Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey says the tropical storm descending on north Queensland highlights the need for his community to have its own cyclone shelter.
Palm Island’s mayor says his north Queensland indigenous community will be left to endure a potential cyclone without a proper shelter.
The island, north east of Townsville, is in range of a tropical storm moving towards the Queensland coast that is predicted to form into a category one cyclone before making landfall early Friday.
Mayor Alf Lacey says while residents have been preparing for the storm as winds pick up and king tides move in, if things did get too much to handle, they would have nowhere to go.
“The biggest thing for us is we can’t jump in cars and drive to the nearest town or the next couple of towns, you know what I mean?” he told AAP.
“We’re surrounded by water and when all of the transport services out of the shire are cancelled – the airlines and the boats – then we’re on our own.”
Mr Lacey said the island’s desperate need for a shelter was exposed when residents were left to fend for themselves without one when category five Cyclone Yasi caused havoc in 2011.
The mayor said the community had to make do with whatever shelters they could use on higher ground, given a high proportion lived in low-lying areas.
Mr Lacey said he would be taking the matter to Premier Campbell Newman.
“In Townsville, they’ve opened up their shelters for people who are living in low-lying areas,” he said.
“I think the community’s really in need of a building … that meets the standards like any other shire in the state.”