Location & Characteristics
AURUKUN SHIRE PROFILE
The Aurukun shire is a very remote area of Queensland which is starkly different to most other Queensland shires. Its community is among the most disadvantaged in Australia but it has outstanding potentials for growth and prosperity.
The shire comprises some 7,500 square kilometres. There are 15 outstations to manage and a range of plant and animal pests.
The community of Aurukun is located on the north-west coast of the Cape York Peninsula, 178km (2hrs 30mins) by road south of the mining town of Weipa and 811km (11hrs) from Cairns. Nearly the entire population (99.6%) lives within the township.
The shire has an area of 7500 sq. km. and is bounded by the holroyd River and Pormpuraaw Deed of Grant in Trust lands to the south, Cook shire and Archer Bend National Park to the east, the Gulf of Carpentaria to the west and Cook shire to the north. It has about 107 km of Gulf of Carpentaria coastline.
The Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) rates Aurukun in the highest category of remoteness. Aurukun is rated as:
5Very Remote (ARIA score >9.08 – 12) – very little accessibility of goods, services and opportunities for social interaction.
The ARIA rating is based on road distance. It does not recognise: the low rate of vehicle ownership in the community; the half year annual road closures due to flooding and also cultural barriers limiting residents’ access to goods, services and opportunities for social interaction.
The alternative to road access, air travel, is expensive. A return flight to Cairns costs nearly $1,000.
Aurukun experiences extreme heat and has an annual wet season with very high temperatures and rainfall. The average maximum temperature is 32.3°C and the average minimum is 21.8°C. The average annual rainfall is approximately 1.77 metres. Most of this falls between December and March.
As Aurukun is in the cyclone area of Queensland it has a cyclone season from November to May each year.
SERVICES AVAILABLE IN AURUKUN
Aurukun has the following services available to residents and visitors:
» Post Office Agency
» Bendigo Bank Agency
» Aurukun Primary Health Care Centre – support by the Royal Flying Doctor Service
» Island & Cape General Store
» School P-7 (Koolkan Campus of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy)
» Koolkan early Childhood Centre and Family Support Hub
» Airport and Skytrans Agency – daily weekday flights from and to Cairns
AURUKUN IS A WELFARE REFORM COMMUNITY
Aurukun is one of only four Welfare Reform Communities in this state. Possession of alcohol within the shire is illegal and Family Income Management is applied to families who do not satisfy certain criteria related to child care, home maintenance and good order.
The school community adopted new programs and transitioned in 2010 to a new education model based on the principles of direct instruction teaching. since 2007-08 the average rate of school attendance has risen from 37.9% to about 80% in first term 2011.