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Empowering our people · In our decision · In our culture · For our future

2019 Federal Election Initiatives

 

 

“Ahead of the 2019 Federal Election our Council developed 8 key Initiatives that directly impact the liveability and ultimate sustainability of our communities; these initiatives form the framework for our conversations with all applicable Federal Parties and Local Candidates” 

Cr. Fred Gela, Mayor, Torres Strait Island Regional Council

 

 

Learn more about each of our initiatives in the summaries below or download our full initiatives document here: TSIRC's 8 Federal Election Initiatives 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE ONE: Support Climate Change Mitigation & Protection from Natural Disaster Impact 

What is the issue? 

The Torres Strait region is uniquely exposed to the effects of climate change and the continuing recovery efforts communities face to remain resilient in increased severe weather events. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

If proactive and sustainable solutions for both coastal defence and extreme weather protection aren’t reached within the next 5 years, urgent measures will need to take place for the complete displacement of communities from their traditional island homes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE TWO: Repair Federal Funding to Local Government 

What is the issue? 

The current funding arrangements for local government are no longer fit for purpose. The decline in core federal funding to local government has reduced the capacity of councils to develop and maintain the key services and infrastructure within their communities, which fuels the risk of reducing standards of living in our communities and across the nation. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

The Financial Assistance Grant scheme (FAGs) is practically the lifeblood of small Indigenous Council’s that have no rate base or only minimal rateable land. Our Council is unique in comparison to other local government organisations; we service a population base of 5,000 people, spread across 42,000 square kilometers of ocean and 15 individual island communities, each with their own unique characteristics and service requirements. All of which is managed by a total asset base of $1.5b, with an annualised depreciation of $40m and a total operating budget of $60m. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE THREE: Support Digital Transformation & Connected Islands 

What is the issue? 

Geographical positioning of our island communities and complex reef systems pose a significant challenge for conventional telecommunication solutions, quite literally requiring digital bridges between our islands. Inadequate or band-aid style investment approaches in connectivity will drive an even greater digital divide for our communities in economic participation, social inclusion and access to essential services like allied health and tertiary studies. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

All communities, whether they be in the major capitals or in regional towns, need to be future-ready. Linked-up, smart communities will foster innovative approaches to environmental and societal issues and ensure equitable access to the benefits of the knowledge economy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE FOUR: Address Homelessness, Overcrowding Issues & Adequate Housing 

What is the issue? 

Access to safe and secure housing is a critical pillar to ending the disparity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the non-Indigenous population. Our Council is the largest provider of housing within the region, however, inadequate funding has meant there is consistently a significant number of households on our waiting lists. Over half of our waitlisted applicants are in desperate need due to an overcrowded situation, homelessness, safety or medical concerns. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

Homelessness and housing stress can profoundly affect the mental and physical health of individuals and families, as well as impact on their education and employment opportunities, and their ability to participate fully in the community. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE FIVE: Evolve International Border Protection & Infrastructure 

What is the issue? 

The Torres Strait region is arguably Australia’s most critical location for border protection; Geographical positioning, complex reef systems and international border proximity provide an ideal pathway for illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and biosecurity risk. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

Border breaches can have an irreversible effect on our ecosystem, cultural places and communities. Our communities within close proximity to the border regularly face ‘overstaying’ incidents, which causes additional burden on Council services and infrastructure. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE SIX: Support Equitable Access to Community Services & Marine Infrastructure 

What is the issue? 

A significant proportion of our community infrastructure, particularly our marine equipment is at risk of disrepair. Whilst some of our community facilities are relatively new, many were built decades ago and like our infrastructure, require significant upgrades to ensure they continue to meet the needs of the community, and compliance with accessibility requirements. In addition, Council also provides airport infrastructure within our communities for delivery of certain goods and passenger movement, however the cost for air travel, within and out of the region, is largely unaffordable for lower socioeconomic communities. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

Our 15 communities are located across 14 separate islands, so our waterways are our national highways; shipping is our lifeblood, and our communities have a complete reliance on it. Aside from the provision of materials needed for upgrading core on-ground facilities, such as community halls, Council offices and recreational/sporting facilities, the majority of our most fundamental services have a reliance on our marine infrastructure, for example our electricity generation and drinking water desalinisation equipment is currently operated using diesel fuel. This is a critical item that is restricted to sea freight provision only. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE SEVEN: Foster Community Health & Wellbeing 

What is the issue? 

The cost of health care is increasing; greater priority needs to be given to preventative health to keep people well and to reduce the burden on the hospital and primary care system. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

Residents of regional and remote communities face numerous barriers to accessing certain health services and can also lack access to preventative information and programs, having further impact on health and wellbeing inequalities, and poorer quality of life outcomes. There are also a range of other concerns, ie. social isolation and affordability, for community members required to travel for health care away from the region. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIATIVE EIGHT: Foster Indigenous Well-Being through Prosperity 

What is the issue? 

There is an urgent need to redress the social and economic disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, however solutions on ground, need to be collaborative in approach and provide the ownership ability of outcomes. 

Why is this important for our communities? 

Initiatives aimed at closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians, specifically in the areas of housing, health, early childhood development, education, economic participation and remote service delivery are vital if our nation is to defeat the economic and social impact of entrenched disadvantage in our remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

 

Download our full initiatives document here: TSIRC's 8 Federal Election Initiatives 


Contact Details:

We welcome engagement from all political and media representatives involved in the Federal Election process to discuss further our 8 Initiatives, livability within our communities and the ultimate sustainability of our region.

Luke Ranga

Corporate Affairs & Engagement

Phone. 07 4034 5756

Email. luke.ranga@tsirc.qld.gov.au

Ursula Nai

Office of the Mayor & CEO

Phone. 07 4034 5775

Email. ursula.nai@tsirc.qld.gov.au