We Suspect Silence

What you don't say and what you don't do will define you.

Tag: Adani

Digging into Adani’s Dealings: A learning journey into right to information applications with the Queensland government

Event:

December 10, 2018 at Turnstyle Community Hub from 4pm till 6pm

This event is in Brisbane. Check this link for details of the venue.

Description:

Anyone can make a right to information application with the Queensland government, and some people can get information released with minimal cost if they are experiencing financial hardship. If Adani don’t try to hold up my application I will receive a disclosure document on December 10.

Come along next Monday afternoon for an informal discussion about how ordinary people, putting their heads together, can work to liberate information about the Queensland state government’s dealings with Adani.

If a disclosure is provided to me on December 10, I will make it available to anyone who attends. The disclosure will be made publicly available by the Department of State Development who coordinate the Adani projects a week later. The first week is a crucial time for analysing an RTI disclosure and creating opportunities in the media to share new and possible explosive information.

Here is the disclosure listing: RTI1819-036-DSDMIP https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/right-to-information/disclosure-log-released-information.html

Background information: ‘Plan B, Separable Portion 1 and the new Adani proponent’ https://wesuspectsilence.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/plan-b-separable-portion-1-and-the-new-adani-proponent/

In detail:

I was able to get some support from the Environmental Defender’s Office Queensland in preparing my RTI application. EDO Qld were able to identify the relevant legislation and framed the crucial language that forms the most important element of an RTI application. Key words and terms determine the searches of departmental documents and communications conducted in response to an RTI application.

On December 10, 2018 the Queensland Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning will either provide me with up to 215 pages of correspondence relating to the change of proponent for the North Galilee Basin Rail Project and the addition of a new proponent for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, or they will inform me of an extension of time for consultation with a third party (Adani). The information I am seeking is significant because the new proponent is the subject of multiple approvals that could be described as being ‘stealthed’ through by multiple Queensland government departments. The new proponent is one of the Adani shell companies mentioned in the media in the lead up to last year’s NAIF inquiry and is reported to hold the royalty deed for the Carmichael mine.

The Queensland Office of the Information Commissioner determine how right to information processes are delivered across the Queensland government departments. It also reviews decisions made by government departments. In March it issued it’s judgement on the Queensland Department of Treasury decision not to release information to Greenpeace Australia Pacific. The below statement confirms the importance of access to information about Adani’s dealings.

“The Carmichael rail project is a matter of considerable community interest and debate. Disclosure of information relating to the project, such as that in issue, could reasonably be expected to promote open discussion of the ‘pros and cons’ of the project, contribute to informed debate on the project’s merits and ensure any decisions to advance public monies are made transparently and accountably.” L Lynch, Acting Right to Information Commissioner, 1 March 2018

The Office of the Information Commissioner provides guidelines for right to information officers across the Queensland government. These guidelines are very informative and can help members of the public understand how RTI officers do their job.

https://www.oic.qld.gov.au/guidelines/for-government/access-and-amendment/processing-applications/consulting-with-a-relevant-third-party

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The Adani court case nobody is talking about

JEL (Juru Enterprises Limited) KMYAC (Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation) RNTBC (Registered Native Title Body Corporate) ILUA (Indigenous Land Use Agreement) ORIC (Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations) NNTT (National Native Title Tribunal) NQLC (North Queensland Land Council) DSD (Department of State Development) NTRB (Native Title Representative Body) NQBP (North Queensland Bulk Ports) CHMP (Cultural Heritage Management Plan) ATSI (Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander) APGGP (Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project)

 

The court case QUD244/2017

In June last year a news article appeared titled ‘Juru missed out on $1m from Adani: court’. It was written by NewsCorp regional reporter Geoff Egan (15). To my knowledge there are no other news articles or writing relating to the court proceedings mentioned in the article. Geoff kindly shared links to Commonwealth Court documents with me (16,17). Here’s a quote from his article that sums up the court proceedings:

Juru Enterprise has taken Adani and Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation to the Federal Court claiming Kyburra did not have approval to replace Juru under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement amendment.

Through my research I’ve gathered that Juru Enterprises Limited (JEL) were assisted in making Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) with Adani by the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC). I’ve also found that agreements over Abbot Point have been made or entered into by JEL after the Aboriginal corporation specifically set up to deal with native title matters for the Juru People, Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (KMYAC) came into existence.

 

KMYAC on the verge of insolvency

It’s important to understand that at this stage KMYAC are still under special administration by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) (10). This is the final run in an 18 month long process. ORIC appointed a small firm for the first incomplete examination back in October 2016, and then, in May 2017 appointed a second larger firm for the 2 following unsatisfactory examinations. In October 2017, a year after the first examination began KMYAC were placed under special administration which has been extended twice. The examiners, special administrators, and independent auditors appointed by ORIC have reported a lack of financial information supplied by KMYAC (11(a), 13).  Reports from the special administrators and financial auditors strongly suggest that on May 18, 2018 when the third period of special administration finishes KMYAC will be insolvent (11(a), 13). It seems there is no money for JEL even if they are successful.

 

The origins of Juru Enterprises Limited

JEL were created as a company in 2012 to “implement” an ILUA QI2011/063 made with North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) in 2011 (20, 2). JEL did not exist until shortly before the this ILUA was registered (21). Here’s a quote from the North Queensland Land Council 2012/13 annual report.

The Juru People authorised the ILUA on 13 August 2011 at Bowen and the ILUA was registered on 12 May 2012. Juru Enterprises Ltd (JEL) was established in April 2012 to implement the ILUA and NQLC continue to assist JEL in these activities.

The Juru People were assisted in making the ILUA with NQBP by the NQLC who also assisted them in making another ILUA in 2013 QI2013/036 (3).  The Adani – Abbot Point ILUA covers part of Abbot Point and was made with JEL as the applicant. The earlier ILUA was made by a group of Juru claim group members represented by the NQLC. KMYAC, who at that stage had been a Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) with ORIC for more than a year, were not a party to this agreement (5). The NQLC certified both agreements acting as the Native Title Representative Body (NTRB).

In 2014 Juru Enterprises Limited (JEL) were assisted to set up a head office on Lot 8 West St, Bowen by the Whitsunday Shire Council and the Department of State Development (DSD) who owned the land on which the JEL head office now stands (8, 22). In a previous blog post I explained how JEL have been involved in meetings with Adani representatives and other contractors (18). It’s fair to say that the Whitsunday Shire Council, the Queensland Coordinator General, and the North Queensland Land Council working with Adani and North Queensland Bulk Ports have helped Juru Enterprises Limited come into being.

 

After the big determination

In his “REASONS FOR JUDGEMENT” as part of the [2014] FCA 736, determination of  native title for Federal Court file number QUD 554 of 2010, Justice Steven Rares ported some rights and interests in native title matters from JEL to KMYAC “on trust” (23).

Determination that native title is to be held on trust

32 The Juru people should understand that some very significant native title rights and interests to which the claim group is entitled are not presently to be held on trust for it by Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation. Those rights and interests are covered by two indigenous land use agreements. One of those agreements was entered into by the original applicant in these proceedings and Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty Ltd, Adani Abbot Point Terminal Holdings Pty Ltd, Mundra Port Holdings Pty Ltd and Mundra Port Pty Ltd, which are developing a large coal mine and the Abbot Point facilities.

On October 26, 2015 in a response to a 14 point submission regarding the Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project (APGGP) from an unnamed Juru Traditional Owner who argued in point 7 that “agreements with Kyburra that are binding on the Juru common law holders are null and void”, the DSD stated that the rights and interests in Native Title in relation to cultural heritage management for Abbot Point lay with KMYAC for “the project”, and “[KMYAC] is the appropriate party to enter into such an agreement under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003”. In another statement responding to point 2 from the same submission the DSD stated that “duty of care” in relation to procedures under a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) as part of an ILUA made with “the Juru People Native Title claimants, JEL (as the Juru Nominated Body)” under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 was “in compliance” (24).

Another document from the same date and tranche of APGGP EIS publications titled ‘Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project Environmental Impact Statement Volume 4 – Supplement Report’ provides an “editorial correction” to the executive summary document created on August 17, 2015 (25, 26). The correction strikes through text indicating that KMYAC are the Juru body with which “the proponent intends to develop a cultural heritage management agreement”. Here’s the complete text:

5.4 Editorial corrections
Volume 1 – Executive Summary: Section 3 ‘Native Title and Cultural Heritage’

“The Juru People hold non-exclusive native title rights and interests in land and waters within the Port of Abbot Point and the Abbot Point State Development Area.

(struck through) In accordance with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, as registered native title holder, the Juru People have special legal status as the primary party in charge of Aboriginal cultural heritage within the boundaries of the registered native title determination. Therefore, the proponent intends to develop a cultural heritage management agreement with Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation to identify and manage any project impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage values in both onshore and offshore areas. The engagement process has already been initiated and is ongoing.

The Native Title determination is subject to a suite of tenures and Indigenous Land
Use Agreements (ILUAs) that deal with development at Abbot Point and in the APSDA. This includes the Port of Abbot Point and APSDA ILUA (QI2011/063). The parties to this ILUA are the Juru People, the State of Queensland, NQBP, the Coordinator General and Juru Enterprises Limited. It also includes the Juru People and Adani Abbot Point Terminal ILUA (QI2013/036)”

I’m no legal expert, but it seems unclear if the rights and interests over native title relating to the ILUA made by the Juru People with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (QI2011/063) are held by Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (KMYAC). This ILUA was signed after KMYAC was incorporated on July 5, 2011 and registered after KMYAC was registered with ORIC as an RNTBC on March 6, 2012 (4, 5).

It is clear that the DSD changed it’s position between August 13, 2015 when the APGGP executive summary was created and October 26, 2015 when the tranche of supplementary documents were created.

The May 24 hearing may provide clarity on issues of who has rights and interests under Native Title at Abbot Point and issues relating to the state of KMYAC finances.

 

The final hearing

After a fair bit of research on how to attend Federal Court – Queensland Registry hearings I was able to convince a friend and erstwhile native title expert to attend the February 8, 2018 case management hearing in preparation for a final hearing in Brisbane on May 24, 2018. My friend reports that a figure of 1.6 million was mentioned during the very fast-paced proceedings. My friend also noted that there was another unrelated matter heard in the same sitting involving financial mismanagement of an Indigenous corporation that left both of us asking “how many other cases of corporate failure end up in court?”.

I would note that the National Native Title Tribunal are not monitoring these proceedings. My conversations with the NNTT were confusing and I was not able to determine which organisation might be interested in monitoring and reporting on these proceedings.

The only acknowledgment of the upcoming court hearing by the regulator, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), was in a special administration ‘newsletter’ in April, 2018 (11(c)). Here’s a quote from the newsletter.

Federal Court matter—JEL vs Adani and KMYAC QUD244/2017 This matter is still progressing in the Federal Court. On 8 February 2018 at a case management hearing, the Court ordered various documents and pleadings to be filed by specified dates. A trial date of 24 May 2018 has been set. We have been able to obtain funding from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (via NQLC) so that KMYAC can receive legal advice and be represented in relation to this matter. A barrister has been briefed, and we have engaged a new lawyer. They are advising us on what KMYAC should do to achieve the best outcome in this matter.

ORIC have a stated interest in reducing corporate failure. They shared positive figures in November 2017, shortly after KMYAC was placed into special administration (27). They have not commissioned a report into corporate failure since 2010 (28).

 

The former KMYAC director and the NQLC

The North Queensland Land Council has a relationship with both JEL and KMYAC. It has done it’s job under the native title system to assist the Juru People to make claims and agreements. But anyone looking at the political and economic reality of the developments at Abbot Point and on the Adani rail corridor ought to be concerned about the fact that the former director of KMYAC is also a director of the NQLC and responsible for the Townsville Ward which covers Abbot Point. The former director of KMYAC is associated with multiple instances of financial mismanagement of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander (ATSI) organisations in the Townsville area. If this person was convicted in any one of those instances they would not qualify to hold the position of director in the NQLC. Here’s a quote from the fact sheet titled ‘What it means to be an NQLC director’.  (29)

You are disqualified from election to the board under the CATSI Act if you are a person who:

Conviction

Section 1
(a) is convicted on indictment of an offence that: i. concerns the making, or participation in making, of decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation; or ii. concerns an act that has the capacity to affect significantly the financial standing of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation; or (b) is convicted of an offence that: i. is a contravention of this Act and is punishable by imprisonment for a period greater than 12 months; or ii. Involves dishonesty and is punishable by imprisonment for at least 3 months; or

The former director may also lose their position as an NQLC director in the event of KMYAC insolvency.

You are disqualified by the Head Agreement for Indigenous
Grants and the Project Schedule thereto for general grants
for native title representative bodies and service providers
if:

[ ]

Is or was a director or occupied an influential position
in the management or financial administration
that had failed to comply with funding or grant
requirements of the Commonwealth, the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Island Commission or its
predecessors

The North Queensland Land Council are responsible for guidance and legal support for Aboriginal corporations, claim groups, and other entities to make Indigenous land use agreements with governments and corporations. That means they are extensively involved in appointing everyone from anthropologists to legal counsel. The strength of connection between the NQLC and the KMYAC director is very problematic and ought to be given some serious scrutiny.

Anyone looking at the role of the North Queensland Land Council in the political economy of North Queensland in relation to mining and infrastructure development ought to read the series of recent articles in the Townsville Bulletin written by Clare Armstrong outlining the anger and sorrow at the financial mismanagement of KMYAC at the recent AGM and the subsequent fallout (10). The articles written for the Townsville Bulletin in 2016 and 2017 by Samantha Healy contain important testimony from Carol Prior. My blog post titled ‘Do you want Indigenous autonomy and to stop Adani?’ is also useful reading (18).

 

PS. The briefing document below is a detailed set of references and links for the this blog post. It is a modified version of the briefing I send to interested persons.

 

JEL, KMYAC, and the state of play: Briefing Document 2

By Michael Swifte

JEL (Juru Enterprises Limited) KMYAC (Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation) RNTBC (Registered Native Title Body Corporate) ILUA (Indigenous Land Use Agreement) ORIC (Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations) NNTT (National Native Title Tribunal) NQLC (North Queensland Land Council) DSD (Department of State Development) NTRB (Native Title Representative Body) NQBP (North Queensland Bulk Ports) CHMP (Cultural Heritage Management Plan) ATSI (Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander) APGGP (Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project)

This briefing has been prepared in anticipation of the Federal Court hearing QUD244/2017 set for May 24, 2018 in Brisbane. The proceedings have been brought by Juru Enterprises Limited to determine the appropriate distribution of funds from Adani to one of two organisations representing the Juru People relating to ILUAs made with Adani by two organisations, JEL and KMYAC. Quotes and references have been collected to provide political and economic context to the proceedings on May 24. A key component of context here is the apparent corporate failure of KMYAC who have been under ‘special administration’ by ORIC since October 2017. My conversations with NNTT staff in early February 2018 indicated that they are not tracking this case.

 

JEL and KMYAC, ILUAs with Adani, KMYAC is the Juru RNTBC

1. Koori Mail October 9, 2013: Correction notice.

Juru Enterprises Ltd listed as ILUA “applicant”, NNTT Number: QI2013/036

http://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/docs/digitised_collections/the_koori_mail/561.pdf

2. North Queensland Land Council 2012/13 annual report

Juru People – Port of Abbot Point and State Development Area ILUA An ILUA to facilitate the expansion of the Abbot Point Port and State Development Area was negotiated by the Juru People, North Queensland Bulk Ports and the Co-ordinator General. The Juru People authorised the ILUA on 13 August 2011 at Bowen and the ILUA was registered on 12 May 2012. Juru Enterprises Ltd (JEL) was established in April 2012 to implement the ILUA and NQLC continue to assist JEL in these activities.

https://nqlc.com.au/files/7114/4549/3755/NQLC-AR-201213.pdf

3. Juru Enterprises Ltd as the “applicant” in the NNTT extract of ILUA QI2013/036

c/- Applicant, Juru Enterprises Ltd PO Box 748

http://www.nntt.gov.au/searchRegApps/NativeTitleRegisters/ILUA%20Register/2013/QI2013.036/ILUARegisterExport.pdf

4. An AIATSIS summary document indicating that KMYAC was incorporated on 05/07/2011

http://nativetitle.org.au/PDFs/QLD_Kyburra_Munda_Yalga.pdf

5. KMYAC was registered with ORIC as an RNTBC on 06/03/2012

Certificate of Registration of Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (March 2012)

http://register.oric.gov.au/document.aspx?concernID=2035210

6. Extract from Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements. NNTT Number QI2014/072

Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC and Adani Mining North Galilee Basin Rail Project ILUA

http://www.nntt.gov.au/searchRegApps/NativeTitleRegisters/ILUA%20Register/2014/QI2014.072/ILUARegisterExport.pdf

7. An Adani EIS document from October 2012 where “Juru Enterprises Ltd” are listed as the contact for Juru people in consultations over Abbot Point developments.

All those involved in the consultation process from the Juru people were contacted through Juru Enterprises Ltd.

http://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/adani/pdf/eisdoc_e11-indigenous-social-and-economic-impact-assessment.pdf

8. Whitsunday Regional Council meeting notice containing a proposal that a head office be set up for Juru Enterprises Ltd with help from the Coordinator General of the Queensland Department of State Development.

PROPOSAL The purpose of the proposal is to develop an appropriate head office for Juru Enterprises Ltd where the business of land care and pest management will be provided. The Office of the Coordinator General has engaged Juru Enterprises Ltd to undertake land care and pest management as per an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for the Port of Abbot Point State Development Area. In order for Juru Enterprises Ltd to operate and establish a business, the West Street property (Lot 8 SP257305) owned by the Office of the Coordinator General, has been nominated for the development. Ranbury Management Group is acting as Project Managers for the Office of the Coordinator General to establish this project.

https://www.whitsunday.qld.gov.au/DocumentCenter/View/556

9. The Queensland Department of State Development Annual Report 2016/17 mentions Juru Enterprises Ltd in relation to the Abbot Point State Development Area.

Work is also continuing with the local native title group, through Juru Enterprises Limited, to provide further skills and capacity building while undertaking land management activities within the Abbot Point SDA.

https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/resources/publication/annual-report/dsd-annual-report-2016-17-part-06.pdf

 

KMYAC Under Special Administration

10. Townsville Bulletin article March 22, 2018. ‘Anger building as meeting reveals Kyburra paid cash to people wanting to avoid Centrelink‘.

CLARE ARMSTRONG, Townsville Bulletin. March 22, 2018

MEMBERS of an embattled Townsville indigenous corporation are angry about its management after discovering millions in undeclared revenue.

Emotions ran high at the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corp AGM in Bowen as many attendees expressed their dismay at the finances of the organisation, which is now under special administration.

Kyburra was incorporated in 2011 to represent the Juru people. The Bulletin revealed last month directors failed to declare about $1.8 million in revenue between 2014 and 2017.

The Office of the Registrar of indigenous Corporations (ORIC) found more than 70 potential breaches of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act (CATSI), including that $205,828.76 in payments from July 2014 to March 2017 were unaccounted for.

At the AGM, former Kyburra bookkeeper Evelyn Lymburner said “everything was done by the books” but admitted the cash payments were at the request of members conducting cultural heritage work.

They said ‘no, we want the cash over the counter because we don’t want it to go to Centrelink, we’ve got debits on our accounts’,” she said. “So we gave the cash. I know we shouldn’t have done that, but that’s how it was done.”

Ms Lymburner said directors had “found a clause” saying there was no requirement to pay tax on such payments.

I don’t know how far the audit’s got to go back … because we might have to pay tax on them all,” she said.

There’s millions of dollars that have gone through, how did we end up $150,000 in debt, why should we have to sell our freehold land (to cover that),” one member yelled.

An elder asked why bursaries had not been granted.

What about the students that want training and what about all Juru people … they don’t know anything that’s going on,” she said.

ORIC examiners had also raised concerns that directors were paid thousands in “attendance and negotiation fees” in breach of the CATSI Act.

Ex-director Jenny Pryor said the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC) and a rule in Kyburra’s constitution allowed for the payments.

The Bulletin has confirmed Kyburra’s constitution does not allow for the payments and the rule referred to by Ms P.ryor is not yet in effect.

NQLC chief executive Stephen Ducksbury said “at no time” were Kyburra directors told they were entitled to be paid fees, but it was “standard practice” that traditional owners could be paid to participate in Native Title negotiations.

Subscriber only

https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/townsville/anger-building-as-meeting-reveals-kyburra-paid-cash-to-people-wanting-to-avoid-centrelink/news-story/7096bbeb4c4a2998bedaa1824e4da0eb

11(a) On April 5, 2018 ORIC published a Special Administration Newsletter for KMYAC which has some alarming assessments.

As you can see KYMAC is in a serious financial position. Finding bail-out monies to pay the debts is proving very difficult. We have spoken to government and to various proponents to ask if they can help. Everyone we have asked for help has told us that they cannot provide any money.

And,

If we cannot get any money to repay the bills then KMYAC will have to go into liquidation. If this happens, the native title land that has been returned to the Juru people by Federal Court will remain with the Juru people however it will be necessary to set up a new prescribed body corporate (PBC) to look after and manage the native title. The financial situation is very serious. We are working hard to find a solution, so far without success. There is a real possibility that KYMAC may need to go into liquidation at the end of the special administration. We are working with ORIC to end the special administration as soon as possible, however a further extension may be required to allow enough time for the appointment of a new board or a liquidator.

11(b) The April 5, 2018 ORIC Special Administration Newsletter for KMYAC also has a table of unpaid debts which is also alarming.

Unpaid debts as at 12 April 2018 Staff wages 2017 $15,679 Staff superannuation and penalties 2014–17 $44,071 GST and PAYG $92,109 Rent $12,985 Legal and accounting fees $17,211 Other $2,329 Total amounts payable $184,384 Less available funds $16,130 Estimated shortfall $168,254

11(c) The upcoming Federal Court case is mentioned including mention of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet funding for legal expenses.

Federal Court matter—JEL vs Adani and KMYAC QUD244/2017 This matter is still progressing in the Federal Court. On 8 February 2018 at a case management hearing, the Court ordered various documents and pleadings to be filed by specified dates. A trial date of 24 May 2018 has been set. We have been able to obtain funding from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (via NQLC) so that KMYAC can receive legal advice and be represented in relation to this matter. A barrister has been briefed, and we have engaged a new lawyer. They are advising us on what KMYAC should do to achieve the best outcome in this matter.

11(d) Under the subject “Other native title issues” there is mention of “the rail corridor”.

We have held discussions with Adani about the proposed rail corridor and other sites in the Abbot Point area. We have requested further meetings with Adani representatives, so that members of the advisory group, and elders can get a better understanding of the existing agreements, the path of the rail corridor, Adani’s requirements, and advise Adani of any concerns of the Juru people.

Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC – Special Administration Newsletter (April 2018)

http://register.oric.gov.au/document.aspx?concernID=2035210

12. On April 20, 2018 ORIC extended special administration for the second time. New date the end of special administration is May 18, 2018.

AND TAKE NOTICE THAT: 1. Under subsection 487-15(1) of the CATSI Act, I, Kevin Vu, a delegate of the Registrar extend the period of the special administration of the corporation until 11:59pm (AEST) on Friday, 18 May 2018. 2. Under subsection 490-5(2) of the CATSI Act, I appoint Mr Gerry Mier and Mr Tony Jonsson as the joint and several special administrators for the period of the special administration. Dated this 20th day of April 2018

Section 487-1 Determination and Section 490-1 Instrument of Appointment

http://register.oric.gov.au/document.aspx?concernID=2035210

13. From the ORIC audited financial statement for 2016/17. The below quote follows multiple mentions of “insufficient supporting documentation”.

Emphasis of Matter Inherent Uncertainty as to Going Concern

We draw attention to Note 2 in the financial report which indicates that the corporation incurred a net surplus of $105,623 during the year ended 30 June 2017, but despite this, the Corporations current liabilities exceeded its total assets by $10,670 due to historical losses. These conditions, along with other matters as set forth in Note 2, indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the corporations’ ability to continue as a going concern and therefore the entity may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business.

Audited financial statements – 30 June 2017

http://register.oric.gov.au/document.aspx?concernID=2035210

14. Three audited financial statements prepared for KMYAC under special administration provide revenue figures relating to Adani covering the 2014/15, 2015/16, and 2016/17 financial years.

Revenue from North Galilee Basin Rail Project (NGBR) – $140,872

Revenue from Adani Mining Pty Ltd – $395,380

Revenue from combined NGBR and Adani Mining Pty Ltd (NGBR proponent) – $536,252

Revenue from Abbot Point/port/bulk coal – $302, 735

Total revenue from Adani entities -$838, 987

Audited financial statements – 30 June 2017, 30 June 2016, and 30 June 2017.

http://register.oric.gov.au/document.aspx?concernID=2035210

 

JEL vs Adani and KMYAC in Federal Court

15. ‘Juru missed out on $1m from Adani: court’ by Geoff Egan, The Morning Bulletin.

Juru Enterprise has taken Adani and Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation to the Federal Court claiming Kyburra did not have approval to replace Juru under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement amendment.

https://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/juru-missed-out-on-1m-from-adani-court/3184689/

16. Federal Court documents for a final hearing with Justice Rares on May 24 in Brisbane. Mediation hearings have preceded this hearing. Proceedings relate to a reported 1.6 million AUD in disputed revenue.

JURU ENTERPRISE LIMITED Applicant ADANI AUSTRALIA COMPANY PTY LTD ABN 87 163 221 609 AS TRUSTEE OF ADANI AUSTRALIA HOLDING TRUST and another named in the schedule Respondent

Second Respondent KYBURRA MUNDA YALGA ABORIGINAL CORPORATION RNTBC

The proceeding be fixed for final hearing on 24 May 2018 at 9.30am in Brisbane.

(accessed 23/04/18)

https://www.comcourts.gov.au/file/Federal/P/QUD244/2017/3789232/event/29191598/document/1114116

17. Federal Court of Australia, Queensland Registry portal. Number: QUD244/2017

Court 5 Level 7 Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts

https://www.comcourts.gov.au/file/Federal/P/QUD244/2017/actions

 

Further context on my blog We Suspect Silence.

18. The most relevant of my blog posts looks into the business and networks of JEL and KMYAC.

Do you want Indigenous autonomy and to stop Adani?

https://wesuspectsilence.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/do-you-want-indigenous-autonomy-and-to-stop-adani/
19. My submission to Reforms to the Native Title Act 1993 provides in depth detail about the ILUA making process and the role of the NNTT.

Aboriginal Autonomy and the Galilee Basin Coal Complex

https://wesuspectsilence.wordpress.com/2018/03/10/aboriginal-autonomy-and-the-galilee-basin-coal-complex/

 

Supplementary references

20. Port of Abbot Point and Abbot Point State Development Area ILUA. QI2011/063

http://www.nntt.gov.au/searchRegApps/NativeTitleRegisters/ILUA%20Register/2011/QI2011.063/ILUARegisterExport.pdf

21. ASIC Company Info – Juru Enterprises Limited.

Incorporated April 3, 2012

https://www.asiccompany.info/australian?utm_term=Juru-enterprises-limited&utm_source=157951203

22. JEL head office

8 West St, Bowen QLD 4805

http://www.juruenterprises.com.au/contact.html

23. Lampton on behalf of the Juru People v State of Queensland [2014] FCA 736 (11 July 2014)

Determination that native title is to be held on trust

[ ]

32 The Juru people should understand that some very significant native title rights and interests to which the claim group is entitled are not presently to be held on trust for it by Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation. Those rights and interests are covered by two indigenous land use agreements. One of those agreements was entered into by the original applicant in these proceedings and Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty Ltd, Adani Abbot Point Terminal Holdings Pty Ltd, Mundra Port Holdings Pty Ltd and Mundra Port Pty Ltd, which are developing a large coal mine and the Abbot Point facilities.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/cth/FCA/2014/736.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=title(Lampton%20on%20behalf%20of%20the%20Juru%20People%20and%20State%20of%20Queensland%20)

24. Appendix A: Detailed Submission Responses – Abbot Point Growth Gateway. October 26, 2015

Traditional Owner Submission

2. The current Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) between Juru Enterprises Limited (JEL), NQBP and the Coordinator General has not been efficient thus far in the identification of and preservation of the Eastern Dune System (Abbot Point Beach), Dingo Beach and Shark Bay. The current measures do not protect these areas enough as they are currently not registered as Significant Aboriginal Areas as they should be, and minimum buffer zones of 50m need to be enforced to maximise protection

Response

Potential impacts on Aboriginal cultural heritage in undertaking the Project have been managed under the cultural heritage management procedures in the Port of Abbot Point and Abbot Point State Development Area Indigenous Land Use Agreement QI2011/063 (Abbot Point ILUA). The parties to the Abbot Point ILUA are the Juru People Native Title claimants, JEL (as the Juru Nominated Body), the State of Queensland, NQBP and the Coordinator-General. Compliance with the cultural heritage management procedures in the Abbot Point ILUA satisfies the cultural heritage duty of care under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003.

and

7. In application of Section 58(a) of the Native Title Act 1993, due to Kyburra only holding Juru people’s Native Title in trust, Kyburra cannot act as agent or representative of the Juru common law holders and cannot enter into agreements binding them. Therefore any agreements with Kyburra that are binding on the Juru common law holders are null and void.

Response

The Queensland DSD entered into an agreement with Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation (Kyburra) in relation to the management of cultural heritage for initial geotechnical site investigations for the Project. Kyburra, as the registered Native Title body corporate for the Juru Native Title determination at Abbot Point (QUD554/2010), is the appropriate party to enter into such an agreement under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, as the project area is within the external boundaries of the Juru Native Title determination.

https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/resources/project/abbot-point-apx/supplement-report-appendices-part2.pdf

25. Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project Environmental Impact Statement Volume 4 – Supplement Report

5.4 Editorial corrections
Volume 1 – Executive Summary: Section 3 ‘Native Title and Cultural Heritage’


“The Juru People hold non-exclusive native title rights and interests in land and waters within the Port of Abbot Point and the Abbot Point State Development Area.


(struck through) In accordance with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, as registered native title holder, the Juru People have special legal status as the primary party in charge of Aboriginal cultural heritage within the boundaries of the registered native title determination. Therefore, the proponent intends to develop a cultural heritage management agreement with Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation to identify and manage any project impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage values in both onshore and offshore areas. The engagement process has already been initiated and is ongoing.


The Native Title determination is subject to a suite of tenures and Indigenous Land
Use Agreements (ILUAs) that deal with development at Abbot Point and in the APSDA. This includes the Port of Abbot Point and APSDA ILUA (QI2011/063). The parties to this ILUA are the Juru People, the State of Queensland, NQBP, the Coordinator General and Juru Enterprises Limited. It also includes the Juru People and Adani Abbot Point Terminal ILUA (QI2013/036)”

https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/resources/project/abbot-point-apx/supplement-report-part1.pdf

26. Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project Environmental Impact Statement Volume 1 – Executive Summary 17 August 2015

Section 3 Native Title and Cultural Heritage

The Juru People hold non-exclusive native title rights and interests in land and waters within the Port of Abbot Point and the Abbot Point State Development Area. The Juru people are represented by the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation. In accordance with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, as registered native title holder, the Juru People have special legal status as the primary party in charge of Aboriginal cultural heritage within the boundaries of the registered native title determination. Therefore, the proponent intends to develop a cultural heritage management agreement with Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation to identify and manage any project impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage values in both onshore and offshore areas. The engagement process has already been initiated and is ongoing.

https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/resources/project/abbot-point-apx/abbot-pt-eis-vol-01-exec-summary.pdf

27. ORIC – Registrar’s Year in Review

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations are less likely to fail than mainstream corporations. In 2016–17 not a single corporation was placed into liquidation, receivership or voluntary administration—that’s 0 per cent.

http://www.oric.gov.au/publications/yearbook-section/registrars-year-review

28. ORIC: ‘Analysing key characteristics in Indigenous corporate failure’ by Dr James Swansson

http://www.oric.gov.au/publications/other-report/analysing-key-characteristics-indigenous-corporate-failure

29. What it means to be an NQLC director

You are disqualified from election to the board under the CATSI Act if you are a person who:

Conviction

Section 1
(a) is convicted on indictment of an offence that: i. concerns the making, or participation in making, of decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation; or ii. concerns an act that has the capacity to affect significantly the financial standing of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation; or (b) is convicted of an offence that: i. is a contravention of this Act and is punishable by imprisonment for a period greater than 12 months; or ii. Involves dishonesty and is punishable by imprisonment for at least 3 months; or

and

You are disqualified by the Head Agreement for Indigenous
Grants and the Project Schedule thereto for general grants
for native title representative bodies and service providers
if:

[ ]

Is or was a director or occupied an influential position
in the management or financial administration
that had failed to comply with funding or grant
requirements of the Commonwealth, the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Island Commission or its
predecessors

http://nqlc.com.au/files/1715/0207/4463/20170807-factsheet_nqlc-director-V1.0.pdf

 

Unpacking the Galilee Basin shell game

The “Carmichael Rail Project” listed on the Adani Australia website is a fiction. There is no such project listed with the Queensland Department of State Development. The “Carmichael Rail Project” is the fusion of the mine access rail component of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, and the North Galilee Basin Rail Project.

screenshot.622

State Development map showing the west-east rail corridor for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project.

screenshot.623

State Development map showing the North Galilee Basin Rail Project corridor.

Galilee_Carmichael+Rail+Network

Part of the rail component of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project (78 km) added to the North Galilee Basin Rail Project (310 km) equals the “Carmichael Rail Project” (388 km), but that’s not the project name on this map.

The Adani Australia website lists three projects in Australia: the Carmichael Coal Mine, the Carmichael Rail Project, and Adani Abbot Point Terminal O. The links provided for the “Carmichael Mine Project” list the project as the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, and the links for the “Carmichael Rail Project” list the project as the North Galilee Basin Rail Project.

screenshot.608

The 2 Carmichael projects are misnamed. These project names are not the names listed with the Queensland Department of State Development.

The Queensland Department of State Development website lists the length of the North Galilee Basin Rail Project as 310 kms while the Adani website lists the length of the “Carmichael Rail Project” as 388 kms. The other 78 kms could only come from part of the rail corridor providing mine access to the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project

mine_project_description_pdf

This map appears in the “Mine Location” subsection of the “Carmichael Coal Mine” section of the Adani Australia website. Interestingly the Adani brand and the name ‘Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project’ don’t appear on this map.

In my blog post The Galilee Basin Shell Game Continues I explained how ACIL Allen who prepared the Australian Conservation Foundation’s report for the senate NAIF inquiry broke down the numbers for the rail corridor length. They did not provide any references for these calculations or their certainty regarding the name of the rail project in line for the NAIF loan.

The rail link comprises the 78-km Carmichael rail project from the mining and processing operation to Mistake Creek, and the 310-km North Galilee Basin Rail (NGBR) project from Mistake Creek to Abbot Point. The NGBR facility will be accessible by other enterprises.

The ACIL Allen report can be downloaded at this link: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/NAIF/Submissions

Another clue to the source of the 78 km figure may be in the document called Species Management Plan – Carmichael Rail Network SP1 prepared for Adani by Eco Logical Australia. This document can be located on the Adani Australia website in the “Carmichael Coal Project” section, in a table contained in the “Plans, Reports and Programs” subsection.

1. Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, comprising the Carmichael Coal Mine and 77 km of rail line known as Separable Portion 1 (SP1)
2. North Galilee Basin Rail (NGBR) Project, comprising 311 km of rail from the connection with SP1 to the Port of Abbot Point.

It seems that some time before May 2016 when the Eco Logical Australia ‘Species Management Plan’ was published and after a document with the short title Mistake Creek Water Application was published in September 2013, the distance of Separable Portion 1 was changed from roughly 120 km to 77 km.

The rail line is divided into several different portions. This application is concerned only with Separable Portion 1 (SP1), which is known as ‘west rail’ which traverses approximately 120km from the Carmichael Coal Mine (mining lease area) east towards Moranbah.

screenshot.635

A map of the roughly 120 km Separable Portion 1 rail corridor as at September 2013.

At the heart of the Galilee Basin shell game are manipulations of nomenclature and information architecture by Adani Australia. Naming systems and the way supposed facts have been organised have helped shape the public perception on the coal complex development. It seems the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project is really just a coal mine with the usual rail access. The 189 km west to east rail corridor indicated on the map in the ‘Mine Location’ sub-section of the “Carmichael Coal Mine” section of the Adani Australia website is never mentioned in either the “Carmichael Coal Mine” or “Carmichael Rail Project” sections. It seems that 111 km of those 189 km were dispensable. I’m sure the old aficionados of the shell game had a name for that move.

By omission, and by manipulation of project names, Adani Australia have constructed text that masks the true nature of the rail components of two projects listed with the Queensland Department of State Development. The actual names of the projects don’t appear in the relevant section of the Adani Australia website, and the rail corridor distances listed with State Development don’t appear either.

The text Adani Australia have constructed is designed to feed cut n paste journalism ensuring that key search terms don’t enter the general consciousness. The Adani Australia website is a primary source for the purposes of reporting on the Galilee Basin coal complex. The manipulation of project names and rail corridor distances limits members of the general public from possessing either the key terms for research and the key pieces of information to consider what might be happening on the ground in a crucial component of the development of the Galilee Basin coal complex.

Confirmation that the North Galilee Basin Rail Project is the Adani rail project being considered by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility

 

Yesterday, in response to questions on notice arising from the August 11 hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the Governance and Operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), The Australia Institute and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) provided detailed answers relating to their knowledge about the NAIF. A series of answers provided by Senator Canavan’s Industry, Innovation and Science Portfolio to questions on notice was referenced and quotes provided that show that on two occasions, the first in February and the second in May, Senator Canavan informed senators of the name of the specific project that Adani and the NAIF were considering, the North Galilee Basin Rail Project (NGBR).

Senator Canavan not only mentioned the name of the project, but he also contradicted earlier statements that naming the project would breach “commercial in confidence” provisions with the NAIF. No submissions to the NAIF inquiry referenced Senator Canavan’s answers to questions on notice that named the Adani project. Nobody at the hearing mentioned the senator’s answers even though at least two of the NGO submissions mentioned NGBR. The transcript from the NAIF inquiry shows that both Tom Swann representing The Australia Institute and David Barnden representing Environmental Justice Australia discussed the Renee Viellaris exclusive from December 2, 2016 which broke the news of the Adani-NAIF loan and is cited in TAI’s ‘Don’t be so Naif’ in reference to working assumptions that NGBR is the specific rail corridor under consideration.

The TAI and DIIS responses are downloadable here:

http://www.aph.gov.au/sitecore/content/Home/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/NAIF/Additional_Documents

The Australia Institute provided a response to questions on notice to the Senate Economics Committee dated September 5, 2017 which includes references and quotes from two key documents from Senator Canavan’s portfolio QoN numbers SI.36 and AI.70.

Quote:

ANSWER

During Senate Estimates on 20 October 2016, the Office of Northern Australia took a

question on notice on behalf of NAIF.

The Answer was submitted on 16 February 2017 by the Office of Northern Australia:

“Adani is one of the 13 projects. Adani has expressed interest in accessing the NAIF

for purposes of supporting the North Galilee Basin Rail Project”.9

Reference:

SI-36 Waters, Larissa Office of Northern Australia Adani 16/02/2017

9 http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/economicsctte/estimates/sup16

17/Industry/index

Quote:

22 May Office of Northern Australia advises Senate Estimates:

“there has been no public formal announcement from Government.

The NAIF had informed the Minister via email that Adani had

consented to disclose the following: ‘Adani has expressed interest in

accessing the NAIF facility, for the purposes of supporting the North

Galilee Basin Railway Project.’”xliii

The ONA does not say what date this information was provided.

Reference:

AI-70 Waters, Larissa Office of Northern Australia NAIF interaction with Minister’s office 23/05/2017

http://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/Committees/economics_ctte/estimates/add_1617/Industry/answers/AI-70_Waters.pdf

I have communicated with Tom Swann via Twitter and asked “Who knew about SI.36 when they were at the senate NAIF inquiry?”, he confirmed that at the time of the August 11 hearing he was aware of SI.36 saying “I did, but couldn’t recall date\ number etc. Who would’ve thought Committee demand evidence Adani’s had applied?!”.

In fact Tom Swann knew of the existence of SI.36 in early July. His report titled Palaszczuk’s Promise’ which makes no mention of the NGBR and has a creation date of July 10, 2017 references SI.36 in relation to a February 2016 letter:

Quote:

On 18 February 2016 the Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt wrote to the federal government requesting that it consider a subsidised loan of nearly $1 billion to Adani for its rail line, via the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).4

Reference:

SI-36 Waters, Larissa Office of Northern Australia Adani 16/02/2017

4 http://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/Committees/economics_ctte/estimates/sup_1617/Industry/answers/SI-36_Waters.pdf

Reference:

Palaszczuk’s Promise’

http://www.tai.org.au/sites/defualt/files/Swann%202017%20Palaszcuk%20subsidies%20for%20Adani.pdf

 

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science provided written responses to questions on notice to the Senate Economics Committee in a document created September 7, 2017 which includes a clarification citing the same key document referenced by TAI, QoN number SI.36.

Quote:

Senator Hume: We don’t even know whether Adani is approved or part of the due diligence process or short-listed (transcript page 16).

Clarification: Question No. SI-36, SI-140, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 20 October 2016, confirmed that the Adani Group has expressed an interest in the NAIF.

 

QoN SI.36 was created by Senator Canavan’s portfolio and published on February 20 in response to questions placed on notice at the Senate Estimates, October 20, 2016. QoN SI.33, SI.35, and SI. 39 which were all created by the senator’s portfolio and published on or shortly after December 16, 2016 argue that “commercial-in-confidence” considerations include details like the name, proponent and location of NAIF projects. It’s clear that in naming the project in SI.36 and AI.70 the senator has contradicted himself.

I will go through each question on notice and explain how naming the project automatically gives you the location and proponent.

SI.33

Quote:

In accordance with Clause 17(2) of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Investment Mandate Direction 2016, within 30 business days of an Investment Decision, the NAIF must publish information regarding all transactions on its website, subject to commercial confidentiality, including:

a) the name of the Project Proponent;

b) the goods/services involved;

c) the location;

d) the type of Financing Mechanism; and

e) the amount of the Financing Mechanism.

Reference:

SI-33 Waters, Larissa Office of Northern Australia NAIF Proposals 15/12/2016

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/economicsctte/estimates/sup1617/Industry/index

SI. 35

Quote:

ANSWER

I can confirm that discussions have occurred between Adani Australia representatives and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility in respect of their rail project in the North Galilee Basin. These discussions are commercial-in-confidence and we are unable to provide any further information.

Reference:

SI-35 Waters, Larissa Office of Northern Australia Meetings between NAIF and Adani 16/12/2016

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/economicsctte/estimates/sup1617/Industry/index

SI. 39

This answer is emphatic about not naming the project or proponent.

Quote:

The location and name of the projects are commercial-in-confidence.

One formal proposal has been submitted and this has progressed to due diligence phase. The location and name of the project is commercial-in-confidence.

In accordance with Clause 17(2) of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Investment Mandate Direction 2016 (Investment Mandate) within 30 business days of an Investment Decision, the NAIF must publish information regarding all transactions on its website, subject to commercial confidentiality, including:

a) the name of the Project Proponent;

b) the goods/services involved;

c) the location;

d) the type of Financing Mechanism; and

e) the amount of the Financing Mechanism.

Reference:

SI-39 Ketter, Chris Office of Northern Australia Funding under the NAIF 15/12/16

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/economicsctte/estimates/sup1617/Industry/index

*Once you have the name ‘North Galilee Basin Rail Project’ you can easily find this link which provides you with the project proponent and the location: https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/north-galilee-basin-rail-project.html

Larissa Waters’ line of questioning at the March 2, 2017 senate estimates is interesting. By this time the senator would have seen the response to QoN SI.36 and accessed the relevant Queensland Department of State Development documents and seen that Adani Mining Pty Ltd were the NGBR project proponents. But in QoN AI.71 she asks a question for which she ought to know the answer.

Quote:

QUESTION No.: AI-71

1. Can you shed any light at all on which Adani company has applied for financial assistance? The reason we’re interested is that the company which owns the Carmichael mine (Adani Mining Pty Ltd) is ultimately owned by a company registered in the tax haven Mauritius, and the company that owns their proposal for the railway line is ultimately owned in the Cayman Islands. The company that owns the Abbot Point coal port is also owned ultimately in the Cayman Islands.

Reference:

AI-71 Waters, Larissa Office of Northern Australia Adani loan 22/05/2017

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/economicsctte/estimates/add1617/Industry/index

Having read the submissions, the August 11 hearing transcript, responses to questions on notice; because I prepared a blog post dedicated to references by environmental organisations to the North Galilee Basin Rail Project in relation to the North Australia Infrastructure Facility, and because none of those reports ever mentioned Senator Canavan naming the project, I’m left scratching my head wondering how the hell did this happen? Nobody pointed out that the senator had expressly stated it would be a breach of commercial-in-confidence guidelines to name the project and somehow nobody thought to mention the existence of SI.36 and AI.70 in the NAIF senate inquiry.

‘References to NGBR in reports by environmental organisations about the NAIF concessional loan to Adani: Briefing Document’.

https://wesuspectsilence.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/references-to-ngbr-in-reports-by-environmental-organisations-about-the-naif-concessional-loan-to-adani-briefing-document/

ORIC to redo examination into Indigenous corporation involved in negotiations with Adani

When I make a call to an organisation seeking information about an issue I assume that organisation has a process to vet callers to ensure that the appropriate person deals with that individual (me). When I call I usually say my first name and ask for information. This is what I did today when I called the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC). I was put through to a case manager who, at the end of the call when I asked for them to repeat their last name, refused saying they were concerned with my involvement with the media. I took lots of notes before the case manager twigged to my line of questioning and asked about my purpose and intentions. I told the case manager I was a blogger and was encouraging journalists to explore this story, I also told the case manager I was fighting for justice for Carol Prior, a complainant, native title holder, and member of  the Indigenous corporation under examination. I didn’t tell the case manager I was glad I’d taken lots of notes and quotes.

Some context: Samantha Healy reported in October last year in the Townsville Bulletin that at the time Carol Prior and her fellow complainants spoke to her about their initial complaint “the watchdog [ORIC] refused to confirm the existence of the complaint”. I cover the issue here:  https://wesuspectsilence.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/the-notice-of-examination-that-could-reveal-adanis-dirty-dealings-in-securing-the-ngbr-corridor/

Now we are witnessing the further delaying of the examination process with the appointment of a new examiner and a new examination. This is at a crucial time in the fight to #stopadani. In my previous phone call to ORIC I was told that the first examiner was delayed in their examination due to health issues and the holiday season. The case manager explained to me that because the first examination “wasn’t completed properly” due in part to instances when the examiner was “unable to access the [Indigenous] corporation” and unable to access “other” parties. The case manager also revealed “we had issues obtaining information”. 

I was told by the case manager that we would not see anything published by ORIC until at the earliest “the first week in June”, a full 10 months after the complaint was first lodged and over 8 months after the publication of the Notice of Examination. I asked if the complainants would be informed before publication of any outcomes by ORIC and if they would receive any more information than would be made available for the public in any publication. The case worker said Carol Prior “will have to watch the website” and indicated that the complainants will receive no more information than any member of the public.

I explained how the timing of this delay only favoured powerful interests. I pointed out that proposed native title system reforms relating to Indigenous Land Use Agreements could be impacted by the outcome of the ORIC examination and that the NAIF funding final approval could come through in the next few weeks. I explained that the 1 billion Adani loan for a rail link is likely to be for the North Galilee Basin Rail Project for which Adani have a signed Body Corporate Indigenous Land Use Agreement which is one of the subjects of the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation members complaint and therefore part of the ORIC examination.

This phone call raises so many questions. By “other” parties was the case manager referring to Adani? Why was “the corporation” unavailable? Why did ORIC, a regulator of corporate behaviour under the CATSI Act fail to ensure a prompt and accountable process? And why is a well resourced organisation like ORIC not prepared for calls from concerned citizens about a controversial coal complex on which their work could have a crucial impact?

 

Compromised Primary Sources and the Galilee Basin Shell Game

I went to the State Library of Queensland the other night after speaking with a lawyer from the Environmental Defenders Office Qld. There I used microfiche (for the first time) to scan the article where it was announced to the world that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) had given “conditional approval” to a 1 billion loan for North Galilee Basin Rail Project (NGBR). The original article, which appeared on page 15 of the Saturday edition of the Dec 3, 2016 Courier Mail (CM), has all but disappeared from the internet. As the recent NGBR update from EDO Qld states, the media “broadly reported” the news of the NAIF loan. I discussed with the EDO lawyer this aspect of how members of the general public and the media have come to believe, or not be aware, or not believe that the NAIF loan is ‘earmarked’ for the NGBR. The EDO lawyer agreed that the Courier Mail article was a compromised primary source. I went further and argued that the buried nature of the article and it’s absence from the internet made it almost impossible to reference, easy to miss, and very easy to ignore. If the media, activists, and the public are limited from knowledge of a project then they are largely prevented from investigating and analysing the threat posed by that project.
Fast Tracked NGBR

The Courier Mail article buried in page 15 that announced the NAIF-Adani loan to the world

I believe Adani and the state and federal governments are playing a ‘shell game’ with the rail projects in the Galilee Basin. By “shell game” I mean the classic confidence trick with three shells and a pea where distractions and deft movements are used to fleece members of the public. Shell games involve the masking of the most important objective, that the victim should lose track of the position of the pea and a chance at winning. The most important objective – in my reckoning – is ensuring that the North Galilee Basin Rail Project is met with little resistance because it is THE piece of infrastructure that makes the Galilee Basin coal complex possible. This is why I believe that Adani have fused their second rail project, the 189 km east west connection to the existing narrow gauge system in the Bowen Basin, with the coal mine project. By fusing a rail line with the coal mine it creates an appearance that can be readily assumed to be the whole picture. Every time the full name of the Adani mine project is read or written, a rail component is affirmed, and all that is needed to keep a second rail project from interfering with the assumption that the rail project attached to the mine is indeed “the” Adani rail project is to obscure the real rail project, the North Galilee Basin Rail Project.
Shell games require slight of hand. A key component of deception/distraction here is the media and the quality of primary sources. Finding definitive primary sources about the North Galilee Basin Rail Project is extraordinarily difficult. Which is why this buried article which passes on statements made only to the Courier Mail and then telegraphed to the rest of the media is important to understand.
The NGBR update provided on April 18, 2017 by EDO Qld was a response to the information giving requirements of a particular group of clients, most likely environmental NGOs like the Mackay Conservation Group and the Australian Conservation Foundation. It is the first ever statement on the NGBR by EDO Qld. This is significant, EDO Qld provide legal support for their clients, they do not campaign on issues, but rather, they provide legal support for their client’s campaigns.  As such they only publish information in line with the objectives of their clients.
Here’s a link to my crowfunding campaign to disclose a successful RTI request relating to the NGBR from late 2014: https://chuffed.org/project/50920-to-disclose-some-truths-about-adanis-rail-plans

The ‘Notice of Examination’ that could reveal Adani’s dirty dealings in securing the NGBR corridor.

One of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) that makes the North Galilee Basin Rail Project possible could have been scuppered, or at least had a spot light pointed at it, if Adani hadn’t pulled the sort of scammy behaviour Twiggy Forrest would be proud of. That’s what I believe based on Carol Prior’s testimony from October 2014 and ongoing challenges to the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation (KMYAC) the representative body for the Juru native title claim.

Testimony:

“A lot of them didn’t show up and a lot of them don’t know what’s going on,”

“They don’t even know what’s in the ILUA [Indigenous land use agreement] or the auxiliary agreement because in both of them, when I was there around the negotiating table, there’s a confidentiality paragraph in there where you’re not able to talk about it to your family.”

Carol Prior and 4 other KMYAC members won a Notice of Examination on September 30, 2016 from the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations allowing it to be given full and free access to the corporation’s books. KMYAC were responsible for negotiations involved in the signing of ILUAs with Adani. The 5 KMYAC native title holders have concerns about “financial irregularities” and accountabilities, but they also have concerns about the exclusion of Juru people from negotiations.

Concerns:

“It is our submission that Kyburra has actually received monies from Adani Mining Pty Ltd during 2014-15 in the amount of $1.225 million.

“In addition, a Cultural Heritage Management Plan is in place and Adani transferred $825,000 to Kyburra for cultural heritage survey activities.”

screenshot.118

The Juru ILUA signed with Adani and the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Land Corporation was the first of 3 ILUAs making the North Galilee Basin Rail Project possible.

#StopAdani #Keepitintheground #NGBR #ILUA

Key articles:

Native title holders lodge objection to proposed North Galilee Basin rail project

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-20/native-title-holders-lodge-objection-to-proposed/5826168

Calls for Aboriginal corporation to hand over its books

http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/calls-for-aboriginal-corporation-to-hand-over-its-books/news-story/e693fce3968570b53931b9bf9810f65f?nk=edc9bc18ba7fc11278a22ebc3e1bdd60-1490768902