Regional Economic Investment Strategy (REIS)

Photo credit: Tarita Bin Doraho

A New Approach to Business Support in the Torres Strait

The Torres Strait is one of the most remote and sparsely populated regions in Australia. High costs of basic services and of doing business in the region, infrastructure shortfalls, high levels of unemployment and a lack of economic independence amongst many Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people living in the region pose significant challenges in efforts to facilitate opportunities for commercially-viable businesses in the Torres Strait.

Recognising these challenges, the Torres Strait Regional Economic Investment Strategy defines a new approach to business assistance that is informed, strategic and targeted in nature. It identifies potentially sustainable industries which provide the greatest potential to establish and grow commercially-viable businesses in the Torres Strait.

A Plan of Action

This Business Development Strategy is Phase 1 of a two-phase approach to developing the Torres Strait Regional Economic Investment Strategy. Informed by research, consultation and analysis, it provides an evidence base to inform the TSRA in taking a strategic and targeted approach to facilitating assistance for commercially-viable business development in the Torres Strait Region. The strategy guides a plan of action for the TSRA to effectively deliver its Economic Development Program objectives and to meet the performance measures as articulated in the Torres Strait Development Plan 2019-2022.

Targeted Assistance for Business Opportunities in Three 'Focal' Industries

Phase One

The Regional Economic Investment Strategy recommends the TSRA focus its business assistance services on five broad business opportunities within three ‘focal’ industries. The recommendations are targeted with the identification of those industries that present the best prospects to assess potential pilot projects for enterprise assistance from the TSRA. Hence, this report provides an informed assessment of opportunities for local business development throughout the region.

Consistent with the findings of the socio-economic research and analysis, coupled with anecdotal evidence gathered through consultation with business leaders and other stakeholders in the Torres Strait, it is considered that economic activities in fishing, the arts and tourism provide the basis for strategic efforts to establish and grow commercially-viable businesses in the Torres Strait Region.

Specifically, those industries, which should form the basis of more targeted enterprise assistance in the Torres Strait, include:

Learn more about the difference between Hobby versus Business

Phase Two

The first phase of the Torres Strait Regional Economic Investment Strategy will in time be followed by Phase 2, to be developed by the TSRA in consultation and collaboration with other stakeholders to develop a "Torres Strait Regional Economic Development Blueprint".

The second phase will be necessary to help address the diversity of issues, challenges and constraints which impact on the Torres Strait Region’s capacity to take advantage of potential business development opportunities. Importantly, it will focus on the critical determinants and enablers of economic development including:

  • Transport and communications infrastructure;
  • Education and training infrastructure;
  • Community services and facilities;
  • Recreation, leisure and entertainment infrastructure;
  • Commercial and industrial land; and
  • Economic development partnerships / leadership / governance.

The development of a two-phase Regional Economic Investment Strategy sits within a broader regional economic development framework, reflecting a holistic approach to economic development in the Torres Strait Region.

Existing TSRA Business Support Products and Services will continue to be provided

The REIS is designed to integrate with the TSRA’s existing products and services. Organisations and individuals who do not qualify for support under the REIS Fisheries Business Growth Package may be eligible to access other TSRA products and services which will continue to be available via a combination of: low-interest business loans; grants; small business training and workshops and one-on-one mentoring support.