Friday, May 29, 2015

To campaign against Adani coal project, Australian natives will meet bankers in New York, London, Zurich, Hong Kong

By Our Representative
Has the Adani Group finally managed to win an important battle against those who are opposed to the Australian dollars 16.5 billion coalmining project in Queensland province? If the latest statement by a spokesperson of the indigenous people, who have been opposing the coalmines on the land which they claim is theirs, is any indication, they seem to be fighting a losing battle.
In his statement, spokesperson Murrawah Johnson accused “state and federal governments” of Australia for “trampling” upon traditional people’s “rights and interests” by approving the mine. All this happened, he admitted, even as "Adani tried to divide and conquer after we rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement.” Meanwhile, he added, “Australia’s Native Title Tribunal has dispossessed us, saying the mining leases may go ahead.”
“Vowing” to fight the setback they have suffered, the indigenous people’s organization announced at a press conference in Brisbane that their organization Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Family Council, announced launching of the Federal Court challenge to Adani Carmichael mine. The W&J spokesperson added, the indigenous group will simultaneously undertake what he said a “world banks tour to block finance” to the project.
“If the mine goes ahead, the W&J’s vast traditional lands and their ancient connection to country would be disappeared forever”, the indigenous people’s organization declared. Putting up brave face against the backdrop of the setback, W&J Traditional Owner Adrian Burragubba told mediapersons said the new campaign was being built “to make sure Carmichael never gets built.”
“First, we announce that we have filed an appeal and judicial review in the Federal Court of Australia. This court action challenges the decision of Australia’s National Native Title Tribunal that the Queensland government may issue mining leases for Carmichael. This challenge is unprecedented in the history of Native Title Tribunal decisions. If necessary, we will take our case all the way to the High Court”, Burragubba said.
And, since the Adani mine needs “billions of dollars of finance if it is to ever go ahead”, said Burragubba, “we also announce that in 48 hours, on Sunday, May 31, we will embark a world tour to hold high-level talks with investment banks on Wall Steet, in European finance capitals, and in Asia.”
“We will communicate to the banks that we do not consent to Carmichael, and the reasons we cannot allow this mine to go ahead. We will remind them that any bank that funds Carmichael will be breaching important human rights principles to which they are signatory; principles requiring that projects that affect Indigenous Owners have their consent. We’ll urge them to honour their obligations and commit to ruling out funding,” Burragubba said.
The places they will visit, according to the programme announced by the spokesperson, include New York where they will meet officials of investment banks Goldman Sachs and Citi, Bank of America; Washington DC, where they will meet officials of US Export Import Bank; London, where they will meet officials of Standard Chartered; Zurich where they will meet investment banks UBS and Credit Suisse; and Hong Kong, where they will meet officials of HSBC.

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