Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Native Title Bill on Table Today; If Bill Is Not Passed, Adani Carmichael Coal Could Be Held Up for Another Three Years

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Native Title Bill on Table Today; If Bill Is Not Passed, Adani Carmichael Coal Could Be Held Up for Another Three Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Kerri-Anne Mesner kerri-anne.mesner@capnews.com.au

A BILL that is the first step to amending the Native Title Act is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives today.

The 'relatively short bill' has been presented to the Attorney General George Brandis who requested his department prepare it after a decision handed down recently by the full Federal Court rendered more than 100 Indigenous land use agreements invalid.

The court decision impacts the $22 billion Adani Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail project along with 108 others in Queensland and 126 in total across Australia.

On February 1, the Federal Court in Western Australia rejected a $1.3 billion native title deal with the local Indigenous people because some representatives did not sign off on it.

The Central Queensland project had seen 12 formal native title applicants of the Wangan and Jagalingou split seven to five over an agreement with Adani.

A formal "authorisation meeting" last year voted 294-1 to endorse the agreement.

Mr Brandis had expected to be handed the bill by his department on Monday afternoon.

"The legislation is being prepared and it's in a position to be introduced into the Parliament this week," he said.

The Morning Bulletin understands the bill has been approved by Liberal National Party members and will be put parliament today.

"Whether it can be passed through the Parliament quickly or whether there's delay is now entirely in the hands of the Federal Labor Party," Mr Brandis said.

"The Queensland Government, where most of these projects are at risk of being held up, has called upon the Federal Labor Party to work with the government to pass this bill. They haven't ruled it out, but they haven't committed to it either. So once again I'm calling on Mr Shorten and Mr Dreyfus, the Shadow Attorney-General, to cooperate with the government and to pass the bill swiftly."

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Labor recognised the concerns expressed by indigenous groups, industry and different levels of government over this court ruling, which has the potential to impact not only resource projects but also the designation of new national parks. …

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