2013 Banksia Gold Award Winner
Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), QLD
The TSRA’s LSMU has successfully championed an Indigenous community-based management approach to protecting the Torres Strait region’s unique island and marine biodiversity, and the cultural values and customary knowledge governing significant places and species. A Banksia Award in the Indigenous category is well deserved by the LSMU, in recognition of the services it has performed on behalf of Torres Strait Islander people, the Queensland and Australian Governments, and the nation as a whole, to develop and implement culturally appropriate and sustainable land and sea management practices in the region. The TSRA established the LSMU in 2006 to coordinate the delivery of natural resource management programs in the Torres Strait region. The Unit helps communities to access financial and technical assistance and information about the sustainable management of their environments, and facilitates improved coordination, communication and collaboration between communities, all levels of government, research organisations and other stakeholders to achieve improved environmental conservation outcomes. The LSMU strives to ensure that Indigenous customary knowledge and management techniques are appropriately recognised and incorporated in contemporary management regimes, especially for culturally iconic species such as dugongs and marine turtles, as well as areas of high cultural as well as biodiversity significance. It does so by supporting community-based planning and management approaches, acknowledging the critical role of communities in acting as local custodians of their environmental assets, integrating western and customary knowledge in management arrangements, as well as empowering communities in decision-making and priority setting.