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An autonomous, prosperous and sustainable community and council

Priority Area Six - Regional Governance







The Torres Strait region operates under excessive and often duplicated levels of governance. Council aspires to govern its own affairs, however as outlined in the Torres Strait Regional Authority’s Regional Assembly Transition Plan (2018), there is still significant reform required. A key pillar of this transition is the acknowledgement of the traditional regional name: Zenadth Kes. Establishing a Regional Assembly model of government would enable a greater level of autonomy to discharge Local, State and Commonwealth powers in one governing entity, formally recognising the principles of Ailan Kustom, and traditional governance systems.

Our unique Ailan Kustom, which is now recognised by the Australia Judicial and Legislative System as our inalienable right has been in place throughout our history. It is time for the transition aspirations of the people of the Torres Strait to be realised.


What are we seeking:

  • Formal endorsement of the name change for local government and place name to Zenadth Kes Regional Council and Zenadth Kes.
  • Formal recognition of the rights of the people of the Torres Strait to elect and be governed by a Regional Assembly.
  • Funding to enable the smooth transition from the current Australian governing practice to the Zenadth Kes Regional Assembly.


At a glance:

The Regional Assembly Transition Plan, as authorised by the Torres Strait Regional Authority in June 2018, provides a detailed regional history, articulation of a preferred model, and a roadmap for the successful delivery of the Regional Assembly body.

The Plan was endorsed by regional leaders and was formally endorsed by Council during a Special Meeting on 28 July 2020.

Council formally endorsed both the local government name change (to Zenadth Kes Regional Council), and the place name change (to Zenadth Kes) at its Ordinary Meeting on 21 July 2020.

The introduction of the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Child Rearing Practice) Act 2020, formally identified the nexus between LORE and LAW.

The Act signifies a true acknowledgement of traditional governance and language, and a continual progression from the Mabo Decision to the aspirations set forth in the Regional Assembly Transition Plan.


Why is this important to our communities?

Moving to a Regional Assembly model means a greater level of autonomy to discharge Local, State and Commonwealth powers in one governing entity, reducing unnecessary duplication and formally recognising the principles of Ailan Kastom, and traditional systems of governance.





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