10 May 2023

Cape York mayors undecided ahead of election

| Cape York Weekly
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CAPE York mayors are on the fence about who should get their vote at this month’s state election.

Speaking to Cape York Weekly, most were impressed with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, especially during the COVID crisis, but were not pleased with the representation of local MP Cynthia Lui.

It leaves the local leaders with a conundrum with 12 days until the polls close on October 31.

Eight candidates are running for the seat of Cook and Mapoon mayor Aileen Addo said she had yet to hear from one of them.

“They might have visited when I was out at meetings, but I haven’t seen any (candidates) or spoken to any,” she said last Wednesday.

“The state government has been pretty good to Mapoon and has given us pretty much what we have asked for, but we haven’t seen a lot of (Cynthia Lui).”

Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott, who has the biggest council area in Cape York, said he was weighing up the candidates.

Cr Scott was able to hear from candidates Desmond Tayley, Yodie Batzke, Tanika Parker and Nipper Brown at the Torres and Cape Indigenous Council Alliance AGM.

Ms Lui did not present to the mayors and council staff, he said.

“I think we’ve only had limited representation over the last eight years,” Cr Scott said, referring to former MPs David Kempton, Billy Gordon and Ms Lui.

“More than anything we want a genuine commitment from candidates to look after all of Cook. We need someone who is energetic, proactive and across the issues.

Cr Scott said he had good relationships with the Premier and the cabinet and was largely happy with the state government’s role.

“I think they handled the whole COVID thing really well,” he said.

“There are some things I don’t agree with. I think they are a bit anti-development in the Cape.

“They have some strict clearing and vegetation policies.”

Weipa Town Authority chairman Michael Rowland said he wanted the next MP to be fighting for their communities.

“The Indigenous councils have Ministerial Champions and director generals who are in regular contact with them,” he said.

“I would like to see more of our local MP lobbying on our behalf.

“I think the state government has done well during this whole COVID thing but we haven’t seen a lot of Cynthia.”

Mr Rowland said the key priorities for Weipa were the continual sealing of the PDR, as well as working towards normalisation.

“We need that commitment to continue with the next government, no matter who wins,” he said.

“We’ve made a lot of progress with Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe on normalisation and I think we are close to getting it under way.”

Napranum mayor Janita Motton is also unhappy that none of the Cook candidates have taken the time to meet with her or the council.

She said that Napranum was working hard to regain its identity and needed to have important conversations with the next Member for Cook.

Current MP Cynthia Lui was scheduled to visit Napranum and Weipa on the week of September 28 but cancelled her visit at late notice.

Candidates have just 12 days to get their messages across before the polls close, although many are expected to vote early in 2020.

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