Qld Indigenous shire fuel shortage denied

·2-min read

Community Enterprise Queensland has denied reports of fuel shortages and blackouts in a remote far north Queensland community.

The Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire, located 800km north of Cairns, was reported on Tuesday to be without fuel for two weeks.

A staff member in the Lockhart region said fuel stocks ran dry in March and blamed poor management by CEQ, leaving the town's residents frustrated.

Ian Copeland chief executive officer of Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) said their staff identified a quality control issue and customers were without access to unleaded fuel over the Easter weekend and early this week.

"Diesel fuel has continued to be available to the local community throughout this period and we are expecting unleaded fuel supplies to arrive at Lockhart River by sea freight this Thursday," Mr Copeland said.

CEQ apologised to customers for any inconvenience caused but said claims that fuel had been unavailable in Lockhart River for two weeks was incorrect.

Seventy-nine homes in the town were also without power on Tuesday after a circuit breaker supplying the residents tripped due to vandalism.

Ergon Energy, the shire's only provider said three crew members from Mareeba flew in to fix the issue and power was restored Tuesday evening.

Ergon stated that the triggering of the circuit breaker was due two acts of network vandalism.

A spokesman from Ergon said a hula hoop, some speaker wires and an extension cord had been thrown across power lines at one site, while a spear from a spear gun was found at another site.

Ergon Energy's far north area manager Charlie Casa warned of the dangers involved in interfering with electricity networks

"When you throw anything at powerlines and it makes contact, you're risking your own life, the community's safety and a lengthy power outage," Mr Casa said.

"We cannot stress this enough: electricity can kill if you don't take care and stay line aware."

Earlier in February, about 800 Lockhart River residents lost landline, mobile and internet connections for over a week due to intermittent power failures.