Aboriginal Shire of Palm
Location within Queensland
|Population:||1,984 (2006 census)|
|Area:||70.9 km² (27.4 sq mi)|
|Mayor:||Cr Alfred Lacey|
|Council Seat:||Palm Island|
The Aboriginal Shire of Palm Island is a special Local Government Area of Queensland, Australia, managed by the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council under a Deed of Grant in Trust granted to the community on 27 October 1986. It is located on Palm Island, near the north Queensland city of Townsville.
The council was previously the Palm Island Community Council. The Community Council had far fewer powers and was reliant on revenue from alcohol sales from the canteen.
The current Mayor of Palm Island is Alfred Lacey who was elected in 2008. The former Mayor was Cr. Oui-Foster who had previously been the chairwoman of the Community Council from 2001 to 2003 until the council was dissolved over mismanagement of funds and was an Independent candidate for the electoral district of Townsville in the 2004 election.
Current 2008 Councilors are:
The Palm Island Council received qualified audits for the financial years ending 2003-04, 2002-03 and 1999-2000. It received unqualified audits for the 2000-01 and 2001-02 financial years. In October 2003 the then Palm Island Council was dissolved and an administrator was appointed until the March 2004 election. A Townsville-based insolvency practitioner was appointed as administrator. This occurred due to a range of governance and financial management issues, including: insolvency, serious mismanagement, instability of Council membership between March 2000 and October 2003, conflict among elected Councillors, high turnover in the position of Council Clerk (CEO), poor records and decision making processes, unsustainable expenditure, a failure to deliver major infrastructure projects. Lex Wotton, who would later go on to lead the 2004 Palm Island riots, had resigned in June 2003 after becoming fed up with the Palm Island Aboriginal Council's practices, reasoning that in the 3 1/2 years he was on the council, the body did not achieve one long-term success.
At the conclusion of the administrator's term a handover report was presented to the newly elected Council, this report included; allocation of specific portfolios for Councillors and the establishment of committee structures to ensure functional decision making, appointment of a financial controller for 12 months and the engagement of a Human Resource Management consultant.
According to the Palm Island Select Committee, the local government elections of 1997, 2000, and 2004 demonstrated a lack of continuity in office-bearers, a relatively small number of voters combined with a large number of candidates and a trend in some families for a number of relatives to stand for election.
On 1 January 2005, Palm Island Council was reconstituted as an "Aboriginal Shire". This reconstitution into a Shire Council formed part of the Meeting Challenges, Making Choices strategy developed in response to the Cape York Justice Study undertaken by Justice Fitzgerald QC in November 2001.