A group of Coen residents has called for an independent audit into the distribution of $260 million of federal and state funding allocated for a major upgrade of the Peninsula Development Road.
One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was invited to the Coen meeting on Wednesday night to hear the concerns of locals who believe there had been a wide-spread waste of government funds by Roadtek.
Long-time local grazier Paddy Shephard explained to the meeting how an Indigenous Land Use Agreement(ILUA) was about to signed off by the State Government giving part control of the PDR to a “Coen Aboriginal family group” which had no connection to the highway.
Another resolution was passed at the meeting asking Senator Roberts to instigate a senate inquiry into the granting of an ILUA over the PDR, an important arterial tourist and defence road.
Senator Roberts is no stranger to the Cape having taken a number of holiday trips to the Top.
He said he was at the meeting to listen to the concerns of local people and would do what he could to have the matters investigated.
“It seems the place is being held back and the road is important for defence and the opening up of the region,” Senator Roberts said.
“There is no accountability and now it seems lots of waste in general and an abuse of power where ordinary people are missing out every day.
“We are losing our sovereignty in government under regulations coming from the United Nations.”
Businessman Barry Mulley launched an emotional attack on the Cape York Land Council for demanding the PDR be handed over to their elitist members allegedly in order to take a cut of funding for contractors engaged in the upgrade.
“Once they have control of the road they can do what they like with it even charge a toll for tourists to use it and decide which contractors will get jobs,” Mr Mulley said.
“We believe local indigenous people should get jobs on the road but the land council should not be in control of it. There are too many jobs for the boys on big pay that has pushed up the cost of building it.
“There is no accountability from the government or land council in how they spend large amounts taxpayers money.
“I am sick of paying large amounts of tax only to have it wasted by the government on mismanagement of the road works.”
Mr Mulley said Peninsula ratepayers and residents had no political representation which is why Senator Roberts was invited to take their concerns to Parliament.
“Nobody cares about the Peninsula. The government just throws lots of money into it without any accountability,” he added.
The notorious ‘Land Claim Number 1’ according to Cape York Alliance member Jack Wilkie-Jans gave the CYLC the ability to claim ownership of the PDR.
“How do just nine claimants speak for the hundreds of clan groups across the Cape?” he asked.
“Is it any wonder there is such widespread derision among the indigenous and white people of the Cape.”