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Taking charge: First Torres Strait Islander woman starts local electrical company

Bright start: Local business owner Diane Sabatino

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) is celebrating local business owners, such as Diane Sabatino, during Indigenous Business Month (1-31 October) and beyond.

When Diane Sabatino completed her electrical apprenticeship in 2016, she did not know that she would be the first Torres Strait Islander woman to start her own electrical contracting company in the region.

Mrs Sabatino wanted to achieve her dream of starting an electrical contracting company on Badu to create local employment and provide an essential service to local communities and other businesses.

While juggling family responsibilities, she completed the TSRA’s three-part You Sabe Business workshop series.

Her journey continued when she successfully applied for a TSRA Business Growth Package, based on the strong demand for electrical services in the Torres Strait region.

This year, Mrs Sabatino established her business, Torres Strait Electrical.

She said the process had been challenging.

“I could not have done it without the TSRA. It was a marathon not a sprint, but having gone through the whole process with the TSRA, I can definitely say it was worth it,” Mrs Sabatino said.

“I am the first Torres Strait Islander woman to operate my own electrical contracting business in the region and my goal is to create employment opportunities to keep the next generation here lor ples (at home), because without them we have no future.

“I successfully applied for a TSRA Business Growth Package and would like to personally eso TSRA for helping me start my own business.

“I would also like to eso my family and my community for their encouragement and support.

“Without this support, my journey would not have been possible.”

Torres Strait Electrical offers electrical installations, repairs, maintenance, and test and tag services.

In 2023–24, Mrs Sabatino will be employing a full-time, Indigenous electrical apprentice based on Badu. Her aim is to build a local Indigenous workforce providing electrical services to all Torres Strait communities.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM said the TSRA continued to support local businesses through workshops, mentoring, professional advice and business support packages.

“TSRA offers year-round business support including You Sabe Business workshops, business loans, products and services to help local businesses start up and succeed,” Mr Stephen said.

“Access to business support and advice for local people is critical for creating sustainable businesses, successful industries and generating income and wealth in our region.”

Indigenous Business Month (1-31 October) is an annual celebration of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal owned business across Australia. This year’s theme To Gather, Together invites everyone to celebrate Indigenous business success and strengthen connections. 

Last week (5 October), TSRA kickstarted its celebrations with a Speed Networking Event on Waiben (Thursday Island) to connect aspiring and established business owners with various government agencies and private sector contacts.

For more information about TSRA’s Economic Development program and products, contact economic@tsra.gov.au or (07) 4069 0700.

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

  • First Torres Strait Islander woman starts local electrical company
  • First Torres Strait Islander woman starts local electrical company

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