Jim Turnour is a Principal Strategic Regional Planner at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University where he works with regional and First Nations communities supporting place-based approaches to local challenges.

Prior to this he spent a decade working as a Chief Executive Officer and General Manager for Aboriginal Corporations in Cape York Peninsula. He is a Director of Cape York NRM and Committee Member of the Cairns and District Chinese Association.

Jim was the Member for Leichhardt in the Australian Parliament between 2007 and 2010 representing communities including Cairns, the Douglas Shire, Cape York and the Torres Strait in the Rudd and Gillard Governments. He served on the House Economics, Indigenous Affairs and National Capital and Territories Parliamentary Committees and was Chair of the Labor Caucus Infrastructure Committee. He started his career as an agronomist and extension officer working predominantly for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in Central and Far North Queensland.

Jim has a PhD (Economics) from James Cook University and degrees in Agriculture Science and Economics from the University of Queensland.

Socio-Economic Objectives

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Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Grant

Activating Indigenous Peoples Water Rights Under the Cape York Water Plan

Indicative Funding
$625,000 over 3 years
Aboriginal corporations have rights to water under the Cape York Water Plan (2019) which they currently are not accessing. This project will support Aboriginal corporations to activate these rights through researching water governance and the opportunities and constraints to the access and use of water rights in Cape York. This will result in a Cape York Water Plan Manual including workshops to support Aboriginal Corporations understand their water rights, how they can be accessed and the potential opportunities these rights provide including for water leasing. The project will also inform broader Northern Australia policy in relation to strategic Indigenous water reserves.
Jim Turnour and Shannon Burns (Cairns Institute)
Water Allocation; Water Policy; Cape York Water; Cape York Development; Traditional Owner Rights

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