By Lyndal Scobell

Q. What does business and natural resource management have in common?

A. A lot, for the residents of Cape York.

For natural resources of a region to be considered and sustained, the residential population required solid and reliable incomes.

The state Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) and the federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCHSIA) have placed the Business Navigator Initiative (BNI) under the auspice of Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM).

The initiative aims to provide people in remote areas with professional business expertise, and the BNI consultant Kim MacDonald is part of the BNI Advisory Panel.

Mr MacDonald worked in Cape York in a previous role with the FaHCSIA Indigenous Coordination Centre for the Western Cape and Coen. He was originally recruited from DEEWR offices in Canberra to negotiate the Western Cape Regional Partnership Agreement.

Mr MacDonald has held this role since August 2012, and the BNI has a permanent office in Weipa. With projects right across Cape York, businesses-in-the-making are diverse. New businesses include services for the eradication of weeds and feral animals, fire management, marine enterprises, tourism, conservation and more traditional mainstream businesses.

A number of the new businesses are significant enterprise development on Country, with others based in tourism activities or are safety providers for locals and visitors.

Mr MacDonald is supported by the BNI expert advisory panel, with new panel members Tony Martens and Leon Epong from Recruitment Outcomes Pty Ltd, Greg Williams from North Queensland Civil Engineering Contracting PL and Stephen Goodchild from GCG Accountants.  The advisory panel members have diverse expertise, including architecture, tourism, law, accounting, remote eco-tourism, construction and project management. They provide advice to Mr MacDonald and to emerging entrepreneurs under the initiative.

The focus of the group is to establish businesses that realistically offer residents of Cape York steady and sustainable incomes, as well helping families return to Country.

If you have a great business idea, feel free to contact Cape York NRM on 1300 132 262, or email: kim.macdonald@iinet.net.au