Kimberley Aboriginal families lodging legal challenge to Canning Basin Agreement
Aboriginal families in the Kimberley are planning a legal challenge of the Canning Basin Agreement, saying it is premature and erodes their native title rights.
The Joint Venture Agreement was signed between the State Government, Buru Energy and Mitsubishi Corporation and passed through Parliament earlier this week.
The agreement sets out time frames for the companies, secures a portion of the gas they produce for the domestic market and exempts them from having to renew their exploration permits for a decade.
Karajarri chairman Joe Edgar says they, and the Nyikina Mangala families, have decided to lodge a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.
“We were quite unhappy to learn about it because we’re still in the negotiating process,” he said.
“It’s really disturbing.”
In a written response, a spokeswoman for the Premier has said the Canning Basin Agreement does not relate to native title.
She says it will be up to the companies to negotiate with traditional owners and ensure all the correct native title and cultural approvals are in place before the project proceeds.