Noel Pearson (2010), Founder and Director of Strategy, Cape York Partnership, Chairman, Good to Great Schools Australia, and Jawun Patron, talks about his vision for Jawun. Video by SOTA Creative.

Noel Pearson is the patron of Jawun. He is one of Australia’s most respected and prominent Indigenous leaders. His work with Cape York Partnership and Jawun draws widely on his thoughts on breaking down passive welfare dependency in Cape York by reinstating the rights of Indigenous people to take responsibility for their lives.

In 2000, Noel Pearson published ‘Our Right to Take Responsibility’ which articulates the existence of ‘passive welfare’ in Indigenous communities and the need to create a ‘real economy’.

In 2001, Noel met with senior corporate leaders from Westpac and The Boston Consulting Group and this is where Jawun’s unique Indigenous corporate partnership model emerged.

Noel’s thoughts on working with corporate Australia are best said in his own words:

The world we occupied before corporate partnership was almost completely dominated by government type-people: bureaucrats and people who work in the community sector. Corporate partnerships gave us independence to think through and do things we could never convince the government to do.

When you have people who in their normal lives are about enterprise and wealth creation, you are working with a group who are in a frame of mind you need when trying to think through solutions. I used to say, ‘These people normally work to create and enhance advantage. If we want our people to be advantaged, we might have something to learn from these guys.’

Noel Pearson (2010), Founder and Director of Strategy, Cape York Partnership, Chairman, Good to Great Schools Australia, and Jawun Patron; ‘True Leaders’ article, AFR Boss.