A letter obtained by NITV shows that Noel Pearson attempted to reach out the Queensland government about violence in the Aurukun community in March this year.
The letter, addressed to the Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt, highlights the ‘youth sexual violence and assault in Aurukun’ and labels the response by the state government so far as ‘either weak or non-existent.’
A recent violent assault on the school principal in Aurukun led to all teachers being flown out of the area, the installation of CCTV in the community and an emergency shutdown of the local school.
The Minister attended an emergency meeting in Aurukun last Friday to address the increasing violence.
He says he was unaware of the letter from Mr Pearson until he read about it in the media but his department has been in contact with both Mr Pearson and the wider Aurukun community.
“We now have a copy of that letter and are engaging with Mr Pearson,” he said.
“My director general met with local women elders when we were in Aurukun last year and we certainly had correspondence back and forward between the agency and those groups.”
A spokesperson for the Queensland Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk told NITV that government ministers have visited Aurukun twice in a matter of months and they’re working on a ‘whole of government response’ to the violence.
Elders say police standing by during street fights
Recent video on youtube from the community also shows police standing by as young women fight in the streets of Aurukun.
Elder Phyllis Yunkaporta told the ABC that she wants the police to step in earlier to quell the violence.
“We want the police to take action right there and then,” she said.
“It impacts on the very lives of our youngsters because they stand there and see the fighting happening… It's cemented into their young brains that this is the way to go.”
However the Queensland Police Northern Region Assistant Commissioner Paul Taylor says the police do take action when appropriate.
“The last financial year there's been 52 instances where police have prosecuted people over public nuisance offences where violence has been used,” he says.
“So we don't condone it -we try to stop it, but on occasion it's not prudent to do so.”