The Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership
Michael Winer currently works as Project Manager, Land and Sea Management at The Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership – One of Australia’s premier Indigenous think tanks lead by Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson. Michael has worked for 30 years in the Indigenous and environmental sectors and is recognised as a quiet achiever and innovator. His work has helped secure millions of hectares of Cape York for rebuilding Aboriginal homelands and expanding the national park estate, he has established one of Australia’s largest corporate responsibility programs and is currently focussed on finding solutions to the challenging question – How can we ever fully fund and enable effective land and sea management on Cape York? - an area the size of Victoria with little industry and a small marginalised population.
In his current position Michael has published a number of papers and presented at UN forums looking at issues from ensuring Indigenous equity in conservation burdens and opportunities, the potential and constraints of ecosystem services on Cape York and the causes of the recent black green divide over Wild Rivers and World Heritage. Prior to joining CYI Michael was inspired by spending time with Anita Roddick (Founder of The Body Shop) and co-founded and headed Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships (now Jawun). This is one of Australia’s largest corporate coalitions engaging in corporate social responsibility and investing millions of dollars a year placing hundreds of secodee’s into indigenous organisations to boost expert capacity and capability.
Michaels early work in the 80’s and first half of the 90’s was as a branch and campaign coordinator for The Wilderness Society, initially in Canberra working against wood chipping in the South East Forests and then through founding the Cairns/Cape York branch. Michael Instigated the land acquisition campaigns with Noel Pearson /Cape York Land Council in 1992 with the fast and effective Starcke Campaign. This campaign secured 250 000 ha of coastal land north of Hopevale and formed a template and a black/green alliance that lead for further acquisitions through the ongoing Cape York State Land Dealing process. Millions of hectares in the region have been converted from pastoral lease to a 50-50 mix of Aboriginal freehold and Aboriginal National Park including the Iconic McIlwraith Range Rainforests.