Former Yarrabah mayor Errol Neal is supportive of the roadblock installed heading into the community. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Former Yarrabah mayor Errol Neal is supportive of the roadblock installed heading into the community. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Calls for hunting law change as supermarket shelves empty

YARRABAH'S former mayor has called for a lift on laws around traditional hunting during the coronavirus crisis to give those in indigenous communities alternative access to food with supermarket shelves being swept clean.

Errol Neal said local rangers had been spoken to and he would now lobby the Federal Government to relax the laws, particularly around fishing.

Yarrabah is within the net- free commercial fishing zone of Trinity Bay, meaning commercial fishermen cannot use nets in the area and recreational fisherman must adhere to strict guidelines.

"We're having talks with the local ranger and try to lift some of the bans on nets and traditional hunting so we can go out and hunt and gather in these difficult times," he said.

"There's nothing in the shops.

"I thought it was a joke. Twenty years ago my dad said to me "start growing cassava and taro" and simple things like "eat coconut" because there's going to be a day and that time has come. It's scary."

Mr Neal, who passed through the police roadblock set up at the bottom of the range to prevent access to Yarrabah by anyone except locals and essential workers, said he approved of the stringent measures.

According to the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council website, police at the roadblock have a list of people who travel into the community to cover essential services.

Yarrabah carpenter Colin Fourmile, who also went through the roadblock yesterday, said the whole community backed the restricted access.

Originally published as Ex-mayor calls for hunting law change as supermarket shelves empty


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