register the ILUA represented a backflip after months of pressure from Adani.
The tribunal was originally going to wait for the outcome of the federal court trial in March.
But Adani’s lawyers argued it was the same situation when the Queensland mining minister and the environment department were able to approve its licenses, despite pending legal challenges.