Global Change Flagship Projects

14 Jun 2017

Report released today: 12 June 2017. 'Unfinished Business: Adani, the State and the Indigenous Rights Struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council'.

Kristen Lyons, Associate Professor, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland
Morgan Brigg, Senior Lecturer, School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland
John Quiggin, Professor, School of Economics, The University of Queensland

Tomorrow the Australian Senate will debate amendments to the Native Title Act, driven by reaction to a recent Federal Court decision, and embroiled in the controversy surrounding the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine Project.

This report by senior researchers from the University of Queensland raises issues that are crucial to the important and timely debate about native title and the rights of Indigenous peoples in Australia and around the world.

The report describes the collision of the Adani mining project with the unwavering resistance of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council who have deployed a multifaceted strategy to fight against the destruction that would befall their country by the “opening up” of the Galilee Basin.

The story of their fight against governmental and corporate power is an important cautionary tale highlighting the implications for Australian society of the unfinished business between the state and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The report includes a foreword by Martin Wagner, Managing Attorney, International Program, Earthjustice

The Global Change Institute has announced the first of two new Flagship Projects, valued at up to $120,000 over two years: 10 November 2016

Flagship Projects cut across disciplinary and thematic boundaries at The University of Queensland, demanding new ways of thinking.

The GCI’s first Flagship Project involves investigators from UQ’s School of Social Science; the School of Political Science and International Studies; and School of Economics.

Other project partners include:

The project – ‘We Are The People From That Land: Centring Indigenous peoples’ rights in the transition to a sustainable, low carbon future’ – will explore the international Indigenous movement that is re-imagining human rights and social and economic development in the global era of scarce water resources, climate change and energy transition.

Spokesperson for the W&J Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson said the project would explore the importance of cultural collaborations and knowledge in Indigenous human rights.

“This is a great opportunity for the Wangan and Jagalingou people to chart a new path to justice and sustainability, and to social and economic opportunities in the transition to a low-carbon world,” Ms Johnson said

“The project will help shape a shared understanding of how to sustain our lands and waters and enrich our culture, and build our futures on this.

“It will address Indigenous rights in the context of domestic and International human rights law.”

The new Flagship Project was backed by long-time Global Change Institute supporter Dr Graeme Wood.

Dr Wood said the Wangan and Jagalingou council leaders were ‘forging new ground’ in our understanding of Indigenous rights in Australia in the transition to a low carbon and just future.

Recently published article in The Guardian, "Adani Carmichael mine opponents join Indigenous climate change project" focuses on the first Flagship project. Associate Professor Kristen Lyons has also written a piece in The Conversation "Australia's coal politics are undermining democratic and Indigenous rights"

Dr Nina Hall, Program Manager – GCI Sustainable Water, Phone: (07) 3443 3104,
Associate Professor Kristen Lyons, UQ School of Social Science,