Aurukun elders demand zero tolerance for culture of violence

- May 13, 2016


THE Wik women of Aurukun say they want the same standard of policing of violence as elsewhere in the state.

As Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt travels to the township today in the wake of recent unrest, a female elder claims authorities have been turning a blind eye to violence, allowing a culture to fester in which youths “think they can get away with it”.

In an email to the Police Minister and Commissioner in March, a group of local women raised concerns and urged police to enforce a zero-tolerance ­approach to fighting.

“On behalf of women and children we insist that the QPS enforces a zero tolerance to fighting and ‘punching’, as does the rest of our state with its one-punch law,” they wrote.

Twenty-five school staff were ordered to leave the community on Tuesday.

They had voiced their concerns over safety after the principal was carjacked and assaulted by teenagers, one wielding an axe.

 Police have this week bolstered their presence in the community and officers are patrolling the school and teachers’ homes.
Mr Pitt, who will attend a community meeting in Aurukun, told State Parliament yesterday the majority of the township’s residents wanted to live harmoniously.

“However, there appears to be a group of people – some of them young – for whom property damage and destruction and threatening or violent behaviour are a part of their lives,” he said.

“This is clearly not acceptable … Active policing will continue for as long as is necessary.”

Fiona Jose from Cape York Partnership said there were about 100 disengaged youths in Aurukun and the organisation had repeatedly urged governments to respond to the crisis since 2013.

Jobs and education were key, she said.

Police were unavailable for comment last night.