New award honours Aurukun mayor
Queensland councils have launched new awards to recognise anti-violence leadership.
The Alison Woolla Memorial Award for Local Leadership in Preventing Domestic and Family Violence has been launched by the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).
The award is named in honour of Alison Woolla, a pioneering former Mayor of Aurukun Shire Council and reform leader, who provided leadership and support for members of her community when they were experiencing abuse.
The recently-elected Mayor of Aurukun Shire, Keri Tamwoy – the daughter of Alison Woolla – will present the award. She says her mother was directly involved in helping safeguard members of her community.
“People would be dropped round by the police at all times of night,” Mayor Tamwoy recalls.
“Victims of abuse would tell the police that they wanted to come to Mum’s house, as it was safe, and perpetrators would stay away because of the respect Mum had in the community.
“Mum would wake us up to help make up a bed and would say; ‘If we turn them away, they will go back to the abuse so let them stay, let them recover’.”
The $5,000 award will acknowledge an individual who is making a significant, local contribution to awareness and prevention of domestic and family violence in Queensland.
Mayor Tamwoy hopes the award will stand for the same qualities and values as her late mother did.
“There was no women’s shelter at that time, Mum helped get one in the region,” Mayor Tamwoy said.
“Mum never called perpetrators bad men. She tried to educate them and told them they could change.
“She would say; ‘We need to use our voice to help the weak and vulnerable: use your voice to help your people.’”
LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said Queensland’s councils are playing an increasingly important role in domestic and family violence education and prevention.
“Our level of government is closest to the community and as a matter of practice, councils strive to make their communities safer for all,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The establishment of this award is an opportunity for the local government family to reinforce its commitment and recognises the vital work being undertaken by individuals in our communities, so I encourage all councils to help spread the word.”
More information is available from the LGAQ.