Richie Ah Mat, Chairman of the Cape York Land Council
[What does the Cape York Land Council do?]
The Cape York Land Council was established 30 years ago, to this year, and it is actually a national native title, council, land council, that acquires land back for traditional owners, who we represent and business opportunities.
[Where is the Cape York Land Council located?]
Our boundary is from Mossman across the Kowanyama right up to the tip. That's the land council boundary.
[How long has the Cape York Land Council been working with TMR?]
I think we started with TMR, 2015. We did a heads of agreement in Cairns, here, when the first announcement of the money that was put aside for the PDR in Cape York.
[What projects are the Cape York Land Council currently working on with TMR?]
The current projects we're working together with DTMR is mainly new sections, building new sections, bitumen sections on the Peninsula Development Road. I think there's some cultural heritage involved also.
[Have there been any projects that stood out to you?]
Oh yeah, there's been a lot of projects that have stood out to me and the people we represent. You know this has been a magnificent, a magnificent relationship, with DTMR. Otherwise we would never have had these opportunities. If it wasn't for the relationship with DTMR from the highest level down to the receptionists at one William Street.
[How has the delivery of TMR's Peninsula Development Road project supported First Nations people in the Cape?]
Well as I said, you know, we never ever had this opportunity in Cape York. I can only talk about Cape York because that's the area we represent, but we've never had this opportunity until they announced a couple hundred million dollars of funding for the PDR. And it was then that we thought, well, we're going to try and get some contract opportunities for our people in Cape York because we were never ever involved on the PDR.
[What value had the relationship between the Cape York Land Council and TMR provided for everyone involved?]
I don't think I could put a value on the relationship. I really don't think I could, personally. You know, there's always been a massive acceptance of Cape York Land Council, Cape York Corporation. When we go to 1 William street to talk to DTMR at the highest level. You know, the relationship and the friendship and the trust has been built up since 2015, you just you can't put a value on that. Forget about the money - you can't put a value on the relationship that has been created, which has never happened before.
[Where do you see the partnership with First Nations businesses and people going in the future for TMR?]
You know, I hope and I pray that moving forward indigenous opportunities and the relationship just strengthens and strengthens and strengthens. You know we've proven that we're as good as any contractor and DTMR, to put that trust in us is just incredible.
[What advice would you give to other businesses and organisations looking to work with TMR?]
The advice I will be giving them is, you know, work, work with the agencies in the Queensland Government. You have to work with the agencies. Don't feel as if, you know, it's too hard because it's never too hard. You've just got to show respect from both sides.