According to the ABC, the Mithaka People have written to the the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples claiming that the government has ignored international law by failing to consult with them over planned coal seam gas activity on their land.
However the Queensland Government has argued the Mithaka People have been notified about proposed activities in the region, despite their native title claim not being finalised.
Mithaka representative Scott Gorringe told the ABC that water was one of his people’s most precious commodities, for essential survival, but also as part of their cultural identiuty.
“Most of our stories start and end around water,” Mr Gorringe said.
“Our main significant sites are around water. Not only culturally, environmentally I think it’s critical for that country especially.”
“You start mucking around with rivers out our way and damaging underground water, it’s sitting on the Great Artesian Basin,” Mr Gorringe said.
“And we don’t know what potentially can happen.
“You know, mining companies are telling us one thing and they’re tainted with a brush. And Government’s telling us another and I think they’re tainted with the same brush.”
“There’s a whole lot of other opportunities that would present themselves out there if people would be strong enough to hold back and have a look at this stuff and have a talk to us about the opportunities we see.
“But we’re not getting that opportunity. The Queensland Government’s not talking to us.”
However Mines Minister Andrew Cripps refuted Mr Gorringe’s claims saying, “…all the parties affected by changes to water protections were consulted equally”.
“The Queensland Government acknowledges that some people in the community had concerns in relation to potential resources development and the sustainable use of water in the Channel Country,” the Minister said in a prepared statement.
“There is also a clear desire amongst a number of community leaders and local residents in the same region for economic development and job opportunities.
“The Mithaka people’s Native Title claim has not yet been determined.”