Role of the Commissioner

The Act establishes a Commissioner (Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa) who is an appropriately qualified Torres Strait Islander person with statutory powers to independently consider applications for legal recognition of Torres Strait Islander traditional child rearing practices and make Cultural Recognition Orders.

A Cultural Recognition Order permanently transfers parentage to the cultural parents and allows for the child’s or adult’s legal identity to reflect that of their cultural identity and lived experience.

Although a Cultural Recognition Order does not result in the issuing of a new birth certificate, it does facilitate the process and enables a person to apply for a birth certificate that reflects their cultural identity.

The Commissioner’s functions include:

  • independently considering and deciding applications for Cultural Recognition Orders
  • ensure the proper, efficient and effective performance of the Office of the Commissioner (the Office)
  • provide advice, make recommendations to the Minister about the operation of the Act
  • promote public awareness of the Commissioner’s functions and the Office
  • advise the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages of each Cultural Recognition Order made
  • any other functions conferred under the Act such as requesting further information from applicants.

The following are not part of the Commissioner’s role:

  • determine the appropriateness of the arrangements made between Birth Parents and Cultural Parents
  • assess the suitability and of the Cultural Parents to care for the subject person as a parent
  • assist in dispute or conflict resolution between parties to an application, or
  • provide legal advice to parties to an application.

The Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa guidelines (PDF, 581 KB) Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa guidelines (DOCX, 1.4 MB) have been developed to provide further assistance to the Commissioner when considering an application.