Champions back new funding initiative for Lockhart River  

[by Christine Howes]


Image: supplied

An exciting new budget initiative will enable a philanthropic organisation to access and leverage funds to support their capacity-building work in Lockhart River over the next four years.

*Puuya Foundation Chair Dottie Hobson said their highest priority was to support Lockhart community goals by embracing an early childhood focus and build capacity around parents and community.

Ms Hobson said the State Government’s approval of funding for the pilot ‘Indigenous Futures: Social Investment Partnership Fund’ in Lockhart River had initially been delayed by Coronavirus restrictions, which delayed the State and Federal budgets.

“We’d like to thank our Ministerial Champion, Transport & Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and Lockhart River Community Champion, Director General for the Department of Local Government Warwick Agnew along with our Patron and former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce, for their continued and ongoing support for the Puuya Foundation,” she said.

“They have been strong advocates for this initiative which means the State Government will match committed contributions to the Puuya Foundation.

“That money might come from the private sector, Commonwealth or local government over the next four years, and will enable the Foundation to deliver agreed social services to the Lockhart River community.”

Lockhart River’s innovative early childhood centre ‘Kuunchi Kakana’, was established four years ago and in May last year was at risk of immediate closure unless additional funding was secured. 

At the time Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Wayne Butcher sent an appeal to all levels of government looking for support.

He said the centre ensured the community’s early childhood cohort (0-to 5-year-olds) had a secure pathway for seamless transition from early childhood to pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary education.

“The establishment of the Kuunchi Kakana Centre is a great example of the private sector creating public value that would normally be fully funded by government,” he said. 

“The centre is an outstanding example of innovation in creating a facility which nurtures community empowerment and inclusiveness, demonstrating to our community families that education is the currency of the future. 

“Here we have an organisation and a centre which is enabling and supporting life changing outcomes for our community by breaking intergenerational inequality – one child, one family, one community at a time.”

He said having access to a sustainable education from early childhood onwards was key to creating resilient, knowledge-based and self-sufficient remote communities. 

Ms Hobson said support from the State Government was a huge boost for them.

“This support from the State Government is a powerful and very tangible way to close the gap for the educationally disadvantaged in this remote North Queensland regional community,” she said.


*The Puuya Foundation is a non-profit registered charity with dedicated staff on the ground in Lockhart River 365 days a year. Local leaders play an important role on the Board and are complemented by dedicated non-local professionals and advisors. For more information see:


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