Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar says a recent trip to the Torres Strait has given her new insight into the challenges of living in such remote locations.
Ms Oscar has been travelling to the far corners of Australia to hear the stories of women and girls as part of her Wiyi Yani U Thangani, or Women’s Voices project.
She recently visited Thursday, Saibai and Mer Islands.
“It has been an absolute privilege to visit remote island communities and hear from strong and resilient women and girls about the issues that matter to them,” she said.
“We have received some powerful messages from women who are fiercely determined to support young people to thrive in the modern world and continue rich cultural traditions and language without compromise.”
“Visiting the Torres Strait has given my team and I an insight into the challenges of living in such remote locations.”
“We heard about difficulties in accessing health, housing, education and child-care services, and about the high cost of living, particularly for air travel and basic items such as food.
“We also heard about a lack of real job opportunities and dissatisfaction with the current range of options in a region where more than 30 federal and state government agencies are operating.”
Ms Oscar has met with almost 2000 women and girls across Australia for the project. When it is completed, she will report to the Federal Government.
“My report to Federal Parliament will tell the government about what’s important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls, what needs changing and what that change should look like,” she said.
“This will not be a report that just sits on the shelf.”
She is next due to meet with locals in Port Hedland and Newman in Western Australia’s north.
Submissions to the project can also be made online here.
By Wendy Caccetta