Northern Peninsula Area Region
|Northern Peninsula Area Region
|• Density||2.2288/km2 (5.7724/sq mi)|
|Area||1,071.9 km2 (413.9 sq mi)|
|Mayor||Cr Joseph Elu|
|Region||Far North Queensland|
The Northern Peninsula Area Region is a local government area in Far North Queensland, Australia, covering areas on the northwestern coast of Cape York Peninsula. It was created in March 2008 out of three Aboriginal Shires and two autonomous Island Councils during a period of statewide local government reform.
The Region was created on 15 March 2008 from five previous entities—the Bamaga and Seisia Island Councils, and the Injinoo, New Mapoon and Umagico Aboriginal Councils. Its first election was held on the same day.
In 1984, the Community Services (Torres Strait) Act and Community Services (Aborigines) Act were enacted by the Queensland Government, allowing community councils to be created to own and administer former reserves or missions under a Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT). Each was responsible for local basic utilities and services such as electricity, housing and management of local CDEP programs. They also worked with the Queensland Police to provide for community police officers—hence extending well beyond the normal functions of local government. The Local Government (Community Government Areas) Act 2004 extended to community councils many of the provisions and benefits of the Local Government Act 1993 normally enjoyed by shire councils.
In 2006, the councils were involved in a consultation process which resulted in a Green Paper being produced. The State Government subsequently took over the process, and in April 2007, a White Paper entitled "Community Government in the Torres Strait: the way forward" was released, recommending both governance and structural changes to ensure the sustainability of governance in the region. The White Paper expressed concerns about workload and capacity to meet community needs, deficiencies in corporate governance and accountability and other challenges and issues. The Local Government Reform report in July 2007 recommended the creation of the Northern Peninsula Area council as well as the Torres Strait Island Region council to attempt to address these issues. The Queensland Government responded by proposing the Local Government and Other Legislation (Indigenous Regional Councils) Amendment Bill 2007 to bring the two new councils into line with the recommendations of both reports.
Because of the unique structure of the DOGIT areas, where a community owned the land and the council represented the community owners, concerns were raised by the councils about ownership potentially transferring to the new entities and diluting their title over it. Some councils responded by creating a private company with all community members as shareholders, and transferring the ownership to the company. This was opposed by the State Government who threatened to take legal action against the communities.
Following the elections, the Department of Local Government provided $675,000 to the Regional Council to assist with expenses relating to the post-amalgamation transfer process.
The council consists of five divisions, each of which represents one of the former entities and elects one councillor, with a mayor being elected by the entire region. At the 2008 election, the following councillors were elected:
- Mayor—Joseph Elu
- Division 1 (Injinoo)—Gina Nona
- Division 2 (Umagico)—Peter Lui
- Division 3 (Bamaga)—Reg Williams
- Division 4 (New Mapoon)—Michael Bond
- Division 5 (Seisia)—Jeffrey Aniba
The 2012 local government elections saw a completely new set of councillors elected. All sitting councillors who recontested their seats - the Mayor and Councillors from Division 1, 3 and 4 - were defeated. The following councillors were elected:
- Mayor—Bernard Charlie
- Division 1 (Injinoo)—Anthony Mara
- Division 2 (Umagico)—Dennis Gatawan (unopposed)
- Division 3 (Bamaga)—Edward Newman
- Division 4 (New Mapoon)—Trevor Lifu
- Division 5 (Seisia)—Benjamin Gebadi
Geography and demography
At the 2006 ABS census, the area had a population of 1,929:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 March 2011). "Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2009–10". Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (23 February 2008). "Land Rights". Retrieved 31 March 2008.
- Kaye, Stuart (1997). The Torres Strait. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 12–15. ISBN 90-411-0506-9.
- State of Queensland (2007). "Local Government and Other Legislation (Indigenous Regional Councils) Amendment Bill 2007". Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- Minister for Main Roads and Local Government (27 March 2008). "Media Statement - State funding to ease transition for far north Queensland councils: Pitt". Retrieved 31 March 2008.
- Electoral Commission Queensland (28 March 2008). "2008 Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council - Councillor Election - Election Summary". Retrieved 31 March 2008.
- "Mayoral election time". Torres News. 29 February 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
- Electoral Commission Queensland (28 April 2012). "2012 Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council - Mayoral Election - Election Summary". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Electoral Commission Queensland (28 April 2012). "2012 Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council - Councillor Elections - Election Summary". Retrieved 26 June 2012.