FIFTY years to the day since Mapoon residents were forcibly relocated, the Queensland Government’s gesture of reconciliation will go a long way says Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
“When you hear the stories of how families departing by boat looked back across the bay and watched as their homes were burnt, it is particularly appropriate that today the State Government is building new homes,” Mr Entsch said.
“The way in which the government, the mining companies and the churches were complicit in driving people from their homes and making them live off country was a disgrace.”
Mr Entsch said the “shameful deed” was accomplished so quietly, in such a remote area, that nobody really knew what had taken place.
“What happened at Mapoon happened in my lifetime – I was a teenager, living in Mareeba, yet I knew absolutely nothing about it,” he said.
“It was only when I entered politics in 1996 that my dear friend Jeannie Little shared with me the tragedy of the Burning of Mapoon. I was shocked that this event had occurred in our region only three decades earlier.
“I hope today’s ceremony and official recognition of what took place, together with the fact that local families will be able to live in homes in Mapoon, will go a long way in helping the healing process.”