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.

Program Goal

The TSRA will take the lead as a ‘Whole of Region Economic Development Solution Broker'. In this role, the TSRA will work in partnership with other government and non-government organisations and individual communities to advance the regional goal and ensure the efficient use of resources.

Program Objectives

The Economic Development program 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 industries and enterprises.

Program Deliverables

  • Increased number of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal individuals in non-Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) employment
  • Increase in the participation of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in industry training
  • Increased number of approved TSRA loans
  • Increase in the annual total catch of finfish, kaiar (tropical rock lobster) and other marine resources by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people
A photograph showing building industry training

Building industry training.

Program Expenditure 2012 - 2013

Table 2-3 Economic Development Program Expenditure 2012 - 2013

Budget $'000's Actual $'000's Variance $'000's
11,874 10,170 -1,704

Torres Strait Development Plan Outcomes

  • Improved wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region
  • Sustainable industries owned and operated by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people (e.g. marine based, tourism, arts and craft, construction)
  • Improved access to capital and other opportunities to finance enterprises and industries
A chart showing the details of TSRA's economic development program

Economic Development Program Projects and Achievements

Project Name: Employment and Training Initiatives

Project purpose

To implement Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program reforms and to advance business skills and align training initiatives with regional employment opportunities.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

45 CDEP participants were transitioned into permanent full-time employment positions. These jobs were in state and federal government, construction, machinery operation, aged care, child care, business administration, customer service, hospitality and maritime services.

11 CDEP participants were transitioned into permanent part-time employment positions. These jobs were in construction, retail and education.

Training was delivered to 838 CDEP participants across a diverse range of areas such as construction, business administration, security operations, horticulture, workplace readiness, maritime, hospitality, tourism, conservation, land management, heavy machinery operations, asbestos removal and scaffolding, chainsaw operations, arts and crafts, and first aid.

Project Name: Regional Industry Development and Coordination Initiatives

Project purpose

To stimulate economic development across the region.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

The TSRA helped 149 community members, including CDEP participants, to undertake training towards a Maritime Operations (Coxswain) Licence. Some 125 participants completed the course and obtained a Licence, which enables them to operate as a commercial fisher in the Torres Strait.

The TSRA supported 16 Community Economic Initiatives through its grant funding programs. Details of the Community Economic Initiatives Scheme grants are provided in Appendix 3.

The TSRA helped the Torres Shire Council, Torres Strait Island Regional Council and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council to each employ an Events Coordinator to assist in promoting the region and coordinate community-based events in each local government area.

Project Name: Business Funding Scheme

Project purpose

To advance Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal ownership and management of industries and enterprises.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

Eight business loans were completed under the Business Funding Scheme.

Two Loan applications were received under the Islander Entrepreneurs Program, a partnership between the TSRA and the National Australia Bank. One application was approved and one application was subsequently withdrawn by the client.

Advisory, technical, and financial support was provided to 48 individuals and 11 incorporated community organisations. This resulted in successful grant applications from five of the incorporated organisations.

The Economic Development team visited 18 communities to provide information and advice to community organisations and to conduct one-on-one consultations.

Key Performance Indicators – Portfolio Budget Statements

Number of CDEP Participants Who Have Moved into non-CDEP Employment

The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program continued to deliver services to strengthen communities and community-based organisations. Targets were practically achieved in 2012 - 2013.

Short-term benefit description

Increase in the number of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal individuals in non-CDEP employment.

Benefit target Progress COAG target
50 people per annum moved from CDEP into non-CDEP jobs per annum from July 2009 to June 2013. 45 people moved from CDEP into full-time non-CDEP jobs. These people were transitioned into permanent employment positions in the following fields:
  • state and federal government (7)
  • construction/machinery operations (11)
  • administration (14)
  • hospitality (5)
  • retail (2)
  • maritime (3)
  • child/aged care (3).

11 people moved from CDEP into part-time non-CDEP jobs. These people were transitioned into permanent employment positions in the following fields:
  • construction (7)
  • education (2)
  • retail (1)
  • child care (1).
COAG Target 1 – Close the life expectancy gap within a generation.
COAG Target 6 – Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

The benefit achievements above are fully aligned to the Torres Strait Development Plan benefit targets.

Additional Key Performance Indicators – Torres Strait Development Plan

Business Funding Scheme and Housing Loans

The Business Funding Scheme and Housing Loans project met its targets in 2012 - 2013.

Short-term benefit description

Increase in the number of approved TSRA loans.

Benefit target Progress COAG target
Five new business loans and three new home loans granted per annum from July 2009 to June 2013. Eight business loans.
Two home loans.
COAG Target 1 –
Close the life expectancy gap within a generation.
COAG Target 6 –
Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

Marine Resource Utilisation

Progress against this target cannot be quantified at present. The requirement to report catch is not mandatory for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers in the region so data to measure tangible outcomes does not exist. Discussions are continuing within the Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) to identify and implement a more robust system of data collection, however, this is likely to be a medium to long term outcome and remains a challenge for the TSRA and the PZJA.

Short-term benefit description

Increase in the annual total catch of marine resources (Finfish and Tropical Rock Lobster) by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

Benefit target Progress COAG target
Kaiar (Tropical Rock Lobster): A five per cent increase in catch against the nominal ‘total allowable catch' for the Traditional Inhabitant Boat (TIB) sector per year until 2013.
(The percentage increases are for the catch amounts for TIB fishers)
Spanish Mackerel: 3.5 tons per annum.
Coral Trout: 20 tons per annum.
Two Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Corporations were supported through grant funding to re-establish freezer operations within their communities.
Two business loans were approved for commercial fishers.
The TIB sector reported catch (as published in the Fishery Status Reports 2011, Woodhams, Vieira and Stobutzki):
COAG Target 1 – Close the life expectancy gap within a generation.
COAG Target 6 – Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.
Fishery, Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery, 2009: 137 tonnes Fishery, 2010: 191 tonnes Fishery, 2011: 201 tonnes
Finfish - The published data does not separate the catch for the TIB sector Fishery, 2009 - 2010: (Effort) 337 operation days Fishery, 2010 - 2011: (Effort) 14 operation days Fishery, 2011 - 2012 Figures not available

Industry Training Initiatives

Significant progress with training Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the region has continued. This has been progressed by the reforms to the CDEP Program and the location of a full-time training organisation in the region. The targets specified in the Torres Strait Development Plan have been exceeded.

Short-term benefit description

Increase participation of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in industry training.

Benefit target Progress COAG target
50 people trained per annum to 2013 in the four core industries of tourism, construction, marine and arts. Accredited training was provided to 437 people:
  • Cert I and II Construction and Cert II Indigenous Housing Maintenance (62)
  • Cert I Work Readiness and Cert II Workplace Practices (93)
  • Cert I Agrifood, Cert II Horticulture and Cert II Conservation and Land Management (107)
  • Cert II Security (1)
  • Cert I and II Business (55)
  • Cert I and II Hospitality (37)
  • Cert I Transport and Distribution (Maritime Operations)(Coxswain) (71)
  • Cert II Tourism (11)

Non-accredited training was provided to 401 people:
  • Maritime: 209
  • Apply First Aid: 5
  • Chainsaw Operation and Operate Basic Machinery: 41
  • Heavy Plant Operators:100
  • Asbestos Removal and Scaffolding: 25
  • Arts and Crafts: 21)
COAG Target 1 – Close the life expectancy gap within a generation.
COAG Target 6 – Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.