Chairman's Report

To Our Members

Badu Island traditional hunting

Firstly I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners past, present and future. The year is going so fast and so much has happened since my last report. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank and esso all of the members for their continued support whilst in this role as the Chair of Mura Badulgal TSI Corporation. It has been challenging, it has been demanding and at times frustrating but the traditional owners who are the members have placed me in this position for a reason, so I will with all of my heart continue to advocate and represent Badu. I sit in this position not for me, but for all of us to work towards making the vision a reality for Mura Badulgal.

When I think of leadership, I think of honesty, transparency, accountability and fairness. These are the qualities that I believe our board possesses and should you wish to know more about the corporations business, please don’t hesitate to talk more with the directors or visit the office.


Yes, it has been some time now since the DOGIT transfer and the board has yet to finalise all of the leases however there is a light at the end of the tunnel so we are closer to reaching our goals. The lease negotiations have been a time consuming and costly process and again we acknowledge all the frustrations from all parties involved, however it is important that we achieve a fair and equitable arrangement between all parties, especially as the PBC considers its duties as land managers into the future.

The PBC has re-entered into a Tier 1 agreement with the Torres Strait Regional Authority to provide support to the lesser developed PBC’s in the region. For us to be able to give support we must firstly build our foundations. Through this agreement, we have received funding support to continue the employment of the Executive Support Office (ESO), purchase office equipment for this position and we have secured training funds to support the ESO depending on their skills level. The demands and expectations placed on the PBC continue to grow and with the added support of the ESO we are making progress.

Our office has also applied for further funding through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy that is available through the Department of Premier and Cabinet. We applied to upgrade and renovate the native title building and for grant support to assist with legal matters. Normally legal support is available through the TSRA Native Title Office, however due to budget constraints within their office they are restricted and unfortunately some of our legal requests have not been supported because they are not considered a regional priority. With gratitude, Clare Norris from P&E Law has provided pro-bono assistance to our Council of Elders and we are appreciative of her support.

The PBC has also applied for funding through the Indigenous Land and Sea Grant Program and we have requested financial assistance to host an ‘elder’s workshop’. The purpose is to bring all the elders (capable of travelling to Badu) to meet and workshop through some of the land matters. The idea was suggested to some members of the Council of Elders however, they felt all Badulgal elders should be included to openly discuss land matters as with Badulgal lores. As we know, our culture is an oral culture and in this day and age, we need to make sure we capture that knowledge before it is too late. They say when an elder dies a library burns. We have yet to hear if we are successful but we are hopeful.

The board as you know has a loan pool that is available to its members. The concept is great but it will only work if applicants repay their loan as per the agreed terms. We have a number of loans that have been outstanding for some time and failure to repay the loan will mean that the matter will be referred to the debt collectors. Unfortunately, this office has had to refer a few through this process after numerous failed attempts to collect repayments from the applicants.

In closing, apart from generating revenue through leases, service fees and rented properties, the PBC is travelling ok. Once all the leases are finalised we will be in a better position to look at what we need in our community and work closely with our members on this process. Some members have already identified the need for a gym, swimming pool, target the tourism market etc. Thinking outside the box on how we can generate opportunities that will benefit Mura Badulgal.


This reporting year has been very busy. The houses have gone up and more houses are being built on the island. Torres Strait Island Regional Council will demolish the dongas from Donga Town in preparation for the new houses to take shape in the area. Whilst the new houses are being built, a number of locals were engaged through employment, which is positive to see. The PBC will continuously advocate through the employers to ensure our locals are first priority as with using local resources ie. quarry.

The PBC has also provided a number of support letters to traditional owners with their housing application. As the PBC Chair and Councillor of Badu, I am able to advocate on our communities behalf at all levels of government. I have always said from the get go that Badu has a housing crisis and we are working closely with TSIRC and State to address the matter. Through TSIRC, we have been promised more houses and I will update the community on this matter as the Councillor.

With regard to the Katter Leases, we are still fine-tuning the Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the State and making sure that the applicants have all their maintenance requests included into the scope of works. Once we get over that hurdle then the process will go quickly so I am still hopeful that the matter will be sorted by the end of the year. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Furthermore, with regard to the Warral and Ului matter, due to development with the research and fieldwork on the Sea Claim (Part B) the authorisation meeting has now been postponed until 2017. Further research is being done by Dr Burton, Dr Murphy and Dr Hitchcock into the broader Torres Strait society group. Once this matter has been finalised then we can progress the Warral and Ului matter and a notice will be issued on the Authorisation meeting with Badulgal, Mualgal and Kaurareg.

Last financial year the directors had hoped to table a number of proposed resolutions to change our current Rule Book. It has been unfortunate but after a number of attempts the resolutions have not been endorsed therefore the funeral policy, loan policy and sponsorship policy still remain outstanding. The members have requested a separate meeting however at this time it is difficult to commit a date given the number of priorities that we are dealing with in a voluntary capacity.

The Directors also hosted a Church Leaders Meeting and engaged Pastor George Nona as the facilitator where all Church Leaders from Badu were invited to workshop the terms and conditions of the St Mark’s Church. This matter has been outstanding for some time and the directors acknowledge the heartache and the sensitivities around this matter. The Directors felt the outcomes were positive so we are now progressing with the terms and conditions of the building.

The PBC has also relocated into our own office space, which is an indication that we are starting to have our own identity away from TSIRC and Badu Island Foundation. We now just need to give the building a name and get away from being called the ‘old child care building’.

Your board of directors continue to work closely with TSIRC and since my election into Council; we now have a direct line of communication to the Mayor and Executives. I know our board is pleased about this and we are starting to see some changes on the ground. Some of the members may have concerns that I am wearing too many hats, however having that dual role has certainly made a positive difference when working through Badulgal affairs.

In addition, as some of you may know Tamwoy Nona filled the position of Executive Support Officer. Tamwoy was responsible for providing administration support to the PBC Manager as with providing a lead in the facilitation and coordination of the Badu Island Interagency Group meetings. The Badu Island Interagency Group is a very proactive group that meets monthly and the PBC hosts these meetings from our newly furnished conference room.

This year Manuel Nomoa and Gerald Bowie (Mura Badulgal Rangers) attended the National Native Title Conference in Darwin. Gerald attended as a Ranger and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Institute of Studies sponsored Manuel’s attendance. Manuel and Gerald delivered a presentation on language and culture preservation, which was well received and generated much discussion from other PBC’s at a national level.


So many exciting things to look forward to. We are about positive change. We don’t want to look back or keep ‘mark time’. We want to move forward and make our vision a reality for Badulgal. Badu PBC is a powerhouse and we are recognised at a national and regional level for what we have achieved and how effectively we are managing our affairs.

In closing, we encourage our members to work with us. Hard decisions will need to be made but that is the nature of the job. We do not sit here for our benefit but we sit here to represent and advocate for all Badulgal and not an individual. We also welcome our members to visit the office and if you can offer constructive feedback then please share your ideas as with solutions with us.

Let us empower our people. Let us celebrate our success and let us continue to provide a pathway towards autonomy.

Koeyma Esso
Laurie Nona


Aaron Fa’aoso met with the Directors of Mura Badulgal to discuss his upcoming project ‘Blue Water Empire'


Deputation with TSIRC Executives in November 2015