The Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC), in partnership with communities, key state and commonwealth agencies has developed this document to help shape the direction and future of Council for 20 years.
As a result of years of consultation and research, the Community Plan is a direct reflection of the views and aspirations of the Torres Strait Islands. Comprehensive long-term sustainable planning and the involvement of the community is the key to determining our future. We have attempted to genuinely reflect desires and the expectations of our constituents. I am grateful to those who have participated and I trust the outcome reflects the time and effort they contributed. With TSIRC's vision clearly defining our strategies and goals, the success of the plan will now be dependent not only on action from the council but also on input from communities.
- A key objective of the Commonwealth Government is to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in the areas of education and health. This is recognised as one of TSIRC's key challenges and this community plan aims to contribute to the national ‘Closing the Gap’ strategy by Improving the health of Indigenous people with a focus on preventative measures.
- Torres Strait Island communities should be involved in the decisions that affect them, and deserve high quality public services, shaped around their needs. Council policies and strategies should reflect local priorities, requirements and aspirations.
- Developing the economic standing of the region and our people is a high priority. Wealth creation will improve the standard of living for our people and our communities. Initiatives will be required that support employment creation; training and capacity building; fostering of small business/entrepreneurs; infrastructure development; marketing and transportation across a potentially wide number of industries.
- Our people require adequate and appropriate housing. In many cases housing is sub-standard, overcrowded, or inappropriate for the climate. In the case of the Torres Strait, there is inadequate land available for house construction and a lack of people trained to maintain housing. Housing plays a crucial role in enabling us to retain our people and develop our region. This Plan sets out a clear goal and supporting objectives to be achieved to realise housing of an appropriate standard and quantity.
- Having our own people managing the direction of our region is vital. Our people not only understand the environment and the culture but also have vested interest in their homeland. However, there is a need for more of our people to take advantage of opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills to ensure future leaders are highly skilled and able to fulfil the appropriate regulatory requirements and governance standards. There is a particular need for Native Title Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs) to receive support and training so that PBC leaders may work with other leaders to achieve harmonious decision-making and development in the region. We need to grow and develop community leaders as well as achieve suitable governance standards.