Respected Ngambri Elder and Chairman of Ag-arts Residency Kenmore Limited, Shane Mortimer from Goulbourn in southern New South Wales has called on Indigenous leaders around the nation to challenge any proposal to have a wind farm on their country.
“Our 500,000 plus strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community – go now and ask your Council, Territory, State and Federal Governments to show you how they are carrying out proper due diligence on Native Title on developments as they are required to by law!” Mr Mortimer said.
“The ramifications of this questioning, if coordinated effectively will have a profoundly positive impact on Common Law Native Title owners for generations to come.
“Ask them to show you proof if they say your native title is extinguished! Ask them to show you the proof that the first land grant recipient of YOUR Common Law Native Title land satisfied the conditions of the grant.
“All developments including Wind Farms are require to carry out proper Due Diligence on Native Title and Common Law Native Title by LAW! This requirement is not confined to wind farms, it applies to mining, real estate sub-divisions, city developments … all developments. All of Australia is subject to this requirement, without exception, it is the law.
Mr Mortimer told the National Indigenous Times that there is a big difference between common law native title and native title under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth); or land grants under the NSW Aboriginal Land Right Act.
“Governments at all levels and developers it would appear, seem to think a ‘stones and bones’ archaeological report is all they are required to do!” Mr Mortimer said.
“I am not a lawyer, but this little Koori can read, so last Thursday 16 August 20 12, I addressed a meeting of the Upper Lachlan Shire Council to remind them of their Due Diligence according to Law in relation to Native Title under the Native Title Act and Common Law Native Title with respect to Wind Farm development in their council area of NSW at Gullen Range and Collector.
“In excess of seven hundred wind turbines are planned to be constructed in the Upper Lachlan Shire Council. All funded with taxpayers money to the tune of $1m per turbine for 25 years. This will take the turbine count to a thousand plus on the spine of the Great Dividing Range between Crookwell and Bungendore alone.
“The money is going to Goldwind Australia Pty Ltd a thinly disguised Chinese Company and Ratch Australia Corporation Limited a majority Thai owned partnership between Ratchaburri Holding and Transfield Services.
“It is no mistake either that Trade Union Superannuation Funds, the likes of Members Equity Bank are major investors in these projects.
Mr Mortimer said due diligence is a requirement of the Corporations Act, including due diligence on Native Title under the Act and/or Common Law Native Title. “If due diligence has not been carried out according to LAW, approval by the NSW Government for the proposed Gullen Range Wind Farm is invalid – in fact, all wind farm developments in Australia must cease and those already built must be decommissioned if the developers have not carried out this legal requirement.
“In a nut shell, if a person, company or organization, including governments, want to proceed with a development, it is the requirement of the directors and/or officers involved in the development to carry out due diligence on Native Title and Common Law Native Title.
“There is a High Court of Australia case law reference to due diligence available for anyone to look up on the internet: Shafron v Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
During his presentation to the Upper Lachlan Shire Council Mr Mortimer said he was offended at the ignorance displayed by councillors of his advise to them on the illegality of the approval process for the wind farm.
“The Upper Lachlan Shire Councillors, with the exception of one councillor, disparagingly smirked, sniggered and carried on throughout my presentation. They were an embarrassment to their community.
“The Mayor asked me to take questions and one of the Councillors stated that all planning approvals for projects exceeding $30m are the responsibility fo the NSW State Government. However this is a recent arrangement in NSW.
“The Upper Lachlan Shire Council has approved wind turbine installations in the past, prior to that legislation and are accountable for those approvals and for not carrying out their due diligence according to Law on Native Title under the Act or Common Law Native Title.”
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