Torres Strait news
A sacked employee of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships is seeking compensation from the department for kicking her out of a state government- owned home on Thursday Island.
Ms Luisa O’Connor and her partner Milton Savage had been living in the home on Thursday Island since 2007.
She is seeking compensation through the Supreme Court in Cairns for being forcibly evicted from her home of 14 years.
According to court documents Ms O’Connor was dismissed from her position in DATSIP due to a conflict of interest, misconduct and financial impropriety. In April she lost a subsequent Industrial Relations Commission appeal to be reinstated.
“Luisa is not entitled to any compensation because she does not come from here. She is a Fiji national and the Immigration Department has just taken her passport,” a Horn Island elder told Cairns News.
“She has been using departmental money to pay her partner for questionable work like back to country ceremonies and we believe she has ripped everybody off.
“Her partner Milton has a long history of court appearances for domestic violence over the years and he is no asset to her.”
Claims by the plaintiff Luisa O’Connor that she is a descendant of the Kaurareg people of the Torres Strait have been disputed by Kaurareg elders.
“Kaurareg Aboriginal elders are the largest land owners in the Torres Strait and we do not recognise this woman as Aboriginal Kaurareg,” the elder said.
“She is a fraud and the department did the right thing by taking their house back.
“They should be starting criminal charges against her for misappropriation of money.
“Kaurareg elders from Horn Island rejected Luisa’s request to support her claim for compensation after she was evicted from the house on TI.”
The elder said the O’Connor case was just the “tip of the iceberg” when it came to fraud and financial misappropriation in the Torres Strait.
“There are many others the various departments turn a blind eye on.” – contributed