A shelf company formed in July this year, Cape York Employment Pty Ltd, with Richie Ahmat, Noel Pearson and South African Duncan Murray as directors, has been awarded training contracts by the federal government under the new Remote Jobs and Communities Program for Cape York Peninsula.

Prior to the federal election Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced a $5m grant to further develop a plan, ‘Empowered Communities’ devised by Cairns indigenous leader Noel Pearson.

This program is causing widespread derision amongst Cape York Peninsula communities. Five community Mayors issued a joint statement, condemning Pearson soon after media reports of Abbott’s promise to appoint Pearson as his private indigenous affairs advisor.

Numerous communities have told Pearson not to interfere with their affairs and not to impose his culture upon them.

It will be interesting to gauge Abbott’s reaction to the adversity towards his long-time friend Noel Pearson. Abbott, to his credit makes an annual visit to Cape York communities to assist in teaching at schools so he should have a good grasp on the worsening situation enabling him to propose a solution.

Cairns News has been contacted by several indigenous leaders who remain steadfastly opposed to any dealings with the Pearsons’ or Richie Ahmat.

The training contracts awarded to Pearson and Ahmat, the Chairman of Cape York Land Council, might well be the straw that breaks the dugong’s back in this last outpost. from Robert J Lee in Cairns