The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has been moved by the stories of women and girls living in the Torres Strait.
Commissioner Oscar visited Thursday, Saibi and Mer (Murray) Islands to hear about life for Indigenous women and girls in the region, as part of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project.
“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.
“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.
Over the past year Commissioner Oscar has met with almost two thousand women and girls across the country for the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project.
She will soon be heading to the Pilbara region in Western Australia for sessions in Port Headland and Newman. For the full list of locations visit the website.
Commissioner Oscar is encouraging women and girls who haven’t been able to make it to the sessions to have their say through an online submission and survey process.
“This is an opportunity to be part of a national conversation with First Nations women and girls, something that hasn’t happened in 32 years.
“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. This will not be a report that just sits on the shelf,” Commissioner Oscar said.
Photo: Wayne Quilliam