Mr Cameron Costello
Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation
8 June, 2014
I write to you and the board of QYAC on behalf of the FOSI committee and all our members to support the commencement, last Friday, of QYAC’s High Court challenge to the Newman government’s amendments to the 2011 North Stradbroke legislation.
FOSI confirms its strong opposition to the November 2013 amendments because they permit the further expansion of sand mining at the Enterprise mine by abolishing the 2011 restricted mine path and also allowing mining to extend into ML 1120. In addition, FOSI strongly opposes the Newman amendments because they are designed to permit, in 2019, sand mining leases at Enterprise mine to be extended again – until 2035.
As an environment group committed to the protection of the island’s landscape and its diverse flora and fauna, we applaud QYAC for its High Court challenge. We appreciate that, in addition to environmental concerns, QYAC is motivated by the need to protect the cultural heritage of all native title owners and their rights and interests over the land currently under mining lease.
We also are aware that, consistent with the Federal court orders of 4 July, 2011, the native title rights and interests are exercisable on the expiry of the mining leases. Any expansion or extension of sand mining beyond the restricted area or time limits legislated in April 2011 obviously substantially interferes with these rights and interests by degrading the land and/or postponing, for years, the rights and interests.
We realise that standing up to a State government is not an easy task. No doubt there will be critics. However, the 2011 extension was the result of special, legislated renewal of expired leases which bypassed usual processes and extinguished the pre-existing legal rights of organisations and individuals opposed to any renewal. Legal advice indicated that there were good prospects of overturning expired lease renewals under existing legislation. Rest assured that FOSI fully supports QYAC in its endeavor to have the High
Court declare the Newman government amendments to be invalid. FOSI agrees that there should be no further extension of the Enterprise mine beyond 31 December, 2019.
Sue Ellen Carew