At the original Cape York summits, the old people of Cape York were seizing on shifting attitudes toward the nation’s First People. Australians were increasingly shunning the racism and discrimination of the past.
The absurd notion of Terra Nullius was under threat. That our land, was stolen was fast becoming accepted fact. The old people sensed the opportunity to right the wrong and get our land back. They knew that by doing that, our communities would one day be able to use our land to build prosperity for all Cape York people.
We are very close to the first goal
More than 50 % of our land is now ours. Within a matter of years, through the One Claim, we will have it all back. We will also be well advanced in gaining our rights to our seas. The determination of the old people has propelled us to this point and the job they tasked us with, the return of our lands and seas, will soon be complete.
It is now time to turn our attention and energy to the economic opportunities that our land offers.
We can be land rich and prosperous
It is time to celebrate the return of our land and to renew our agenda, to set a new course. We want to use our land to build our own industries and businesses. We want our children, who are increasingly seizing education opportunities, to have great job prospects in our communities.
We have a great opportunity to use our country for economic development. We are yet to fully take it.
We have the right to control and benefit from service delivery
Our old people also wanted more control on the services and programs in our communities. Unlike our success in land rights, we have fallen short of our old people’s vision. Service provision in our communities is still dominated by non-indigenous service providers. We must take back control. We must have the right to take responsibility for the services delivered in our communities. We must have control of the budgets, the significant funds that flow into our communities.
We now have this opportunity. We must seize the opportunity.
Through Unity, we will prosper
The old people that gathered at the summits in the nineties spoke much of the need to be united. They knew too well that Governments use disunity between us to do nothing or do bad things. We need to be like them. We need to unite and find one voice.
Let us unite and take this window of opportunity.
Many Voices, One Voice
The most important point about this opportunity is that it is NOT about centralising power in the hands of any regional organisation. It is exactly the opposite. It is about all the power being held in each community.
Cape York regional organisations would support the sub-regional voices. The key word is support. The economic development agendas will be entirely the aspirations of each sub-region. The service delivery decisions will be made by each sub-region.