by Robert J Lee
For 15 years or more the high-fliers of the Aboriginal industry have been trying to get their hands on the enormous mineral wealth of Cape York Peninsula.
Proven deposits of bauxite, coal, uranium, rare earth, silica, diamonds and gold have been eyed off by miners and banks since an aerial survey of the Peninsula’s natural wealth was undertaken by an American company circa 2003.
The 121,100 square klm land area of Cape York Peninsula has a population of about 8000 of which 3300 are miners living with their families in Weipa.
About 20 per cent of this number living near Weipa are Aborigines. Other than a handful of pastoralists, the remainder of Peninsula inhabitants identify as indigenous.
Along came Coronavirus, which has now proven to be a virulent strain of the common flu, so authorities, fearing for a vulnerable Aboriginal population of 5000 scattered across 17 communities situated along the east and west coastline, closed down the Peninsula. The closure will prove to be a windfall for the Cape York Land Council and Cook Shire Council.
The Queensland Labor Government which is highly dependent on the welfare vote to keep a Labor member in the Cook electorate, panders to every wish of the Aboriginal community.
Spring Hill permanent military checkpoint along the Mulligan Highway sealing off the main access to Cape York Peninsula. – Pic supplied by Cape York resident
Cape York Peninsula Coronavirus checkpoints
A permanent military and police checkpoint has been established at Spring Hill Station, 110 klm north of Mareeba, which personnel say will be there for the next 12 months or until a vaccine is produced, purportedly to protect the indigenous population.
Another permanent military checkpoint has been stationed at Chillagoe to the west of Mareeba.
Cairnsnews has published much scientific data from internationally acclaimed virologists and biologists who maintain the virus, which is causing lung problems in victims has never been isolated from the 36 sub-strains of Coronavirus.
Therefore, as the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brendan Murphy has stated, no vaccine will be available under 18 months, if ever.
Cairnsnews has been told by indigenous residents of the Peninsula they won’t be tolerating another 12 months of being locked up and will be traveling by road or air to Cairns or elsewhere whenever they like and returning home just as they have done for a generation.
So far the evidence shows they care little for the nonsensical ‘social distancing’ or ‘self -isolation’ terminology coined by the UN and parroted by leaders across the world reading from the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (WHO) script.
Already the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah, 20 klms south of Cairns has revolted over their lockdown, staging at least two community protests.
While Aborigines are protesting the lock down at Yarrabah from where residents can walk to Cairns, the potential for Aurukun-styled riots is already rearing its head across the north and into the Gulf..
The rules for exiting the Peninsula are quite simple but if you want to return then you must self-isolate for two weeks at home after re-entry and this isolation will be monitored by police or health officials.
The checkpoint police closely scrutinise your entry papers issued after an online application to the Cook Shire Disaster Management Group. Police will not allow anyone enter the no-go zone under any circumstances if you don’t qualify. Particularly, it seems if you are white and a pastoralist. There are reports that indigenous people are not heavily scrutinised before entering.
Checkpoint guards photograph you, your vehicle, search your vehicle and rigorously check your papers. The army and police have each set up permanent communication posts at the checkpoint with accommodation dongas and water supply tanks. There is no mobile phone service at the site.
Army Reservists with a sprinkling of regulars man the site around the clock with police drawn from Brisbane and elsewhere, understandably much to the ire of local officers. Extremely generous camping-out and meal allowances are a big drawcard for city officers.
At Bamaga in the Northern Peninsula Area private security guards are patrolling the communities on the lookout for interlopers from the Torres Strait.
Meanwhile the mineral wealth lays in situ waiting for exploitation.
The Aboriginal Cape York Land Council two years ago filed Number 1 Claim over the entire Cape York land mass claiming all property not yet handed over to indigenous Prescribed Body Corporate groups and communities. This claim includes a number of white-owned pastoral holdings.
If successful in the Federal Court this claim will give the CYLC jurisdiction over some 60,000 square klms of mineral and pastoral wealth on the Peninsula above the 16th Parallel. In light of their previous practices few Peninsula community members will benefit from the Number 1 Claim.
Permanent checkpoints with an indefinite life will suit the Aboriginal industry hierarchy allowing them exclusive access to the entire area which they claim as home and naturally the vast deposits of mineral wealth. Mining company personnel will not be allowed to enter under the existing rules.
If the Peninsula is reopened to the 100,000 tourist vehicles that visit every year, Cook Shire Council at Cooktown after agitating for a checkpoint for several years, said it will be charging a boom-gate toll for entry with specific permit routes and destinations.
Predictably the late PM Bob Hawke’s hallmark land rights legislation soon will have created the first indigenous State of Far North Queensland.
Is it any wonder the Chinese have been trying to buy the Tip of Cape York?