19 February 2024

Aurukun's outstanding citizens awarded for leadership

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Chantelle Walmbeng awarded Young Citizen of the Year

Aurukun’s Young Citizen of the Year Chantelle Walmbeng receives her Young Citizen of the Year award from Deputy Mayor Craig Koomeeta on 17 February. Photo: Supplied.

Aurukun is home to the youngest Police Liaison Officer (PLO) in the state, and she has now been recognised for her role in youth leadership in the remote Indigenous community.

Chantelle Walmbeng was awarded Aurukun Young Citizen of the Year at a ceremony held on 17 February, 2024.

Aurukun Mayor Keri Tamwoy said the annual Aurukun Shire Council awards recognised people who had shown community leadership for the Wik, Wik Waya and Kugu people.

“Chantelle was an active founding member of the PCYC Kang Kang Youth Leadership team, where she volunteered her time and was a part of many community initiatives,” Mayor Tamwoy explained.

“In her free time, she has been attending Koolkan Aurukun State School to assist in the mornings, and to support the young people of Aurukun in achieving an education.”

Ms Walmbeng’s ambition has served as an inspiration for the youth in community.

“She became the Police Liaison Officer for PCYC Aurukun in March 2023 while completing Year 12, becoming the youngest PLO in Queensland,” Mayor Tamwoy said.

“In this role, Chantelle has demonstrated a commitment to learn, and shows up every day for work on time.”

Baressa Frazer and Keri Tamwoy

Aurukun Citizen of the Year Baressa Frazer (left) and Mayor Keri Tamwoy. Photo: Supplied.

Mayor Tamwoy said the young PLO was never one to back down from a challenge in order to improve her community.

“Chantelle’s leadership and willingness to take on new challenges, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, will ensure she is a force for change in the Aurukun community for years to come,” she said.

“The young leader is speaking at the Say No to Domestic Violence conference in Cairns this month about her life experiences, and the support to reduce domestic violence in the community.”

Also recognised at Saturday’s ceremony was Koolkan Aurukun State School principal Baressa Frazer, who was awarded the community’s Citizen of the Year.

Mayor Tamwoy described Ms Frazer as a “strong, elegant and passionate Wik woman” who worked as a tireless advocate for Aurukun’s children.

“She has returned to her community to lead local education as the principal of Koolkan Aurukun State School, where she connects teachers and employees to culture and community,” Mayor Tamwoy said.

“Her passion and knowledge of culture, language and community is invaluable, and she teaches both children and adults with a gentle strength.”

Ms Frazer is currently in the process of implementing Wik teaching methodology at the school, which she researched and designed in collaboration with the language groups, elders and the Aak Puul Ngantam rangers.

“The work is monumental, and is creating a pathway for Aurukun students to successfully learn, while keeping their culture alive,” Mayor Tamwoy explained.

“I congratulate Baressa and Chantelle, who are outstanding role models for the youth of Aurukun, and are determined that our younger generation will have a better future on their homelands.”

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