Leadership

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The restoration of Indigenous authority and the development of leadership are central to the Cape York Agenda, as community and family leaders will be the champions for change.


The Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership is committed to empowering talented Indigenous leaders of the region to drive and own the Cape York Agenda by providing them with the required leadership skills. Productive social norms can only be built with community and family leaders who are champions for change. The Institute has developed pioneering initiatives including the Family Responsibilities Commission and its flagship leadership initiative the Cape York Leaders Program which seeks to create, grow and nurture natural leadership qualities in its members.

Under the Cape York Welfare Reform trial, the Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) has played an important role in building Indigenous responsibility and leadership through the role of its local Indigenous Commissioners. The twin objectives of the Family Responsibilities Commission are to restore local Indigenous authority and positive social norms.

The Cape York Leaders Program aims to assist its members in building the confidence and skills they require to become positive role models within their communities. Together they are raising the standard of achievement in communities where education, employment and social welfare are low.

By reaching their goals, Cape York leaders are creating a legacy of success for Indigenous people within their communities and across the nation.

History of the Cape York Leaders Program

The concept for the Cape York Leaders Program began in 1999 with the Cape York Agenda, which has the ultimate goal to ensure that Cape York people have the capabilities to choose a life they have reason to value. The Cape York Institute was formed and officially launched in 2004 to further the Cape York Agenda and is committed to ongoing development and implementation of innovative education and leadership programs for the people of Cape York.

Cape York Institute’s first focus in 2004 was to get Cape York secondary students into high quality, high expectation boarding schools. Accordingly, the Higher Expectation Program (HEP) was set up and had its first intake of students in 2005. In 2006 HEP was extended to include tertiary students as well as secondary students. Meanwhile, Cape York Institute was also running a Leadership Academy, in addition to the HEP Secondary and Tertiary programs.

In 2012 the Cape York Leaders Program was formed to unite the HEP Secondary and Tertiary programs and the Leadership Academy. Based on a comprehensive program review, a four phase strategy was introduced that builds skills that are appropriate to various leadership roles.

The key outcome for the Cape York Leaders Program is that Indigenous members of Cape York have the capabilities to participate in the real economy.  The program also seeks to create, grow and nurture natural leadership qualities in its members. Furthermore, the Cape York Leaders Program provides its members with the opportunities to orbit between two worlds.


Cape York Welfare Reform aims to end passive welfare, restore communal and family harmony, and create more vibrant and prosperous communities.

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Cape York Institute undertakes short-to-medium-term policy and research projects across a wide range of economic and social policy areas.

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Cape York Institute’s flagship leadership program is the Cape York Leaders Program which seeks to create, grow and nurture natural leadership qualities in its members.

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