Wednesday, 27 February 2013 09:21
Indigenous elders are calling for an inquiry into illegal mining on the world's second largest sand island.
A group of elders will attend the trial on Wednesday of Unimin Australia, which is accused of illegally taking and selling non-mineral sand from its mines on North Stradbroke Island.
Elder Dale Ruska claims the firm unlawfully took and sold sand for more than 30 years, in amounts estimated to be worth about $80 million.
Under its lease with the state government, Unimin can only extract mineral sands from its silica mines.
Any other sand must be used for mine rehabilitation.
The company is charged with one count of carrying out an environmentally relevant activity without a registration certificate and one count of carrying out assessable development without a permit.
But Mr Ruska says those are simple non-indictable offences, despite legal advice he has from two senior councils saying there is a prima facie case for fraud and theft.
He has forwarded that advice to Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, but said no action has been taken.
The elders will attend the trial in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to call on Mr Bleijie to act.
"Our attendance is our expression of disappointment, dissatisfaction and disgust with the Queensland justice system," he said in a statement.
"The evidence has been totally ignored and disregarded in this trial and by the attorney-general.
"He needs to direct the Department of Public Prosecutions to examine the evidence.
"If he continues to neglect his responsibilities we request federal intervention to facilitate a full-blown independent inquiry.
"We want fair and equal justice."
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