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Driving climate change action for Torres Strait communities

The senior leadership of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC), the Torres Shire Council (TSC) and the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) recently met to consider key climate change risks for the Torres Strait.

“It is widely understood that climate change is a very important issue for communities in the Torres Strait” said TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen. “The meeting has helped to galvanise our resolve for our organisations to work together to ensure we meet this challenge as best we can to ensure a strong future for our region.”

The meeting, which included the Mayors, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officers of the three organisations agreed to establish a permanent high level working group to help drive the implementation of the Torres Strait Adaptation and Resilience Plan.

“Our communities have contributed little to the problem of climate change and yet we are being left to deal with the very real threats it brings to our wellbeing, culture and environment” said TSIRC Mayor Fred Gela. “We need continued support of all levels of government and all relevant agencies to work with us to implement the priority actions identified in the Plan.”

Besides sea level rise, climate change is also likely to impact health, water security, and marine resources and will likely contribute to regional instability in areas neighbouring the Torres Strait as identified in the 2016 Australian Defence White Paper.

“The decisions we make today will shape the future for our children” said TSC Mayor Vonda Malone. “We need to stay on the front foot and proactively drive climate adaptation and continue to build the resilience of our communities, and we expect all agencies and departments to now be considering how their actions are contributing to this end.”

The leaders agreed to form a high-level Torres Strait Climate and Resilience working group which will meet periodically to assess progress in implementing priority adaptation and resilience actions and to ensure the alignment between the respective organisations continues.

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