Rio Tinto is responsible for the administration of the town, which it carries out through Weipa Town Authority (WTA). The Town Office acts in the role of Local Authority, with staff that one would normally associate with a local council.
The services supplied and maintained through the Town Office are similar to those supplied by local councils throughout Australia, and include road maintenance, water supply, town planning, garbage collection, parks, ovals, libraries and public swimming pools.
Comalco Act and Agreement
The Weipa Town Area is governed by RTA Weipa Pty Ltd (RTA) by virtue of the Comalco Act and Agreement, within the limitations set out by those instruments.
The Comalco Act makes reference to and imports in clause 45 of the agreement scheduled to the Comalco Act (Agreement) provisions of the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld)(2009 LG Act).
The 1994 Comalco Regulation:
- Excluded certain lots of land (described as the "area") from the Shire of Cook;
- Provided that the excluded "area" is called the Weipa Town Area; and
- Constituted Weipa as a "local government area" for the purposes of the 1993 LG Act and the Comalco Act.
While the Comalco Regulation expired in September 2005, this does not affect the operation of the Comalco Act. The Weipa Town Area continues to be excluded from the Shire of Cook.
Establishing the Weipa Town Authority
A Citizens Advisory Committee was established in 1994 to manage the Town on behalf of Comalco. In 1997 this body developed into the Weipa Town Authority (WTA)
The WTA is comprised of four elected Community Representatives, two Rio Tinto appointed representatives and one appointed Traditional Owner representative. Like outside Councils, the WTA meets once per month and makes decisions on local government matters, such as town planning, community development, infrastructure, services, and local government rates and charges.
The WTA endeavours to operate and function as though it were a local government constituted and established under the 2009 LG Act. The only circumstances where the WTA is unable to act like a local government (due to it being part of a corporation and not therefore a local government in the strict sense under the 2009 LG Act), are as follows:
- Loan and budget requirements
- GST on rates
- The development/release of land and changes to Weipa Town boundaries
Weipa has been gazetted as a local authority area and has adopted local laws.