About Saibai Island


Saibai is part of the north western island group of Torres Strait, which also includes Dauan and Boigu Islands. Saibai Island lies approximately 5km off the coast of New Guinea and is approximately 20km long and 6km wide. 


The main languages spoken on Saibai Island are Kala Kawa Ya [Ka-la Ka-wa Ya], Torres Strait Creole and English. Assistance may be required for complainants, witnesses, victims and offenders who come before the courts.

History of Saibai

Saibai facts and figures

For 2011 and 2016 census information on education, employment, income, housing figures and more for Saibai Island, build a statistical profile on Know Your Community.

Native title information

Search for native title information on the National Native Title Tribunal website.

[ Return to top ]

Visiting Saibai

Saibai Island is part of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC). The TSIRC asks all visitors to Saibai Island to register their visit before they arrive. It is also recommended that visitors read the TSIRC's information on culture, protocols and heritage.

Getting to Saibai

Saibai Island can be accessed by air or boat. The island has an airstrip on its northwest side, adjacent to Saibai Village, which is operated by the TSIRC.  A number of flight companies including private charters offer air services to the Torres Strait and private boat charters are also available.  

Seasonal considerations

As the region is subject to seasonal cycles with heavy monsoon rains throughout summer and droughts during the winter, access to the island may be difficult at times. Saibai is also subject to flooding due to tidal surges and rising sea levels.

Quarantine restrictions

When visiting the Torres Strait you need to observe the quarantine regulations. It is against the law to move plant and animal material, including fruit, from the Torres Strait to the mainland. 

Strict quarantine regulations are in force on Saibai. For more information visit the Australian interstate quarantine website.   

Alcohol restrictions

There are no alcohol management plans for islands in the Torres Strait. However, please check with the local council as some island communities may have preferred protocols in relation to the consumption of alcohol. 

Local government

Search the local government directory for information about the Torres Strait Island Regional Council. 

Who to contact if you have questions about your visit

Sorry business and sad news

When news of death of a community member is received in the Saibai community, the council will close its office for 2 to 3 hours, or more, if appropriate. The office will re-open later, either on the same day or the following day. As a token of respect to the families and relatives of the deceased, the council office will also close on the day of the funeral. During this time business does not generally take place in the community, however this does not apply to essential services such as policing, child safety, health, education and justice.

For Torres Strait Island cultures, ‘Tombstone Openings’ are a time for celebration and symbolise the point that brings closure for the family of the deceased through the celebration of the person’s life. There is a lengthy mourning process from the time of the person’s death, culminating with the unveiling of the tombstone ceremony, which is followed by feasting and dancing. This process usually takes place about 1 or 2 years after the funeral, however some families may take longer to prepare for this event. 

[ Return to top ]

Community justice group

The role of the Community Justice Group (CJG) is to ensure that clients of the service are given appropriate cultural support for court matters. The CJG also provides cultural reports to the courts at sentencing and bail applications, assistance to the courts in managing community-based offences, and networking to implement crime prevention initiatives.

Members of the CJG work closely with a number of justice agencies including the Queensland Magistrates Court, Department of Corrective Services, Queensland Police Service, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service. The CJG works to support the community’s understanding of and access to the justice system by working in conjunction with Shire Council by-laws and victim support agencies.

Key ways the CJG is able to assist the community and the courts include:

  • participation in community consultations relevant to the CJG’s role within the criminal justice sector
  • preparation and presentation of written and oral sentencing submissions to the court
  • defendant support and referral (including court support)
  • victim support and referral (including court support)
  • support for debtors wishing to access the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry.

For more information about your local Community Justice Group:

[ Return to top ]

Community services

Use the Queensland Government's one place service directory to find up-to-date contact information for local support services including:

  • legal advice and support services
  • youth justice and support groups
  • domestic and family violence support
  • drug and alcohol services
  • mens' and women's groups
  • accident, emergency and medical services

[ Return to top ]

More information


[ Return to top ]