The Elected Council

Mayor Keri Tamwoy,
Deputy Mayor Craig Koomeeta,
Cr Delys Yunkaporta,
Cr Jayden Marrott,
Cr Kemuel Tamwoy

Mayor Keri Tamwoy

Mayor Keri Tamwoy follows proudly in the footsteps of her late mother Alison Woolla, a dynamic reform leader and first female to serve as Mayor of Aurukun from 1983 to 1985 and 1991 to 1994.

“My Mum was a mayor for the people and the community who always had the whole community’s aspirations and needs at heart and this is what I want to take into my service for my people,” she said.

Of the Putch Clan, Mayor Tamwoy, 45, has lived her entire life in her hometown, where she has raised her six children with husband Gerald, and feels privileged to have three grandchildren with two living in Aurukun.

Mayor Tamwoy’s strong leadership and dedication to her community was recognised when she was appointed as a local Family Responsibilities Commissioner in 2019.

She is qualified mediator who heads the community’s mediation agency Thaa’ Pant Services and chairs a community land management organisation Aak Puul Ngantam (APN Cape York).

Mayor Tamwoy delivers cultural awareness training to mining companies and has a background in administration with roles at APN Cape York and in her husband’s machinery hire business.

Aurukun Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG)
Aurukun Supermarket Advisory Committee
Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance (TCICA)
Western Cape Communities Southern Sub-Regional Trust

Employment and Training
Business Development

Deputy Mayor Craig Koomeeta

Cr Craig Koomeeta has been elected Deputy Mayor of Aurukun Shire Council. It is Cr Koomeeta’s second stint on Council having served from 2000-2003 under Jacob Wolmby when he was just 22 years of age. Now 43, the Apalech man has a strong family history in the community. His father Edwin Merkool Koomeeta was a councillor in the eighties and his older sister Vera Koomeeta has just retired as a councillor.

After leaving Townsville Grammar, Cr Koomeeta returned to Aurukun where he started a career with Queensland Health mowing lawns and worked in various roles before becoming a health officer doing home visits monitoring the health of local residents. He is currently a community enabler with Apunipima.

Following his first Council term, Cr Koomeeta became a full-time artist at the Wik and Kugu Arts Centre where he created sculptures which he exhibited around the world. Cr Koomeeta also served on the board of Trustees for the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art alongside the likes of former premier Wayne Goss.

A regular performer at concerts in Aurukun, Cr Koomeeta has written songs in Wik about his community and its five clans, with his first CD released in 2018. His passion for music was ignited after the passing of his adopted daughter at the age of 22.

Cr Koomeeta and his partner, Community Police Officer Janine Chevathen, enjoy camping at Knox River south of Aurukun where his father is from. “I can’t stop thinking about my favourite memory of our dad gathering us to do family activities on country like fishing, hunting and gathering. Wik is my first language and we used to go out as a family camping to learn traditional cultural practices. As a councillor I want to see our community living in peace like we did in the old days before alcohol infected families and our community.”

Aurukun Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG)
Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance (TCICA)
Aurukun Health Action Team

Community Safety
Arts, Craft and Culture

Cr Jayden Marrott

A founding member of the Aurukun Youth Advisory Committee, Mr Marrott said he wanted to show that young people can make a change in their community.

“We need more young people to be involved in creating change,” he said.

“I went away to boarding school and found there wasn’t much for the 12 to 18 year age group to do when they returned home from school.

“I want to encourage activities on country, sporting opportunities and training that will lead to jobs.”

From the Wanam clan, Mr Marrott has been a resident of Aurukun since 2010. He was born in Cairns, but spent much of his time in his family’s communities of Aurukun and Pormpuraaw.

He boarded at Ipswich Grammar from years 8 to 12 and then attended John Paul College to participate in their sporting Horizons Program. After graduating in 2016 Mr Marrott worked for community agencies and the Aurukun Shire Council in various roles. He is currently part of the Bama Services crew remodelling the Aurukun dump.

He and his partner Atima Bin-Juda have a 10-month-old daughter Minimana Marrott, and returned from Hammond Island in the Torres Strait two months ago after spending time with Ms Bin-Juda’s family.

Employment and Training,
Youth, Sport and Recreation,
Arts, Craft and Culture

Cr Kempo Tamwoy

Cr Kempo Tamwoy of the Putch Clan, is excited to be elected at the age of 24. “I think we young people bring a different perspective to decision making,” he says. Growing up mostly in Aurukun, Cr Tamwoy earned a scholarship with the Cape York Leaders Program while attending Brisbane Boys College. He was Digi Youth Arts board member and co-directed a play about Indigenous students attending boarding school.

Cr Tamwoy has worked as a trades assistant, Quality Assurance Officer, in his family’s business and with Glencore. He was Co-Chair of the Joint Working Group with Glencore and on the Aurukun Youth Advisory Council Board. Now a school attendance officer at Aurukun State School, Cr Tamwoy is studying a Diploma in Remote Area Teaching and is involved with the Aurukun Rugby League Football Club.

“My priorities are youth engagement and promotion of healthier lifestyle choices through sport. I am passionate about growing work ethic and capability in young people, as well as cultural pride and respect. Our youth are my priority, and I aim to help build a future for them where they have something to look forward to, a purpose. You cannot be what you cannot see, so I want to show them what is possible. Building this capacity within young people will steer Aurukun toward a peaceful and bright future.”

Western Cape Communities Southern Sub-Regional Trust

Transport and Infrastructure
Youth, Sports and Recreation

Cr Delys Yunkaporta

Fishing and camping on country at Moving Stone on the Kirke River are Cr Delys Yunkaporta’s favourite pastimes. It is there that the Apalech woman shares her cultural knowledge and practices with her three daughters, two grandsons and granddaughter.

The 54-year-old school attendance officer is sad that Wik culture has been lost for some of the community’s young children. “My mother wove pandanus and my girls love doing that with me. We strip down the pandanus and collect dyes which we put on the boil. We then sit down and start weaving. It is a good time to talk,” she says.

“I come from a good family. My parents were Christians. Growing up in the sixties and seventies we never had to worry about alcohol and drugs coming into the community. The mining was our only concern. We need to work towards peace in Aurukun as people have had enough of the conflict between clans.”

Cr Yunkaporta is a Director of APN Cape York and previously worked as a Justice of the Peace, at the safe house and in aged care. Her grandfather Francis Yunkaporta was Chairman of Aurukun Council from 1968 to 1978 and played a key role in challenging the Queensland Government over mining on traditional lands and their attempt to take over the Aurukun Aboriginal Reserve.

Wik Kath Min Committee

Housing and Community Services
Education Services

Register of Interests

Legal Status
The Aurukun Shire Council operates under Queensland Government Legislation, namely The Local Government Act 2009. Furthermore, two Regulations working hand-in-glove with the Act are the Financial Planning & Reporting Regulation and the Operations Regulation. Council is constituted by the Councillors who are elected or appointed to the local government under this Act. Councils’ ABN is 32 338 490 426.
Council’s GST registration is effective from July 1, 2000.

Land Tenure
The Council is responsible for land assigned to it under a Lease granted to the Council pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government (Aboriginal Lands) Act 1978 over an area of about 750,000 hectares described as Lot 1 on Plan SC211. The term of the Lease has been extended to November 3, 2059.

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 community of Aurukun is located on the north-west coast of the Cape York Peninsula, 200km (2hrs 30mins) by road south of the mining town of Weipa and 790km (11hrs) from Cairns. The community is located within the Aurukun Shire; nearly the entire population (99.6%) lives within the township.

Socio-Economic Status & Disadvantage
Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from Census information. The indexes can be used to explore different aspects of socio-economic conditions by geographic areas. For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA number which shows how disadvantaged that area is compared with other areas in Australia. Aurukun is rated in the poorest 5% of communities Australia-wide. The 34 discrete Indigenous Queensland communities rank below all 123 other Queensland communities and Aurukun is the 11th lowest ranking among them.