It was the vision of Kuku Yalanji elder Roy Gibson to capture the tourism market at Mossman Gorge to create employment and a better future for his people. His vision was brought to life with the Mossman Gorge Centre, an Indigenous eco tourism development and gateway to Mossman Gorge.
He has another driving ambition, to own his own home. Roy talks here about his personal journey towards financial empowerment and his commitment to MPower.
“Without MPower I guarantee I wouldn’t have a car—here now where I am today. MPower is the best. You don’t see money grow, but with MPower grows just like a tall tree in the forest until it reached the sky. It’s just suddenly there, something you never believe you could have—it’s unreal to me. As I got more involved with tourism, I needed a brand new car, and asked Reggie at the O-Hub ‘can you do this thing for me?’ I fall in love with walks and talks—I didn’t see the goal—I didn’t see the money.
“More of our people must and should go to MPower and fulfill their stories and dreams—they will fulfill their dreams so fast they won’t believe it! I know when I worked all my life in tourism, I didn’t have much money to spend, MPower turned that around in a different way.
“Computer is hard for me, I’m not a computer guy. The hardest part is people have to go and ask for help and understand if you can’t read and spell, they will support you. MPower is not a bank but they help you put your money away safe towards something. You realize that it’s going to take time, but you’ll achieve it.
“The changes that I see, is that some people have got cars, washing machines and kids have got more toys, presents that I never see before.
“I think what we need to do more, is to make them change into more employment and using MPower to reach goals. We need to get more of our people that live in community to start thinking of the future more, thinking about family and the younger generation—making them go to school more and get a better education and go away for school for better education. Then they have the Gateway Centre to come back to, to come back home, working and taking over the operation in the Centre. You can tell them the history of coming from there to here.”
“Home ownership. I want to pay my car off in three years and then chuck another seed in the forest and watch that grow until I’m ready to reach out and grab it—the house. I don’t care how long it takes, but I’m going to get it. And then I’m going to try and make the rest of our people understand it’s not hard. MPower will help put you on the right track.
“I want to buy land somewhere someday. I want to be free and relax and start training about the culture—keep the culture alive—and just go fishing. I did what I did now for my people with the Gateway Centre, and now I want to see my people understand we can go higher.”