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Lead agency congratulates local leaders in Torres Strait region

Left to right: TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM, Torres Shire Mayor Elsie Seriat and May Seriat at the declaration of office ceremony. Photo credit: Torres Shire Council

A lead Commonwealth agency for Indigenous Affairs, the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), has congratulated the region’s newly elected councils.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM was among official guests at the Torres Shire Council Declaration of Office Ceremony on Waiben (Thursday Island) this month (5 April 2024).

In his second term as elected TSRA Chairperson, Mr Stephen said serving the region was an honour.

“Leadership in the Torres Strait is built upon strong foundations laid by our ancestors who fought for the rights of people and place,” Mr Stephen said.

“It is a privilege to witness both experienced and emerging leaders working together to progress the aspirations of our unique region.

“On behalf of the Torres Strait Regional Authority, I also acknowledge all outgoing councillors for their contributions.”

Mr Stephen said the diversity of council candidates, including young people and women, demonstrated the strength of local leadership.

“TSRA welcomes the opportunity to connect and continue working with each mayor, councillor and council to progress shared priorities and aspirations for our region.”

In 2023, a non-partisan workshop on political candidate training for First Nations women was held on Thursday Island in collaboration between Women for Election, Politics in Colour, the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and TSRA.

TSRA Chief Executive Vonda Malone, formerly the first female Mayor of Torres Shire Council, said the record number of female candidates was a step towards more diverse voices in decision making.

“It is a proud moment to see more women stand up for positive change in our communities,” Ms Malone said.

“I also acknowledge the contributions of those who have and continue to inspire girls and women to lead with courage, confidence and compassion.”

TSRA is one of the most remote Australian Public Services agencies and operates under the direction of an elected Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Board, representing 20 communities across the region, including Bamaga and Seisia on the mainland.

It currently has its highest number of female Board members since establishment in 1994.

The TSRA Board’s four-year term will expire this year with a call for nominations expected in coming months.

Learn more about the TSRA at www.tsra.gov.au or on Facebook.

  • Vonda Malone, TSRA CEO

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