What is the Land and Sea Management Strategy for Torres Strait?
The Land and Sea Management Strategy for Torres Strait (2016-2036) (‘the Strategy’) is a guiding framework for enabling Torres Strait communities to continue to sustainably manage and benefit from their land, sea and cultural resources into the future.
What does the Strategy aim to do?
The Strategy aims to help Torres Strait communities to work together to keep the Torres Strait environment special by protecting key values for the future.
To achieve this, the Strategy:
- promotes regional and local land and sea management aspirations and capacity
- helps us to understand the health of key values in the region and how things might be changing
- provides information to support local planning and management efforts
- seeks ongoing investment to enable communities to look after their islands and seas in a culturally appropriate way.
How was the Strategy prepared?
The Strategy updates the original Land and Sea Management Strategy for Torres Strait 2005 to reflect developments in native title, management arrangements, research outcomes, and community priorities. Input was sought from Traditional Owners, TSRA Board members, Rangers, government partners and external experts. The Strategy was finalised and endorsed in March 2016. TSRA and Gur A Baradharaw Kod Torres Strait Sea and Land Council (GBK) are joint signatories to the Strategy.
Torres Strait at a glance
How healthy is the environment in Torres Strait?
Whilst the region’s environment is still largely in good condition, a high level of management and protection is required to maintain the health of key values in the face of significant challenges. These include impacts from climate change, economic development and population changes across the wider region (including with neighbouring Papua New Guinea).
Best available traditional and scientific knowledge has been used to prepare the first ever regional state of environment report card for Torres Strait. The report card gives an overview of the health of key values across the entire region.
How will the Strategy support local level planning and management activities?
Island land and sea profiles have been prepared for each of the 17 inhabited islands. The profiles summarise the key environmental features of the island and community priorities for management. These profiles are intended to provide information to support local planning and decision-making in relation to environmental management, and can also be used as educational and promotional tools. They can be reviewed and updated every 3-5 years.
Each community also has a Working on Country Plan to guide the activities of local Rangers. The Working on Country plans reflect local land and sea management priorities, are developed in consultation with Traditional Owners, and are periodically updated. The Strategy provides a regional framework for these (and other) community-based environmental management plans, to support their implementation.
How will the Strategy be implemented?
Strong foundations have been laid for partnerships between native title holders and representative bodies, community members, all levels of government, research institutions, industry and other existing and potential partners in implementing priority land and sea management initiatives under the Strategy.
Local level plans (such as Working on Country plans) will be further strengthened to help deliver the Strategy. There will be regular opportunities for Traditional Owners and communities to input into these local level plans and to participate in local land and sea management initiatives.
A regional investment prospectus will be prepared identifying opportunities for existing and potential partners to contribute time, resources and effort towards implementation of the Strategy according to their capacity and priorities.