Economic Development

News & Resources

Regional Goal

Enhance our region’s wealth by creating sustainable industries and increasing employment opportunities for our people equivalent to the wider Australian community.

Programme Goal

The Economic Development Programme goal is:

  • to contribute to regional, community and individual economic improvement by taking the lead as whole of region economic development solution broker.

Programme Objectives

The Economic Development Programme component will:

  • stimulate economic development across the region
  • advance business skills and align training initiatives with regional employment opportunities
  • advance Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal ownership and management of businesses in the region.

The Economic Development Programme goal is to contribute to regional, community and individual economic improvement by taking the lead as whole of region economic development solution broker.

Programme Deliverables

  • Increased capability of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal People in the region to manage commercially viable businesses.
  • Improved access to capital and other opportunities to finance commercially viable businesses.
  • Increased number of commercially viable businesses owned and or operated by Torres Strait and Aboriginal People in the region.
  • Improved wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal People in the region.

a photograph of TSRA Economic Development Summit

TSRA Economic Development Summit.

Programme Expenditure 2014 - 2015

Table 2-16: Economic Development Programme Expenditure, 2014 - 2015 (unaudited)

Budget
$’000
Actual
$’000
Variance
$’000
13,407 13,358 49

Torres Strait Development Plan Outcomes

  • Increased capability of Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people in the region to manage commercially viable businesses.
  • Improved access to capital and other opportunities to finance commercially viable businesses.
  • Increased number of commercially viable businesses owned or operated by Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people in the region.
  • Improved wealth of Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people in the region.

Programme Performance

Activity Flag Status
Business mentoring support a yellow circle Business Mentoring Support was provided to two clients in 2014 - 2015 to assist with organisational capacity building.
Business funding support a yellow circle Five loan applications were approved.
Remote Jobs and Communities Agreement management a yellow circle In 2014 - 2015, 1,217 participants were successfully transitioned from the Remote Jobs and Communities Programme (RJCP) to the new Community Development Programme (CDP).176 Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) participants were successfully transitioned from CDEP wages to Income Support Payments as part of CDP.
Economic Development Investment Strategy a yellow circle A review of the Community Economic Initiatives Scheme (CEIS) was undertaken in 2014 - 2015. A key recommendation of the review was to close the CEIS and adopt a more strategic approach to economic development through the development of a regional economic investment strategy.Development of a Torres Strait Regional Economic Investment Strategy is underway to identify sustainable industries and opportunities for commercially viable enterprise development. As part of the development of the strategy the TSRA has delivered two in a series of three economic development summits, which provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to contribute to the strategy.The report is currently being prepared and is due for completion and presentation at the September 2015 Board meeting.
Into Business Workshops a yellow circle Two series of Into Business Workshops were delivered (comprising workshops A, B and C); 17 participants completed the workshop series.
Torres Strait Marine Pathways Project a yellow circle Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal) – 55 persons attained this certificate.Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 Near Coastal) – 55 persons attained this certificate.Prerequisite training programme, including Shipboard Safety Skill Set; First Aid and Marine Radio Operators (VHF) Certificate of Proficiency – 55 persons attained these prerequisite qualifications.Certificate III in Fishing Operations course – 12 persons attained this certificate.Wild harvest dive qualifications – 12 persons attained this certificate.Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating) – 2 persons attained this certificate.Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment – 1 person attained this certificate.
Home Ownership Programme a black circle No home loan applications were approved in 2014 - 2015. Complex land tenure arrangements in the Torres Strait continue to make it difficult for loan applicants to provide appropriate security for loans.
Legend
an open circle
Not yet started
a yellow circle
Completed / On schedule
a gray circle
Behind schedule less than three months
a black circle
Behind schedule more than three months

Additional Programme Specific Performance Indicator

Indicator Flag Status
An increase in the number of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal People in employment a yellow circle In 2014 - 2015, 45 RJCP participants moved from welfare into full-time employment and 196 moved into part-time employment.
Job placements were in the following industries:
  • Government – 66
  • Retail – 41
  • Employment – 36
  • Education – 21
  • Other – 19
  • Hospitality – 16
  • Labour hire – 15
  • Aged care – 12
  • Construction – 6
  • Rural – 5
  • Child care – 3
  • Fishing – 3
Legend
an open circle
Not yet started
a yellow circle
KPI achieved
a gray circle
KPI partially achieved
a black circle
KPI not achieved

PERFORMANCE MEASURES

  • Increase in the number of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal owned commercially viable businesses.
  • Increased availability of approved business training.
  • Increase in number of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in employment.

Figure 2-3: Economic Development Programme Map

Figure 2-3: Economic Development Programme Map

Case Study: Converting Training to Employment

The primary aim of the Torres Strait Maritime Pathways Project (TSMPP) is to further develop the skills and capability of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to operate commercial vessels and, in doing so, create pathways for careers in maritime-related industries.

A clear example of someone who has achieved this aim is Koeygab Pabai. Koeygab is a 27 year old Torres Strait Islander man who grew up on Thursday Island and whose family hails from remote Boigu Island in the top western area of the Torres Strait.

After finishing high school on Thursday Island, Koeygab worked in various jobs before doing some part-time work as a deckhand with Torres Pilots. The seed to explore a career in the maritime industry was planted in Koeygab as a child. One of Koeygab’s grandfathers, Audi Gibuma, was a skipper of the pearling lugger Antonia and his other grandfather, Den Toby, worked on the famous MV Melbidir.

Koeygab said that many Torres Strait people have a fear of failure and that they need to get past this and simply have a go: ‘If I can do it then anyone can!’

As Koeygab grew older, another role model who encouraged him to pursue a maritime career was his Uncle, Danny Ingui, who completed his maritime training at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania and now works on commercial vessels in the mining sector in the Northern Territory. Koeygab, who has grown up around boats, was able to complete some maritime training whilst at high school but was not able to further his maritime training and career due to the unavailability of maritime training in the Torres Strait and the expense involved in completing this training outside the region.

In November 2013, Koeygab was selected to participate in the inaugural combined Coxswain/Marine Engine Driver course delivered in the Torres Strait through the TSMPP. Koeygab said the training delivered by the TSMPP was fantastic for a number of reasons: ‘The trainers from the Australian Maritime College broke down the information so that it could be understood and applied. Nothing was too much trouble. The training platform, MV Elizabeth II, was great in that being at sea there were no distractions and I was able to immerse myself in commercial vessel operations assisted by a supportive crew of professional mariners.’ He noted that the process to convert the training achievements into maritime qualifications had been simplified by the TSMPP-sponsored course.

Koeygab applied himself so well to the TSMPP training that he was nominated for trainee of the year at the transport industry Supply Chain and Logistics annual awards 2014. He was awarded a Highly Commended certificate.

Immediately following his training and having obtained nationally recognised maritime certificates of competency, Koeygab quickly obtained employment with Rebel Marine as the skipper of their inter-island ferry operating between Thursday Island and Horn Island. Following several months with Rebel Marine, Koeygab moved to McDonald Charter Boats and for eight months operated their inter-island ferry between Thursday and Horn islands.

Koeygab applied himself so well to the TSMPP training that he was nominated for trainee of the year at the transport industry Supply Chain and Logistics annual awards 2014.

With the assistance of McDonald Charter, Koeygab completed his Master training, qualifying him to operate a vessel up to 24 metres. He aspires to one day be the skipper of one of the Sea Swift vessels that service the Torres Strait. Koeygab said it was his grandfathers and uncle who inspired him to follow a maritime career. He achieved this by being focused and extremely committed to his training. Koeygab said that many Torres Strait people have a fear of failure and that they need to get past this and simply have a go: ‘If I can do it then anyone can!’

Koeygab is now employed by the Torres Strait Regional Authority. His marine pathway training enabled him to win the position of Fleet Mentor with the Torres Strait land and sea rangers. He is responsible for the safe operation of the seven ranger vessels operating across the Torres Strait.

Torres Strait Marine Pathways graduate receives commendation for Trainee of the Year

Torres Strait Marine Pathways graduate receives commendation for Trainee of the Year.