PAMA FUTURES Indigenous designed and led

Empowering local voices

The Pama Futures model of local governance is built on strong foundations as directed and guided by the First Nations people of Cape York.

Pama Futures is built on the singular aspiration of replacing the current top-down system of control and dependence, with processes and structures that empower and enable decision-making at the grassroots level.

The Pama Futures backbone is building clearer, more inclusive, decision-making processes - empowering community members with the capabilities to engage in complex negotiations on behalf of their community. We help communities build structures, develop their plans, build their capabilities, and come into partnership with Governments to ensure their voice is heard in decisions which impact them.

This is how we do it:

Interim Joint Decision Making
Having a Say

Interim Joint Decision Making

Joint Decision Making is the process through which community can directly negotiate with Governments on the future of Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) ceasing grants.

This is a small part of the money which comes into a community but sitting to assess existing service providers can give groups of community representatives a chance to build their negotiation skills and experience being in a partnership panel.

Indigenous Advancement Strategy Grants (NIAA)

Indigenous Advancement Strategy
Other Commonwealth Funding
QLD Government Funding

The panel’s job is to effectively represent the community in negotiations and make recommendations about the service that the grant pays for. The aim is to get what the community actually needs to grow in this area.

Getting Organised

The Local Partnership Structure

This is the local voice that needs to make decisions on what is our top priority for our community. The local partnership opportunity builds a structure to bring government and stakeholders together so they work for the community. It enables the community to influence and make services accountable and improve how government funding is spent in a community.

What can the local partnership do for you?:

  • Gives all locals a Voice – make sure all families are heard & counted in planning.
  • Helps ensure more decisions made by locals – not in Brisbane and Canberra.
  • Negotiates, so Governments better support our local led designs and solutions.
  • Provides greater visibility and oversight of government funding in the community.
  • Represents the community and pushes your Voice and priorities.

Local Bama chose the model that will work, they chose the representatives, and they hold the representatives accountable for how community development and empowerment is going.

Finding Your Priorities

Development Planning

The Local Partnership, PAMA Futures, and the community, work together to create a development plan for the community. This is a wide-open process – anyone can take part in the survey; anyone can join in the workshops – on any subject which interests you. Everyone’s voice helps to determine the priorities for the community, and how those priorities should be implemented.


This is the community’s voice, united, to one program. Not scattered, but focusing on what will supply what the community sees as its needs, its priorities. This is local data Governments only dream about, and it’s the opportunity where we start to build capabilities in monitoring performance and reading data, so the community can be sure it is getting what is agreed.

Your Voice Empowered

The Partnership Table

The fully operating Partnership table is where bama take the skills learned in Joint Decision Making, the local structure designed by the community, and the development plan of community priorities – and invites Governments to come to the table as partners; working together so that bama can have the ability to chose lives they value.

This is the point where communities begin to control services and build their social, economic, and cultural capital. In the fully operating Partnership table:

  • The local people have their voice heard.
  • The Governments learn what is actually needed at the grassroots.
  • The responsibility is shared.
  • The Community develops and grows – proud, empowered, and ready to take its place in a wider Australia.

The partnership table builds for a future where the gap is closed and today’s children take their place as proud indigenous Australians and leaders.


The PAMA Futures Role

The single, overarching priority of Pama Futures is to empower the grassroots. This means accommodating multiple, overlapping and intersecting Indigenous interests, including the interests of individuals, families, clans and First Nations organisations – in a way that builds responsibility, capability and empowerment, is as inclusive as possible, and respects cultural authority. Above all, we keep the principle of subsidiarity – that decisions on development, social and, political issues should be dealt with at the most local level.

We don’t take the decisions – we help communities and leaders take decisions. Throughout the empowerment journey, PAMA futures role is to enable the community – to help bama come together, to help them hear the community’s voice and priorities, and to support them in meeting with Governments and Service Providers about those priorities to get things done.


Power in our voice


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are advised that this website may contain images and voices of people who have passed away.

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