‘Come home’: Mayor’s message after 'murder' riots
AURUKUN mayor Dereck Walpo has finally spoken out more than a week after a huge community New Year's Day riot urging those who had fled in fear to return.
Cr Walpo said about 450 members of the 1450-strong population remained displaced, most relocating to Coen or a refugee camp being run by veterans from job training consultants Kapani Warriors.
He said he had been given permission by his grieving family to speak out.
"I encourage Aurukun people to return to their community. It is their right to live harmoniously alongside their fellow Wik clan families," he said.
"It is undesirable that displaced residents continue to live in locations outside the Aurukun Shire."
He said several people had returned from the camp to access services and also thanked Coen residents for taking in those from Aurukun.
"But having these people there puts pressure on another community's supplies and services. Aurukun can cater for these people at home," he said.
"It is paramount for their health and wellbeing that they make use of the services provided in
Aurukun especially the health clinic and aged care facilities.
"Aurukun Shire Council continues to provide many of the community services to ensure residents have access to school, the community centre, supermarket, bank, post office, PCYC, airport, and childcare.
"I encourage any community member from each of the clans to meet with me and the councillors to talk about their concerns and how we can move forward."
More than 20 people have been charged in relation to riots, while two teenage males aged 17 and 18 have been charged with the murder of a 37-year-old man.
Cr Walpo said the community must come together.
"We have to positively move forward in a peaceful and harmonious manner. It may be difficult to forgive, but our community needs the anger and retaliations to stop. We must all respect one another and move on positively in a peaceful environment," he said.
"The safety of all residents is of utmost importance. We must be able to lead normal lives and provide positive futures for our children."
He also praised the police decision for a large number of officers to remain in the community "as long as is required to ensure the safety of residents and service providers".
"Council is pleased with the appointment of State Government co-ordinator Gary Kleidon because of his knowledge of the Wik people and the community of Aurukun and will continue to work closely with him in the recovery process," he said.
"Council is fully committed to working closely with all agencies to resolve the current issue and we encourage the community to come on board and support these efforts.
"I would like to thank the Police, DATSIP and other Government Agencies for their ongoing commitment and support in this current situation."