9 June 2024

TCICA exploring new identity after membership shakeup

| Lyndon Keane
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Deputy chair Bruce Gibson (Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council), chair Territa Dick (Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council) and secretary Jaime Gane (Weipa Town Authority) make up the new Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance executive following the organisation’s first meeting after March’s local government elections. Photo: Lyndon Keane

The Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance (TCICA) is searching for a new name after its board voted to add the Palm Island, Cherbourg and Woorabinda councils to its membership last week.

TCICA met in Cairns for the first time since the 16 March local government elections on 28-29 May, with the selection of a new executive the first order of business.

Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Territa Dick was chosen as chair, with Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Bruce Gibson and Weipa Town Authority Chair Jaime Gane elected as deputy chair and secretary respectively.

With the addition of Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council, Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council and Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council, TCICA now represents all 17 Indigenous local governments in the state, a move Mayor Dick said gave “strength in numbers” when it came to advocacy.

“It’s strength in numbers, and to show a united front to all tiers of government that all of the Indigenous councils want to be heard,” she said.

“It was important that we all came together to lobby as one voice.”

READ ALSO Council, Traditional Owner collaboration on table for new TCICA boss

Mayor Dick said it remained to be seen whether the organisation’s scope would evolve into more of a lobbying entity, but explained all 17 councils shared the same challenges and frustrations.

“It is still very early days, and the members haven’t had an opportunity to discuss our direction,” she said.

“We are currently planning our next meeting, which will focus on developing our new strategic direction and priorities.

“Although there are many new members, the priorities haven’t changed, with housing, education, food and water security, freight, health, infrastructure, employment and economic opportunities, to name a few, remaining our priority at this time.

“Having the other three councils joining us, our key focus will be to get together and develop a strong strategy moving forward.”

TCICA’s new membership and name is expected to be formalised at its July meeting, and Mayor Dick said she would like to see both the state and federal governments hold remote cabinet meetings on Cape York to get a first-hand look at how their decision making affected communities.

“It would be great to have them do this, so that they can see and experience the impacts of their decisions first-hand in our discrete communities,” Mayor Dick said.

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