The Queensland Government is in damage control, over the deepening Aurukun crisis. Out of control youngsters are terrorising the remote Cape York community. Teachers have been evacuated to safety for the second time in as many weeks. It means the community’s only school will not reopen until next term.
Jack Granenz reports.
The Premier went on the offensive in Parliament this morning.
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qld Premier: “My government is going to Aurukun tomorrow.”
She’ll take a number of Ministers to the emergency meeting, but it may be too late.
The Opposition pounced on the Premier.
Tim Nicholls, Qld Opposition Leader: “What options were canvassed before making the decision to close the Aurukun school?”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qld Premier: “It is a fundamental right of every child to have good quality education.”
Then she made a revision.
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qld Premier: “There is nothing more important than the teachers’ safety.”
So the opposition asked again.
Deb Frecklington, Qld Deputy Opposition Leader: “What advice was received from police on the ground in Aurukun.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qld Premier: “I will stand by the teachers, and Mr. Speaker, if they don’t feel safe they need to get out Mr. Speaker, and that’s what we did, we got them out.”
Tim Mander, Member for Everton: “What advice was received from police on the ground in Aurukun?”
Until Stirling Hinchliffe had enough.
Stirling Hinchliffe, Leader of the House: “I think we should maybe move on to another question.”
A distance education program is expected to begin on Monday, but the school will remain closed until at least July.
Meanwhile, in the early hours of this morning the house passed a bill that will see 60 years of mining on Stradbroke Island come to an end by 2019.
Queensland Resources council CEO Michael Roche says the effects stretch beyond those directly employed in the mines.
Mr Roche says hundreds of contractors and businesses that rely on the Sibelco Mine will also be greatly affected.
The island’s traditional owners, the Quandamooka people, have praised the decision.
Jack Gramenz, QUT News.