2819

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Submission Number
2819
Participant
Zenadth Kes Legal Pty Ltd
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

ZENADTH KES
LEGAL PTY LTD

Interim Report to
the Australian
Government
Indigenous Voice
Co-Design
Process
APRIL PREPARED BY

2021 Jacob Matysek
CEO
REPORT
i 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Zenadth Legal Pty Ltd supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and
ambitions for constitutional recognition for all First Nation Peoples.
`

Zenadth Kes Legal, a Torres Strait Islander Law
Firm acknowledges the hard work by the many
unnamed social justice advocates that have
come from all backgrounds and walks of life. We
further acknowledge the hard work of all our
elders and leaders (past, present, and
emerging) and thank them for their dedication to
our community and nation.

We also thank Honourable Minster Ken Wyatt,
The Australian Government and Australian
People for this opportunity.

1 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Zenadth Kes Legal Pty Ltd supports Torres Shire
Councils submission and the submissions made by
Zenadth Kes Secretariat Torres Strait Islander
Corporation (‘The Secretariat’) pursuant to TSRA
transition plan. The Secretariat recommends
Government endorse Zenadth Kes Regional
Assembly as Regional Voice of Torres Strait
Region (‘Zenadth Kes’) and/or Northern Peninsula
Area should all communities agree.
Should any shared issue emerge the National Voice
(as proposed) and Zenadth Kes Regional Assembly could
work together collaboratively. This could involve, amongst
other things, sitting jointly together and/or the making of
joint statements.

2 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendation One:
Zenadth Kes Legal recommends the Zenadth Kes Secretariat be
endorsed as a third co-design group.

Recommendation Two:
Zenadth Kes Legal recommends that consideration be given to the
creation of Two National Voices: a) The National Voice (as currently proposed); and
b) A Zenadth Kes Regional Voice to form part of the Zenadth Kes
Regional Assembly currently represented by the Zenadth Kes
Secretariat Torres Strait Islander Corporation until such time as the
Zenadth Kes Regional Assembly be established.

Recommendation Three:
That funding be made available to support Zenadth Kes Secretariat
perform its function and purpose being the establishment of the
Regional Assembly including the specific function of the Regional
Voice for the Torres Strait.

3 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
ESTABLISHMENT
Zenadth Kes Legal endorses regional aspirations for greater autonomy and
supports Zenadth Kes Secretariat's mission to collaborate with existing local
stakeholders and community to form a new Regional Assembly that we
agree would provide Torres Strait with a more sensible governance model.
The people and communities of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula
Area have been working passionately and collaboratively together towards
greater autonomy for many years.

The vision for our region is autonomous decision making in communities for
our communities, respect for Native Title, respect for almighty god, self-
governance, preservation of culture and traditional practices, economic
development on our terms, provision of services to our communities
avoiding duplication and waste with a view to improving outcomes in health,
education, employment, housing and the living standards of our
communities.

Torres Strait Leaders have met many times to discuss and workshop the
way forward to achieve this goal for our region.

It has been discussed by the parties that the vision can be
realised through the establishment of a governing body to be
known as Zenadth Kes Regional Assembly.

4 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
TORRES STRAIT REGIONAL
VOICE
The Terms of Reference for Senior Advisory Group suggest that
Government is committed to a process of co-design to determine options to
improve local and regional decision-making and a national voice. Our Torres
Strait Secretariat should be this voice for our Zenadth Kes because it is
formed by the leaders in the Torres Strait who know the aspirations of the
people and the communities where they already serve. The Secretariat
would dissolve naturally into Zenadth Kes Regional Assembly once it is
established.

In order to achieve local, regional and national intentions Zenadth Kes Legal
supports the establishment of Zenadth Kes Secretariat and supports
government funding to be made available to so that this body can
successfully engage with stakeholders, communities and the people in the
Torres Strait, to enable the Secretariat to engage with government at all
levels to fulfil the vision of the people of the Torres Strait, to enable the
Secretariat to perform its functions as a corporation and to achieve its
objectives as the appropriate regional voice for Zenadth Kes. T

OUR ZENADTH KES VOICE
We submit that government should strongly consider Zenadth Kes
Secretariat as both the vehicle to establish the Regional Assembly and the
regional voice to the National voice because these are the objects of the
Secretariat as set out in the Corporations Rule Book. The Zenadth Kes
Regional Assembly would become this voice once it is formed.

5 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
THIRD CO-DESIGN GROUP

THIRD CO-DESIGN GROUP

We understand that under the current proposal that the co-design process
would consist of two separate co-design groups, one to focus on local and
regional decision-making (Local & Regional Group) and the other to look at
options for a national voice (National Group).

Whilst we support the intention behind the two-groups, as part of this
submission, we seek an expanded scope. We seek endorsement and
funding support to enable The Secretariat to perform its function to establish
an important Torres Strait Regional decision-making body being the Zenadth
Kes Regional Assembly. We recommend that The Secretariat also be
endorsed as a third co-design group. Relevant documents, including our
Rule Book to give full context and depth to our proposal can be found here.
We hope that Decision Makers will appreciate the solid work already
invested by our local leaders (past, present, and emerging). We invite The
Government through this submission to walk with us on our shared vision for
regional prosperity and greater autonomy.

How will it work?
The Secretariat would act as the Regional Voice for the people of Zenadth
Kes and it would also be the vehicle to drive Regional Transition ambitions
to establish the Zenadth Kes Regional Assembly.

6 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
As part of this process, the NIAA is currently undertaking consultation
processes with communities to consider a proposal for a regional level
governance structure that:

a) Is designed and led by local communities
b) Provides advice to all levels of government about matters of
importance for communities in their relevant regions
c) Develops a partnership with all levels of government to deliver and
implement services and programs consistent with community expectations
d) Provides local input into matters of national significance

Structure
The discussion at the current time is around considering structures that best
suit the particular communities that these regional governance structures are
designed to service including:

a) Use, build on or adapt existing structures or frameworks to include the
local and regional voice
b) Alternatively, a completely new body made up of community members,
interested groups and organisations and stakeholders to establish a
structure that best meets the aspirations of a particular region.

While the current proposal appears to be focussed on providing a VOICE to
Parliament from the relevant regions to drive policy and decision making to
improve lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, there would also appear
to be scope to expand the depth and breadth of regional level governance
structures.

As proposals are in preliminary stages, we submit the proposed Zenadth Kes
Regional Assembly and interim Zenadth Kes Secretariat fits well within the
parameters of the regional level governance structure as proposed. We further
submit that this is also a timely opportunity to reignite longstanding discussions
with government to support our regional aspirations for a self-governing body
for the Torres Strait.
7 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
CONCLUSION
Zenadth Kes Legal supports the submission made by Zenadth Kes Secretariat Torres
Strait Islander Corporation and Torres Shire Council. We support the establishment of
Regional Assembly and support the Zenadth Kes Secretariat as the appropriate interim
body to represent the Torres Strait until Regional Assembly is established.

We also acknowledge Torres Shire Council has recommended establishing a regional
assembly that nominates a representative/representatives to the National Voice where
they support this National Voice having a membership of 20, reflecting gender balance
and diversity. We also support balance and diversity however at this interim stage our
current rules mandate The Secretariat to be made up of 5 founding members being the
local governments, GBK (Land and Sea Council) and TSRA who operate in the region
and the directors of the Secretariat are drawn from these founding members.

8 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
Current proposed directors for the Secretariat has a natural balance of
(1 male Mayor, 2 Male Chairs and 2 female Mayors) however once fully
established The Founding Members would be able to include any other such
members as resolved by The Corporation. The Zenadth Kes Secretariat could also
include an Advisory Council specifically for The Voice that could comprise of any
such number of agreed participants reflecting gender balance and diversity.

RECOMMENDATIONS
In light of all matters considered in this submission the Zenadth Kes Legal supports
Zenadth Kes Secretariats three recommendations for consideration. We
respectfully ask that due consideration be given to these.

Yours faithfully,

Jacob Matysek
Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson - Zenadth Kes Legal Pty Ltd

13 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT
9 2021 INDIGENOUS VOICE REPORT