Departure lounge, Weipa Airport, 2007
|Population||3,334 (2011 census)|
|Mayor||Michael Rowland (chairman)|
|Region||Far North Queensland|
Weipa Town is a local government area in Far North Queensland, Australia. It covers the town of Weipa on the western coast of the Cape York Peninsula. It is an unusual local government area as it is not governed and managed by a council elected by residents but rather by the company Comalco (which operates a bauxite mine in the area) through a governing body called the Weipa Town Authority. In the 2011 census, Weipa Town had a population of 3,334 people.
In 1955, New Zealand geologist Harry Evans discovered bauxite (the raw material used to make aluminium) on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula while he was exploring for oil. Further surveys established it was the largest bauxite deposit in the world.
In November 1957, the Queensland Government approved a £50 million project of the British Australian Consolidated Zinc group to develop a bauxite mine on the Cape York Peninsula to be operated by its newly created subsidiary, Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation Pty. Limited (from 1960 known as Comalco). As part of the agreement, the government passed legislation to enable a town, harbour and treatment works to be established at the company's expense at Kumrunja (Rocky Point) on the south side of the Mission River. Under the Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation Pty. Limited Agreement Act (1957) the area for the town was excised from Shire of Cook and Comalco became the manager of the new town.
Towns and localities
Unlike most local government areas in Queensland, Weipa Town consists of two disconnected areas. The first covers the town of Weipa (Weipa Airport. Having been excised from Shire of Cook, Weipa Town is still surrounded by the Shire. However, the Napranum Aboriginal Shire (formerly known as the town of Weipa South) and Shire of Aurukun (also excised from Shire of Cook) are very close by and, although also split in a number of disconnected areas are effectively neighbouring local government areas.) with a narrow connecting road to the harbour area ( ). The second area ( ) covers the
Weipa is the only town in this local government area. The residential area of Weipa comprises three localities; from north to south, they are Rocky Point, Trunding, and Nanum. The harbour area is within the locality of Evans Landing. The airport area is the locality of Weipa Airport.
Weipa Town Authority
While Rio Tinto (formerly Comalco) remains responsible for the administration of the town, it discharges this obligation through the Weipa Town Authority. The Authority has seven members: four elected by the residents, two appointed by Rio Tinto, and one appointed by the Alngith indigenous people. Weipa Town is a gazetted local government area and the Weipa Town Authority undertakes the duties of a typical local government, such as:
- town planning and community development
- providing infrastructure and services
- making and enforcing local laws
- levying local government rates and charges
Services provided by the authority include road maintenance, water supply, garbage collection, parks, sports ovals, and public swimming pools. The authority provides the Hibberd Library in Hibberd Drive, Rocky Point.
However, the Weipa Town Authority is not a true local government authority as defined in the Local Government Act (2009) because it is part a corporation. This has implications in relation to loan and budget requirements, Goods and Services Tax on rates, the development of land, and changes to the town boundaries.
Unlike other local governments in Queensland, the Weipa Town Authority has a chairman rather than a mayor. In 2017, the chairman is Michael Rowland.
In 2016, discussions took place in regard to "normalising" Weipa Town into a true local government authority . The three options under discussion were to make Weipa Town a normal local government authority with its present boundaries, to absorb Weipa Town back into the Shire of Cook, or to create a new Western Cape Region centred on Weipa.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Weipa (LGA)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- "AUSTRALIA FROM THE AIR". The Australian Women's Weekly. 26, (44). Australia, Australia. 8 April 1959. p. 30. Retrieved 21 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "£50 MILLION BAUXITE PROJECT". The Cumberland Argus (3908). New South Wales, Australia. 13 November 1957. p. 7. Retrieved 21 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Western Cape History". Weipa Town Authority. 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- "Weipa $29m bauxite project opened". The Canberra Times. 41, (11, 705). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 3 June 1967. p. 17. Retrieved 21 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "Administering our town". Weipa Town Authority. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- "Meet the Board". Weipa Town Authority. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- "Hibberd Library". Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- Geiger, Dominic (13 September 2016). "Leaders in talks over Western Cape town's future". The Cairns Post. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
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