Sunday March 1, 2020
compiled by Jim O’Toole
Aurukun has just erupted into violence again after a massive riot and wave of destruction six weeks ago. There are unconfirmed reports of burning homes and police cars. At least 60 police have been stationed at Aurukun and Weipa trying to maintain order at the remote settlement located on the eastern shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Reports suggest Aurukun unrest was costing more than $100,000 a day in police and emergency services overtime. Ambulances, doctors, RFDS and hospitals have been on standby since the first outbreak.
Commentators have suggested millions of dollars of infrastructure damage inflicted by marauding blackfellas should not be repaired at taxpayer expense.
Things were getting quite dry in the southern region of PNG during the long hot dry spell at Christmas time. So hot and dry that PNG nationals were boating across to Saibai Island under the cover of darkness to steal fresh water. Saibai is the closest island to the PNG mainland under Australian control.
Whatever happened to Borderforce patrols is unknown but the coastal guardians don’t seem to be the same since one of their senior boat skippers died in unusual circumstances on board one of their vessels about 18 months ago in the Torres Strait. Around the same time both new Borderforce vessels ran aground on a reef and spent many weeks in Cairns dry dock getting repaired.
Aircraft were the only line of defence left for quite some time after the grounding of the boats.
Rumours and anecdotal evidence of an enduring guns for weed trade in the Torres Strait have been around for many years and a television series was even made about it.
Northern Peninsula Area
The pleasant community of Umagico was rocked on Tuesday when thieves broke into the council operated supermarket and stole a very heavy teller machine. The crooks there are getting much smarter because the CCTV and electricity were cut off before they entered the premises. We heard there were no fingerprints found. It was coincidental the teller machine had been loaded up with bank notes the day before.
Hand over of the Tip of Cape York
In November senior bureaucrats from the Queensland Lands Department held a land handover function at Pajinka at the Tip of Cape York, the site of the former TAA/Bush Pilots tourist resort which flourished in the 80’s. The resort was given to an indigenous tribe in the 90’s but the $10 million destination soon floundered and was then abandoned by the local group.
Any visitor to the Tip of Cape York since then would have seen the Pajinka site consisting of falling- down and vandalised tourist facilities, quarters and homes. For many years desolate Pajinka has been the epitome of government stupidity and tourists’ video footage of the wreckage could be viewed for years on social media castigating blackfellas and the government.
The Pajinka fiasco has probably been the worst ever, unintentional public relations event for the Aboriginal and Islander cause. More than 100,000 tourists visit the Tip each year and the wanton waste at the abandoned site has driven the wedge even further between white and black.
NPA inhabitants are well respected by visitors and bureaucracy alike and conduct themselves in a formidable fashion.
This time around the new owners of Pajinka are being careful with plotting a suitable destiny for the best chunk of freehold real estate in the country. They say there will be no Chinese involvement.
For whom the bell tolls
The NPA community of Injinoo still has a resident saltie some call ‘ding-dong’ because the large croc arrives at the water’s edge in Injinoo Inlet alongside the school fence as soon as the school bell rings at 3pm.
Last year there were thousands of views on social media of the croc eating a dog that ventured too close to the water. Schoolkids were calling for the dog to come away from the water but the large saurian snapped him up before they could get the big pup to move.
Local Rangers supposedly shot the croc soon afterwards but it turned out they shot a smaller one.