Reshaping governance in Torres Strait: The Torres Strait Regional Authority and beyond

Author/editor: Sanders, WG
Year published: 1994
Issue no.: 74


Getano Lui (Jnr) suggested in his 1993 Boyer Lecture that it was time to 'build a new framework' for Torres Strait and that this might be negotiated in time for the centenary of the Australian Constitution in 2001. This paper examines possibilities for reshaping governance in Torres Strait, particularly the idea of Torres Strait regional government. It does so in the light of the history of settlement and contemporary population characteristics in the Strait and also the history and development of local and regional structures of political representation. It pays particular attention to events leading up to the establishment in July 1994 of the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) within the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). Under the labels of other authorities, constituency and confederal representation, it also examines some key issues which are likely to arise in attempts to move beyond the present structure towards fuller regional government. Some consequences of one possible and likely approach to the constituency issue are explored and a brief concluding comment is made about the relationship between these developments in Torres Strait and interpretations of Australian federalism.

This paper considers the determinants of employment income for Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression techniques are applied to 1991 Census data to consider the question: does the lower income of these Indigenous people reflect differences in their factor endowments (like education) rewarded in the labour market, or are they rewarded differently for the same set of endowments than are non-Indigenous Australians. The results show that the main source of lower incomes for Indigenous Australians was their smaller endowment of human capital characteristics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of these results.

ISBN: 0 7315 1748 2

ISSN:1036 1774

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