Lighthouse Projects

Horticulture Development

Balkanu assisted the development of horticulture industry for families in the Hope Vale region by providing expert agronomic advice, encouragement and practical on-ground support to local block holders. With strong relationships with local indigenous clans, and connections with local suppliers and market distributors, As project manager, Balkanu provided mentorship in management, administrative, finance, HR and governance functions and also help to expand the horticultural program to include the towns of Aurukun and Coen.  In this initiative Balkanu undertook to set up components like Propagation of seedlings for the market garden, Farming equipment and accessories, Cool Room storage, Logistics and transport, Accreditation for fresh produce, marketing, distribution, sorting, packaging, identification of viable products like types of crops, suitable land, potential markets, training for workers and other necessary work critical to the success of the business.

Hope Vale Healthy Country

With the success of our Country Rangers Program, we also auspice and provide infrastructure support to other Indigenous Ranger groups throughout Cape York.  One of the more notable group is Hope Vale Ranger Services program where Balkanu helped with sourcing funding for capacity building to conduct activities in Land Management, Cultural Heritage, tourism and social services on traditional lands.  We assisted with the Healthy Country Plan which incorporated Savanna Burning and Fire Management on country.  In addition we provided financial management and operational services to ensure Ranger groups are cognitive and trained on workplace compliance and legislations for improved effectiveness.

Laura Dance Festival

The Laura Dance festival first occurred in Lockhart River in 1972, then taken to Hopevale, Cooktown until it finally found its home in old traditional Bora ground at Laura. In 2015 the Cape York Laura Dance Festival Aboriginal Corporation enlisted Balkanu as Project Manager and Event Coordinator for the three-day Dance Festival that showcase dance groups from Aurukun, Bamaga, Coen, HopeVale, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Mapoon, New Mapoon, Pormpurraw, Umagico, Wujal Wujal, Yarrabah.  Balkanu successfully met the targeted objectives (indicated below)with overwhelming positive feedback from the communities, Sponsors, Funders and the general public –

  • Event and logistical coordination including subcontracting of workers, consultants, dance groups
  • Liaise and negotiate with Aboriginal Community Councils and Traditional Owners in Cape York
  • Liaise with and management of volunteers and service providers, taskforce committees
  • Management of Festival Ground site and provision of adequate facilities for the Event
  • Seeking and management of funding, equity partners, sponsorships and donations
  • Financial management and administration including sponsorships and grant acquittals
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Workplace health and safety including security and police monitoring

Low Cost Housing

Balkanu, in partnership with Cape York regional organizations and corporate supporters such as Rotary Australia, have been working for a number of years to create opportunities and choice for home ownership for Cape York families.


The land administration system for Indigenous land on Cape York is still not capable of creating a secure and transferable interest in land equivalent to ordinary freehold interest that is taken for granted elsewhere in Queensland. The Regional Organizations have been advocating a policy reform agenda to enable Cape York villages and families to have a security of tenure and rights to enable home ownership and other productive land uses. While some progress has been made with government partners, more work is required.


Where it has been possible to resolve land and tenure issues, Balkanu and Cape York Partnerships have been empowering and supporting families to achieve their home ownership aspirations. To keep costs as low as possible, Balkanu facilitates this project by assisting families with financing, design, sourcing materials and transportation, sourcing volunteers from the initial concept to final completion. Balkanu have been involved in all stages of the construction of their homes, including the very hard physical work such as mixing concrete and laying foundations.

Feral Pigs Abatement

Balkanu took the project management leadership in the project of ‘Improving biodiversity outcomes and carbon reduction through feral pig abatement’.   At that time in 2015 there were approximately 400,000 feral pigs roaming, unmanaged, across the relatively intact central Cape York landscape. Under this project Balkanu gave support to indigenous landholders to successful demonstrate the outcomes of the project through joint services and exploration of potential carbon income from feral pig management.

As project manager, Balkanu conducted engagement with Traditional Land Owners, Ranger groups, CSIRO and JCU-TropWater consultants and professional service providers in the project tasks which involved planning, implementation, training and development, financial control and monitoring of results.

Balkanu undertook the project for 3 years and over that period, it erected a total of 5316m of cattle exclusion fencing 11810m of pig fencing, protecting a combined areas of 1626 hectares of wetlands and turtle rookery.  The bio-data collected were stored in a secure, curated site accessible via a specialised app system that is available for other Government agencies to further improve the program.  A handbook has also been developed for feral pigs management in Cape York.

Other beneficial outcomes included

  • Development of a new data management app enabling integrated data collection which will provide stakeholders to facilitate further research in monitoring of feral species threats.
  • Indigenous rangers learned to adopt drone technology as a means to collect robust environmental data, thus better accuracy in their assessment and increase efficiency in looking after the health of their country.
  • Joint partnership with educational institutions to combine traditional methodologies and modern science in improving environmental bio diversity issues.
  • Discovered the potential of developing a fertiliser product made from pig carcases.
  • There has been significant improvement in the biodiversity of the land where this project was conducted and continued work with other external sources to develop better models in pig and feral species abatement.

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Help us help the Cape York community.