Separatist moves in Torres Strait

Separatist moves in Torres Strait

Separatist moves in Torres Strait

Posted 1 November 2002, 18:21 AEST

An Aboriginal group in far north Australia's Torres Strait is set to declare itself independent and become the 'United Isles of Kaiwalagal'.

Kaurareg elders cite bad administration and lack of authority by the indigenous affairs body ATSIC and the Torres Strait Regional Authority as the main reason behind their dissociation with the administrative bodies.

Kaurareg spokesman Isaac Savage says his people have been determined as the traditional owners of more than half of the Torres Strait region.

He says it is now time to govern themselves.

"We have an employment crisis in the community, we have a housing situation which is just being deliberately ignored," Mr Savage says.

"Our kids are suffering because parents, they haven't got any proper form of employment, my elders are dying and they are waiting to see a change in our community and we are taking a stand, it has gone far enough," he says.