Indigenous affairs advisor
Prominent Indigenous leader Noel Pearson comes from the Guugu Yimidhirr community of Hopevale on South Eastern Cape York Peninsula. Noel is one of Australia's most influential indigenous lawyers and activists and has, for many years, campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the Aboriginal people.
Noel is the founder of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, an organisation promoting the economic and social development of Cape York in Far North Queensland. He is also an Advisor for the Cape York Partnership (CYP), Chairman of Good to Great Schools Australia (GGSA) and a Vice-Chancellor's Fellow of the University of Melbourne.
CYP is an Indigenous policy reform and leadership organisation dedicated to empowering Cape York Indigenous people and encompasses the Cape York Institute, Cape York Enterprises, Djarragun College, Cape York Employment, Cape York Timber and Bama Services.
Good to Great Schools Australia supports schools to transition from Poor to Fair, Fair to Good and Good to Great. Good to Great Schools Australia's education program was developed by the Cape York Academy for its three primary schools - Aurukun, Coen and Hope Vale. It is responsible for delivering significant improvements in literacy and numeracy in these schools.
Noel's goal is to enable Cape York's Indigenous people to have the capacity to choose the life they have reason to value by reinstating the rights of Aboriginal people to take responsibility for their lives.
As a land rights activist, Noel Pearson has been involved in many key Indigenous issues including as a member of the Indigenous Negotiating Team during the drafting of the Native Title Act in 1993. He also participated in the drafting of the Cape York Heads of Agreement. This historic agreement ensured an effective cooperative platform between Indigenous, Conservation, Mining and pastoral interests in Cape York.
In November 2014, Noel Pearson's powerful eulogy for Gough Whitlam at his state memorial service was hailed on social media as "one of the best political speeches of our time". In fact, one media commentator went so far as to say that, "... Pearson is, by a considerable distance, the best orator in Australia."
Noel was a big hit with delegates at the CHA conference. They found him to an inspirational, motivated and passionate speaker. He received a standing ovation at the end of his presentation, something I've not seen before at our conference and I've been here for 13 years!