4 March 2024

Wujal Wujal celebrates rebuild work commencing on community supermarket

| Cape York Weekly
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Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Bradley Creek and Minister for Communities Leeanne Enoch inspect the community’s store, which was destroyed by floodwater in December 2023. Photo: Supplied.

The mayor of a Cape York community decimated by flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Jasper says the commencement of work to rebuild its supermarket will return “a sense of normalcy” as residents prepare to come home in the next month.

Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Bradley Creek inspected the community supermarket last week after the State Government announced rebuilding work was under way on the vital infrastructure.

Mayor Creek, who has been the extremely public face of residents since they were evacuated in December 2023, said it was hoped the community could begin to return in the next four or five weeks.

“It has been a very rough time for my people of Wujal Wujal,” he said.

“The road to recovery is four to five weeks away.

“All government agencies are working together so all essential services are up and running before the community returns home to Wujal Wujal.”

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QBuild has been engaged to complete repairs to the store, which will include replacement of the cold room, store generator and retaining walls, as well as reflooring, re-sheeting of walls, and electrical repairs.

It is hoped the rebuild will help restore food security to the community as stakeholders coordinate the return of residents, who were displaced to Cairns, Cooktown and other nearby locations following the evacuation.

Minister for Communities Leeanne Enoch inspected the supermarket with Mayor Creek and said the asset played a daily role in the lives of Wujal Wujal residents.

“This is a huge loss to the remote community, as the store provides essential access to food and other day-to-day convenience items,” she said.

“A lot of residents in Wujal Wujal rely heavily on the store’s easy access from within the community on a daily basis.

“I’m pleased to report that work to repair the store has already begun, and we’re looking at interim options to provide access to food and other essential items until repairs are completed, and the store has reopened.”

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Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the return of the supermarket would play a strong part in the community’s recovery.

“In light of all the community has suffered, it’s so important that residents are supported to return to community and Country as quickly as possible, and have access to essentials like fresh food,” she said.

Following the inspection, Mayor Creek said it was a positive step on the road to returning Wujal Wujal to a place residents felt safe coming home to.

“Rebuilding the store will return a sense of normality for the community, which has been through so much,” he said.

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