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The TSRA’s governance framework provides a system of direction and controls that enable regional outcomes to be achieved through organisational goals and objectives. The framework allows risks and issues to be escalated to the appropriate level. The resolution of risks and issues occurs through formal project management structures, programme structures, the Programme Steering Committee, the TSRA Audit Committee and the TSRA Board.

TSRA BOARD

The TSRA Board is an elected representative body which holds scheduled quarterly meetings and issue-specific out-of-session meetings. The Board Chairperson is a full-time office holder, while other Board members are part-time officials who are remunerated in accordance with the determinations of the Remuneration Tribunal. The primary functions of the Board are to:

  • set out the TSRA’s vision for the Torres Strait
  • oversee the TSRA’s strategic objectives and direction
  • approve programme mandates
  • review the TSRA’s performance, objectives and outcomes
  • manage strategic risk and regional stakeholder relations.

The Chairperson and Executive Members of the TSRA are elected by the members of the Board at the first Board meeting following the TSRA elections. All TSRA Board members are also officials under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) and are classified as Non-Executive Directors. The Board is the accountable authority for the TSRA.

2012-2016 Appointments

The TSRA Board consists of 20 members elected under Division 5 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 (Cth). The current Board was elected in the first independent TSRA Board member elections held in 2012. The Board’s 20 members represent the communities of Badu, Bamaga, Boigu, Dauan, Erub, Hammond, Ngarupai and Muralag, Iama, Kubin, Mabuiag, Masig, Mer, Port Kennedy, Poruma, Seisia, Saibai, St Pauls, TRAWQ, Ugar and Warraber and will serve on the Board until the next TSRA elections are held in July 2016.

Profiles of TSRA Board Members

a photograph of Mr Joseph Elu, AO

MR JOSEPH ELU, AO
CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBER FOR SEISIA

In October 2012 Mr Joseph Elu was elected for the fifth time to the TSRA Board. Mr Elu’s previous terms were 1994-1997, 1997-2000, 2000-2004 and 2004-2008.

At the inaugural meeting of the new TSRA Board in November 2012, Mr Elu was elected as the TSRA Chairperson and the Portfolio Member for Governance and Leadership.

During his career, Mr Elu has been an influential leader in Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal affairs and Indigenous economic development. Mr Elu has been instrumental in assisting Indigenous people throughout Australia to develop sustainable economic enterprises. During his term, Mr Elu will continue to advocate for, and encourage, Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area communities to generate sustainable enterprises to create their own income.

Mr Elu became the Chairperson of Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) (formerly known as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commercial Development Corporation) in 1996 and remained there for 12 years. During his time as the Chairperson of IBA, Mr Elu influenced dynamic changes and grew the organisation, creating economic and employment opportunities for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people nationally.

In 2001, Mr Elu was awarded the Centenary Medal for his achievements, and in 2002 he was presented with an Honorary Doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology for his lifelong work in fostering the economic development of Indigenous people throughout Australia.

In 2008, Mr Elu was made an Officer of the Order of Australia and was awarded the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr Elu has been the Chairperson of a number of organisations and committees nationally during his career. He has also held the position of Mayor of the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council and Chairperson of the Cape York Natural Resource Management Board, from which he recently resigned.

Mr Elu is the Chairperson of Seisia Enterprises Pty Ltd and Seisia Community Torres Strait Islander Corporation. He is also an elected councillor on the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council.

a photograph of Mr Aven S Noah

MR AVEN S NOAH
DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBER FOR MER

Mr Aven S Noah was elected in September 2012, at the inaugural meeting of the 2012 TSRA Board, as Deputy Chairperson and Portfolio Member for Culture, Art and Heritage.

Mr Noah believes traditional land and sea rights are paramount to the control of resources, and that the TSRA must work closely with Traditional Owners because these resources will form the foundation of the region’s economic independence as an autonomous state. Mr Noah’s passion is for greater autonomy for the people of the Torres Strait and this year, with the combined meeting with regional leaders, he feels that their actions are starting to breathe oxygen into ‘Home Rule’.

Mr Noah is very proud that 2014 marked the TSRA’s 20th anniversary and that the TSRA celebrated the occasion by holding the Board’s inaugural outer Torres Strait Island meeting in his community, Mer. The 90th TSRA Board meeting coincided with the Meriam people’s Mabo Day celebration, where the TSRA Chairperson, supported by the Torres Strait Shire Mayor and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council Mayor, declared that Mabo Day should be recognised as a national public holiday.

Mr Noah has extensive experience in media and communications and is interested in the development of the media and telecommunications in the region and the implications for the region of the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

a photograph of Mr Willie Lui

MR WILLIE LUI
ALTERNATE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBER FOR WARRABER

In September 2012 Mr Willie Lui was re-elected for his second consecutive term to the TSRA Board. He was elected as the Alternate Deputy Chairperson and Portfolio Member for Environmental Management. Mr Lui previously served on the Board from 2008 to 2011.

Mr Lui served as the elected Torres Strait Island Regional Councillor for Warraber from 2008 to 2012 and was re-elected to the Council in 2014. Mr Lui holds a Certificate IV in Finance and is also a qualified carpenter.

The key areas of concern for Mr Lui are the high cost of living, lack of employment opportunities and Native Title issues. He aims to work to see those concerns addressed through effective implementation of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Plan (2009-2029) and the TSRA’s Torres Strait Development Plan (2014-2018).

a photograph of Mr Maluwap Nona

MR MALUWAP NONA
MEMBER FOR BADU

In September 2012 Mr Maluwap Nona was elected for a second time to the TSRA Board. Mr Nona is the Member for Badu and in 2012 he was elected by the Board as the Portfolio Member for Native Title.

As the Portfolio Member for Native Title, Mr Nona is a keen advocate on Native Title issues in the Torres Strait region. Mr Nona was instrumental in the formation of Gur A Baradharaw Kod (the Torres Strait Sea and Land Council). Mr Nona has been working towards the establishment of a regional sea and land use agreement between the TSRA, Malu Lamar, Gur A Baradharaw Kod, and Commonwealth and Queensland fisheries.

Mr Nona was involved in Leo Akiba on behalf of the Torres Strait Regional Seas Claim Group v Commonwealth of Australia, in which the High Court on 7 August 2013 recognised that commercial rights for Native Title holders co-exist with Native Title rights over approximately 44,000 square kilometres. Mr Nona is the Chair of the Sea Claim RNTBC and the Malu Lamar (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation RNTBC and a member of the Malu Lamar Fisheries Working Group. These groups are progressing the interests of Native Title holders to achieve 100 per cent ownership of fisheries in the Torres Strait region and representation on the Protected Zone Joint Area Working Groups.

Mr Nona is a member on the Expert Indigenous Working Group on the Council of Australian Governments’ investigation into Indigenous land administration and use. In his spare time Mr Nona is a professional fisherman working in the Traditional Inhabitant Boat sector.

a photograph of Mr Reg Williams

MR REG WILLIAMS
MEMBER FOR BAMAGA

In September 2012 Mr Reg Williams was elected for his fifth term on the TSRA Board. Mr Williams was the TSRA Member for Bamaga from 1994 to 1997, 1997 to 2000, 2000 to 2004 and 2008 to 2012.

Mr Williams was formerly the Chairperson of the Bamaga Island Council prior to its amalgamation into the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC). He is a former Deputy Mayor of NPARC.

Mr Williams has specialist knowledge of his community, Bamaga, and possesses strong communication, negotiation and relationship management skills. Mr Williams is passionate about the employment and skills development of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and wants to ensure they are given first preference in employment opportunities on civil works projects in the region. Mr Williams runs his own heavy machinery company and has first-hand experience in the earth-moving industry, including the many challenges faced by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people who want to progress in that field.

One of Mr Williams’s key concerns is housing in the Northern Peninsula Area and the development of more serviced housing blocks to cater for the needs of families in the region.

a photograph of Mr Eric Peter

MR ERIC PETER
MEMBER FOR BOIGU

Mr Eric Peter was elected to the TSRA Board as the Member for Boigu for the first time in September 2012.

Mr Peter is the Chairperson of Mura Boigulgaw Aiy Kuyk Corporation and is on the board of the Malu Ki’ai (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation RNTBC. He was the elected Councillor for Boigu between 1997 and 1999. Mr Peter is currently employed with My Pathway as the Cluster Mentor for Saibai, Dauan and Boigu islands.

Mr Peter holds a Diploma in Community Administration/Management and a Certificate IV in Quarantine and Export Inspection. He is currently completing a degree in business at the Australian Catholic University. He has completed Australian Public Service (APS) leadership and Indigenous leadership programmes and has worked in the APS for more than 21 years.

Mr Peter’s key concerns relate to the low level of funding for community infrastructure, the weak regional economy, and the low number of private enterprises and businesses owned and operated by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the region.

As a TSRA Board member, Mr Peter aims to empower the people of the region by supporting them to establish businesses and enterprises.

a photograph of Mr Sam Maka

MR SAM MAKA
MEMBER FOR DAUAN

Mr Sam Maka was elected as the Member for Dauan in September 2012. This is Mr Maka’s first term on the TSRA Board. At the inaugural meeting of the new TSRA Board in November 2012, Mr Maka was elected as the Portfolio Member for Economic Development.

Mr Maka plays an important role in the Dauan community as an office holder for a number of organisations, including the Dauanalgaw (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation RNTBC; Holy Cross Church Parish, Diocese of Torres Strait; and Outer Islands Rugby League. He is also employed as a Biosecurity Officer for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Mr Maka gained his decision-making, strategic planning and leadership experience from his time in the military, community policing, public service and community volunteer groups.

Mr Maka has a wide range of concerns, such as building the capacity of the Dauan Prescribed Body Corporate, protecting sacred sites, further developing the Dauan Island town plan, establishing a recycling plant, and fostering awareness of natural resources. He seeks to be proactive, consistent and persistent in working to address these issues.

During his term on the TSRA Board, Mr Maka wishes to establish and strengthen working relationships with other TSRA Board members so projects can be progressed and realised; encourage the TSRA and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council to work together to achieve concrete outcomes for his community; and achieve continuity in government funding for the region.

a photograph of Mr Kenny Bedford

MR KENNY BEDFORD
MEMBER FOR ERUB

Mr Kenny Bedford was elected to the TSRA Board as the Member for Erub for his second consecutive term in September 2012. Mr Bedford was elected as the TSRA Portfolio Member for Fisheries, a post he held during his first term (2008-2012). In his first term, Mr Bedford was also the TSRA Alternate Deputy Chairperson.

Mr Bedford is a Traditional Owner of Erub, is President of the Erub Fisheries Management Association, serves as a director of Reconciliation Australia and is a strong advocate for the meaningful recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our national Constitution.

Mr Bedford has a Bachelor of Applied Health Science and Diploma of Youth Welfare. He received the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship in 2000 and is a recent graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Programme.

As a commercial fisher and the Portfolio Member for Fisheries, Mr Bedford is acutely aware of the aspiration and challenges to gain full ownership and control of Torres Strait marine resources. Mr Bedford also plays an important role in negotiating and addressing marine resource management issues with relevant PNG agencies and Treaty Village leaders.

The Member for Erub is committed to increasing economic development opportunities, especially through the greater and more efficient participation of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people across the various Torres Strait commercial fisheries. He acknowledges the importance of working with Traditional Owner representatives, local community fisher organisations and other stakeholders to help achieve these targets.

Mr Bedford’s other areas of attention and interest relate to support of the Ranger Programme and Torres Strait art and culture maintenance. He is acutely aware of the positive influence of arts, culture and heritage on community health, cohesion and wellbeing.

In his second term, Mr Bedford has diligently represented Erub and the region, and, in particular, he has played a constructive role in the economic and cultural development of the Torres Strait for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

a photograph of Mr Mario Sabatino

MR MARIO SABATINO
MEMBER FOR HAMMOND

Mr Mario Sabatino was elected to the TSRA Board as the Member for Hammond for the first time in September 2012. Mr Sabatino is the Councillor for Hammond Island on the Torres Strait Island Regional Council.

Mr Sabatino is well known in his community as a businessman – he currently owns and operates the M&M Mini Mart on Hammond Island and the Hammond Island Ferry, for which he is the ship’s officer. Mr Sabatino is a director on the boards of a number of community organisations.

Mr Sabatino has a Master Class 3 Diploma of Transport and Distribution (Maritime – Deckwatch Keeping) and has 25 years of commercial marine experience as master and officer.

Mr Sabatino’s key concerns are the need for regional and island economic development, improved training and employment outcomes in communities and achievement of real land tenure throughout the Torres Strait. He is also concerned that Hammond does not have a community-based organisation.

Mr Sabatino will advocate for enhanced networking with government agencies and the private sector to facilitate economic development; on-the-ground training that aligns to the services provided by established organisations, businesses and partnerships in the region; and real land tenure to encourage outside investment in communities.

a photograph of Mr Getano Lui Jr, Am

MR GETANO LUI JR, AM
MEMBER FOR IAMA

In September 2012 Mr Getano Lui Jr was elected for the fourth time to the TSRA Board. Mr Lui’s previous terms were from 1994 to 1997, 1997 to 2000, and 2000 to 2004. Mr Lui was the TSRA’s first Chairperson and during his term in 2000-2004 he shared responsibility for the regional governance and legislative reform portfolio.

Mr Lui is the Councillor for Iama on the Torres Strait Island Regional Council. He previously held the positions of Councillor and Chairperson of the Iama Community Council (1974-2004), Chairman of the Island Coordinating Council (1985-2000) and Chairman of the Islander Board of Industry and Service (1985-2000).

Mr Lui’s key areas of concern are health, housing and infrastructure, and the transfer of decision-making powers to local communities to enable them to control and manage their own affairs. He plans to advocate for community empowerment through self-determination and self-management.

a photograph of Mr Saila Savage

MR SAILA SAVAGE
MEMBER FOR KUBIN

Mr Saila Savage was elected to the TSRA Board as the Member for Kubin on 8 December 2012. This is Mr Savage’s third time on the TSRA Board; he previously served from 2000 to 2004 and 2004 to 2008.

Mr Savage is a board member of the Mualgal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation RNTBC, Badu Ar Mua Migi Lagal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation RNTBC, Kaurareg Native Title (Aboriginal) Corporation RNTBC and Kaurareg Land Trust and sits on the Cape York Land Council. He held the position of Chairman of Kubin Community for nine years between 2000 and 2009.

Mr Savage has many years’ experience working on the railways, and for the past four years has worked in the technical division of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Mr Savage’s key concerns for the Kubin community include the lack of public and community transport; the impact of drugs and alcohol; the inadequate number of in-community traineeships offered for youth; the safety of children; the provision of social housing; the control of dogs and horses; the lack of a Queensland police presence; and insufficient numbers of land and sea rangers.

During his time on the Board, Mr Savage will be dedicated to serving his community and his people to the best of his ability to achieve positive and satisfying outcomes. He will be their voice at the table.

a photograph of Mr Keith Fell

MR KEITH FELL
MEMBER FOR MABUIAG

In September 2012 Mr Keith Fell was re-elected to the TSRA Board for a second consecutive term. He was subsequently elected by the Board as Portfolio Member for Healthy Communities, an office he held in his first term.

Mr Fell also holds the office of Deputy Mayor of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council and is the Chairperson of the Torres Strait Kaziw Meta College Board.

Mr Fell has a Diploma in Local Government Administration and a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation.

Mr Fell believes that education, training and communication are vital to achieving individual success and increasing the standard of living of people in the region. He is concerned with economic development and cultural and social issues.

Mr Fell is passionate about sports, recreation and good health practices for all people in the Torres Strait and the Northern Peninsula Area – more activities, more participation, a better lifestyle and a healthier future.

Mr Fell is focused on achieving affordable housing for Torres Strait Islander people and working towards empowering his people through accessible employment and training opportunities.

a photograph of Ms Hilda Mosby

MS HILDA MOSBY
MEMBER FOR MASIG

Ms Hilda Mosby was elected as the Member for Masig in September 2012. This is Ms Mosby’s first term on the TSRA Board.

Ms Mosby has more than 17 years experience in the Australian Public Service, working for the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (now part of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources), and for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as a Movement Monitoring Officer. Ms Mosby is currently employed as the Senior Housing Officer for the Torres Strait Island Regional Council.

Community involvement has been a paramount focus for Ms Mosby, who is an active member on committees dealing with education, health, justice, fisheries and Native Title in her community of Masig.

Of key concern to Ms Mosby is the impact of coastal erosion on low-lying Torres Strait communities, including her own community of Masig. Over her term she will advocate that coastal erosion issues continue to be addressed through an integrated approach by the relevant Australian Government and Queensland Government agencies.

The preservation of Torres Strait culture through language, music and art is another area that Ms Mosby is passionate about and she will continue to advocate for the best outcomes for the cultural wellbeing of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the region.

a photograph of Mr Yen Loban

MR YEN LOBAN
MEMBER FOR NGARUPAI AND MURALAG

In September 2012 Mr Yen Loban was elected to the TSRA Board for the first time as the Member for Ngarupai and Muralag. He is a member of the TSRA Audit Committee.

Mr Loban is well known in his community. He is the Deputy Mayor of the Torres Shire Council as well as a businessman with 30 years of experience in the light marine industry. He is owner–operator of a sea cat marine charter, and a director of the Torres Shire Co-operative.

Mr Loban’s primary concerns are the lack of basic service infrastructure on Muralag and the low level of support provided to the ongoing development for Ngarupai and the outer islands.

As a TSRA Board member, Mr Loban is working to ensure that the communities of Ngurapai and Muralag are healthy and safe; that they receive the same services as other communities across the Torres Strait; and that TSRA programmes focus on equity in service provision to the benefit of both those communities.

a photograph of Mrs Romina Fujii

MRS ROMINA FUJII
MEMBER FOR PORT KENNEDY

In September 2012 Mrs Romina Fujii was elected to the TSRA Board for a second time. Mrs Fujii previously served on the TSRA Board from 1994 to 1997. Mrs Fujii is a member of the TSRA Audit Committee. She was also nominated by the TSRA to represent the Torres Strait on the National Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children Steering Committee.

Mrs Fujii is the Chairperson of the Health Science Advisory Committee for James Cook University in the Torres Strait; the Chair of the Torres Strait Aged Association, which auspices the Home and Community Care programme for the inner islands; and the Chairperson of the Rotary Club of Thursday Island. Mrs Fujii is a financial member of the Port Kennedy Association Inc.

Mrs Fujii has experience in health, education, employment and training; governance training; and working with non-government organisations. She has a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment.

Mrs Fujii has worked as a volunteer in not-for-profit organisations such as Lena Passi Women’s Shelter and Mura Kosker Sorority.

Mrs Fujii’s key concerns are the lack of skilled local people to draw on in the community and she therefore supports up-skilling in the workplace. Mrs Fujii shares the TSRA’s aim to support enterprise and believes there is a great need to develop a well-planned strategy for economic development for the region.

During her time on the Board, Mrs Fujii will also advocate to ensure that all families are safe in the region and that the wellbeing of each family and youth are paramount. The aim is, through non-government organisations, for a regional services hub to improve the delivery of all social services in the region.

a photograph of Mr Francis Pearson

MR FRANCIS PEARSON
MEMBER FOR PORUMA

In September 2012, Mr Francis Pearson was elected for the second time to the TSRA Board as the Member for Poruma. He previously served on the Board from 2000 to 2004.

Mr Pearson is the Councillor for Poruma on the Torres Strait Island Regional Council and is the Chairperson of the Poruma Zazethau Lag Torres Strait Islanders Corporation and a director of the Porumalgal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation RNTBC. Mr Pearson has a Diploma in Teaching from James Cook University.

Mr Pearson’s key concerns are climate change and associated coastal erosion and the impact of high tides on low-lying Poruma, overcrowding, and community representation in Indigenous fisheries management.

Mr Pearson aims to advocate for more say from communities in decisions concerning fisheries in Torres Strait waters, and to push for a solution to the erosion of low-lying islands that satisfies community expectations and concerns.

Mr Pearson comes from one of the communities that is affected by mobile phone signal black spots and is keen to work with the initiatives currently being investigated by the TSRA and Telstra to address this issue in his community. Mr Pearson would also like to see the business community contribute towards addressing this issue, as it will also benefit them and their businesses.

a photograph of Ms Chelsea Aniba

MS CHELSEA ANIBA
MEMBER FOR SAIBAI

Ms Chelsea Aniba was elected as the Member for Saibai in September 2012. This is Ms Aniba’s first term on the TSRA Board.

Ms Aniba has qualifications in radio broadcasting, business administration, social housing, Indigenous justice studies and governance.

Ms Aniba has established a profile through her involvement in local radio, her eight years in radio broadcasting, and her membership of the Torres Strait Islanders Media Association committee of management. She is also a director on the board of the Saibai Community Development Corporation, which tries to enable the community through local enterprises.

Ms Aniba’s two primary concerns, which closely affect her home of Saibai Island, are coastal erosion and rising sea levels and the insufficient supply of social housing. Over her term, Ms Aniba will advocate for the ongoing construction of seawalls throughout the affected Torres Strait communities and the rollout of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.

Ms Aniba’s other concerns relate to employment and economic development opportunities for local families; helping to keep, restore and revitalise our culture; and strengthening Prescribed Bodies Corporate to enable them to progress Native Title issues. She also works closely with women’s organisations to prevent, and break the cycle of, domestic and family violence in communities. Ms Aniba will advocate for the best outcomes in these areas.

a photograph of Mr Kiwat Lui

MR KIWAT LUI
MEMBER FOR ST PAULS

In September 2012 Mr Kiwat Lui was elected to the TSRA Board for the first time. Mr Lui is also a member of the TSRA Audit Committee and a member of the Torres Strait Scientific Advisory Committee.

Mr Lui is a pastor at Kozan Outreach Church on St Pauls and a member of Sempolau Koey Kazil Inc (St Pauls Elders Group). He is also a former member of the Indigenous Fisheries Advisory Committee.

Mr Lui holds a Bachelor of Arts (Aboriginal Affairs Administration) and has over 20 years experience working with local and state government agencies in administration and financial services.

Mr Lui’s primary concerns are the lack of a long-term stable income stream for the people of the Torres Strait, continuing poor health outcomes and families struggling to make ends meet. He believes the two means to address these concerns are to give Indigenous people of the region first preference for jobs, and to direct resources to health services that produce tangible outcomes for the wellbeing of Indigenous people living in the region.

In his term on the TSRA Board, Mr Lui will be working to create wealth for the Torres Strait and its people, through assistance to small businesses from private consortiums, the Queensland Government and the Australian Government, to enable them to become self-sufficient. Mr Lui also wants to ensure that all TSRA decisions are transparent and meet the region’s needs and aspirations.

a photograph of Mr John Abednego

MR JOHN ABEDNEGO
MEMBER FOR TRAWQ

In September 2012 Mr John Abednego was re-elected for a fifth term on the TSRA Board as the Member for TRAWQ (communities of Tamwoy, Rosehill, Aplin, Waiben and Quarantine on Thursday Island). His previous terms on the TSRA Board were 1994-1997, 1997-2000, 2000-2004 and 2008-2012.

Mr Abednego held the office of TSRA Chairperson in his 1997-2000 term and was the Portfolio Member for Legal and Media in 2000-2004. Currently, Mr Abednego is the Portfolio Member for Safe Communities.

Mr Abednego is a councillor on the Torres Shire Council, a member of the Parents and Citizens Committee of Tagai Secondary Campus and President of TRAWQ Indigenous Corporation. He also plays a role in the Anglican Church.

Mr Abednego has considerable experience in board management and administration, policy development and strategic planning. Over his career he has been involved in mediation and counselling, court referrals and social justice interagency networking. He is currently completing a Diploma in Counselling.

Mr Abednego’s key concerns are land tenure, home ownership, social and alcohol-related issues and funding difficulties.

a photograph of Mr Jerry Stephen Jr

MR JERRY STEPHEN JR
MEMBER FOR UGAR

Mr Jerry Stephen Jr, an Ugaram Le from Ugar (Stephen Island), was born and educated on Waiben (Thursday Island). He identifies as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, as his grandfather was traditionally adopted to the Wuthathi Tribe.

In September 2012 Mr Stephen was elected to the TSRA Board for the first time. During the past four years of his term, Mr Stephen has worked on and contributed to a number of regional issues including fisheries, Native Title, environmental management and regional governance.

Mr Stephen has also worked in partnership with the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, Prescribed Bodies Corporate and the Ugar community elders to address local issues and progress the development of a proposed concept plan for the Ugar rock-groyne.

Mr Stephen has over 20 years experience working in the private and public sectors. His work has included the delivery of Australian Government programmes throughout the Torres Strait.

During Mr Stephen’s four-year term he has worked vigorously to address regional issues across Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait), including being an active member on a number of committees such as Prawn Fisheries, Finfish Fisheries, Native Title, Scientific Studies and the Raine Island Reference Group.

a photograph of TSRA Board Meeting In Session

TSRA BOARD MEETING IN SESSION.

Board Meetings

The TSRA Chairperson is required to convene at least four meetings of the TSRA Board each year under section 144E of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 (Cth). If it is considered necessary, the TSRA Chairperson may convene other meetings of the Board to enable the TSRA to carry out its functions.

During 2015-2016, the TSRA Board held four general meetings and one special meeting, as detailed in Table 4.1.

Table 4-1: Board meetings and apologies

MEETING NO. DATES APOLOGIES ABSENT
95 9–10 September 2015 Mr Reg Williams
Mr Maluwap Nona
Nil
96 2–4 December 2015 Mr Mario Sabatino
Mr Saila Savage
Mr Sam Maka
Mr Maluwap Nona
(Day 1 – apology for morning session, Day 2 – apology, Day 3 – apology for morning session)
Nil
97 2–3 March 2016 Mr Reg Williams
Mr Mario Sabatino (Day 2)
Mr Sam Maka
98 15–16 June 2016 Mr Sam Maka
Mr Reg Williams
Mr Mario Sabatino
Mr Willie Lui (Day 1)
Special meeting 14 April 2016 Mr John Abednego
Mr Kenny Bedford
Mr Maluwap Nona
Mr Sam Maka
Mr Reg Williams
Mr Mario Sabatino

Attendance at Board meetings is outlined in Table 4.2.

Table 4-2: Board meeting attendance

MEMBER NUMBER OF MEETINGS ATTENDED
Mr Joseph Elu 4 of 4
Mr Aven S Noah 4 of 4
Mr Willie Lui 3.5 of 4
Mr John Abednego 4 of 4
Ms Chelsea Aniba 4 of 4
Mr Kenny Bedford 4 of 4
Mr Keith Fell 4 of 4
Mrs Romina Fujii 4 of 4
Mr Yen Loban 4 of 4
Mr Getano Lui Jr 4 of 4
Mr Kiwat Lui 4 of 4
Mr Sam Maka 1 of 4
Ms Hilda Mosby 4 of 4
Mr Maluwap Nona 2.5 of 4
Mr Francis Pearson 4 of 4
Mr Eric Peter 4 of 4
Mr Mario Sabatino 1.5 of 4
Mr Saila Savage 3 of 4
Mr Jerry Stephen Jr 4 of 4
Mr Reg Williams 1 of 4

TSRA Board Charter and Ethics

In 2016, the second edition of the TSRA Board Charter was adopted. The charter brings together all resources that Board members require to enable them to exercise their powers and responsibilities.

The TSRA Board Charter is based on ethical standards and good governance and contains key documents such as the Board Member’s Code of Conduct, TSRA’s Charter of Representation, Performance and Accountability and the terms of reference relating to Board committees.

Board Member Induction

During 2015-2016 there were no changes to the composition of the TSRA Board. No board induction training was conducted.

TSRA Board Code of Conduct

The TSRA Board Member’s Code of Conduct and ethics policies are published in the TSRA Board Charter.

Strategic Planning

“The TSRA provides opportunities for Board members to undertake accredited training in the areas of governance, leadership and business.”

The TSRA undertakes a strategic planning and training workshop for Board members in November each year. The 2015-2016 Strategic Planning and Training Workshop was held over three days in November 2015, where Board members received training on financial planning and funding proposal processes. A key part of the workshop was forward planning, which included discussing ideas for 2016-2017 and beyond and a review of the TSRA’s programme structure under the current Torres Strait Development Plan 2014-2018 and its alignment to the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. Other topics covered were a review of the role of the Executive Committee, and the TSRA’s progress against the Minister’s Statement of Expectations and TSRA’s Statement of Intent.

Training and Education

The TSRA provides opportunities for Board members to undertake accredited training in the areas of governance, leadership and business. Board members are also eligible to apply for the TSRA’s Leadership Capacity Building Programmes. Qualifications earned by Board members are noted in the profiles of TSRA Board members in this section of the Annual Report.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The TSRA Board formed an Executive Committee at the beginning of its term in 2012 to assist the Chairperson to carry out his functions. The portfolio structure of the Executive Committee is aligned to the TSRA’s eight programmes. Executive meetings are held quarterly, immediately prior to each TSRA Board meeting. The TSRA Chairperson may call for additional Executive Committee meetings if required.

The TSRA Executive Committee’s objectives are to:

  • ensure that policies and future directives are made in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 (Cth), the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) and other relevant legislation
  • advocate for improved outcomes in the Torres Strait region
  • represent the views of the TSRA on internal and external committees
  • assist the TSRA Chairperson to communicate to Torres Strait communities government policies, TSRA decisions and achievements as they relate to the Executive Committee’s portfolio responsibilities.

Membership

The 2015-2016 TSRA Executive Committee members and their portfolio responsibilities are shown in Table 4-3.

Table 4-3: Membership of the 2015-2016 Executive Committee

MEMBER ROLE
Mr Joseph Elu Chairperson and Portfolio Member for Governance and Leadership
Mr Aven S Noah Deputy Chairperson and Portfolio Member for Culture, Art and Heritage
Mr Willie Lui Alternate Deputy Chairperson and Portfolio Member for Environmental Management
Mr John Abednego Portfolio Member for Safe Communities
Mr Kenny Bedford Portfolio Member for Fisheries
Mr Keith Fell Portfolio Member for Healthy Communities
Mr Sam Maka Portfolio Member for Economic Development
Mr Maluwap Nona Portfolio Member for Native Title

Meeting Dates

In 2015-2016, the TSRA Executive Committee met four times, as shown in Table 4-4.

Table 4-4: Executive Committee meeting dates and apologies

DATE APOLOGIES ABSENT
7 September 2015 Mr Maluwap Nona
30 November 2015 Mr Maluwap Nona
Mr Sam Maka
Mr Keith Fell
29 February 2016 Mr Maluwap Nona Mr Sam Maka
13 June 2016 Mr Sam Maka
Mr John Abednego
Mr Kenny Bedford (arrived at 10.55 am)

Attendance

Attendance at TSRA Executive Committee meetings in 2015-2016 is shown in Table 4-5.

Table 4-5: Executive Committee meeting attendance

MEMBER NUMBER OF MEETINGS ATTENDED
Mr Joseph Elu 4 of 4
Mr Aven Noah 4 of 4
Mr Willie Lui 4 of 4
Mr John Abednego 3 of 4
Mr Kenny Bedford 3.5 of 4
Mr Keith Fell 3 of 4
Mr Sam Maka 1 of 4
Mr Maluwap Nona 1 of 4

OTHER BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

Programme Steering Committee

The TSRA has in place a Programme Steering Committee (PSC) to monitor the performance of its programmes and operations. TSRA programmes manage projects and ongoing activities contributing to the outcomes outlined in the Torres Strait Development Plan 2014-2018 and the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Plan 2009-2029.

The PSC consists of the TSRA’s Chief Executive Officer, programme managers, project managers and the Chief Financial Officer. The PSC meets on a quarterly basis and also when required, out of session, to consider specific project risks and issues. The PSC considers programme resources and ensures that strategies and operational activities align with the TSRA’s overall outcomes.

Audit Committee

Advisory committees are those committees established under section 142M of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 (Cth). The TSRA has one advisory committee, the TSRA Audit Committee.

The TSRA is required to have an Audit Committee under section 45 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth). The TSRA Board is responsible for the appointment of the Audit Committee to provide independent advice and assistance to the TSRA Board on the risk control and compliance frameworks as well as the TSRA’s external accountability responsibilities.

The Audit Committee consists of four members. The Chairperson of the Audit Committee is an independent member from the accountancy company ShineWing Australia (previously Moore Stephens Accountants and Advisers). The Chairperson of the Audit Committee provides technical expertise and experience, and advice on best practice accounting and auditing standards in the public sector. The Chairperson can request special meetings of the TSRA Audit Committee if considered necessary.

MEMBERSHIP

The membership of the Audit Committee during 2015-2016 is shown in Table 4-6.

Table 4-6: Audit Committee members

NAME ROLE
Mr Adrian Kelly Chairperson and independent member
Mrs Romina Fujii Member for Port Kennedy and rotational member
Mr Yen Loban Member for Ngarupai and Muralag
Mr Kiwat Lui Member for St Pauls
MEETING DATES

The Audit Committee met four times in 2015-2016, as shown in Table 4-7.

Table 4-7: Audit Committee meeting dates and apologies

DATE APOLOGIES
8 September 2015 Nil
1 December 2015 Nil
1 March 2016 Nil
14 June 2016 Nil
ATTENDANCE

Members’ attendance at Audit Committee meetings is shown in Table 4-8.

Table 4-8: Attendance at Audit Committee meetings

MEMBER NUMBER OF MEETINGS ATTENDED
Mrs Romina Fujii 4 of 4
Mr Yen Loban 4 of 4
Mr Kiwat Lui 4 of 4