• Representatives from the coalition met with Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt (NITV News: Sarah Collard)Source: NITV News: Sarah Collard
First Nations representatives from the Torres Strait and far north Queensland have travelled to Canberra to call for better investment on issues including housing, health, employment and food pricing.
Sarah Collard

5 Jun 2021 - 8:21 AM  UPDATED 5 Jun 2021 - 8:38 AM

Mayors, shire leaders and councillors from Torres Strait and far north Queensland Indigenous communities have met with senior members of government to call for greater investment in their regions.

The coalition of fourteen leaders from the Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance said urgent action is needed from Canberra. 

The group had an audience with the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, the Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, other members of the Morrison government as well as the federal opposition. 

Island 'in crisis' 

Mornington Island Shire Council Mayor Kyle Yanner said his community, about 700 kilometres west of Cairns, is currently in a crisis with chronic disease, death and poverty rampant.

"How my people are at the moment, it’s unacceptable," Mr Yanner said. 

"It’s not good, you know. We got 35 year olds, 37 year olds dying, they're dying and there is no need for it.”

Priority for Mr Yanner is addressing overcrowding in homes and also improving the state of the Island's dwellings.

"We got in some cases eleven people living in a two bedroom home — three different families in a two bedroom home. Our high cost of living is absurd." he said.

A recent audit of the community provided some damning statistics, Mr Yanner said, with chronic diseases rife including diabetes, heart disease, mental health issues and kidney failure prevalent.

'What I see on my front door — There is no success. None in health, none in wellbeing, none in education. My people are still suffering and still scraping the bottom of the earth." he said.

He's calling for an independent evaluation of all the Island's services.

High cost of food, living, infrastructure 'critical'

Patricia Yusia, the newly elected mayor of Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council, wants urgent action to ensure all Australians have access to basic necessities — no matter where they live. 

"Housing, education, high cost of food and living... We need our ministers, our government in Australia, to get involved in our pain that we are having in the community," she said.

"It’s definitely a pain because we look at our future generations, in order for them to succeed we need to get that support.

"It's really important that we are here so they can see and hear the experiences of our community. Putting our issues, airports, infrastructure, housing - these are big issues." 

 Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt has been contacted for comment.