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Govt warned of Aurukun trouble in December

AAP logoAAP 26/07/2016 By Jamie McKinnell

Concerned residents of Aurukun wrote to the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in December warning of safety concerns at their school five months before it was shut down due to ongoing unrest in the town.

A member of the Wik Women's group wrote to Ms Palaszczuk, Treasurer Curtis Pitt and Police Minister Bill Byrne to warn trouble was brewing.

But Tuesday's budget estimates hearing was told Education Minister Kate Jones never received a copy.

"We need to know that we are safe to go to the shop, to our community services and to our school next term without fear of recrimination," the letter read.

"Premier, I work at this school and need to know this is safe for all children and those who work there."

Opposition education spokeswoman Tracy Davis repeatedly pressed Ms Jones on whether she was advised of the email and she eventually confirmed she was not sent a copy.

But Ms Jones was at pains to highlight the date it was sent: December 29.

"School was not in session - it was during a school break," she said.

Ms Jones later defended the government's response and said the Wik Women believed they were writing to the appropriate government figures about a community safety issue.

"I trust the judgment of the Wik Women," she said.

The town's Cape York Aboriginal Academy was shut down by the government and teachers were evacuated in late May after increasing unrest.

The principal, Scott Fatnowna, had been carjacked twice in as many weeks.

Ms Palaszczuk joined several senior colleagues, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart and local leaders for crisis meetings in the town, where parents were urged to take more responsibility for their children.

The school this month reopened, with increased safety measures, and the government has accepted all 27 recommendations from a review into the US-based direct instruction model used there.

A government spokesman said Mr Pitt led a delegation to the town with Mr Byrne and housing minister Leanne Enoch in early February to speak directly with the community.

"Extra police were also deployed to Aurukun on December 30," they added.

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