Tidal inundation and erosion are serious threats in the Torres Strait Islands. Critical infrastructure and places of significance such as burial sites are regularly impacted by climatic change and the prospect of losing such sites is a reality. Coastal protection and climate resilience will inform our ability to protect our land, preserve our important sites and continue living where we do.
Watch the Every King Tide video, from SBS Australia, to learn about the effects of climate change on our Poruma Community:
Funding is important for future coastal defense works which is in addition to the six major projects of the Coastal Defence works currently being undertaken.
A commitment to enable the engagement of “Resilience Champions” to run community-based adaptation and resilience programs will support a wider strategy to ensure communities are aware of how they can contribute to climate resilience.
These roles were highlighted as a recommendation in the Torres Strait Regional Adaptation and Resilience Plan 2016-2021.
Road pavement and drainage works to make transport safe and reliable, with specific consideration of weather and climate change-related impacts will inform longer-term sustainability of existing infrastructure.
A number of communities in the Torres Strait Island Regional Council footprint are at immediate risk of inundation. The sea level rise experienced in the Torres Strait is three times higher than mainland Australia.
The capital projects require detailed design and subsequent construction pending funding.
Elders are literally witnessing the complete eradication of cultural places; tidal inundation and erosion is so severe in some locations that we have literally seen areas of significance, such as burial sites, be irreversibly affected. If proactive and sustainable solutions for both coastal defence and extreme weather protection aren’t reached within the next 5 years, urgent measures will need to take place for the complete displacement of communities from their traditional island homes.