Candidate visits Gorge
LNP candidate for the state seat of Cook, Penny Johnson, and the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnership and Multicultural Affairs, Steve Minnikin, met with members of Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku (BBN) management and Gorge community representatives last Thursday to hear the concerns and aspirations of the community.
“This is an informal visit to meet the people of the community and to talk eye to eye about the issues of greatest concern,” Mr Minnikin said.
“To fully understand things, you have to leave Brisbane and meet the people, because emails and photos don’t tell the whole story,” he said.
Landscape and Maintenance Manager Richard Burchill explained to the Shadow Minister that economic development can only be discussed when mental health, suicide and other personal issues are addressed.
“All the employment and economic development projects are just band aid solutions,” Mr Burchill said, “and we can’t go forward until we have looked at the past.”
“Our people are different people on country,” he continued, “and it’s where we can talk freely.”
The Shadow Minister said “take me out to your country where I can hear your people’s stories”.
BBN chief executive Emma Burchill said there were many matters that were to be discussed such as land access, economic opportunities on country, capacity building leading to jobs and empowerment to manage social services and programs.
“A big conversation needed,” Ms Burchill said.
Penny Johnson said this was the start of a relationship building process and identifying what mattered to the people who lived here.
Ms Johnson and family lived in Mossman and she said she has “a deep personal connection” to the people of BBN. is
Sitting from left: Emma Birchill, Steve Minnikin, Uki Burchill. Standing - Richard Burchill, standing centre Penny Johnson.