This paper begins with a profile of Torres Strait and an analysis of potential areas, such as tourism and art and craft, in which Indigenous women's businesses could be developed. Such business development can only occur if Indigenous women are given adequate access to credit. Credit sources available to the Indigenous population in Torres Strait include the Torres Strait Regional Authority's (TSRA) Business Funding Scheme and the loans available from the National Australia Bank. However, at present, very low numbers of Indigenous women are independently accessing credit from these sources.
Further research needs to be conducted before conclusions as to the adequacy of current credit sources for Indigenous women can be reached. However, within Torres Strait the perception of problems with access to credit for Indigenous borrowers have prompted calls by the Islander Board of Industry and Service for an Indigenous credit union to be established along the same lines as the Traditional Credit Union in Arnhem Land. Another credit model that could possibly be used within the Torres Strait is the Grameen Bank micro-credit model. Key aspects of the model are discussed in this paper. In particular, the model highlights the benefits that can be accrued in lending capital to women.
ISBN: 0 7315 2623 6