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3 August, 2021

Panic levels heightened as result of misinformation

EDITORIAL: The people of Cape York were let down by the Queensland government, Rio Tinto and the Weipa Town Authority last Wednesday.


EDITORIAL

THE people of Cape York were let down by the Queensland government, Rio Tinto and the Weipa Town Authority last Wednesday.

While in their eyes there was nothing for locals to worry about, it was a different story for those who did not hold all the information.

Phones ran hot, the Facebook rumour mill went into overdrive and panicked parents were calling schools, preparing to pull their kids out of classrooms.

In her press conference, Dr Jeanette Young, the chief health officer of Queensland, gave scant detail about how Weipa people would be kept safe when she announced that a bulk carrier would be sent our way with a crew of 21 – 19 of whom were infected with COVID-19.

Cape York is lucky to have fended off the virus so far, with zero cases of community transmission in the region.

Locals look back on last year’s bubble with not-so-fond memories, but are nonetheless thankful they were kept safe.

That’s all they needed to hear from someone last week – that they would be safe.

And they needed to hear it from someone important. Not a newspaper editor, not via Facebook, but from a reputable leader and one with all the facts.

We might like the simple life in the Cape, but that does not mean we are to be treated as simpletons, unable to grasp the complexities of moving men off a ship and to the airport.

Once the facts are made clear, people breathe a little easier.

Our local leaders let us down last week. We hope there is no next time, but if so, they have learnt some important lessons.


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