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Thursday Island hosts Torres Strait climate centre talks

TSRA climate talks
Climate talks: TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM and Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister

Leaders from the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area and Australian Government have met on Thursday Island to progress talks on a critical climate change project in the nation’s remote far north.

On Friday (14 June), the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) hosted a Steering Committee on Waiben (Thursday Island) including Senator the Hon. Jenny McAllister and regional leaders.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM said local voices supported by government would lead the establishment of a federally funded Climate Resilience Centre focused on the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area.

“The Torres Strait is on the frontline when it comes to climate change impacts in this country and solutions require support and innovation from all levels of government,” Mr Stephen said.

“We are working together to ensure lived experiences and traditional knowledge of First Nations people are valued alongside science to develop the best climate strategies for our region.”

Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Senator the Hon. Jenny McAllister said, “Australians know that the climate is changing. Our government is working hard to limit carbon emissions and further warming. But there are some changes that are locked in that we need to prepare for. “

“The Albanese Government is working with Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula communities to establish the Climate Resilience Centre, to strengthen local climate resilience and adaptation,” Senator McAllister said.

“Preparing and adapting to climate change will take all of us. In the Torres Strait, First Nations people and their representatives bring unique knowledge to this challenge. I am grateful for the willingness of local leaders to share their perspectives with me, as well as practical ideas about how all levels of government can work together.”

Alongside TSRA, Steering Committee representatives present included the region’s peak native title body Gur A Baradharaw Kod Torres Strait Sea and Land Council Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Corporation (GBK), local government including Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC), Torres Shire Council (TSC) and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC), the Queensland Government through the Department of Treaty, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Communities and the Arts and the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

The committee is expected to meet again in September.

The Australian Government committed $15.9 million over four years (2022-23 to 2025-26) to establish the climate resilience centre under the 2022-23 Federal Budget.

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