An appeal by a small group of traditional owners against Adani Mining over an Indigenous Land Use Agreement has begun in the Federal Court in Brisbane, with the court hearing allegations of “slurs” and “surreptitious tactics.

Several members of the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples are appealing a Federal Court Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) from 2016. The agreement between Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners and Adani allows Adani to eliminate native title over a section of land, in exchange for local Indigenous community benefits.

Five Traditional Owners objected to the ILUA last year, but the Federal Court rejected their objections, with Justice John Reeves ruling they had “no merit”. The appeal occurring now is based on grounds that “below reasonable efforts” were made to verify whether participants were Wangan and Jagalingou people at meetings held to make decisions on the proposed ILUA.

Murrawah Johnson, a spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, told NITV the five Traditional Owners appealing the decision were “driven by a need for justice”.

“Native title is mean to protect us. We are on high alert as the Queensland government buckles under political pressure to deliver approvals to Adani. That means our land and waters our culture and law could be under assault within the next few weeks.”

According to SBS, during Monday’s court proceedings barrister Stephen Keim SC, for the Wangan and Jagalingou members said the organisers of meetings to determine the agreement were paid $2500 to “generate enthusiasm, if I can put it that way”.

Tom Sullivan QC, Adani’s barrister, objected – labelling the comment as a “surreptitious way of bringing in a slur”. Mr Keim later said it was not submitted that the payments were improper, and Justice Steven David Rares said payments were normal in native title cases to ensure those involved are able to attend meetings.

Outside the proceedings, Murrawah Johnson and Adani Mining both issued statements, as reported by SBS.

“We are deeply concerned by our experience of misconduct, corruption of process, and stacking of a meeting to obtain a contract that signs away our rights to the land without our free prior and informed consent,” Ms Johnson told media outside the court.

“All along, the native title system has been allowed to play to sectional interests within the Aboriginal community. Only those who put their hands up to mining deals are favoured and promoted but when we say no to the opening up of the Galilee Basin, our traditional country, we are obstructed at every turn.”

Adani Mining issued a statement, saying in 2016 the Wangan and Jingalou people supported the ILUA, and “voted 294 to one” in favour of it.

“This continuing court action has been pursued by a very small minority of the W&J people. The majority of W&J people support the development of the mine and the vote to accept the ILUA reflected this.”

The hearing is ongoing in Brisbane.