The time has now come for our Cape York reform agenda to move beyond pilots and trials and for Pama Futures to become the new way forward for the social, economic and cultural development of the First Nations of Cape York Peninsula.

If we take the year 2000 as the time when we first germinated our social and economic reform agenda with the establishment of Cape York Partnerships with the Queensland Government, then we are veterans of 18 years of regional reform activity, including various permutations of partnership with the two levels of government.

In this time we developed mature partnerships with the private and philanthropic sectors that culminated in the formation of what is now called Jawun Corporate Partnerships.  Jawun now works with ten regions across the country based on the model we developed in Cape York.

An array of programs followed a great deal of innovative policy and design work that we have implemented in Cape York. Some of these innovations have influenced developments nationwide. For example Cape York pioneered financial literacy with the invention of Family Income Management (now called MPower) as the first output from our reform agenda.

In the past ten years our reform work was captured in the Cape York Welfare Reform trial, which has been evaluated and the failures and successes of the trial are clear to us. Our organisational capability has grown exponentially since we began this agenda and the necessity for us to move from trial phase to a comprehensive implementation phase has been pressing upon us for some years now. There has been an obvious need for us to move from trials and pilots to an unequivocal adoption of the reform agenda indicated by the outcomes of these trials.

As well as organisational capabilities there has been a flourishing of Indigenous leadership at the community and regional levels. Our young people have become educated and they have come to occupy positions of leadership in our organisations and communities. We are now equipped to move to a full reform agenda across all of our communities involving all of our people.

Now is the time. The time has come for us to bring the whole agenda together and move forward in partnership with our people and with governments.