LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has congratulated Cape York residents for having the courage to stand up and call for transparency and accountability around community representation and government funding.
Yesterday, Mr Entsch attended the final sessions of a two-day Summit at the Laura Rodeo Grounds where around 160 people gathered under the auspices of the Cape York Alliance, a collective of Traditional Owners and non-indigenous residents from all over the Cape.
At the event, the CYA gained a mandate from attendees to develop a plan for the future ‘for the people of Cape York, by the people of Cape York’, and outside the influence of organisations under the Pearson-led Cape York Partnerships banner.
CYA also established and appointed a Council of Elders – both Indigenous and non-indigenous – to ‘formulate, advance and promote strategy to achieve accountability and transparency of organisations, governance, process and funding’.
“The voices of Elders from across Cape York need to be heard, as do those of the Indigenous leaders who have been elected by their communities,” Mr Entsch said. “For too long, the views of the majority of Cape York people have been ignored.
“It is not appropriate to continue to focus almost exclusively on the vision of a non-elected, self-appointed leader.”
Mr Entsch commended Don De Busch, the Chairperson of the Cape York Alliance, and Larry Woosup, the Spokesperson for the Council of Elders, for their advocacy and efforts to bring together the Alliance with the support of Cape York Sustainable Futures.
He was also very appreciative of the strong words from elders such as Daniel De Busch, who has been public with his criticism of Cape York Land Council’s ‘culture of harassment and intimidation’. His comments at the meeting – saying “enough is enough” – were unanimously endorsed.
Addressing attendees, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said that with the Government focus on developing Northern Australia, there were key opportunities available for people, businesses and industries in the region – particularly with the focus on the timely resolution of land tenure issues.
“However, you can’t have one single group harnessing all the opportunities,” Mr Entsch warned.
“While I appreciate some of the good work that has been done in the past, I think it is a grave mistake to assume that Pearson and his organisations are the font of all knowledge and wisdom in Cape York.”