Friday, 3 February 2012

Elverina Johnson bids to be mayor of Yarrabah

Melanie Petrinec
Friday, February 3, 2012
© The Cairns Post

INDIGENOUS advocate Elverina Johnson hopes to become the first female mayor of Yarrabah on the back of policies she believes will ensure the town becomes a thriving economic hub.

Ms Johnson, a proud Kunganji woman, announced her candidacy for mayor of Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council this week and outlined an ambitious vision for her hometown’s future.

She told The Cairns Post she wanted Yarrabah, a self-governing community since 1987 and the largest of 16 Aboriginal councils in Queensland, to be viewed the same as any other small town across the state. "We should be functioning with the facilities that a small town has, and at the moment, we don’t have that," she said.

Ms Johnson, who in 2010 presented a paper to the United Nations on life in Aboriginal communities, believes the Alcohol Management Plan is failing and the town would benefit from a small tavern. "I think having a tavern would help people to engage better socially with each other," she said.  "Because at the moment, the Alcohol Management Plan is not helping the situation or the people, because it just creates more law enforcement and more people are getting caught drink-driving."

More facilities for young people in the town were a must, Ms Johnson said.  Ms Johnson is a community engagement officer. She believes she has the skills to take the community "to a completely different level".

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