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$1.68 million to establish a Torres Strait Land and Sea Compliance Unit

Ranger Supervisor Troy Stow and Ranger Alice Manas coral monitoring whilst Ranger Aaron and Barry operate vessel. Image Courtesy of Tristan Simpson.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) has received $1.68 million in funding towards establishing a new environmental compliance unit to be rolled out over the next few years in the Torres Strait.

The unit will work with rangers and the community on enhancing compliance with the rules for preservation of natural resources in the Torres Strait, including fisheries and the broader environment.

The funding was announced by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion last month as a part of a national strategy to support Indigenous rangers build their technical skills and capacity to take on opportunities offered in compliance and land and sea management work.

The TSRA Chairperson, Mr Pedro Stephen AM, said the commitment aligns with the TSRA Board’s vision in protecting the Torres Strait environment.

“The funding will support a dedicated compliance unit to provide skills training to rangers and accredited compliance and leadership in the region,” he said.

“Working in partnership with other government agencies and Torres Strait communities, the unit will provide ongoing support for better management of the region’s natural resources, including fisheries.

“The unit will also provide career pathways for trained rangers.”

Mr Stephen said that the TSRA currently does not perform any formal compliance role in natural resource management.

“This new unit means that we can now move towards playing a more formal role in improving compliance with the management arrangements in place for our region’s resources,” he said.

“This new team will also support compliance with voluntary, culturally-based agreements, such as Dugong and Turtle Management Plans.”

Mr Stephen said that he was supportive of initiatives that allow Torres Strait Rangers to gain practical, hands-on training to preserve and protect the land and the sea and Torres Strait cultural procedures of the use our resources.

“Our Rangers play a critical role in our region, and to strengthen their role in land and sea management is an important step forward,” he said.

“They already do great work in our communities and this funding will open up new opportunities for work and  promote the role of Indigenous rangers in the management of land and sea country.”

Mr Stephen said that it demonstrates the TSRA’s commitment to the responsibility it has in managing our environment.

“Whilst the Rangers are not enforcement officers, this is a natural progression for them, giving the individual ranger proper recognition and the ability to carry out their compliance work which involves educating the community about the importance of our natural resources,” he said.

“The positions are a transparent pathway for career development for our Rangers and demonstrates the employment opportunities in our community.”

The funding will also provide three new jobs in the region.

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