Overview and Aims

Although the environment is not one of the building blocks in addressing Indigenous disadvantage, the Australian Government and State governments recognise that the environment is a crucial issue that needs to be managed. We need a regional environmental goal because a number of our island communities are threatened by rising sea levels, the region faces considerable environmental challenges due, in part, to its remoteness and geographical characteristics, and Torres Strait communities have a high reliance on and connection with the marine environment and resources. The TSRA recognises that it has a vital role to play, through its Land and Sea Management Unit, to help address and manage the many environmental issues, challenges and opportunities facing the region and individual communities.

The aim of the program is to contribute to supporting the regional goal.

Regional Goal

Our natural and cultural environment is an asset that is protected, preserved and enjoyed through sustainable management.

Regional Issues

  • The diversity and complexity of natural resource management across the sea and land environment in the region.
  • Lack of water and inadequate water management systems.
  • Waste management issues are impacting on people’s health and the environment.
  • Sea levels and erosion issues are impacting on communities.
  • Lack of forward and effectual land use planning.

Program Outcomes

  • [EM-1] Strengthened sustainable use, protection and management of natural and cultural resources.
  • [EM-2] Improved community adaptation to climate change impacts, including sea level rise.
  • [EM-3] Increased uptake of renewable energy for Torres Strait.
  • [EM-4] Support community sustainable horticulture.

Benefits

2014 – 2018

  • Communities (in particular, Traditional Owners) are empowered to manage their local natural and cultural resources sustainably.
  • Communities understand climate change risks and what can be done to mitigate them in order to reduce their impacts on their culture and wellbeing.
  • Communities are less reliant on diesel to supply electricity.
  • Communities have the skills to generate traditional food.

Future Development Plans

  • Torres Strait ecosystems are healthy, resilient and well-managed.
  • Torres Strait communities are well informed regarding the sustainable use, protection and management of natural and cultural resources in the Torres Strait region.
  • Torres Strait communities have minimised as much as possible the impacts of climate change on their wellbeing, culture and environment.
  • Regional self-sufficiency in energy production.
  • Reduced carbon footprint for the Torres Strait region.
  • Greater community self-sufficiency in food production.
  • Local and regional food security is improved.

Performance Measures

  • Number of endorsed community-based management plans for the natural and cultural resources of the region being actively implemented.
  • Number of actions in the Climate Change Strategy and associated action plans implemented.
  • Number of agreements in place with energy providers to reduce reliance on non-renewable diesel fuel usage for electricity production.
  • Number of inhabited islands with active food producing community gardens in place.

Projects and Initiatives

The Environmental Program has a mandate from the TSRA Board to undertake the following projects and initiatives:

Land

  • Biodiversity planning and management
  • Invasive species
  • Sustainable horticulture

Sea

  • Turtle and dugong planning and management
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Water quality
  • State of the environment report card

People

  • Ranger project
  • Indigenous protected areas project
  • Traditional ecological knowledge project
  • Traditional Owner engagement

Coasts and Climate

  • Climate change adaptation and resilience
  • Renewable energy

Contribution to the Closing the Gap Targets

The Environmental Management Program will contribute towards the achievement of the following Closing the Gap targets:

  • Target #1: close the gap in life expectancy within a generation
  • Target #6: halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

Contribution to COAG National Partnership Agreement Indigenous-specific Outcomes

The Environmental Management Program will contribute to the following National Partnership Agreement Indigenous-specific outcomes:

  • Indigenous communities are empowered to participate in policy making and program implementation.
  • Indigenous children’s living environments are healthy.
  • Indigenous communities are represented through credible consultation / governance mechanism.

Annex E-1 Program Map – Environmental Management

A chart illustrating Program Map - Environmental Management

Annex E-2 Environmental Management Program – Overview

Annex E-2 Environmental Management Program – Overview

Overview and aims Outcomes Benefits Performance measures Initiatives
The Environmental Management Program supports a number of regional outcomes.
The TSRA is coordinating a range of regional and community-based environmental management initiatives over island and marine areas within the Torres Strait.
The aim of the program is to contribute to the achievement of the regional goal, which is:
Our natural and cultural environment is an asset that is protected, preserved and enjoyed through sustainable management.
[EM-1] Strengthened sustainable use, protection and management of natural and cultural resources. 2014 – 2018
  • Communities (in particular Traditional Owners) are empowered to manage their local natural and cultural resources sustainably.

Future Development Plans
  • Torres Strait ecosystems are healthy, resilient and well-managed.
  • Number of endorsed community-based management plans for the natural and cultural resources of the region being actively implemented.
Land
  • Biodiversity planning and management
  • Invasive species
  • Sustainable horticulture

Sea
  • Turtle and dugong planning and management
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Water quality
  • State of the environment report card

People
  • Ranger project
  • Indigenous protected areas project
  • Traditional ecological knowledge project
  • Traditional Owner engagement

Coasts and Climate
  • Climate change adaptation and resilience
  • Renewable energy
[EM-2] Improved community adaptation to climate change impacts, including sea level rise. 2014 – 2018
  • Communities understand climate change risks and what can be done to mitigate them in order to reduce their impacts on their culture and wellbeing.

Future Development Plans
  • Torres Strait communities have minimised as much as possible the impacts of climate change on their wellbeing, culture and environment.
  • Number of actions in the Climate Change Strategy and associated action plans implemented.
[EM-3] Increased uptake of renewable energy for Torres Strait 2014 – 2018
  • Communities are less reliant on diesel to supply electricity.

Future Development Plans
  • Regional self-sufficiency in energy production.
  • Reduced carbon footprint for the Torres Strait region.
  • Number of agreements in place with energy providers to reduce reliance on non-renewable diesel fuel usage for electricity production.
[EM-4] Support community sustainable horticulture 2014 – 2018
  • Communities have the skills to generate traditional food.

Future Benefit Plans
  • Greater community self-sufficiency in food production.
  • Local and regional food security is improved.
  • Number of inhabited islands with active food producing community gardens in place.

Annex E-3 Environmental Management Program – Benefits

Annex E-3 Environmental Management Program – Benefits

Benefits Performance measures Targets Target groups
Communities (in particular Traditional Owners) are empowered to manage their local natural and cultural resources sustainably. Number of endorsed community-based management plans for the natural and cultural resources of the region being actively implemented. All communities have endorsed community–based plans that are being implemented for the sustainable management of key cultural and natural resources. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.
State government and Australian Government conservation agencies.
Protected Zone Joint Authority agencies.
Communities understand climate change risks and what can be done to mitigate them in order to reduce their impacts on their culture and wellbeing. Number of actions in the Climate Change Strategy and associated action plans implemented. Priority actions are completed in the Climate Change Strategy and action plans.
Regional Adaptation Plan developed and progressively implemented.
All Torres Strait communities supported to develop local adaptation and resilience strategies.
Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.
Relevant Australian Government and local and state government agencies.
Communities are less reliant on diesel to supply electricity. Number of agreements in place with energy providers to reduce reliance on non-renewable diesel fuel usage for electricity production. Partnerships in place for non-renewable diesel use reduction actions and strategies to occur on a regional and localised basis. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.
Communities have the skills to generate traditional food. Number of inhabited islands with active food producing community gardens in place. All communities have active food producing gardens. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.