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Cape York NRM celebrates 10 years on the Cape

Story | Emma Jackson

I’m so proud to be writing this as Chair of Cape York NRM, as we celebrate our ten-year anniversary, but also as a member of the broader Cape York community who is passionate about our people, landscape and the interconnection we have.

Cape York is not the region it was ten years ago. We have experienced growth, increased visitors and unpredictable climatic changes, plus cyclones, drought, flooding and fires. Land management and ownership has changed to varying scales and road development has led to efficiencies for locals, on a personal and business level.

Cape York NRM has played a key role with many people across community, industry, partnering organisations, government and Land Trusts to work collaboratively in order to achieve shared goals. Our values stem from a consultation and engagement process that Cape York Sustainable Futures led across Cape York, over a decade ago where a steering committee, which was largely selected by locals, carried out a thorough process so that our very own backyard condition could be looked after by our own people

Every region across Australia has an organisation overseeing the investment into natural resource management.We were the final, and fifty-fourth, region to develop our own organisation and it was designed around the needs, requests and considerations of our whole regional community. I am honoured to have initially sat on that steering committee, but equally humbled to sit on the Board as a Director and Chairperson for over half of our existence.

In the first year of operations, we welcomed Joseph Elu as our inaugural Chair to lead, alongside Bob Frazer as our CEO. I’d like to acknowledge the tremendous effort from both of them into our increasing successes, but also the core role they played in initiating the culture of the organisation. Because of their leadership, the culture is one of care, kindness, inclusivity, quality and transparency.

We have grown in partnerships, employment, reputation, and investment into the land and water. Our understanding of this region, the challenges we face and the opportunities that lie ahead are expanding, but our relationships with all of our stakeholders including the varying land managers, community and partners are not only contributing to our on-ground success, but also needs.

We need to be strategic in our thinking, direction and expectations but the only way we can truly consider ourselves successful is if our actions, behaviours and approach is benefiting the land, water and people.

We have seen staff come and go and Directors turnover but our membership remains. Our members are loyal to us, hold us to account but get involved and provide feedback when necessary, which helps us to continually improve.

Because of our investors, members, Directors, staff and partners, we are here ten years later.

On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank all our staff, and our Directors, past and present. I thank our state government for trusting us to invest their dollars into our region, and the Australian Government for continually supporting us with their investment too.

Regional NRM organisations are the trusted and reputable link between people, the land and our governments. We are a communicator, advocator and sharer of knowledge and science relevant to the region, the conditions and community. We respect that individual wellbeing, business success levels and broader industry challenges indirectly impact the landscape so try our best to make sure we accommodate everyone’s needs and desires in what we do and how we do it.

I would like to thank John Gavin, our current CEO, for bringing a refreshed NRM approach and huge level of passion and expectation to Cape York and my fellow Directors, Trevor Meldrum, Sally Gray, Pauline Smith, Eric Rosendale, John Charlton and newly nominated Marilyn Morris. Your Directors are committed to the organisation and sincerely care about everyone across Cape York as well as the condition of the landscape. I’d also like to acknowledge Barry Lyon and Desmond Tayley who both played a large role with us on the Board and as staff. Our staff are incredible and this year has seen them all think differently around land management during isolation. Our staff bring heart, soul and inspirational dedication to every single outcome that we are hoping to achieve. Thank you!

Happy ten-year anniversary, Cape York NRM!