A High Court challenge to the Newman Government’s North Stradbroke Island sand mining laws was launched by traditional owners, the Quandamooka people, on the 6th June 2014.
About 20,000 years ago people settled in what is now the Moreton Bay region of Queensland and on North Stradbroke Island. The descendants of those people – the Quandamooka people – have maintained a continuous presence in the area ever since. The case against the Queensland Government is being brought by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC),on behalf of the Quandamooka people.
The Newman Government introduced the controversial North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Another Act Amendment Act in 2013. The Act provides for the possibility of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island to be extended until 2035 if an application is made by the owner of the mining leases during 2019 and if this application is approved by the Government. It also expands the area of the island available to be mined, without the consent of the native title holders, the Quandamooka people.
These legislative changes were the subject of an open letter from the Friends of Stradbroke Island Inc.
The original North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act 2011 was introduced by the Bligh Government, with the consent of the Quandamooka people. It extended the lease on the major North Stradbroke Island sand mine – the Enterprise Mine – until 31 December 2019 and restricted the area that could be mined within the Enterprise Mine leases. The major lease at Enterprise – ML1117 – expired in October 2007.
More information about the legal challenge is available below:
The Quandamooka people believe the Newman Government’s 2013 Act, amending the original 2011 Act, contravenes the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993. Section 109 of the Australian constitution states that when a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.
For anyone interested in a more thorough and well researched overview of Native Title, read the Wollydays blog about the Quandamooka versus Queensland: A tale of law, PR and Stradbroke Island.
Redlands2030 is concerned that land use decisions on North Stradbroke Island are another example of Government decisions being made contrary to stakeholder and community views. The High Court case points to another example of the Government overriding the views of stakeholders. One way to support QYAC is to ensure you understand the principles involved and share that understanding with friends and colleagues. Another way to show support is by contributing financially to QYAC’s legal costs. QYAC-Donation
For more information and different perspectives about mining on North Stradbroke Island go to:
The website of sand mining company Sibelco
Editor’s note: In the original version of this article it was stated incorrectly that the mining leases had been extended to 2035. Under the 2013 amendments to the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act, mining lease extensions cannot be applied for and granted before 1 January, 2019. Because the Queensland Parliament could change the law again before then, a lease extension from 2019 to 2035 (or 2027, the date previously sought by Sibelco) is currently potential, not certain, and this article was amended accordingly on 18 December 2014.