So, my name is Dion Creek and I'm the founder of Kalan Enterprise Aboriginal Corporation based in Cohen, Cape York.
So, Kalan Enterprises is an aboriginal organisation it's not for profit we established Kalan around 11 years ago to create economic opportunities and look at land management on aboriginal land in and around the Cohen sub-region.
So, Cohen is central Cape York, Kalan, manages an area of about five hundred thousand hectares, it's a large parcel of land. We've been partnering with TMR for the best better part of six years, we started working on the PDR when the state announced this regional infrastructure program, so there was some money allocated to build a national highway from Cairns up to the tip of Cape York and we were fortunate enough to be a part of living on the PDR and able to get some again some contracts and employment.
I think what the PDR project or the regional infrastructure investment in Cape York has provided was, an opportunity for indigenous people or first nations people of Cape York to be a part of the real economy, to be a part of something to grow our communities, create employment and training opportunities.
I think in the early part it was definitely a learning phase, having first nations people, traditional owners, sitting around the table with Director-Generals and senior bureaucrats and also ministers and trying to navigate a way of how we can together, how we can all build up a better safer roads for the people of Cape York, whilst respecting our traditional ownership of the land.
We were able to raise the state procurement, so the procurement the national procurement for national investment infrastructure investment into particular areas, the indigenous procurement is three percent, the state procurement is one point five percent, we were able to raise the procurement from one point five percent to fifteen percent that enabled indigenous contractors to be a part of the tendering process and being part of winning works and services.
When the PDR announcement was made we all of Cape York submitted one native title claim to cover all of the unclaimed land on Cape York because of Cape York and the PDR was within the area that was currently under native title, that triggered a conversation between the Cape York Land Council, the traditional owners, and the State Government about having an agreement with the traditional land owners to try and negotiate a good outcome not only for the state but also for the people that live there the indigenous and non-indigenous people of Cape York to build like I said a better road for all the people that live up there.
I see TMR playing in enabling and supporting role for local aboriginal organizations I think the biggest difference between an aboriginal organization in an aboriginal not-for-profit organization building roads is that you can draw a line from investment in Brisbane to meals on tables in Cape York we want to try and create as many opportunities and upskill as many people as possible with the support of TMR playing that enabling supporting role.
I think the future for Kalan enterprise and TMR is that Kalan want to continue doing the maintenance and upkeep of the road beyond the regional infrastructure investment we want to be able to be in a position where local indigenous contractors, traditional owners are working and building and maintaining the roads beyond this investment.
I think the first thing you need to do, and I say this to everybody is that you need to be able to get your own affairs in order, you need to be able to be compliant you need to be able to have good governance and you need to be able to work with the department and with the government to kind to try and build a better future.