We just took on the world

Stop Destroying Our Land

Below is an update from Adrian Burragubba and Murrawah Johnson, on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou people -- Traditional Owners of land in Queensland where multi-billion dollar company Adani wants to build their Carmichael coal mine.


We're back from a tour of five countries in which we met many international banks, and made contact with First Nations people fighting similar fights to our own. It's been three months since the Wangan and Jagalingou launched our campaign to stop Adani from devastating our ancestral lands with their Carmichael mega mine.


When we first asked you to stand with us back in late March, we were overwhelmed by the flood of support we received. Tens of thousands of Australians and their friends and families stood with us to support our rights as Traditional Owners. Since then our fight to preserve our culture has literally taken us around the world.

Our three-week world tour included parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. Our main purpose was to visit some of the world's biggest investment banks, and urge them to rule out providing the billions of dollars that Adani still requires to fund the project.

Senior executives from Goldman Sachs, Citi, Bank of America, US EXIM, Standard Chartered, UBS and Credit Suisse all met with us to hear our story and learn of our struggle. We explained who Wangan and Jagalingou are, and what we risk losing from Adani's mine. We shared a little of our culture with them, explaining how Adani's mine will tear through our song lines and poison our water - the lifeblood of our country.

We appealed to their sense of decency and their responsibilities as signatories to the Equator Principles. We made it very clear we have never given our free, prior and informed consent to Adani's mine. And never will. We will not allow this mine to destroy our environment and our heritage, or stay quiet in the face of a gross violation of our rights as Indigenous people.

All the meetings were positive, respectful, and at times, emotional. Our stories of our grandparents and their ancestors on country, the way we grew up knowing who we are and where we come from, what's at stake for the future of our people -- and the importance of our land and especially water to the transmission of our culture and the ability to pass on our ancient legacy to our children -- showed the human side of the banks' investment decisions.

Now that all these banks have heard our side of the story, Adani's chances of financing Australia's biggest coal mine are looking increasingly remote.

In between lobbying financiers, we had the opportunity to meet with other First Nation's people fighting to protect their ancestral lands from environmentally-destructive projects. They expressed solidarity with us and reminded us that our fight is a universal one 'because we're all indigenous to Mother Earth'.

It was especially gut-wrenching to share time with the Athabasca Chipewyan in Alberta, Canada. Their country is being devastated by tar sands production on a scale and a rate that we could similarly confront if Adani mining has their way. We were inspired by their strong resistance and heart felt desire to protect their lands and uplift their people.

We were able to do all this thanks to the generous support of thousands of people who recognise, as we do, that some things are more valuable than money. People who recognise that the destruction of our land would essentially mean the destruction of us as a people. Our land is where our culture and our laws and customs reside. It represents the legacy of our ancestors, and the future of our children.

Thank you for being one of those who stood up for our rights.

Our fight is far from over, Adani are still deploying their massive wealth and legal power against us. But we'll tell them again as we have told them before - No means No. Right now we are taking them on in the courts.

Hearings have commenced in the Federal Court as we push to overturn the decision of the Native Title Tribunal, in favour of Adani, to allow the State to issue mining leases against our expressed opposition. If you can give any further support to our legal fighting fund it would be greatly appreciated.

Click here to donate: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/donate/

The more people who stand with us, the closer we get to achieving our goal of preserving our ancestral land, and the laws, culture and traditional wisdom that resides in that land.

People all around the globe know who Wangan and Jagalingou are now, and support our struggle. That means the world to us.

Adrian Burragubba and Murrawah Johnson,
on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council

PS - You can watch some highlights from our world tour here: https://youtu.be/pBHT3-DeAXw. Please share it with your friends and family!  



UPDATE: Is Abbot Point on the brink of collapse?


It's been a massive couple of weeks in the fight to protect the Great Barrier Reef from Adani's Abbot Point coal port and Carmichael coal mine. Things are moving fast, so here's a quick update on the latest.

Mining giant Adani's plan to build the massive Abbot Point coal terminal on the Reef, dredge millions of tonnes of seabed in Reef waters and build Australia's largest ever coal mine is starting to look shaky. Really shaky.

Investors are walking away, Adani's lies are beginning to crumble and they've just taken a hammering in court.

We're getting to crunch time, but Queensland Minister for Mines Anthony Lynham could be emerging as Adani's unlikely saviour. Can you contact Minister Lynham's office now and tell him to withdraw his support for Adani's coal project?

The events in the days leading up to Lynham's statement have been enormous. Here's everything you need to know:

Adani halted all construction work:
Last Friday, Adani told its contractors to immediately stop all preliminary work on the project. It looked for a fleeting moment like they might be getting ready to abandon the port and mine all together. Instead, it now appears to be a high stakes, desperate move to pressure the Queensland Government into fast-tracking approvals and providing the mining company with favourable conditions.1

UNESCO put the Reef on its watch list:
Last night UNESCO narrowly avoided listing the Reef as 'in-danger' but the diagnosis wasn't pretty. The Reef is suffering, only getting worse and UNESCO has put our Government on a short-leash when it comes to protecting our precious icon.2

Despite the Federal Government spending huge sums of money to convince us the Reef is in great health, we know the reality is much bleaker. We need to do so much more to protect it from climate change, declining water quality and coastal development. Not building a giant coal port on the Reef coast would be a great start.

Adani Treasury scandal:
Explosive documents exposed under Freedom of Information show that former Premier Campbell Newman and former Planning Minister Jeff Seeney had ignored advice from its own Treasury who repeatedly warned them Adani's project was unbankable.3

Incredibly, instead of heeding the advice, Minister Seeney's department uninvited Treasury from a meeting with Adani before signing a deal to give the mining company $450 million.

Even for the previous Newman Government and Adani, this is a new low.

But is Queensland Labor Adani's new saviour?
Unbelievably, it seems that a Minister from the new Labor Government -- elected on a mandate of protecting the Reef and stamping out murky mining deals -- looks to be Adani's saviour.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham -- even after learning the project is an economic disaster -- has come out in support of the monstrous port and mine.

It just doesn't make sense. It will hurt the Reef. It will produce more carbon pollution than many entire countries. The mine may never be built, and even if it is analysts say it's unlikely to ever turn a profit.

Eleven major investment banks have vowed not to fund the project. Adani face numerous legal challenges, including ones funded by GetUp members. India and China don't want our expensive imported coal.4,5 Adani still don't have State or Federal approvals for the mine and they still don't have an approved plan for dredging millions of tonnes of World Heritage Area seabed.

But, so long as Mines Minister Anthony Lynham continues to pledge his support, Adani's mission to build Abbot Point will stay alive.

It's never been more important to place pressure on the Queensland Government than it is right now. If we can convince Minister Lynham this project is too toxic to touch we could be on the verge of a truly historic victory.

Can you book a time to call Minister Lynham's office right now?

Calling the office of a politician might sound a bit scary, but it's actually not so daunting. We'll talk you through how your call is likely to go, provide some talking points and the phone call will be all done in a couple of minutes.

There has maybe never been a more important time to take action for the Reef than right now. For the first time, victory could be within our sights. We are closer to saving the Great Barrier Reef from Abbot Point and the Carmichael mine than we've ever been before.

But we're not there yet. Can you be part of the push to make the Queensland Government walk away from Adani for good? https://www.getup.org.au/stop-abbot-point

Let's do this. And thank you for everything.

Sam R and Adam, for the GetUp team

[1] Adani halts work on Australia's largest mine amid political dispute over approvals. Sydney Morning Herald. June 24, 2015.
[2] Great Barrier Reef: World Heritage Committee decides against declaring reef as 'in danger'. ABC Online. July 2, 2015.
[3] Adani Mining: Senior Queensland bureaucrats frozen out of government's Galilee Basin deal. ABC Online. July 1, 2015
[4] The End of Coal? ABC 4 Corners, June 16, 2015.
[5] China to cut coal consumption. Australian Mining, March 9 2015.


GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now!

Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.



Authorised by Sam Mclean, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.