Skip to main content

Australian Army personnel from the 5th Aviation Regiment assist Wujal Wujal residents at Cooktown Airport after they were evacuated. (image courtesy of Cape York Weekly)

Queensland’s largest remote store operator has donated $20,000 to the Wujal Wujal community to help it get back on its feet after devastating flooding forced the evacuation of the town’s residents. 

Fred Gela, Community Enterprise Queensland’s GM of Enterprise & Engagement, said the donation was just one way of supporting Wujal Wujal.

Before the floods, CEQ was preparing to take over the operations of the Wujal store.

The council had passed a resolution to give CEQ a lease on the town’s primary grocery provider.

“We are a little bit different to any other retailer in Queensland,” Mr Gela said.

“CEQ becomes grounded in the community and we become part of those communities.

“In the communities we serve, CEQ is it. If we get it wrong, families will go hungry.”

Mr Gela said the $20,000 to Cape York Weekly’s Wujal Wujal fundraiser was about sending a message to the people of Wujal that they were loved and cared for.

Fred Gela said CEQ was committed to Wujal Wujal and wanted the community to know they were loved and cared for.

“It’s about supporting people in these trying times,” he said.

“Christmas is about family and our heart goes out to the families of Wujal and all of the communities in the Far North who are hurting right now.”

The not-for-profit retailer has also been working hard behind the scenes in Cairns to support Foodbank Queensland’s efforts across the region.

Mr Gela said CEQ had an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Foodbank Queensland to facilitate donations to remote schools.

He said once the flooding hit the Far North, the two organisations were able to join forces to mobilise goods and services to communities in need.

“We’ve got a large distribution centre in Cairns and Foodbank Queensland has been able to utilise our team on the ground,” Mr Gela said.

“We’ve housed about 40 pallets that range from ambient food, water, towels, clothing and other essential items.”

CEQ chief executive officer Michael Dykes said that his organisation was committed to Wujal Wujal and would get the community’s store up and running as soon as practically possible.

“We want the people of Wujal to know that we’re not going to turn our back on them,” he said.

“Our vision statement is ‘Caring, Every Day, Always’ and that’s what we’re doing.”

To donate to Cape York Weekly’s Wujal Wujal fundraiser, go to


In the News – Read the Cape York Weekly  article


CEQ is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), mainland Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its now 29 stores.

CEQ manages Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) and Aboriginal Business, Industry and Service (ABIS) stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones, Mona’s Bazaar and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island.

For more information on CEQ, visit