Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation Pty Ltd was set up after the 1996 Wujal Wujal Land and Health Summit. Cape York people decided that help was needed with community development.
The ATSIC Regional Council, the Cape York Land Council and Apunipima Cape York Health Council worked together to set up Balkanu as an economic development corporation belonging to the people of Cape York.
Gerhardt Pearson was appointed as its founding Executive Director.
Since commencement of business in 1997, Balkanu had been successfully involved in many projects, including:
- Barrow Point Outstation
- Port Stewart Outstation
- Ettatapuma Outstation
- Aurukun Arts and Crafts display in Melbourne
- Chevron Gas Pipeline Project
- Outback Digital Network that started up Cape York Digital Network
- ILC land Studies and Purchases
- Natural Heritage Trust funding
- Indigenous Business Training Institute
- Body Shop
- Rotary International (Australia) workforce tourism
- Land and Sea management and research
- Land Reform projects dealing with Tenure Resolution
- Outstations and Homelands in NPA, Lockhart, Coen, Lakefield,
- Kalpower, Laura, Hopevale and other communities
- Traditional Knowledge Recording Project
- Dreaming Track Feasibility Study
- Economic development programs through Cape York Business Development and the Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships units.
Balkanu has grown from strength to strength with just 3 staff members in 1997 to a current workforce of over 60 people plus the support of many volunteers from corporate and philanthropic organisations.