8 March, 2021
Weipa community voices concerns to MP
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui says last week’s trip to Weipa was a “positive experience” and that she left with a better grasp of issues facing the Western Cape.
It was the MP’s first trip to the area after more than 550 days and constituents were happy to have face time with the elected member.
Ms Lui had meetings with Rio Tinto Weipa, police, hospital staff, Western Cape College and Weipa Community Care during the 24-hour visit from Monday to Tuesday.
Perhaps her most important meeting was with members of the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce on Monday night.
In a round-table discussion, Ms Lui was told of the major issues impacting the local business community.
“Child care is right at the top of the list,” chamber president Vance Wallin said.
“It has an impact on just about every business.”
A lack of rental properties was another item tabled as needing urgent priority, as were the problems encountered with Sea Swift during the wet season.
Ms Lui said she would take the feedback on board and raise the issues with relevant ministers and organisations.
“What was highlighted was the strong community spirit in Weipa,” she said.
“I think we can put some pressure on the federal government to get involved in the child care issue.
“Without child care, you’re putting up a barrier for people that want to work.
“I think the federal government needs to get on board.”
Ms Lui also offered her apologies for the lengthy gap between trips to Weipa and promised to be back again much sooner.
“I’m the only electorate with 13 mayors and one town authority chairman,” she said.
“It’s a big electorate but I will do better to get back here as much as I can.”
Mr Wallin thanked Ms Lui for taking the time to sit down with the chamber and local businesses and hear the issues.
“The important thing now is that we get a response to some of these critical issues,” he said.
“Weipa is at a point where we know the lifespan of the Andoom mine is about 10 years and we want to shore up the town’s future so we aren’t just relying on the Rio Tinto mine.
“Housing and child care are the priorities, but we also need to get moving on having a plan for normalisation.”
Editor’s note: A truce has been struck between Cape York Weekly and Ms Lui based on the MP’s recognition that she needs to visit Weipa more often. We hope to see positive results from this latest trip to the region.