The Centre for Appropriate Technology Limited (CfAT Ltd) has undertaken community planning activities over many years with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities wishing to develop their land holdings and provide jobs.

Our work with the Lama Lama people in Far North Queensland commenced over 15 years ago around community planning. The vision established early on was to secure the essential infrastructure – water, energy, shelter –
that would act as a foundation for economic development. Today the Lama Lama people are actively involved in a suite of business activities employing 57 local people. CfAT Ltd’s engagement continues and the nature of the assistance we provide has evolved.

Leveraging land assets – from technology to economy - a case study.

  • 1990’s: Lama Lama people granted tenure of reserve land and return to their land at Port Stewart after forced removal in the 1960s.
  • 1996: CAT engaged by Lama Lama Land Trust to undertake community planning and develop appropriate and robust infrastructure – water supply, energy and housing to enable people to return to country.
  • 1998: CAT assists in design and construction of Community Building at Yintjingga.
  • 2000: Silver Plains cattle station handed back to Lama Lama Land Trust via State land dealings.
  • 2005: CAT commissioned Renewable Energy systems provide 24 hour reliable power to Theethinji and Mojeeba outstations at Yintjingga and community energy planning to factor in economic development aspirations.
  • 2006: Community water management planning delivered by CAT to enable residents to assess risks to their (surface) water supply and prevent hazards.
  • 2008: Lama Lama people move back to Silver Plains - CAT provides technical support for energy and water issues.
  • 2009: CAT engaged to review the 1997 Community Plan and help co-design a new plan focused on economic development.
  • 2009-2012: CAT providing governance support and mentoring to the newly incorporated Yintjingga Aboriginal Corporation (YAC).
  • 2009: Land and Sea Management Ranger program established under YAC.
  • 2010-2011: CAT assists Lama Lama Rangers by coordinating build of new ranger base, upgrades and extensions to power and water and commercial camping facilities.
  • 2012-2013: CAT investigating emergency issues with water supplies and developing plans for airstrip upgrade. CAT maintaining infrastructure technical support and close relationship with Lama Lama.
  • 2014 Yintjingga (Port Stewart) now has a successful Land and Sea Management program an emerging cattle station enterprise and expanding tourism activities supporting jobs for around 57 Lama Lama people.

Lessons Learned

Enabling infrastructure supported Lama Lama people to access their country. Purpose designed RE     systems provided 24 hour reliable power and meant monies previously spent on diesel could be directed to other things. Skills and support to manage hazards and risks to water supplies enabled people to stay on country. The amenity provided facilitated a focus on plans for the future and economic development, spearheaded by the need to manage protected areas, develop cattle operations and create employment. Further development required improved governance arrangements and ongoing infrastructure support.  Appropriate technology and infrastructure is a critical foundation for economic development and opportunity builds incrementally over time. Time and enduring relationships are paramount.