Cape York Institute undertakes short-to-medium-term policy and research projects across a wide range of economic and social policy areas. We work closely with the Cape York leaders.

Our aim is to develop rigorous yet practical policy solutions that have a decisive impact on Indigenous disadvantage. Our focus is on:

  • Welfare reform
  • Home ownership
  • Economic development
  • Constitutional reform
  • Native Title and land reform
  • Environment and natural resource management
  • Social responsibility and wellbeing

While we focus on Cape York issues, our work has a broader impact guiding state and federal policy.

Our design approach

We believe individuals and families are the main agents of change and are important to the policy and program design process. Involving Cape York people in developing solutions to the challenges they face produces better invention, and more powerful and effective tools for change. From design to implementation, review and improvement, Cape York families are involved in mapping issues, sharing stories and ideas, prototyping new initiatives and reviewing existing programs.

Innovating for better outcomes

The world is constantly changing. It is not the same world today than when we commenced our reform journey in the early 1990’s Cape York is not the same place it was when the old people gathered to push for their ambitious and urgent reform agenda. The communities we work with have evolved. They have made good progress in many areas, fallen back in others, and new issues have surfaced. Technology is impacting every aspect of life and this is no different in Cape York and how we might tackle disadvantage.

As our policy thinking evolves in reaction to the changes, we need to be constantly looking at the programs we deliver and ask the big questions – are they still relevant, are they working, and are there better ways to support the people of Cape York. Our innovation team, led by Noel Pearson, are at the cutting edge of the evolution of our programs. They use proven methodologies to deeply understand our policy settings, inspect our programs to gauge efficacy, and develop new approaches that will support or evolved vision that Indigenous individuals and families are recognised as First Australians, empowered to make meaningful choices, and enabled to share their culture with other Australians.