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Enabling Functions

The Chief Executive Officer is appointed by the Minister for Indigenous Australians and is responsible for the TSRA’s administration and staffing.

The TSRA’s organisational structure provides a clear line of accountability to the Board and the Minister through the Chief Executive Officer (Figure 4-2).


Programme Steering Committee

The TSRA has in place a Programme Steering Committee (PSC) to monitor the performance of its programmes and operations.

The TSRA’s programmes manage projects and ongoing activities contributing to the outcomes outlined in the Torres Strait Development Plan and the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Plan 2009-2029. The PSC considers programme resources and ensures that strategies and operational activities align with the TSRA’s overall outcomes.

The PSC consists of the TSRA’s Chief Executive Officer, programme managers and Chief Financial Officer. The PSC meets on a quarterly basis and as required to consider specific project risks and issues.

Risk Management

The TSRA has standardised its processes for the identification, documentation and management of risks and issues. All TSRA projects and managed activities include risk assessments as part of the planning and approval process.

The TSRA’s risk management system is based on the better practice principles and processes outlined in ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management – Guidelines.

Figure 4-3 illustrates the continuous, systematic process that the TSRA uses to maintain risk within an acceptable level.


The system is:

  • dynamic – by being responsive to change and assisting corporate learning and continuous improvement
  • systematic – by being rigorous, transparent and explicit and taking into account stakeholder perspectives
  • integrated and embedded – in so far as practicable, by reviewing established management planning, decision-making and reporting processes.


  • Risk identification involves identifying the issues that are likely to negatively impact the achievement of the goals of the TSRA. This includes political and strategic risks, programme delivery risks and operational support risks.
    Risks are identified via:
  • an annual risk management workshop attended by the TSRA’s administration (top-down approach)
  • completion of individual risk assessments at the programme/project level (bottom-up approach)
  • audits and assessments conducted through internal and external audit functions.


Risk assessment includes the process of determining the likelihood of a risk occurring and the consequence or impact of the risk.


The TSRA is a custodian of the Australian Government’s investment in the future prosperity of the Torres Strait region. Therefore, the TSRA seeks to balance its risk position between:

  • investment in activities that may drive substantial growth in the region
  • the need to remain a stable organisation with the capacity to continue to work for the community into the future.

The TSRA’s risk appetite is necessarily around the middle of the risk-taking spectrum. Depending on the results from year to year and community needs, the TSRA may choose to increase or decrease its appetite for higher risk activities.


  • accepts a higher risk appetite when approving a new system or process that offers greater processing capacity and efficiencies
  • accepts a moderate risk appetite for programme outcomes that are aimed at contributing to the regional goals
  • accepts a low risk appetite for significant breaches of security or unauthorised access to confidential records
  • accepts a very low risk appetite for risks that would result in physical or mental harm to staff and the environment.


Risk mitigation (or risk reduction) involves developing actions or plans to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. All mitigation steps are assigned an owner and timeframe.


All TSRA employees are expected to identify and manage risks within their span of control.

The members of the TSRA’s Management Group are responsible for:

  • incorporating suitable risk management activities into business planning (via completion of a risk assessment at the programme or project level)
  • ensuring that the risk management processes are implemented
  • ensuring that risk mitigation actions are followed.

Property Management

The TSRA has a property portfolio which includes office accommodation at three sites on Thursday Island; the Gab Titui Cultural Centre; and residential staff accommodation, consisting of 57 houses and apartments.

The TSRA also owns and maintains the historic Green Hill Fort, which is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List.

In addition, the TSRA has a fleet of vehicles and vessels, most of which are located on outer island communities in the Torres Strait as part of the Indigenous ranger programme.


Schedules for the regular maintenance of property and assets are in place and the work is contracted out to appropriate tradespeople.

Ongoing repairs and maintenance are carried out in a way that meets the TSRA’s obligations to environmental sustainability, meets government

procurement guidelines and supports Indigenous and local businesses.

TSRA-owned properties are maintained in line with our five-year maintenance plan, which aims to reduce the cost of reactive property maintenance through planned, targeted property maintenance practices, ensuring that the properties are safe, sustainable, well maintained and fit for purpose.


In 2019-2020, the TSRA continued a capital works project with funding of $2.989 million from the Australian Government Public Service Modernisation Fund.

This project is to construct a commercial building on Thursday Island. To meet a mandatory Indigenous participation rate, 90 per cent of all work hours will be carried out by Indigenous tradespeople and labourers. The project will be completed in 2020-2021.

The new facility will provide increased environmental sustainability and an improved working environment for TSRA staff. The building will be a showcase of sustainable design in remote areas, incorporating solar technology, sustainable water use and other environmental design technologies.

Human Resources

The TSRA’s employees are located at TSRA facilities on Thursday Island and throughout the island communities of the Torres Strait region. A small office in Cairns is used to increase the TSRA’s capacity to attract people with skills and experience not available in the Torres Strait.

The TSRA has a workforce strategy that complements the Torres Strait Development Plan and sets the strategic direction for supporting and developing the TSRA’s workforce.


For information on the TSRA’s staffing profile in 2019-2020, see Appendix 1.


TSRA staff operate under the TSRA Enterprise Agreement 2017. The terms and conditions of employment are set out in the agreement. The TSRA Enterprise Agreement 2017 came into effect from 6 June 2017.

The salary ranges for staff covered under the agreement range from $43,604 for an Australian Public Service level 1 staff member to $138,118 for an Executive Level 2 staff member.

The TSRA has updated the TSRA Enterprise Agreement and is seeking a determination from the Australian Public Service Commission rather than entering into a bargaining process with TSRA officers. The determination is expected to be approved by mid-September 2020.


The human resources and payroll company Frontier Software Pty Ltd provides payroll software to the TSRA to facilitate in-house payroll and leave arrangements.


The TSRA’s employees attended internal and external learning and development courses during 2019-2020. This included programme and project management training, career development training, cultural awareness training, fraud awareness training, relevant university studies and various other courses.

As part of their induction, all new TSRA employees complete the Australian Public Service Commission’s online induction programme. In addition, all TSRA employees who are required to travel in helicopters as part of their role complete helicopter underwater escape training.

The TSRA Performance Development Programme informs the learning and development required by staff and supports them in achieving the best outcomes possible for them as TSRA employees and as people.


The TSRA fulfilled its responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) in 2019-2020.

No notifications arising from undertakings by the TSRA were made to Comcare under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) during the year.

There were no investigations conducted during the year relating to undertakings carried out by the TSRA and there were no notices given to the TSRA during the year under the Comcare legislation.

The TSRA has a work health and safety management system and trained employees who undertake duties as first-aid officers, fire wardens and health and safety representatives. Health and safety representatives and safety committees work cooperatively to improve the TSRA’s work health and safety policy and operational matters. Workers are informed of current issues and receive work health and safety information.

The TSRA has a rehabilitation management system in accordance with Comcare requirements. The rehabilitation management system includes an active early intervention and injury management strategy. A healthy lifestyle reimbursement of up to $200 per year is available to employees.

The TSRA also has a bullying and harassment policy in place and two trained harassment contact officers are available to provide employee support. The TSRA offers support for workers through an employee assistance programme delivered by an external provider.


The TSRA is committed to supporting a culture of equity, inclusion and diversity, and to ensuring that the TSRA workforce is representative of the broader community. The TSRA upholds the Australian Public Service Values and strives to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination and recognises the diversity of the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal communities that it serves.

All TSRA staff receive up-to-date information on developments in human resources, including developments in equal employment opportunity, harassment-free workplaces and workplace diversity. Employees can also access publications from the Australian Public Service Commission and related agencies.


The TSRA fosters and promotes workplace consultation through regular management, programme area and staff meetings. In addition, the TSRA conducts regular meetings with staff representatives on the Workplace Consultative Committee. As appropriate, management consults with employees on major workplace changes, the development of guidelines and policies applying to employment conditions, and the development and implementation of the enterprise agreement.

Environmental Sustainability

Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) requires Australian Government organisations to report annually on their environmental performance and contribution to ecologically sustainable development.

The TSRA’s environmental policy outlines the agency’s commitment to minimising the environmental impact of its operations. The TSRA does this by:

  • using energy-efficient office machinery and computer monitors
  • using low-wattage lights throughout the TSRA offices
  • reducing paper use by centralising printers and making double-sided printing the default
  • using office paper that is carbon neutral, is recycled and/or has an environmental sustainability rating.

The TSRA also contributes to ecological sustainability in the Torres Strait region by:

  • employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as trainees, rangers and ranger supervisors
  • partnering with Tagai State College in the Horticulture in Schools Programme
  • providing technical assistance to improve food production in the Torres Strait through the Sustainable Horticulture Project​
  • improving invasive species control, including by supporting management strategies for invasive fish, cane toads, and feral dogs impacting on green turtle nesting sites, and developing a regional pest management strategy
  • producing biodiversity profiles, fauna surveys and fire management plans for all inhabited Torres Strait islands
  • working with communities for the sustainable management of turtles and dugongs
  • developing and implementing actions to build sustainability and resilience across the region through planning for climate change impacts
  • monitoring environmental change across the region.



During 2019-2020, the TSRA, as a corporate Commonwealth entity, was accountable to the Parliament of Australia through the responsible Minister and the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio.

The Auditor-General is the TSRA’s external auditor. The audit of the TSRA’s financial statements is conducted in accordance with an audit strategy agreed to by the Auditor-General and the TSRA. The 2019-2020 audit was conducted in September 2020. A copy of the independent auditor’s report, including the auditor’s opinion, is provided as part of the financial statements in Section 5 of this report.

The TSRA was not affected by judicial decisions or reviews by outside bodies in 2019-2020. The Australian Information Commissioner did not issue a report on the TSRA under section 30 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and no personal privacy complaints were made against the TSRA in 2019-2020.


The TSRA has implemented a fraud control framework in accordance with section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth). No incidents of fraud were detected in 2019-2020.


The TSRA’s Audit Committee is assisted in the internal audit function by an external contractor, Charterpoint Pty Ltd. Charterpoint is responsible for implementing the TSRA’s internal audit programme, which aims to provide assurance that key risks are being managed effectively and efficiently, including assurance that the TSRA complies with regulatory requirements and policies.


In accordance with section 19 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth), the TSRA provided the Finance Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Australians with a letter from the TSRA directors advising that the TSRA:

Has complied with the provisions and requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act); and the PGPA Rules as amended from time to time.


The TSRA indemnifies current and former directors and staff members against liability or costs incurred in connection with any claim brought against them as a result of, or in connection with, their appointment to any office or position in the TSRA.

The TSRA holds directors’ and officers’ liability insurance cover through Comcover, the Australian Government’s self-managed fund. The TSRA has an annual insurance renewal process, and reviewed its insurance coverage in 2019-2020 to ensure that it remained appropriate for its operations.

No indemnity-related claims were made during the year, and the TSRA is not aware of any circumstances likely to lead to such claims being made.

The cost of directors’ and officers’ liability insurance for 2019-2020 was $5,161.


In accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (Cth), the TSRA Board has a policy and process to manage all direct and indirect conflicts of interest, including a register of all directors’ pecuniary interests and a requirement that directors make a formal declaration of their interests at each TSRA Board meeting. The declarations are recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

The pecuniary interest process applies to all committees of the TSRA.


The TSRA has in place a Charter of Representation, Performance and Accountability that sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Board and the Administration. The TSRA Board has delegated responsibility to the Administration, through its Chief Executive Officer, to ensure that funding decisions are made in line with the policies, priorities and general guidelines determined by the Board.

As part of the TSRA Board’s governance framework, each Board member is required to complete a Notice of Personal and Financial Interests to the Minister. There is also a requirement for related party disclosure questionnaires to be completed to declare any financial transactions between the TSRA and a Board member and/or members of the Board member’s family. Members’ related party disclosure questionnaires are available to enable members to declare any changes in their circumstances.

A Register of Pecuniary Interests that is maintained and included in each Board meeting’s briefing package also assists the Chairperson and other Board members to manage any conflicts of interest that may arise.


In accordance with section 17BE(ta) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (Cth), the TSRA reports on executive remuneration as described in Schedule C of the Rule.

The TSRA has determined that its key management personnel consist of the TSRA Board members (including the TSRA Chairperson) and the Chief Executive Officer, as set out under Note 3.2 in the TSRA Financial Statements for the period ended 30 June 2020.

The TSRA had one highly paid staff member and no senior executives in 2019-2020. The reduction from two senior executives reported in the previous period to nil in the current period resulted from a retirement and a combination of leave and reassignment of duties.

Details of executive remuneration are set out in Section 5 and Appendix 1 of this Annual Report.

Other Reportable Matters


Entities subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. A plan showing what information the TSRA publishes in accordance with the requirement is available on the TSRA’s website at www.tsra.gov.au/information-publication-scheme2.


In accordance with the requirements of section 144ZB of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 (Cth), this annual report includes details of grants made by the TSRA (see Appendix 2) and consultants engaged by the TSRA (see Appendix 3) in 2019-2020.


In accordance with section 144ZB(4) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 (Cth), this Annual Report does not disclose any matters known to the TSRA to be held sacred by Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal people.


The TSRA advertises all ongoing vacancies and non-ongoing vacancies of more than 12 months using the APSjobs website and other selected national advertising. The TSRA uses the Australian Government’s preferred supplier, Dentsu Mitchell Media Australia Pty Ltd, to advertise tenders and recruitment notices.

The TSRA also uses Far North Queensland region based print media for advertising job vacancies, publishing media releases and tenders, and distributing the TSRA Community Newsletter, in line with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. The TSRA did not conduct any advertising campaigns or make payments to market research, polling, direct mail or media advertising organisations in 2019-2020