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Community event signals start of TSRA’s 30th Anniversary celebrations

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM invites everyone to join the celebration.
Community welcome: TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM invites everyone to join the celebration.

A lead Commonwealth government agency for Indigenous Affairs led by a First Nations Board and strong Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal workforce is set to celebrate 30 years.

Community is invited to join the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) to launch its 30th Anniversary celebrations on Monday 1 July 2024.

A special community event will be held at the Parish Hall of the Cathedral Church of All Souls and St Bartholomew on Waiben (Thursday Island), the historic site where a declaration was officially signed to establish TSRA in 1994.

This free community event coincides with 1 July celebrations across the region for the Coming of the Light.

Loban Marine will run a free ferry service at scheduled times for Hammond and Horn Island residents.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM said the three decades of successful operation were built upon the efforts of past and current staff and board members.

“On behalf of TSRA, I sincerely thank our communities, Elders and partner agencies who have walked alongside us towards better economic, social, cultural and life outcomes,” Mr Stephen said.

“Thank you to our predecessors who established the TSRA on 1 July 1994 and the TSRA Board Members, staff and communities who continue to advocate for better outcomes.

“I extend a special acknowledgement to past Chairs, Deputy Chairs and Chief Executive Officers who have steered TSRA to where it stands today.”

Mr Stephen said everyone was welcome to join the milestone event to launch TSRA’s 30-year anniversary.

“Join us as we celebrate TSRA’s 30th Anniversary and acknowledge the resilience, achievements and aspirations of our people and our region,” he said.

“As we reflect and celebrate 30 years strong, we also look to the future to redefine our region as the new frontier for investment and opportunity.”

The 2023-2028 Torres Strait Development Plan details the TSRA Board priorities guided by the vision, Yumi pasin – yumi Ailan Kastom. Strong in culture, unified partnerships to achieve a sustainable future.

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TSRA Key Milestones:

1994: TSRA established under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act.

1995: TSRA joined its first Torres Strait Treaty Joint Advisory Council meeting.

1996: Appointment as a Native Title Representative Body, facilitating 28 Native Title determinations.

1998: Start of Major Infrastructure Programme (MIP), delivering more than $300 million in projects.

2001: Bamaga Accord established to strengthen regional governance and self-determination.

2004: Gab Titui Cultural Centre opened to promote Torres Strait’s cultural heritage and contemporary Indigenous art.

2008: Finfish and Bêche-de-mer fisheries transitioned to 100% Indigenous ownership.

2009: TSRA Ranger Program launched to support environmental management.

2014: Torres Strait Coastal Protection Works (Seawalls) project progresses.

2019: TSRA introduces You Sabe Business workshops to support local Indigenous business.

2022: Native title responsibilities transferred to Gur A Baradharaw Kod Sea and Land Council (GBK).

2023: Torres Strait Traditional Languages Association (TSTLA) established.

2024: TSRA launches 30th Anniversary celebrations on 1 July.

Fast Facts

As one of the most remote Australian Public Service (APS) agencies, TSRA supports programs across the Torres Strait region, including for the 17 inhabited islands of the Torres Strait and the communities of Bamaga and Seisia on the Northern Peninsula Area of mainland Australia.  

TSRA is a statutory body and the lead Commonwealth agency in the Torres Strait for Indigenous Affairs, operating under the direction of an elected Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Board.

The Torres Strait stretches 150 kilometres northwards from Cape York Peninsula to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and up to 300 kilometres from east to west. This 48,000 km² area includes more than 270 islands and reefs.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.