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An autonomous, prosperous and sustainable community and council

Acquiring a Council business

One of our biggest aspirations is to assist with the development of the Torres Strait economy.

We’re working towards divesting (transferring or selling) commercial operations from the control of Council into the hands of the community to own and operate.


What is an ‘enterprise’?

An ‘enterprise’ is a commercial operation or business.

Enterprise divestment is an opportunity for local community-based organisations and individuals to buy, maintain and operate Council commercial enterprises and non-current assets on an “as is, where is” basis. (“As is, where is” means the current condition of the business and assets.)

We have undertaken extensive work on the divestment of enterprises since we were amalgamated in 2008. We’re committed to divesting viable commercial operations to community-based organisations and individuals.

Enterprises previously run by Council that now run as independent businesses include the:

  • Badu quarry
  • Badu bulk fuel depot
  • Hammond Island Mini Mart
  • St Joseph’s Ferry
  • Mer guesthouse, canteen and freezer.

Steps to buying a Council business

  1. We advertise a business is for sale.
  2. Applicants submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in buying the business.
  3. Our evaluation panel assesses EOI’s received and makes a recommendation to Council.
  4. At a Council meeting, we pass a resolution choosing the successful applicant to take on the business. Council notifies the successful and unsuccessful applicants on the outcome.
  5. We then negotiate a transfer of the Council business and work to get any necessary lease/s in place with the successful applicant.
  6. Divestment process is complete. The successful applicant owns and runs the business independent from Council.

How do I register my interest in buying a Council business?

For those enterprises and non-current assets that Council decides to divest, a tender process is followed to invite all interested parties to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Community-based organisations and individuals are welcome to apply.

Tender notices are placed on community noticeboards and advertised in the Torres News each week for up to four weeks prior to the tender close date.

An interested organisation or person must submit an EOI addressing the following questions:

  1. Is the applicant community-based?
  2. What is the applicant’s capability to run a community-based enterprise? (skills and training, interests and relevant experience)
  3. What is the applicant’s financial / resource capacity? (personnel, capital / funding)

Applicants should also consider including the following information in their EOI:

  • past business experience
  • proposed business plans for the enterprise
  • proposed organisational structure
  • individual or financial capacity to purchase and operate the business
  • funding opportunities identified by the applicant.

To demonstrate capability to run an enterprise, it’s sufficient to provide a summary of skills and resume(s) and explain how the applicant intends to undertake the business.

The assessment

Once received, a Council panel assesses the EOI to check that the applicant has the business skills needed to run a commercial enterprise independently.

The panel then makes a recommendation at a Council meeting as to whether the business should be divested to a particular applicant, and Council passes a resolution if a successful applicant is identified.

If we decide that there is no suitable applicant, the business may be re-advertised for divestment.

Who own the assets?

At the outset, Council will be retaining all buildings and associated fixtures.

A successful applicant will need to enter into a lease with us once divestment of the business and associated non-current assets is complete.

Need help?

Further assistance with funding and business ownership is available from the TSRA through the economic development program. Their contact details are:

Phone: 07 4069 0700

Related websites:

Economic development program - Torres Strait Regional Authority

Grant funding – Torres Strait Regional Authority