Cape York Business Development



Cape York Business Development Managers

The main focus of Balkanu’s Cape York Business Development unit is to generate an awareness of business opportunities in Cape York and facilitate viable business ventures. Cape York Business Development (CYBD) provides mentoring and business consultation services for Indigenous people of Cape York, particularly in remote areas where access to mainstream business services is limited. CYBD has offices in Cairns and Cooktown, and enquiry services at Coen.

CYBD works with our clients from the initial planning phases, feasibility analysis, operations, marketing, accounting and strategic development right through to the self-sustaining business.

Since its commencement in 1999, CYBD has provided services to over 230 clients and has a proud history of assisting many of Cape York’s thriving small businesses establish themselves and become self-sustaining, including The Walker Family Tours, Punsand Bay Resort, Lockhart River Airport Hotel (Iron Range cabins), Marie’s Café in Hope Vale. CYBD continues to work with many diverse emerging businesses.

The proposed Archer Point Wind Farm development and the Mossman Gorge Gateway project are outstanding examples of Cape York business developments where CYBD’s services have been crucial to start the process.

Balkanu has had experience in major development projects and was contracted to manage the Indigenous negotiations and cultural heritage clearances on the PNG Gas Pipeline project, as well as facilitation of Aurukun community’s participation in the selection of a preferred developer for the Aurukun Bauxite project.

Balkanu CYBD is playing an important role in the Welfare Reform “lighthouse” development projects in Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.

Major Projects

Mossman Gorge Gateway

This is a major project funded through the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC). A ‘Gateway’ visitors centre incorporating a café, arts centre, offices, booking office, and a shuttle bus service to cater for an estimated 500,000 visitors per annum. The Gateway will reduce the amount of traffic passing through rainforest region of the Mossman Gorge National Park, and provide about 40 jobs to the local community, in tourism and hospitality.

This project will enable the local Kuku Yalanji people to achieve economic and social benefits from tourism on their traditional lands.

Hope Vale Horticulture Project

With the support of federal and state governments through the Welfare Reform Agenda, Balkanu is working with indigenous land holders in the Hope Vale district to develop irrigated farming enterprises. Local Indigenous farmers have started on growing the Panama passion fruit for the market. In time, the farmers will also grow a range of other crops to meet market demand.

You can find out more about this project by reading the ‘Horticulture Project OVERVIEW’ here. pdf Hort OVERVIEW.pdf 1.02 Mb

Bio Fuel Project

Farming bio fuel crops in Cape York has the potential to grow local jobs and dramatically reduce reliance on increasingly expensive polluting fossil fuels. With fossil fuel prices likely to increase due to carbon taxes, increasing demand and volatility of supplies, a pre-feasibility study outlining the promising capacity for Pongamia pinnata to Cape communities has brought welcome news. At the instigation of Balkanu a concept plan to develop renewable energy sources was produced in collaboration with Westpac Treasury, Ergon Energy and W2 Power which gained Energy to conduct a pre-feasibility study.

You can find out more about this project by reading the ‘Clean Energy Project OVERVIEW’ here. pdf Energy OVERVIEW.pdf 1010.05 Kb

Pormpuraaw Motel Development

Balkanu is assisting Pormpuraaw Council with feasibility studies and an investment prospectus for the development of a motel at Pormpuraaw. Due to limited accommodation for visitors to the town, the proposed new motel will provide visitors with comfortable self contained rooms, as well as generate a increased revenue for the local Council. The motel development (based on the successful Iron Range Cabinsl at Lockhart River) will also generate employment for the locals.


Quintell Beach Project

Quintell Beach Camping and Cabins (Lockhart River)

Balkanu is working with Lockhart Council doing the preliminary planning work and feasibility assessments for a camping and cabin tourism development on Quintell Beach. Quintell Beach is located at the front of the Lockhart River township, and whilst it is the community’s main swimming and fishing beach, it does have room for tourist camping and potentially cabin development. The concept is aimed at stimulating more tourist visitations to the town, which at present sees most tourists bypass the town heading to Chilli Beach and Portland Roads. This development will help Lockhart Council to generate tourism revenue and create employment.

Carbon Economy

This project aims to assess the potential for indigenous land owners on Cape York to position them for participation in a future carbon economy.

Balkanu is working in partnership with the Lama Lama Land Trust and Dept of Environment Resource Management and has done a preliminary assessment of Eastern Cape York country at Running Creek.  Balkanu is looking at avenues where Indigenous Land Trusts and communities will be able to participate in the future carbon economy.

Dreaming Track

The Dreaming Track project is a fundamental element of the Cape York Agenda that is supported by both the Queensland and Federal governments. It is a tourism concept which will create sustainable and independent communities that Traditional Owners can choose to live the lives they value in their own country.

The 2000Km Track begin from Daintree at Mossman Gorge with a series linked walks northwards, up the eastern coast of Cape York to the most northern tip of Australia in the Cape York Peninsula.

The Dream Track project will create jobs for indigenous people in Cape York that ranges from track construction to ongoing maintenance, transport and logistics, hospitality as well as cultural tourism offerings and many other business opportunities for Traditional Owners.

Balkanu will play an essential role in planning and consultation with Traditional Owners from the start of the project till completion.

 Land Trust Support



Lakefield National Park

Balkanu is currently providing on-going governance and enterprise development support to various land trusts and Aboriginal corporations, including –

  • Lama Lama Land Trust
  • Toolka Land Trust
  • Kulla Land Trust
  • Yuku Baja Muliku (Archer Point) Land Trust
  • Balnggarrawara (Melsonby) Land Trust
  • Kalpowar Land Trust
  • Nyungkal group (Shiptons Flat, northern Daintree country)

Working with land trusts on even the most basic of corporate governance needs is seen as an important preliminary step in their growing the capacity to eventually become self supporting through business development and revenue generation.

Land Trust support services will continue to be expanded through the Welfare Reform Economic Development stream projects.


Coen Property Management

Balkanu is working on a proposal to manage various properties in Coen on a fee for service basis on behalf of the Wunthulpul Land Trust and the Federal Government. The portfolio will include various ‘dongas’ rented for housing welfare reform agency staff and what is known as the CRAC office block, the CDEP compound, the Wunthulpul Cultural Centre, and the Coen arts building.

Balkanu will act in an advisory capacity for the local indigenous organisation.

Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council

CYBD is working with Pormpuraaw Council on a range of economic/ business development projects.  These include;

  • Reviewing the operation and advising the company Board and Pormpuraaw Shire Council on future options for the Edward River Crocrodile Farm
  • Upgrading and future operating models for the Kiosk
  • Accounting assistance to the town’s registered club
  • Pormpuraaw Motel development

Pastoral Industry Project

ILC has funded a cattle industry specialist to work through Balkanu to assess the opportunities for further development of indigenous cattle enterprise on Cape York.


Lockhart River Mayor with Secondees

Working with Individuals on Cape York

Examples of some of the work CYBD has done with individual entrepreneurs include:

  • Advising client on café in Coen, together with considering potential of a CY fresh food delivery service.
  • Assessment of the potential for commercial cleaning business in Coen
  • Lawns and gardening business in Coen
  • WWII tourism in Lockhart River
  • Travelling cinema business plan
  • Conference and coffee shop/art gallery business plan in Coen
  • Cattle industry (various properties)
  • Rehab and prison diversion concept
  • Coffee café at Kowanyama
  • Feasibility assessment of leasing Hope Vale service station
  • Business plan and funding for Marie’s Café in Hope Vale
  • Tourism development assessment at Garraway Falls (near Lockhart River)
  • Heliconia plantation at Hope Vale
  • Accounts and advice to Puchiwu Fishing enterprise
  • Punsand Bay Camping Resort

Coporate Support for CYBD

Balkanu receives tremendous support from Corporates such as Westpac, KPMG, and IBM through Jawun (formerly known as Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships). For instance, since 1998 Westpac Corporation has been providing in-kind support with their staff volunteering to work in Cape York Peninsula remote communuties, such as

Hope Vale and Cooktown

  • New-Tractor-for-Hopevale-Business

    New Tractor for Hopevale Business

    Passionfruit farm development

  • Marie’s Café business plan and funding
  • Support for Archer Point land trust
  • Assessment of enterprise options for Kalpowar Land Trust
  • Enterprise development support for the Nyungkal Rangers
  • Support of the Melsonby Land Trust


  • Provide strategic advice on Edward River Crocodile Farm
  • Detailed feasibility assessment of motel development
  • Investment prospectus for the Pormpuraaw Motel
  • Options for the town’s Kiosk


  • Set up the internal systems and policies for the Coen property management business
  • Feasibility assessment of enterprise options for Lama Lama Land Trust
  • Assessment of organic cattle production options for indigenous cattle properties.
  • Assessment of potential for walking trek business JV with Lama Lama land trust and established walking trek business.


  • Feasibility (cost benefit) analysis of renewable energy options for Cape York
  • Business in a Box information package
  • Cape York indigenous corporate service business modelling

Lockhart River

  • Lockhart River (Quintell Beach) camping and cabins feasibility assessment
  • Garraway Falls tourism planning
  • Puchiwu Fishing modelling and accounting assistance
  • Lockhart River Iron Range cabin business planning

Elsewhere in Cape York

Punsand Bay Resort – business planning and operational assistance

Investment prospectus for the Kowanyama land and sea centre

Welfare Reform Economic Developement Stream

CYBD-Team-400CYBD partners with Cape York Partnerships Welfare Reform to deliver a range of economic development initiatives under the Welfare Reform Agenda.

CYBD-Welfare Reform Economic Development Stream is currently working on delivering the following Projects

  • Mossman Gorge enterprise development
  • Cape to Cairns business partnerships
  • Cape York indigenous arts development
  • Land Trust support
  • Cape York Jobs projects
  • Cape York Clean Energy
  • Cape York Indigenous Pastoral Project
  • Aurukun Business Centre
  • Hope Vale Business Centre