What We Do

Functions

The functions of the TSRA, as outlined in Section 142A of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 (ATSI Act 2005), are:

(a) to recognise and maintain the special and unique Ailan Kastom of Torres Strait Islanders living in the Torres Strait area;

(b) to formulate and implement programs for Torres Strait Islanders, and Aboriginal persons, living in the Torres Strait area;

(c) to monitor the effectiveness of programs for Torres Strait Islanders, and Aboriginal persons, living in the Torres Strait area, including programs conducted by other bodies;

(d) to develop policy proposals to meet national, State and regional needs and priorities of Torres Strait Islanders, and Aboriginal persons, living in the Torres Strait area;

(e) to assist, advise and co-operate with Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal communities, organisations and individuals at national, State, Territory and regional levels;

(f) to advise the Minister on:

(i) matters relating to Torres Strait Islander affairs, and Aboriginal affairs in the Torres Strait area, including the administration of legislation;

(ii) the co-ordination of the activities of other Commonwealth bodies that affect Torres Strait Islanders or Aboriginal persons, living in the Torres Strait area;

(g) when requested by the Minister, to provide information or advice to the Minister on any matter specified by the Minister;

(h) to take such reasonable action as it considers necessary to protect Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal cultural material and information relating to the Torres Strait area if the material or information is considered sacred or otherwise significant by Torres Strait Islanders or Aboriginal persons;

(i) at the request of, or with the agreement of, the Australian Bureau of Statistics but not otherwise, to collect and publish statistical information relating to Torres Strait Islanders, and Aboriginal persons, living in the Torres Strait area;

(j) such other functions as are conferred on the TSRA by this Act or any other Act;

(k) such other functions as are expressly conferred on the TSRA by a law of a State or of an internal Territory and in respect of which there is in force written approval by the Minister under section 142B;

(l) to undertake such research as is necessary to enable the TSRA to perform any of its other functions; and

(m) to do anything else that is incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the preceding functions.

Powers

The powers of the TSRA, as outlined in section 142C of the ATSI Act 2005, are the following:

(1) The TSRA has power to do all things that are necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions.

(2) The powers of the TSRA include, but are not limited to, the following powers:

(a) to accept gifts, grants, bequests and devises made to it;

(b) to act as trustee of money and other property vested in it on trust;

(c) to negotiate and co-operate with other Commonwealth bodies and with State, Territory and local government bodies;

(d) to enter into an agreement for making a grant or loan under section 142GA to the State of Queensland or an authority of that State (including a local government body); and

(e) to enter into an agreement (other than an agreement referred to in paragraph (d) with a State or a Territory.

(3) Despite anything in this Act, any money or other property held by the TSRA on trust must be dealt with in accordance with the powers and duties of the TSRA as trustee.

(4) The powers of the TSRA may be exercised in or out of Australia.

Powers of Direction by the Minister

The TSRA is directed by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Honourable Jenny Macklin, under section 142E of the ATSI Act 2005, which states:

(1) The TSRA must perform its functions and exercise its powers in accordance with any general written directions given to it by the Minister.

(2) The Minister must not give directions about the content of any advice, information or recommendation that may be given by the TSRA to a Minister, Department of State or authority of the Commonwealth.

(3) The Minister must not give directions about the content of any advice, information or recommendation that may be given by the TSRA to:

(a) a Minister of a State or Territory; or

(b) a Department of State of a State or Territory; or

(c) an authority of a State or Territory;

except for the purpose of protecting the confidentiality of information given to the TSRA by the Commonwealth or an authority of the Commonwealth.

(4) Subject to subsection (5), the Minister must cause a copy of a direction to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after that direction was given.

(5) The rule in subsection (4) does not apply if the laying of a copy of a direction before each House of the Parliament would result in the disclosure of a matter in a manner that would be inconsistent with the views or sensitivities of Torres Strait Islanders or Aboriginal persons.

Booby Island

 

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