Aboriginal Shire of 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.

10 of the 12 Islands in the Greater Palm Island Group come under the control of the Shire (Palm Island, Fantome Island, Curacoa Island, Havannah Island, Brisk Island, Esk Island, Falcon Island, Eclipse Island, Barber Island, Fly Island, plus a few rocks: Dido Rock, Hayman Rock, Chilcott Rocks, Paluma Rock), but Orpheus Island is not within its borders.[2] The same is true for Pelorus Island, located just north of Orpheus Island. Albino Rock belongs to Pelorus Island National Park.[3]

The current Mayor of Palm Island is Alfred Lacey who was elected in 2008.[4] 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.[5][6][7]

2008 councillors are:

  • Ruth Gorringe
  • Raymond Sibley
  • Zina Prior
  • Mick Thaiday[8]

The chief executive officer of the Council is Barry Moyle, who is the former Mayor of the Johnstone Shire Council.[2]


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.[9] 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 3½ years he was on the council, the body did not achieve one long-term success.[10]

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.[9]

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.[9]

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.[11]


The Palm Island Shire Council operate the Bwgcolman Indigenous Knowledge Centre at 1 Main Street, Palm Island.[12]

Chairmen and mayors

2008 - 2016: Alfred Lacey[13][14][15]


  1. ^ a b "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18: Population Estimates by Local Government Area (ASGS 2018), 2017 to 2018". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Townsend, Ian (1 April 2007). "Privatising Palm Island". Background Briefing. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ 2008 Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council – Mayoral Election – Election Summary Archived 27 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Palm Island elects new mayor". ABC Online. 17 December 2006. Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2007.
  6. ^ "Reynolds returned". Magnetic Times. 8 February 2004. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  7. ^ "Archive for the 'Queensland Election 2004' Polls and prophecies – Queensland Election 2004". The Poll Bludger. 3 February 2004. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  8. ^ Palm Island Aboriginal council – Undivided Council Summary Archived 31 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c Palm Island Select Committee (August 2005). Report – August 2005 (PDF). pp. 15–16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2007. Tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland 25 August 2005
  10. ^ Lineham, Sheree (19 July 2003). "Palm council 'failure'". Townsville Bulletin. News: 7.
  11. ^ McDougall, Scott (January 2006). Palm Island: Future Directions – Resource Officer Report (PDF). Brisbane, Queensland: Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2007.
  12. ^ "Palm Island (Bwgcolman Indigenous Knowledge Center)". Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. 6 January 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  13. ^ "2008 Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council - Mayoral Election - Election Summary". results.ecq.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  14. ^ "2012 Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council - Mayoral Election - Election Summary". results.ecq.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  15. ^ "2016 Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council - Mayoral Election - Election Summary". results.ecq.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 4 December 2017.

External links

Coordinates: 18°44′12″S 146°34′53″E / 18.73667°S 146.58139°E / -18.73667; 146.58139