Special Counsel Alison Rose is representing Adrian Burragubba, Gurridyula (Coedie) McAvoy and the Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians, members of the Wangan and Jagalingou nation.
Mr Burragubba and his son Mr McAvoy have been fighting against mining operations by Indian company Adani and its Australian subsidiary Bravus for more than a decade.
The Carmichael mine is 160 kilomtres north west of Clermont in central Queensland.
The first stage of the mine is producing in the order of 10 million tonnes of coal per year, all for export.
Mr McAvoy has been camping at Waddananggu, living in the shadow of the Carmichael coalmine for almost two years and has previously complained to the state’s Department of Environment and Science about the mine’s operations.
Ms Rose said her clients are concerned that Bravus is committing an offence under the Environmental Protection Act by allegedly failing to comply with noise and dust emission controls for a ‘sensitive place’.
“Our clients have made some complaints already and there hasn’t been any investigation of their complaint, any response from Adani or any monitoring of noise or dust on site at all as a response to those complaints,” she said.
“So essentially, they appear to have been ignored.”
Ms Rose said the emissions are an unreasonable limitation of her clients’ cultural rights protected by the Queensland Human Rights Act.
“First Nations should be able to peacefully practise their culture on their country without unreasonable interference, that’s a really important principle,” she said.
“It’s up to the regulator to enforce the noise and dust limits to prevent unreasonable interference with their cultural practices.”
Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians have been on the mine site and are presently conducting cultural ceremonies on Ngarra (North) Waddananggu, including to strengthen relationships with the land and conserve and protect the land.
Mr Burragubba told AAP that his people belong to the land of his ancestors.
“We connect with that land and we take our people out there so we can teach our young people about their totems and their connection to their land,” he said.
Bravus has campaigned against Mr Burragubba and Mr McAvoy, claiming the “unauthorised protest camp on our mining lease was organised and bankrolled by the anti-fossil fuel lobby”.
The company has also alleged Mr McAvoy assaulted a company employee and started an “illegal bushfire”.
“There’s no protest because we’ve already been granted these rights,” Mr Burragubba said.
“And any time anybody, a private individual, a company, anybody is limiting those human rights, we can ask the government to intervene, so this is where we are today.”
Mr McAvoy denies assaulting anyone and posted a video explaining how cultural burning protects country and helps animals.
“It’s really hard to try and live around that area because of the noise and dust that’s coming off from the pit straight across the road from us,” he said.
“At night time you shine a torch up into the air and you just see it’s just filled with dust. Everyone’s starting to cough.”
Mr McAvoy said people, animals and plants were being affected by large amounts of dust.
“The noise as well, because it keeps it keeps us all up,” he said.
“We can hear the morning birds going in the middle of the night, because they think that it’s morning, so it’s messing up the balance with the birds.”
Questions have been sent to both Bravus and Ms Linard.Jump to next article