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LEAD STORIES
NORF'K NYUUS
NORF'K WIEH F LEW NYUUS
COUNTRY CHAT
LIFE ON THE WEST ISLAND
AWAS SALAN (Our People)
PUBLIC NOTICES ... 1 items
TUARESM NYUUS (Tourism News): From the world of Norfolk
AA TRII O' NOHLEJ (The tree of knowledge): Norf'k - Pitkern Cultural Perspective
HERITEJ NYUUS (Heritage News)
KASED KORNA (Something funny)
GOTTA LOVE KIDS
SWEET WETLS WITH DOMINIQUE RIZZO
TEK'LOED ORF (Take a load off and put your feet up)
REAL ESTATE
CLASSIFIEDS
DAUN'TAUN (Government News)
CHUUED'KAD (Opinion's)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
PLENTI F'LAAN YORLYI (Lots to tell you)
DAA SPORTEN LAIF (The sporting life)
NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT GAZETTE
PAST ISSUES PDFs
Photo of the week
Norfolk Wetls
St John Ambulance News
Principal's Report
Community News
Police News
AUT EN ABAUT (Out and About)
Dii En Daa (This and that)

Recurrent Damage to Road Signage


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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - KEEPING THE COMMUNITY INFORMED


PUBLIC ACCESS TO COUNCIL BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY  

The Council’s Code of Meeting Practice provides the opportunity for Members of the community to make application to address Council on any issue on the Business Paper for a Council Meeting.  

‘Council thanks Mr Rael Donde, President of the Accommodation and Tourism Association (the ATA) who, on behalf of the ATA, was the first to take up the opportunity to address Council at its meeting on Wednesday on the motions being proposed by Councillor Snell,’ Mayor Adams said, ‘motions which seek to adopt the Tourism Strategic Plan and to establish a Tourism Advisory Committee; and as Mr Donde said these two motions indicate recognition by Council of its important role in Tourism’.  

Mr Donde spoke about the key challenges to implement the Tourism Strategic Plan (the Plan) which he said included –  

 Lack of funding by the Commonwealth Government to implement the Plan;
 Insufficient Tourism Budget to implement the Plan and the under resourcing of Norfolk Tourism without the General Manager;
 Ensuring Tourism Budget is not diverted to other Council needs;
 The need for the Commonwealth to be a real Stakeholder in the Plan and Advisory Committee;
 Participation in the implementation by Commonwealth agencies such as KAVHA, National Parks Board, Tourism Australia, and state agencies (possibly Destination NSW);
 The need for clear delineation of responsibilities (Administrator, Council Group Management, Norfolk Island Tourism, Destination NSW, Tourism Advisory Committee);
 Ensuring Accommodation Sector is not disadvantaged with higher council rates, which means less capacity to spend on marketing.  

‘Council looks forward at future Council meetings to having more participation by the community in this public forum,’ Mayor Adams said.   

FILMING OF COUNCIL  
Having received the endorsement of Council that the meeting be filmed, Mayor Adams welcomed Senior Correspondent Dan Rivers from Independent Television News (ITV) who has travelled from the UK to investigate how Norfolk is dealing with the transition to the new governance arrangements.  Mr Rivers was joined by Leslie White who took footage of the proceedings for possible inclusion in a documentary titled ‘On Assignment: Norfolk Island.’   
   
General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: regionalcouncil@nirc.gov.nf  

THE COUNCIL HAS AGREED A LOGO  

Some weeks ago the community was invited to submit designs for a logo for the Norfolk Island Regional Council – a logo that represents the Norfolk Island community.  

‘Council thanks those in the community who submitted designs of such a high calibre,’ Mayor Adams said, ‘and it gives me pleasure on behalf of Council to congratulate Ms Natasha Arnold for having submitted the winning design using the red tailed tropic bird flying sideway towards a young Norfolk Island Pine.’     
For the benefit of the community members present at the Council meeting Mayor Adams read the following submission from Ms Arnold that accompanied her design.  
 
 ‘These designs represent a tropic bird in flight.  The red tailed tropic bird is very significant to Norfolk Island and can be found at several distinct spots around the cliff tops where they nest.  They are a very striking bird and – like many born and bred Norfolk Islanders – are strongly connected to both the land and the sea.  By that I mean the bird feels safe and comfortable on our shores, yet adventurous and brave enough to explore new territories and elsewhere as part of life’s journey.  Something I am sure many locals can identify with.  

 ‘Also the thought behind having a bird in flight aiming for the sky can be another representation of showing growth and a way forward for the future.  
 ‘Having a vibrantly coloured young pine as part of the image/logo, I thought would set it off and be a good contrast.  A young, strong, healthy looking pine could again come to be seen as a way Norfolk can stay young at heart, strong right to the core, and healthy because of its beautiful and unique environment, which of course must be protected and continue to be taken care of for future generations of Islanders to enjoy what we now do.  The roots of the pine also spread down deep into the heart, providing stability, understanding of the Norfolk Island heritage, and again strength in an individual sense but also in a community; respectfully sharing the earth and ground with others.’  

Robin Adams
Mayor 
19 August 2016 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING – 17 AUGUST 2016


The Norfolk Island Regional Council held their second Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday,  17 August at 2:00pm in the Council Chambers in Burnt Pine.   

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC EXHIBITION 
Council resolved to put the ‘Draft Operational Plan for 2016/17’ and the ‘Schedule of fees and charges in legislation and regulations and charges for administration services and hire fees’ on public exhibition on Council’s website www.norfolkisland.gov.nf under the ‘Public Exhibition Documents Link’, the Library and Telecom until 15 September 2016.    

‘For those wanting to make a public submission on any of these documents please provide before close of business on 15 September via email to regionalcouncil@nirc.gov.nf or post to “Public Exhibition Submissions, Norfolk Island Regional Council, PO Box 95, Norfolk Island, 2899”’, Lotta Jackson said.  

APPOINTMENT OF COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEES 
‘A great avenue for the community to assist and be involved in Council matters is through Council Advisory Committees.  From the meeting last Wednesday we now have four such committees.  A Tourism Advisory Committee, a Waste Management Advisory Committee, a Public Reserves Advisory Committee and a Rock Feed Source Advisory Committee.  The full terms of reference for each of these Advisory Committees will be presented at the September 2016 Council meeting’, Lotta Jackson said.  

AUDIT COMMITTEE Council resolved to adopt the Norfolk Island Regional Council Audit Committee Charter and nominated Cr Rod Buffett to be a member of the Audit Committee.  The Group Manager Governance will soon be calling for Expressions of Interest for two Independent Audit Committee members.  The Audit Committee plays a key role in providing the Council with an independent oversight and monitoring of the Council’s audit processes, including internal and external audits, external reporting, risk management activities and business assurance reviews and activities.    

ADOPTED POLICIES 
Council adopted a number of policies and these can be found at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/NIRC_Council_Meetings/Agendas/ and include – ‘Community Donations’; ‘Oversight of the General Manager by the Mayor’; and ‘Secondary Employment Policy’.  

There was additional business covered at the Council meeting and the full minutes are available on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf under the ‘Council Meetings’ link.  
Lotta Jackson General Manager

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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR CLEANING SERVICES AT OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR



The Australian Government invites proposals from suppliers on Norfolk Island to provide cleaning services for the Office of the Administrator.  Cleaning is to be completed outside normal office hours and between the hours of 5.00am and 8.00am or 5.00pm and 8.00pm.

Proposals should also include rates for ad hoc cleaning services, including cleaning of Quality Row houses and offices at No. 11 Quality Row on an as needed basis.  

Please contact the Office of the Administrator on tel: 22152 for tender documentation or email office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au. 

Proposals should be returned via email to office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au by close of business (5pm) on Friday 2 September 2016.

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - KEEPING THE COMMUNITY INFORMED


The Norfolk Island Community Strategic Plan 


In opening the community meeting on Wednesday Mayor Adams took the opportunity to introduce to the community the newly appointed members of the senior management team of the Norfolk Island Regional Council - Ms Lotta Jackson General Manager; Ms Lisa Jackson, Group Manager Governance; Mr John van Gaalen Group Manager Commercial Hub; and Mr Bruce Taylor, Group Manager Services. 

Mayor Adams made the following opening remarks – ‘I want to reaffirm the important point that I made in my first talk on radio three weeks ago and in the local paper as Mayor, that no matter what your views are on what Norfolk’s governance model should be going forward into the future, it is essential that the Regional Council operate as efficiently and strategically as it can within the current governance framework to achieve a viable and economically sustainable future for the Island and its people.  

‘I believe that all Councillors are committed to working to achieve that goal notwithstanding the challenges that lie ahead.  No-one said that it was going to be easy but our success depends on all of us pulling together to get the best outcome that we can at this time.’ 

The General Manager presented the Strategic Plan through a power point presentation and offered the community the opportunity to ask questions and put forward their views.  

“It was evident from the meeting,” Mayor Adams said, “That the community’s expectations from the meeting may not have been fully met at this time but I hope that I made it clear that Council continues to welcome written submissions or one on one discussion with councillors for those who prefer dialogue rather than putting pen to paper”. Mayor Adams stressed the closing date for a submission is Friday 19 August. 

Tourism remains the principal driver of the economy on Norfolk Island 

Speaking on radio last Wednesday Mayor Adams reaffirmed that Tourism remains the principal driver of the economy on Norfolk Island and of the need to actively drive forward the Tourism Strategic Plan adopted by the 14th Legislative Assembly.  

‘The internet is a wonderful research tool,’ Mayor Adams said, ‘and it was encouraging to find on the NSW Local Government website the following, from which I quote: 

“Local Government plays a major role in tourism and is engaged in tourism in many ways. Councils are actively involved in promoting tourism, providing infrastructure and services to support tourism, but also in managing the impacts of tourism. 

Tourism is an important driver of economic development and employment growth but it also has impacts on communities and the environment that need to be managed.”  
 
Local Government NSW has for 10 years now staged successful annual Local Government tourism conferences and last year the conference was hosted by Byron and Ballina Councils.  I will be discussing with the General Manager the possibility of Norfolk Island offering to host the Conference in 2018.’ 

Council next meets on Wednesday 17 August 2016 at 2 pm 

Public Access at Council meetings 

The Council’s Meeting Code of Practice provides the opportunity for people to apply to address Council on any matter which is listed for consideration on Council’s business agenda.  

‘Public access at Council meetings is something new for Norfolk,’ Mayor Adams said on radio last Wednesday, ‘and of course there are rules that must be observed. For starters, application to address Council must be made in writing to the General Manager by 5 pm on the Monday prior to the meeting so for our meeting on the 17th an application must be made by next Monday 15 August.   The application must give details of the matter to be raised and it lies with the General Manager and me to decide whether the applicant is entitled to speak.  Normally there is a time limit of five minutes per speaker and no more than six addresses would be permitted for any one meeting.’ 

Mayoral Minute for the Council meeting 

Readers will recall that in an earlier media release Mayor Adams spoke about the “Mayoral Minute” which gives the Mayor the opportunity to bring forward a matter that he or she would otherwise be precluded from bringing up in other business when chairing the meeting.  

 ‘It is my intention on Wednesday,’ Mayor Adams said, ‘to use the Mayoral Minute to seek Council’s endorsement that the film crew of ‘IVT-By Arrangement ”Norfolk Island’ have access to the Council Chambers to take footage of the meeting of Council’.  

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager 
12 August 2016 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING – 17 August 2016


The second Ordinary Council meeting of the Norfolk Island Regional Council will be held on Wednesday, 17 August at 2:00pm in the Council Chambers in Burnt Pine.   
‘The agenda contains many important and interesting items’, said Ms. Jackson such as the Draft Operational Plan 2016/2017 Activities, Community Donations, Expenditure Authority in Emergencies, Oversight of the General Manager, and the selection of the Norfolk Island Regional Council Logo.  


This is followed by items in respect of Governance policies including the draft Audit Committee Charter and the recommended Fees and Charges for 2016/2017. 
 
The meeting is open to the public with seating for those wishing to attend. The public may arrange to speak on any item on the agenda as part of the Public Access session by contacting Council on 22001 Ext 128 or via email to - gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf , by 5pm on Monday 15 August. All potential speakers must state what item on the agenda they will address. The time limit is for a maximum of 5 minutes per speaker. All speakers are to address the Council courteously and must only speak on the topic of the item as submitted.  

The Business Paper Agenda and attachments can be found on Council’s web-page www.norfolkisalnd.gov.nf , then by following the link from ‘Council Meetings’, then ‘Council Meeting Agendas’, and hard copies can be viewed at the Library.    

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager  
12 August 2016 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - PUBLIC MEETING ON THE COMMUNITY STRATEGIC PLAN


A meeting with approximately 130 community members in attendance was held last Wednesday 10 August to provide an overview of the Community Strategic Plan and its importance to the new Council and the community. This presentation complements the public consultation process that commenced in April this year.  
The Mayor took the opportunity to introduce the Norfolk Island Regional Council executive team, starting with the General Manager Lotta Jackson who conducted the presentation, and then Lisa Jackson (Group Manager Governance) John Van Gaalen (Group Manager Community Hub) and Bruce Taylor (Group Manager Services).   


The Mayor highlighted the extensive responsibility areas of each Group Manager where Lisa is responsible for the following functions in Council: Reform Management; Integrated & Corporate Planning; Risk & Internal Audit; Governance; Policy development; Records, Public Information; Legal Court Support; Local Radio Station; Economic Development, Tourism Museums and Library.  

John is responsible for Customer Services; Human Resources; Knowledge Management (Information Technology); Administration Services; Registry Office - Land and Companies; Finance; Commercial Support; Accounts Receivable; Payroll, Grants and Logistics.   

Bruce is responsible for the challenging functions of Waste and Environment; Public Works; Roads & Open Spaces; Building & Grounds Maintenance; Noxious weeds; Cemetery; Forestry; Emergency Services; Electricity; Telecommunications; Retail Operations (supply of Rock and Tanalith); Liquor Bond; Contracted Services; Lighterage; Ports; Airport; Building and Development and Mechanics. A very busy team indeed!  

Ms Jackson provided information on the draft Strategic Plan and how the community can be involved, highlighting that the Plan has 6 Strategic Directions: 

 An environmentally sustainable community 
 A proud, diverse and inclusive community 
 A caring community 
 A successful and innovative community 
 An informed and accountable community 
 A healthy and safe community  

The Strategic Directions are underpinned by 13 Objectives and Ms Jackson emphasized that the Norfolk Island plan had a strong theme of social and cultural inclusion and connectivity as well as a key focus on protecting the environment.  
  
The presentation was followed by questions from the audience and many members of the community took the opportunity to have their say.  

In closing, the meeting Ms. Jackson thanked the community for their attendance and participation during question time, and she said, “I look forward to working with the community in implementing the strategies of the plan over time”.   

The community was reminded that the third draft of the Norfolk Island Strategic Plan can be viewed from the NIRC website - www.norfolkisland.gov.nf , follow the links from ‘Public Exhibition Documents’. The Mayor further informed the community that ‘submissions are welcome until 19 August 2016’ and can be submitted by post to “Public Exhibition Submissions, Norfolk Island Regional Council, PO Box 95, 2899” or via email to gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf .   

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager  
12 August 2016 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - INTRODUCTION OF AN ORDINARY RATE


On 5 May 2016 the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) (the Act) was amended allowing specific provisions for the introduction of an ordinary land rate for Norfolk Island.  On 20 July 2016 the Norfolk Island Regional Council placed a recommended rating model on public exhibition for 28 days and if no submissions are received, the model becomes the rating structure for the Norfolk Island Regional Council 2016/2017.  

  
The proposed rating model is currently on public exhibition until 19 August 2016 and community members are invited to lodge submissions to ‘Public Submissions, Norfolk Island Regional Council, PO Box 95, Norfolk Island, 2899’ or email gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf.  The proposed model can be found at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/NIRC_Council_Meetings/PublicExhibitDocs and is also copied below.  

The proposed model has three categories for ordinary rates - farmland, residential and business, with each of these having sub-categories.  Ratepayers will have the option of paying their rates as one annual sum or in quarterly instalments.  There are concessions on the rateable amount to avoid hardship and for eligible pensioners.  Eligible pensioners are charged half the ordinary rate.     

The ordinary rate for 2016/2017 will be a non-value based rates system with the Act requiring Council to raise $500,000 in rating revenue for the first rateable year, and then a minimum of $1,000,000 for subsequent years.  For 2016/2017 categorisation of rateable land will be conducted by the Norfolk Island Regional Council.  Work is continuing to move to a value based rating system and a new model may be available for consideration by the elected Council for the 2017/2018 year.  
Each rateable land owner will receive in the very near future, a notice advising them of the rating category and sub-category of their land.  Landowners are able to seek a review of their category by applying to the Council, in the first instance.   

‘Revenue from rates is an important component of a Council’s budget.  The revenue raised will contribute to Council expenses such as the upkeep of roads and buildings, contributions towards Tourism and maintenance of public areas, including picnic areas, sports fields and reserves which we all enjoy using,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.   

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager   

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - GST IN NORFOLK TELECOM INVOICES


Norfolk Telecom customers are advised that their July 2016 Telecom invoice incorrectly included a GST component.  The GST amount that appears on the July invoice will be credited to customers’ accounts in the August 2016 invoice.  

  
The Norfolk Island Regional Council sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused.    

Norfolk Telecom fees and charges, excluding GST, have been reviewed and it will be recommended to Council at the August Council meeting that these fees and charges be increased to cover the cost of the service during the year.   

For any enquiries please contact the Customer Care Team on 22244 or email customercare@nirc.gov.nf.  

Please note: this media release issued on 5 August 2016 and titled ‘GST in Norfolk Telecom Invoices’ contains further information and supersedes the media release that was issued on  2 August 2016 titled ‘Telecom Invoices’.  Therefore, please disregard the ‘Telecom Invoices’  2 August 2016 media release.    

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - THE GRAND WASTE PLAN


As you are aware, Council staff is commencing the large task of moving towards minimising waste and having zero waste disposal at Headstone. 


A recent study identified that 85% of the island’s waste can be processed sustainably on island. The below diagram shows the waste management hierarchy that everyone in the community can start to follow. If we can all make a concerted effort to minimise and reuse our waste, then in turn we will reduce the impact on our environment and lessen the financial burden on our community.    


‘To reach the stage where we actually do reduce waste and are able to process recyclables on the island, we will need to cover the cost of waste management. Currently the waste fund is in deficit, which is not sustainable.  Waste is everyone’s responsibility and the waste management levy is clearly not covering the cost of Waste Management.  Subsequently it would be irresponsible if Council didn’t look at ways of covering this shortfall,’ said Ms Lotta Jackson. 

The community should also be made aware that the funding that was granted to the Administration of Norfolk Island for a high temperature incinerator is no longer available. The recent study did not recommend the incineration of any waste streams and has identified a number of risks associated with air and water quality and the island’s ability to process the ash by-product.  

The Council is looking into future funding opportunities for the management of waste on Norfolk Island.  The community should be assured that the Council has a way forward and a commitment to cease the ocean outfall of all waste within 1-2 years.  
 
General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: regionalcouncil@nirc.gov.nf  
If anyone has a bright idea on how to minimise waste let Council know at regionalcouncil@nirc.gov.nf  or send a letter addressed to the General Manger, PO Box 95, Norfolk Island, 2899.  

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager

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NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT SERVICES STRUCTURE


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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - KEEPING THE COMMUNITY INFORMED THE 2016 CENSUS ON NORFOLK ISLAND


Mayor Adams spoke on radio this week about the upcoming Census to be conducted on Norfolk Island on Tuesday, 9 August. 


‘This time Norfolk Island is being included in the Census being conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics whilst in previous years Norfolk's Census was conducted under Norfolk Island legislation,’ Mayor Adams said, ‘and I have had a number of very encouraging discussions with Mrs Alice Rogers who has been engaged by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as Norfolk Island's Area Supervisor for the Census. Alice was the successful applicant when Expressions of Interest were invited by the ABS some time ago. She is being assisted in the distribution of Census Forms to households on Norfolk by Ms Tania Randall, Mrs Megan Magri and Mrs Jeanette Cassidy. 

‘Mrs Rogers tells me that the ABS is very culturally aware and is to be applauded for their sensitivity and response to Norfolk Islander's concerns that their identity will be lost by their inclusion in the Australian Census; that the ABS has understood Norfolk's distinctiveness and the importance of collecting information unique to Norfolk Island; in particular the need to recognise the Norfolk Island language and the number of Norfolk Island people of Pitcairn descent, both on Island and in Australia,’ Mayor Adams said. 

‘The ABS recognises that we are different and of the need to recognise that difference and I thank our Area Supervisor Alice Rogers whom I know has played a key role in achieving this recognition. Alice has asked me to mention that the procedure being used for dropping off Census forms to Norfolk householders is also unique as Tania, Megan and Jeanette will be making every effort to speak with householders and explain the opportunities when completing the Census form for them to record their Pitcairn ancestry and heritage. 

‘So how’, Mayor Adams said, ‘will the Norfolk Islanders be recognised when they complete their Census forms? Well firstly in the pack of Census material delivered to your home is a Census Household Form and at the top of the Census Household Form on the left hand side you will see a 10 digit Code number. The ABS computer will recognise that number as a Census form coming from Norfolk Island. 

 ‘Secondly in each pack of Census material is a separate form headed The 2016 Census on Norfolk Island’, Mayor Adams said, ‘this form, which is only being distributed to people on Norfolk Island, provides guidance on how to fill out the main Census form so that there is recognition of being born on Norfolk Island; being of Pitcairn descent; speaking the Norfolk Island language; identifying whether your Mother or Father were born on Norfolk Island; and identifying your ancestry as Pitcairn. Two new codes have been created by the ABS in their data base - one to recognise Norf'k/Pitcairn as a language; the other to record people of Pitcairn ancestry/descent in the Polynesian group.’ 

General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: regionalcouncil@nirc.gov.nf  
Mayor Adams went on to explain that whilst the form The 2016 Census on Norfolk Island is only being distributed to households on Norfolk, that Ms Rogers has also arranged for it to be posted on Facebook by Norfolk Online so the opportunity is there for people to spread the message and the information form far and wide to family and friends living in Australia to encourage them to also have their Norfolk heritage recorded in the Australian Census. 

‘A side benefit of having a code on the Census form which identifies the form as coming from Norfolk Island’, Mayor Adams said, ‘will also allow collection of other statistical data such as age and financial demographics which can be used by the Commonwealth Government in assessing appropriate funding needs for our unique situation.’   

Mayor Adams reminded the Norfolk Island community of the importance of completing the Census, quoting from the form which says ‘CENSUS IS OUR MOMENT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE’. 

Mayor Adams again spoke about - 

THE FORTHCOMING COMMUNITY GATHERING TO DISCUSS THE  COMMUNITY STRATEGIC PLAN 2016-2026 

In again reminding the community to come to Rawson Hall on Wednesday, 10 August at 5:30pm to give their views on the draft 10 year Community Strategic Plan, Mayor Adams took the opportunity to speak about how the Vision in the current draft of the Plan came to be included. 

‘The current version of the Strategic Plan’, Mayor Adams said, ‘has its Vision that Norfolk work towards being recognised as “The Best Small Island in the World”, or as Archie Biggs in his poem calls Norfolk “Daa Baas Side Orn Earth”.  This aspiration is not new and I first became aware of it in 1974 when the Commonwealth Government engaged Professor G.J. Butland, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of New England in NSW, to undertake a population study of Norfolk Island.  In his report Professor Butland concluded that –  

 “If a concerted effort were made, backed by larger financial resources, the community could turn the small area of the island to its own advantage by converting Norfolk Island into ‘the best small island in the world’, a model haven of considerable beauty, of unique historical interest, of a thriving community, and of rest and relaxation….”. 

‘That possibility’, Mayor Adams said, ‘remains as real today as it did in 1974 but as always it is up to us as a community to believe in the possibility and bring it to fruition.’ 

Mayor Adams urged the community to join Councillors at next Wednesday’s meeting so Councillors can hear from the community on the Plan following the power point presentation conducted by the General Manager Ms Lotta Jackson.  

Robin Adams
Mayor  
4 August 2016

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - PUBLIC MEETING REMINDER 10 AUGUST 2016


The community are reminded that a public meeting will be held at Rawson Hall on Wednesday,  10 August 2016 at 5:30pm.  


‘The public meeting will be held in two parts.  I will provide a presentation on the Community Strategic Plan and how important this document is for the Norfolk Island community, including how other plans of Council are formulated from the Community Strategic Plan.  The second part of the meeting will be for those present to ask questions,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.  

‘Attending the public meeting on 10 August will provide community members with further information on the Community Strategic Plan and how the community can be involved.  Public submissions on this plan can be submitted up until close of business on 19 August 2016 and can be submitted by post to “Public Exhibition Submissions, Norfolk Island Regional Council, PO Box 95, 2899” or via email to gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf,’ Mayor Adams said.     

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager    

03 August 2016   

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THE 2016 CENSUS ON NORFOLK ISLAND


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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - LET’S GET EXCITED ABOUT WASTE


Waste management on Norfolk Island has been an ongoing issue for many years. The Waste & Environment Section of the Norfolk Island Regional Council is pleased to announce that there has been a significant shift at the Waste Management Centre and it is well on the way to contributing to make Norfolk Island the ‘best small island in the world.’ 

The Waste Management Centre is working towards becoming a streamlined Waste Transfer Station with reuse and recycling facilities and sustainable management of waste. 

The team at the Waste & Environment Section cannot achieve this without the help of the Norfolk Island community. If everyone on the island sorts their rubbish and aims to reduce their waste, then the waste management team can have the time to efficiently process the communities waste. 


It is acknowledged that the community can see trucks with mixed waste being transported to Headstone for processing and this has discouraged people from properly sorting their waste.  This article is, however, aiming to inform the community that sorting our rubbish is actually worth it. 

Many in the community would know that John Wichman from EcoReset Pasifika has been engaged by the Norfolk Island Regional Council to remove certain waste streams from the island for processing in both Australia and New Zealand. 

Since the engagement of EcoReset Pasifika the following waste streams have been exported for processing: 
- Over 14 tonnes of scrap metal  
- 5 tonnes of aluminium cans
- 3 tonnes of steel cans
- 1 tonne of copper - 2 pallets of Airport Landing Equipment
- 21 tonnes of shredded tyres
- 8.5 tonnes of waste oil 

‘Just by sorting our rubbish at home we can halve the rubbish that is processed at Headstone,’ said Lotta Jackson, ‘and the team at Waste & Environment recognise that there is still a way to go.  However, they are really excited about working with the community to create a sustainable Waste Management Facility to be proud of. 
  
‘I also urge all residents, businesses and accommodation houses to minimise waste wherever you can’, said Lotta Jackson, ‘and this can be done through some simple tips such as:  

 Think about packaging when you purchase – less packaged, less waste
 Compost green waste, food scraps and newspaper   Reuse containers and building materials where possible  
 Give toys, furniture and clothes to charity (clean first)  
 Bring a cloth bag to the shops, less plastic bags   Buy drinks in cans rather than glass or plastic bottles
 Use containers instead of gladwrap.  

‘Council will provide updates to the community as we progress towards sustainable waste management.  Lastly, if you have a bright idea on how to minimise waste let us know by emailing regionalcouncil@nirc.gov.nf  or send a letter addressed to the General Manger, PO Box 95, Norfolk Island, 2899,’ Lotta Jackson said.    
 
Lotta Jackson
General Manager  

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - PUBLIC MEETING NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNITY STRATEGIC PLAN 2016-2026


At the Ordinary Council Meeting on 20 July 2016 Council resolved to facilitate a public meeting to explain the objectives of the Draft Norfolk Island Community Strategic Plan 2016-2026.  


This public meeting will be held at Rawson Hall on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 at 5:30pm.    

‘I have worked with the NSW Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework since its inception in 2009.  It is a framework that is highly effective and I look forward to presenting the objectives of the Community Strategic Plan and explaining how important the plan is, and how it sits as the overarching document at the top of the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework.  There will be an opportunity for those present to raise questions at the end of the presentation.  I am pleased that the public meeting will also allow me an opportunity to meet with more Norfolk Island community members,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.  

‘I thank Councillor McCoy for instigating this important public meeting,’ Mayor Adams said, ‘I would also like to remind the community that the draft Norfolk Island Community Strategic Plan 2016-2026 can be viewed at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf under the “Public Exhibition Documents” link.  Public submissions on this document can be made until close of business on 19 August 2016 and can be submitted by post to “Public Exhibition Submissions, Norfolk Island Regional Council, PO Box 95, Norfolk Island, 2899” or via email to gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf.’    

Lotta Jackson
General Manager   

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - 1800 AND 13 TELEPHONE NUMBERS


There is an increasing number of 1800 and 13 numbers becoming available for those seeking assistance from Australian government departments and community services. 

Where available, these numbers are either free of charge or charged at the cost of a local call if you just dial the number provided and do not dial the international prefix.  

Please note that if you use the 0061 international prefix before dialling the 1800 or 13 number it will be recorded as an international call and you will be charged at international rates.   

Lotta Jackson
General Manager  

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - KEEPING THE COMMUNITY INFORMED


CONGRATULATIONS AND INVITATION TO  THE HON SENATOR FIONA NASH MP 


Mayor Adams and the General Manager on behalf of the Regional Council and the Norfolk Island community have sent a letter of congratulations to Norfolk’s new Federal Minister the Hon Senator Fiona Nash MP along with an invitation to visit Norfolk as soon as she is able.  Senator Nash is Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communications and Minister for Local Government and Territories. 

Senator Nash’s stated vision ‘to help build country communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to’ certainly aligns with the aspirations of the Norfolk Island community and recognises the tyranny of isolation and distance experienced by tiny remote communities such as Norfolk Island.  

WEEKLY CHAT BY THE MAYOR ON LOCAL RADIO 

Mayor Adams will be providing updates on Council activities on our local radio each Wednesday after the local news at 8:00am. 

This week Mayor Adams reflected on the work of the Council since 1 July 2016 and how well attended the two meetings that were open to the public had been. 
‘It is important’, Mayor Adams said, ‘to keep in mind that no matter what a person’s views are on what Norfolk’s governance model should be going forward into the future, that it is essential that the Regional Council operate as efficiently and strategically as it can within the new governance framework to achieve a viable and economically sustainable future for the Island and its people. Councillors are committed’, Mayor Adams said ‘to work to achieve that goal notwithstanding the challenges that lie ahead.’ 

Discussion also ranged over the following:  The public meeting to be held on Wednesday, 10 August at Rawson Hall at 5:30pm to provide the community with the opportunity to share their thoughts on the content of the draft 10 year Community Strategic Plan which is available for viewing at the Library or Telecom or online at - http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/NIRC_Council_Meetings/PublicExhibitDocs.   Mayor Adams advised that the current version of the Strategic Plan – Draft No. 3 - has as its Vision that Norfolk Island be recognised as ‘The Best Small Island in the World’.     

General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: regionalcouncil@nirc.gov.nf 
 ‘This is a wonderful aspirational goal’, Mayor Adams said, ‘an aspiration that can be achieved by the Council and the Norfolk Island community working together collaboratively to achieve that outcome. I urge the community to join Council at the meeting on 10 August so we can hear your views following the power point presentation conducted by the General Manager.’ 

 The community was also encouraged to take the opportunity to make submissions by 19 August 2016 on the draft Operational Plan Budget for 2016/17 which is also available on the above website.  Mayor Adams reported on the fortnightly meeting she and the General Manager has with the Administrator and the Official Secretary to keep lines of direct communication open between the Council and the Commonwealth.  Mayor Adams advised that last week’s meeting focussed on the motion passed at the Council meeting on 20 July that discussion be held with the Commonwealth Government on the Airport Loan from the Commonwealth being deemed fully discharged with effect 1 September 2016; a gesture of goodwill to the Norfolk Island community as part of the transition to a sustainable Regional Council.  

‘It was encouraging,’ Mayor Adams said, ‘to learn that the Administrator had made representation on earlier occasions on this issue.’    
 
Robin Adams 
Mayor 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - MAKE YOUR MARK ON THE NEW REGIONAL COUNCIL


A media release on 15 July 2016 was issued calling for interested persons to submit logo designs for the new Norfolk Island Regional Council logo.  


‘Why not be creative this weekend and participate in the Norfolk Island Regional Council’s Logo competition? The closing time for logo submissions being this coming Monday, 1 August 2016 at 4.30pm, this is your last chance,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.  

For those still wishing to submit a logo, a recap of the 15 July 2016 media release is below:  

 it is important that the logo represent the Norfolk Island community as Council is in place to serve its community 
 the design needs to consider that the logo will be used on business cards as well as large banners, but apart from that there are no limitations on the designs that can be submitted 
 for those that can’t submit a digitised logo, sketches will be accepted and Council will work with a graphic designer to digitise the sketch 
 Councillors will assess and then decide on the logo for the Norfolk Island Regional Council.  Council reserves the right to slightly amend the final logo design if required and will do this in consultation with the designer to ensure the integrity of the design  
 a small prize will be given to the successful logo designer 
 designs can be submitted to Gaye Evans, New Military Barracks, Kingston or via email to gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf by 4.30pm, 1 August 2016     

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager   

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: COST OF CALLING THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES



We are making it easier for you to call us. You no longer need to use the international calling  pre-fix +61 when dialling our numbers. 

This means you can call us free of charge or at the cost of a local call. 

Call costs from your home phone to the department’s:

13 numbers may be free of charge or the cost of a local call 
1800 numbers (Freecall™) are free.

Some of our telephone lines are either closed or have limited opening times on public holidays. It is recommended that you make your call on normal business days.

Go to humanservices.gov.au for more information about payments and services or to make a claim. 

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EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST



Expressions of interest are invited from persons who would like to become trustees of the Norfolk Island Museum Trust.  Interested persons should familiarise themselves with the role and functions the trust by reviewing the Museum Trust Act 1987.  

Appointments will be for an initial period until 6 December 2016 to allow time for a consideration of longer-term appointments.

Persons wishing to express an interest should complete the nomination and personal interests declaration forms provided on the Norfolk Island Regional Council website at http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/forms/StatutoryBoardsCommittees/.  

Completed forms should be provided to the Office of the Administrator by 2.00pm, Thursday 4 August 2016.   These can be scanned and emailed to office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au or returned in person to the office located in the New Military Barracks, Kingston.

If there are any queries please contact the Office of the Administrator on 22152.

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - DOCUMENTS FOR PUBLIC EXHIBITION


The Council held their first Ordinary Meeting on 20 July 2016 at 2:00pm.  The minutes are available at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf . Around twenty-five members of the public attended the meeting. ‘It is great to see that the community is interested in the activities of the new Council,’ said Lotta Jackson, ‘We are off to a good start with the focus on the draft Community Strategic Plan and the budget for 2016/17.  

 
For specific items before Council, and in accordance with relevant legislation, Council must resolve to place documents on public exhibition and invite public submissions.  A number of important matters were discussed at the Council meeting and Council resolved to place five documents on public exhibition.  These are detailed below along with the relevant closing dates for public submissions on each document.    

For those wanting to make a submission the documents are available to view under the ‘Public Exhibition Documents’ link on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf or hard copies are available at the Norfolk Island Library or from the Customer Care Team in the Telecom Building.  If you would like to make a submission on one or all of the documents, please provide via email to gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf or post to ‘Public Exhibition Submissions, Norfolk Island Regional Council, PO Box 95, Norfolk Island, 2899’.    

The Council resolved that the draft Norfolk Island Regional Council Code of Meeting Practice be placed on public exhibition for 28 days with a 42 day period for public submissions. The public submissions must be received by close of business 2 September 2016.  If no public submissions are received the draft document becomes the adopted Code of Meeting Practice for the Council.  

Council resolved that the draft policy titled Payment of Expenses and Provision of Facilities to Councillors be placed on public exhibition for 28 days.  If the Council does not receive any public submissions by close of business on 19 August 2016 the draft document is adopted as policy.    

Council resolved to adopt the Norfolk Island Community Strategic Plan 2016-2026 and place it on public exhibition for 28 days, until 19 August 2016.  This is to allow the Norfolk Island Regional Council to facilitate a public meeting to further explain the objectives of the plan to the community.  Details of this public meeting will be provided next week.  

The Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) at section 513A requires the Norfolk Island Regional Council to raise revenue by ordinary rates (land rates) of $500,000 for the year ending 30 June 2017 and $1,000,000 for year ending 30 June 2018 and any later year.  The Council resolved to place the recommended rating model on public exhibition for 28 days, and if no submissions are received, the model becomes the rating structure for the Norfolk Island Regional Council 2016/17.  Public submissions must be made by close of business 19 August 2016.  

General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: generalmanager@nirc.gov.nf 
The Council resolved to adopt the Operational Plan Budget for 2016/17 and place it on public exhibition for 28 days.  If no submissions are received by close of business on 19 August 2016, the budget becomes the adopted budget for the Norfolk Island Regional Council 2016/17.  

OTHER BUSINESS DEALT WITH AT THE ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING  

The Mayoral Minute was utilised by Mayor Adams to discuss the Airport Loan from the Commonwealth, further details can be found in the Mayors media release on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf.  

The remuneration fees for Councillors and the Mayor were adopted by Council.  The fees are in line with the determination made by the NSW Local Government Remuneration Tribunal 26 March 2016 and a Norfolk Island Applied Laws Ordinance.  The remuneration for each Councillor is $11,290 and the Mayor receives an additional fee of $24,630 for the year 2016/17.  

In relation to the relevant sections of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) (NI) the Council delegated powers to the General Manager to allow her to exercise her functions as General Manager and exercise Council’s powers, functions, duties and authorities contained in legislation.  Council is able, by resolution, to direct the General Manager in the exercise of any function delegated.  

Council adopted two policies – ‘Councillor Access to Information and Interaction with Staff’ and a ‘Media Policy’.  These two policies will soon be available under the ‘Policies and Procedures’ link on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf but can be viewed as attachments 5 and 6 on the following link in the meantime http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/NIRC_Council_Meetings/Agendas/      
 
Lotta Jackson 
General Manager  

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - KEEPING THE COMMUNITY INFORMED


WHAT IS A MAYORAL MINUTE?  
The Council’s Code of Meeting Practice gives the Mayor the ability to put to a Meeting of Council a written and signed Mayoral Minute on any matter or topic that is within the jurisdiction of Council or of which Council has official knowledge.  A Mayoral Minute put to a meeting takes precedence over all business on the Council’s Business Paper for that Meeting.  A recommendation made in a Mayoral Minute if adopted by the Council becomes a resolution of the Council.  As the designated chairperson of Council meetings the Mayor is restricted from putting matters on the Notice Paper.  A Mayoral Minute gives the Mayor the opportunity to bring forward a matter that he or she would otherwise be precluded from raising in other business.  

At the first Ordinary Meeting of the Council on 20 July 2016 Mayor Adams moved, and the Council unanimously agreed, the following Mayoral Minute:  

‘That the Council agrees the Mayor and the General Manager enter into discussion with the Commonwealth Government that the Airport Loan from the Commonwealth be deemed fully discharged with effect 1 September 2016 as a gesture of goodwill to the Norfolk Island community as part of the transition to a sustainable Regional Council.’  

Speaking to the motion Mayor Adams provided the following background:  


‘In March 2015, the Australian Government announced comprehensive reforms for Norfolk Island. It was stated that the action was taken to address issues of sustainability which have arisen from the model of self-government requiring Norfolk Island to deliver local, state and federal functions since 1979.  

‘The Australian Government further stated that these significant reforms will help deliver equity and economic stability to Norfolk Island and ensure residents have access to essential services that all Australians deserve.  

‘Currently expenditure in the draft Operational Plan Budget 2016/17 is budgeted to outstrip income by $4,200,000 with an outstanding loan of $11.4 million dollars for the last upgrade of the airport.  This debt, along with the obligation to not only fund the next overlay; but to also fund the ongoing maintenance and depreciation on the rest of the airports assets - the Fire engines, the airport terminal, the Emergency Services Building etc. – we are left with the conclusion that the Norfolk Island airport is currently a demonstrably financially unsustainable asset.   

General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: generalmanager@nirc.gov.nf 
‘I hold the view that the Norfolk Island Regional Council should commence its operations from a platform where it can reasonably achieve economic sustainability as promised by the Commonwealth without having to commence its operations with a deficit budget as is currently being proposed.  

‘To conclude, I submit that the Commonwealth agreeing as a gesture of good will to deeming the Airport loan as fully discharged with effect 1 September 2016 would from the outset assist the Regional Council to address the issues of sustainability for Norfolk Island moving forward.’   

Robin Adams
JP Mayor 

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INTRODUCING THE GROUP MANAGER - COMMERCIAL HUB


The Group Manager Commercial Hub (CFO) for the Norfolk Island Regional Council, John van Gaalen, commenced with the Council on 18 July 2016.   John was born and grew up in Mackay, Queensland where he completed his education.  John has a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and is a Fellow of CPA Australia. He also has qualifications in financial planning, small business management and taxation.  

John has over 30 years public service experience across Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and England in health, education and local government. This experience has covered finance, payroll/human resources and corporate services. John’s commercial experience spans 21 years in the transport, engineering, health and finance sectors, in Queensland and Victoria.  

John’s personal interests include travel, rugby league (Cowboys and Maroons), EPL, child health and well-being and mathematics.  He enjoys socialising, and spending time with friends and family, his wife and son. 

‘The Executive Management team of Council is now complete with the arrival of John.  I, along with the other members of the Executive Management team – the Group Managers for Services and Governance – welcomed his arrival this week.  We are now in week three of the Regional Council and John has hit the ground running.  The Executive Management team bring a multitude of strengths and skills to the Norfolk Island Regional Council and I look forward to the work that we will be doing together,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.   

Lotta Jackson
General Manager
  

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IMPORTANT NOTICE



Important notice: cost of calling the Australian Government Department of Human Services

We are making it easier for you to call us. You no longer need to use the international calling 
pre-fix +61 when dialling our numbers. 

This means you can call us free of charge or at the cost of a local call. 

Call costs from your home phone to the department’s:

13 numbers may be free of charge or the cost of a local call 
1800 numbers (Freecall™) are free.

Some of our telephone lines are either closed or have limited opening times on public holidays. It is recommended that you make your call on normal business days.

Go to humanservices.gov.au for more information about payments and services or to make a claim. 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - THE COUNCIL’S CHARTER – KEEPING THE COMMUNITY INFORMED


The Norfolk Island Regional Council (your Council) was formally constituted on 1 July 2016 and brings to our community a new way of ‘doing government business’ on Norfolk Island.  Your Council in the main operates under the provisions of the NSW Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) and NSW Local Government (General) Regulations 2005 (the Regulations).    


However, the Commonwealth has made a number of modifications to the Act to make the operation of the Act more relevant to Norfolk Island circumstances. This legislation of course brings many changes to Norfolk Island which we will talk about in the coming weeks.  This week we will talk about the principles that are to guide your Council under the Act.   

Your Council has the following charter  

 to provide directly or on behalf of other levels of government, after due consultation, adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities for the community and to ensure that those services and facilities are managed efficiently and effectively  
 to exercise community leadership  
 to exercise its functions in a manner that is consistent with and actively promotes the multicultural principles  
 to promote and to provide and plan for the needs of children  
 to properly manage, develop, protect, restore, enhance and conserve the environment of the area for which it is responsible, in a manner that is consistent with and promotes the principles of ecologically sustainable development  
 to have regard to the long term and cumulative effects of its decisions  
 to bear in mind that it is the custodian and trustee of public assets and to effectively plan for, account for and manage the assets for which it is responsible  
 to engage in long-term strategic planning on behalf of the local community 
 to exercise its functions in a manner that is consistent with and promotes social justice principles of equity, access, participation and rights  
 to facilitate the involvement of councillors, members of the public, users of facilities and services and council staff in the development, improvement and co-ordination of local government  
 to raise funds for local purposes by the fair imposition of rates, charges and fees, by income earned from investments and, when appropriate, by borrowings and grants  
 to keep the local community informed about its activities  
 to ensure that, in the exercise of its regulatory functions, it acts consistently and without bias, particularly where an activity of the council is affected  
 to be a responsible employer.  
  
General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: generalmanager@nirc.gov.nf 

The first Ordinary Meeting of your Council will be held on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 2.00pm in the Council Chambers in the Bi-Centennial Complex.  The meeting is open to the public.  

Robin Adams 
Mayor

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING – 20 JULY 2016


The Norfolk Island Regional Council is now 2 weeks old and the first Ordinary Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, 20 July at 2:00pm in the new Council Chambers in Burnt Pine.  


‘The agenda contains many important items’, said Lotta Jackson ‘we are starting with procedural matters such as the Code of Meeting Practice, Fees for Councillors and the Mayor and Delegations of Authority to the General Manager.  This is followed by three policies: Payment of expenses and provision of facilities to Councillors, Councillor access to information and interaction with staff and a Media Policy.  The Norfolk Island Community Strategic Plan, the proposed Rating model for 2016/17 and the Budget for 2016/17 are also items on the agenda’. 

The meeting is open to the public with seating for those wanting to attend.  The public may speak on any item on the agenda as part of the Public Access session by contacting Council on 22001 ext 128 or via email to gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf by 4pm on Monday 18 July.  All potential speakers must state what item on the agenda they will address.  The time limit is for a maximum of 5 minutes per speaker.  All speakers are to address the Council courteously and must only speak on the topic of the item as submitted. 

The Business Paper Agenda and attachments can be found on Council’s web-page www.norfolksialnd.gov.nf and hard copies can be viewed at the Library.  

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager  

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - NEW LOGO REQUIRED FOR THE NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL


A new logo is required for the new Norfolk Island Regional Council.  It is important that the logo represent the Norfolk Island community as Council is in place to serve its community.  As such, the Concillors and General Manager would like to invite interested persons to submit logo designs for the Norfolk Island Regional Council.  


‘We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to submit logo ideas.  We acknowledge that some people will be able to submit a digitised logo, however, for those that can’t we would also like to accept sketches from interested persons.  If a sketch was selected, the Council would work with a graphic designer to digitise the logo,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.  

‘Whilst there will be a small prize given to the successful logo designer, the designer will be remembered in Norfolk Island history as the creator of a prestigious logo that will be widelycirculated,’ Mayor Adams said.   ‘There are some limitations on the logo design in that we need to be able to use it on business cards as well as large banners but apart from that, we are excited to see what designs will come forth.  Logos should be submitted to Gaye Evans, New Military Barracks, Kingston or via email to gaye.evans@nirc.gov.nf no later than 4.30pm on 1 August 2016,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.  

The Councillors will assess and then decide on the logo for the Norfolk Island Regional Council.  The Council reserves the right to slightly amend the final logo design if required and will do this in consultation with the designer to ensure the integrity of the design.    

Lotta Jackson 
General Manager   

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NORFOLK ISLAND COUNCIL OF ELDERS INFORMATION BULLETIN JULY 2016



Importation of Fruit & Vegetables

Following up on significant concerns expressed from within the community to the change of policy in respect of importation of primary produce into the Island; the Council hosted an Open Meeting on 26 June to bring together stakeholders and facilitate a coordinated response to the appropriate authorities. The meeting was well attended with nearly 100 people present, representing the broad spectrum of Island and Industry stakeholders. This forum allowed people to share knowledge and information, discuss concerns, and collectively articulate a professional local response. A formal letter has now been sent to the responsible Federal Minister and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources which includes copies of all written submissions received following the open meeting. The Council will continue to lobby authorities on this matter until a satisfactory review is achieved and stakeholder consultation is given genuine due process.


Progress to reinstate Self-Determination

The Council supported by a now global network of professional and cultural champions, continues the effort towards reinstating Self-Determination. Momentum is building, helped along by international media interest, and as local awareness shifts to recognising how the changes continue to dismantle important parts of our way of life, erode deeply held values and impact upon our livelihood. Some important initiatives are in train at the moment and information will be published shortly. Opportunity to speak with recently elected Independents’ offers hope of moving to a conciliatory working relationship with the Australian Government where the parties genuinely commit to working together respectfully to hear and address local concerns.


Forward Focus Workshop

To support shaping a future Norfolk Island wants to see, the Council wants to engage with the community and particularly the younger generations to share ideas and define important detail to rebuild our sense of People, Place and Community. These are important discussions that need to be had and it is important new thinking and involvement is brought into the mix to enable continued regeneration, building of respect and confidence as a People, and broadening of our community foundations. The workshop is to be held Thursday 28th July at the Guide Hall – more details will be published in next week’s paper.


Contacting the Council

The Council of Elders can be contacted by email

president@councilofelders.nlk.nf or secretary@councilofelders.nlk.nf

Or by phone President Albert Buffett on 22511.


Members of the Council are Robyn Butterfield, Colleen Crane, Edie Christian, Edith Christian, Helen Dowling, Gaye Evans, Mera Martin, Jan Nobbs, Albert Buffett (President) Joe Adams, Ken Christian (Deputy President), David Evans, Roy Nobbs, Shane McCoy (Executive), Lew Quintal (Executive) and Rosco Quintal.

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - INTRODUCING THE CUSTOMER CARE TEAM


An exciting part of the new Norfolk Island Regional Council organisational structure is the creation of the Customer Care Team.  This team is responsible for customer enquiries and accepting over the counter payments for the Council.  


The Customer Care Team is located in the Telecom building in Burnt Pine.  The Customer Care Team can be contacted by calling into the office during business hours, by telephoning 22244 or emailing customercare@nirc.gov.nf.  The team is currently experiencing a high volume of calls regarding the transition, so you don’t experience call waiting times you are encouraged to email where practicable to allow Council to respond to you in a timely manner.  

As the organisational structure continues to be refined, the Customer Care Team will become the ‘one stop shop’ for the community.  The Customer Care Team will provide excellent customer service and factual and timely advice.    

The Council is currently reviewing the customer activities and functions performed by the Customer Care Team.  Understanding how things are currently done will enable Council to improve and work more efficiently, which in turn allows Council to provide the best services to the Norfolk Island community.  Council is also assessing, and will be introducing, new software to assist staff in this area also.  

The Council thanks the community for its patience and understanding in this time of change.  
 
Lotta Jackson 
General Manager   

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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - GROUP MANAGER GOVERNANCE APPOINTED



The Norfolk Island Regional Council General Manager, Lotta Jackson, is pleased to announce that Lisa Jackson, has been appointed as Group Manager Governance for the Norfolk Island Regional Council and commenced on 5 July 2016.    

Lisa was born in Bowral, NSW and moved to Canberra in her teens, where she completed her education and began her career in the public service. She has over 30 years public service experience with 26 years in the ACT Government.  Her public service experience has been in governance, project management and change management for the then ACT Chief Minister’s Department, the ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate, and the ACT Shared Services agency. Lisa moved to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2012 and then to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources where she was responsible for whole-of-department change projects.    

Lisa holds a Post Graduate in Public Administration from University of Queensland, and an Advanced Diploma in Program and Project Management and a range of certifications in IT, work, health and safety, and policy development.   

Lisa’s personal interests include politics, preserving nature and culture, particularly in the South Pacific region. She enjoys drawing and art, mountain biking, yoga, cooking, good red wine, and spending time with friends and family, particularly her three beautiful children and three grandchildren.  
 
General Manager Norfolk Island Regional Council  Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 telephone: +6723 22001; email: generalmanager@nirc.gov.nf 
‘Whilst we do have the same surname, there is no connection between the two of us.  I have enjoyed working with Lisa this week and I warmly welcome her to the Group Managers’ team.  She joins Bruce Taylor, Group Manager Services and John Van Gaalen, Group Manager Commercial Hub.  John will commence later this month.    

‘The management team of the Council has a lot to achieve to meet the objectives in the draft 2016-17 Operational Plan, and I look forward to reporting to the community on the progress and completion of works and activities in due time,’ Ms Lotta Jackson said.   

Lotta Jackson
General Manager   

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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR SERVICE PERSONNEL FOR FUNCTIONS AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



The Australian Government invites proposals from businesses on Norfolk Island to provide service personnel (bar staff and waiters) for functions at Government House, Norfolk Island.  

This will involve providing varying numbers of service personnel as needed, to support community events such as Australia Day, Anzac Day and Anniversary (Bounty) Day and receptions and dinners to welcome visiting dignitaries and officials and recognise the contribution made by key individuals and community groups.

Please contact the Office of the Administrator on tel: 22 152 for tender documentation or email office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au. Quotes should be delivered to the Office of the Administrator by close of business (5pm) on Friday 15 July.

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KINGSTON AND ARTHUR'S VALE HISTORIC AREA (KAVHA)



The Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is preparing a Site Master Plan for the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) on Norfolk Island. Eric Martin & Associates, SGS Economics & Planning and the Stafford Group have been engaged to undertake concept development.  
 
I encourage Expressions of Interest for ambitious and creative use of the unique assets within KAVHA to both protect the heritage values and provide a commercial return for the site.  Interested parties can contribute their ideas for the use of existing buildings as well as the potential for suitable refurbishment, restoration and redevelopment aligned to the following site management objectives as outlined in the (Draft) 2016 KAVHA Heritage Management Plan and 2015 Economic Development Strategy:  

• promoting economic development on Norfolk Island;  
• providing a sustainable revenue stream for KAVHA: such as considering mechanisms for those commercial operators who currently use the site to contribute to its ongoing maintenance and care, and other opportunities for private sector involvement in the site;
• improving the capacity of the site to manage the expected increase in cruise ship arrivals to Norfolk Island once the refurbishment of Cascade Pier is completed; • conserving the site’s significant heritage values;  
• improve the quality and range of authentic experiences for visitors;  
• ensure KAVHA remains relevant and accessible to the local community; and
• examine options to utilise buildings on the site for commercial, not for profit and community purposes to ensure proper balance between heritage, economic development, tourism and community use of this World Heritage Listed site.  

As the State Party to the World Heritage Convention, and the asset owner, the Commonwealth must: 

a. adopt a general policy which aims to give the cultural and natural heritage a function in the life of the community and to integrate the protection of heritage into comprehensive planning programs; b. undertake 'appropriate legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary for the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation of this heritage; and c. refrain from 'any deliberate measures which might damage, directly or indirectly, the cultural and natural heritage' of other Parties to the Convention, and to help other Parties in the identification and protection of their properties.  

Expressions of Interest can be provided by email to office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au or in writing to PO Box 27, Norfolk Island 2899.   
 
The Hon Gary Hardgrave 8 July 2016 

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THE TRUTH WILL PREVAIL...NORFOLK ISLAND IS ON THE SIDE OF RIGHT


On the 1st of July the Council of Elders President, Mr Albert Buffett and Andre Nobbs stepped off Air New Zealand’s aircraft, having arrived home after a three week journey from Norfolk to New Zealand, New Zealand to the United Kingdom, United Kingdom to Sydney and then back home. Given the situation on Norfolk Island with the full imposition of Australian Government changes supposed to take effect from the 1st of July, you would have expected a degree of depression and sadness as these two gents stepped into the NI airport arrivals… that was not the case, and for good reason! 


To present a broad overview of the work done during the journey, it should be understood that the ground work for many of the meetings had been laid in advance, in some cases almost two years prior to Albert and Andre setting off from home. There has been a steady flow of written communications, video and teleconferencing with lead agencies inclusive of human rights, United Nations, legal and political advisors as well as affiliate organisations supporting the people of Norfolk Island having the protective framework and adherence to international covenants that we are entitled to.


Prior to arrival in NZ Albert and Andre (A&A) had provided a video “Case study of Norfolk Island” for the UN Conference on decolonisation, the video was well received and enabled conference attendees to engage with the issues on NI. While in NZ A&A participated in NI support functions, meetings with UN officials, Pacific island leaders, Maori organisations and participated in numerous radio and TV interviews. An agreement between the Council of Elders and other islands was commenced to “join hands” and expand the voice of each of the islands – with more islands now committing to memorandums of understanding to expand our message and profile.


Arriving in UK, A&A were greeted by the full support of every agency/organisation and political representative – Throughout the many meetings, not one official indicated we were not on the right track. A&A met with High Commissioners, Consular staff, UN agency heads, Human Rights Chairman, Peace federation, Legal and Constitutional Advisors and representatives for the British Overseas Territories specifically to discuss the UN petition commenced in April, the HRC case commenced in June, the international legal process through the International Court of Justice and a range of other initiatives.


To be completely clear; Each and every official and representative supported our progression through the above methodologies and condemned the actions of the Australian Government.  The view from international representatives was that the actions of the Australian Government seen across many areas internationally were not positive and often breached ICCPR covenants. We were encouraged to continue using all of the processes available and to be aware that it may be necessary to bring a more international exposure to the actions of the previous Australian Government – in many cases they offered to assist in any way should we require it.


Council of Elders would like to thank the community for its continued support. We are on the right track, senior international representatives are helping and we now need to continue working together and remain confident that the people of Norfolk Island are not alone.


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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - NORFOLK ISLAND PUBLIC WORKERS COMPENSATION SCHEME


The Norfolk Island Regional Council would like to advise the members of the Norfolk Island Public Workers Compensation Scheme that the Scheme will continue to operate under its current format until further notice and payments can be made as usual at the Telecom Office in New Cascade Road.  

Any enquiries regarding the Scheme can still be directed to the current Office in New Cascade Road or by telephoning 24272.   

Gary Dowling
Employment Liaison Officer 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL - ELECTION OF MAYOR AND DEPUTY MAYOR



It is a pleasure to report that the first Extraordinary Meeting of the Norfolk Island Regional Council was held at 5pm on Wednesday, 6 July 2016 in the Norfolk Island Regional Council Chambers in the Bicentennial Complex in Burnt Pine.  

The election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor was undertaken at the meeting.  Ms Robin Adams was elected Mayor and Mr John McCoy elected Deputy Mayor.  
 
The Council also adopted the following schedule of meetings at 2.00pm for the period July 2016 to September 2017:   

Please be informed that the Business paper agenda will be placed on Council’s web-site on Friday afternoons the week before the Council meeting. There will also be hard copies to view at the Library. The community is reminded that meetings of the Council are open to the public to attend.  There will be a ‘Public Access’ component of Ordinary Meetings of Council.  This allows the public to have a maximum of five minutes per person to speak to Council at Ordinary Meetings on an item that is on the business paper agenda.    

The Mayor, in consultation with the General Manager, may decide the number of people at the same meeting speaking on a particular item on the business agenda.  Community members wishing to utilise this facility will need to lodge their interest to speak with the General Manager by 4.00pm the Monday before a scheduled Ordinary Council Meeting.  

‘I extend my congratulations to Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor McCoy on their election to their positions and I look forward to working with them and the other Councillors for the benefit of the Norfolk Island Community.  

‘I would also like to extend sincere thanks to everyone that was involved in ensuring the Council Chambers refurbishment was completed on time, it is very much appreciated,’ Ms Jackson said.  

Minutes of Council meetings are available to the community, once complete, on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf   

Lotta Jackson General Manager  
7 July 2016 

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NORFOLK ISLAND GENES YIELD BOUNTY OF INSIGHT INTO HEART DISEASE



www.norfolkschoice.com 

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet with Professor Lyn Griffiths at the opening of the Art and Photographic Exhibition at The Centre for Democracy on Friday evening 1 July; and to have Lyn speak to the large crowd of attendees on the work she has done since 2002 with exploring the genetics of descendants of the Bounty Mutineers.  

NIPD took the opportunity to extend sincere thanks to Professor Griffiths for the invaluable contribution that her work gave to confirming that Norfolk Islanders are ethnically distinct from other racial groups, including the general Australian population; a factor that was clearly identified by Professor Peter Muhlhausler in the Petition lodged by the Norfolk Island People with the United Nations on 25 April 2016.

NORFOLK ISLANDERS GENES YIELD BOUNTY OF INSIGHT
INTO HEART DISEASE

“Genetic studies of descendants of the Bounty mutineers have identified places on the human genome that contain expressed genes associated with cardiovascular disease.

The findings by the international team of researchers led by QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation Executive Director Professor Lyn Griffiths, could shed more light on the genes which affect our risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and help scientists to develop targeted therapies.

The study, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics today, looked at the genome and family tree of hundreds of descendants of the island's founder population - the people who moved to Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island in the mid 1800s. The Pitcairn Islanders were descended from a small group of founders involving Caucasian men from the Bounty and Polynesian women.

"The Norfolk Islanders are a genetically isolated population with strong family groups and a well-documented family genealogy," Professor Griffiths said. "Pairing this family history with genome studies enabled the research team to identify more than 200 sites in the genome that are associated with cardiovascular disease risk.

"Of these, we found confirmation for 12 places on the genome which had previously been associated with CVD-related risk, and discovered another four potential CVD-risk genes, all of which have been shown to have biological roles in disease.  We have been able to generate a 'map' of the places on the Norfolk Islanders' genome that are associated with CVD and implicated several specific genes."

Professor Griffiths said genetically isolated populations presented unique research opportunities for scientists in the hunt for the genetic basis of disease.

"This is because these populations have a shared stable environment, less genetic complexity than those who have outbred populations, and may have amplified levels of genes associated with disease. This combined with the existence of long family trees, which we often can't get in a wider population, helps us home in on disease risk more easily.  This study will help future studies assess the importance of the identified genes in other more general populations."

Author Niki Widdowson and published on Norfolk Online on 14 December 2013

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-12-norfolk-islanders-genes-yield-bounty.html

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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL


On Wednesday, 6 July 2016 at 5pm the Norfolk Island Regional Councillors will meet for the first time in the Norfolk Island Regional Council Chambers.  The Council Chambers are located in the Bicentennial Complex in Burnt Pine. Meeting of the Council is open to the public to attend. 
 
This meeting is an Extraordinary meeting dealing with procedural matters beginning with the election of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.   Other business on the agenda includes setting ordinary meeting days, and times and the adoption of a Code of Conduct. The full agenda will be available on the website early next week.   
 
Minutes of Council meetings will also be available to the community on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf&nbsp;
 
Councillors and some Managers of the new Norfolk Island Regional Council participated in workshops during the week.  These workshops were facilitated by Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and topics discussed included ‘Audit Committee Familiarisation’, ‘Elected Life’ and ‘Strategic Planning’.   
 
I look forward to working closely with the Norfolk Island Regional Councillors, staff and this community.   
 
Lotta Jackson 
General Manager 
 
1 July 2016 

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2015-16 TRANSITION YEAR



Over this past year of transition, a number of milestones have been met during the Norfolk Island reform process. To summarise: 
 
 Commonwealth law has been extended to Norfolk Island with the exception of 25 laws, including corporations law and communications laws, with these to be extended over the coming years;  New South Wales law will be used as the basis for the Commonwealth Parliament to apply a number of laws to matters usually dealt with by states. Only a small number of such laws have been applied immediately, such as ordinances in place for local government to mirror NSW legislation;  
 New services which have been established with the Commonwealth or their agents to provide social security payments, employment, taxation, immigration and border protection and agricultural services directly. New South Wales is providing management support to the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS); 

 The elections for councillors has been successfully conducted and five new councillors take up their positions effective as of 1 July supported by remodelled administration and staffing arrangements which better support a Council;  

 The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has established a new funding agreement with the Norfolk Island Regional Council. The funding agreement provides funding for the Council to undertake agreed state type functions such as the management of the courts and issuing of drivers licences. It also provides an untied Financial Assistance Grants type payment, equivalent to that which the Council would have received if it were part of NSW; 

 A functional directory is being developed to outline who is responsible for which services to ease the transition to the new arrangements for the community; 

 Underwriting of Air New Zealand services will continue supporting national connectivity of Norfolk Island.   

Some asset responsibilities have changed reflecting the changes in service delivery arrang
ements, for example: 

 Roads on Norfolk Island have transferred to the Regional Council; 

 A number of unleased parcels of Commonwealth land have been transferred to the Regional Council, along with some public reserves; 

 The NIHRACS is a Norfolk Island entity reporting directly to the Minister with responsibility for Territories or their delegate. The Commonwealth has taken ownership of most of the buildings and equipment to ensure significant investments in upgrades to meet Australian health care standards including a brand new digital mammogram for breast screen services; 

 The School building has also transferred to the Commonwealth and already significant investments have been made and will continue to be made to bring the building up to Australian building standards.  
In addition: 

 Cascade Jetty, owned by the Commonwealth, is being extended and the extension is on track to complete in the second half of 2017; 

 A significant training programme has been delivered covering forklift and heavy machinery licenses, white card, working at heights and working in confined spaces; all critical to improved skills and duty of care in the construction and trades industries.  Other training included safe food handling and responsible service of alcohol for the hospitality industry, chemical handling training for farmers and nursery industry workers, skills training for nurses at the hospital.  Accredited child protection training for the early education sector has also been delivered along with a series of courses and seminars to improve skills in better practice company governance and small business planning and operations.  

The Australia Government will continue to keep the community informed on its expenditure and during 2016-17 will outline the contractual service delivery arrangements in place to support the community, together with an outline of future capital expenditure.  

The new management arrangements for the Kingston and Arthur Vale Heritage Site will provide strong expertise both in heritage management and tourism development and complement the investments being made at Cascade.  

The Norfolk Island Gaming authority is now a Norfolk Island authority reporting to the Minister for Territories. On the conclusion of the term of existing Board members, effective 30 June 2016, two new interim appointments to the board have been made by me. These are Ms Robyn Fleming, Executive Director, Local Government and Territories Division, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development; and Mr Carl Murphy, Chief Operating Officer; Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.   

KPMG has been appointed to undertake the role of Director of the Authority, following the previous Director’s resignation.   

I look forward to working with the community in 2016-17 under the new arrangements.     

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 30 June 2016 

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PUBLIC SERVICES ANNOUNCEMENT



Norfolk Island residents please be aware that there is a fake email circulating claiming to be from the ‘Australian Government Department of Human Services’. The email’s subject line is ‘Your 2016 subsidy benefit’.

If you receive this email, delete it immediately and report the incident to the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission’s SCAMwatch service at scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam

If you have clicked on the link and entered in your details, you should contact your bank to let them know what has happened.  

Do not provide your personal information in response to this email. Scammers are likely to use it to steal your identity or take money from your bank account.
The Department of Human Services will never ask you to transfer money or provide passwords or PIN numbers to bank accounts. You can read more useful tips on how to spot a scam at humanservices.gov.au/scams

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FEDERAL ELECTION DAY IS SATURDAY 2 JULY 2016


The Australian federal election is to be held on Saturday 2 July 2016. At a federal election, you are voting to elect people to represent you in the two houses of the Australian Parliament: the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Where am I enrolled?

If you enrolled before 6 May 2016 your name will be on the list of voters for the Division that you are currently enrolled in. If you changed your enrolled address between 6 May and the close of rolls at 8pm (AEST) on Monday 23 May, your enrolment will be in the Division of Canberra.  

Remember, once you are enrolled it is compulsory to vote.

Where can I vote?


Saturday 2 July 2016 (election day)

Rawson Hall – for people enrolled in the Australian Capital Territory


36F Taylors Road – for voters enrolled in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia

The above polling places will open at 8am and close at 6pm sharp. 

Thursday 30 June and Friday 1 July 2016 (early voting)


36F Taylors Road – for anyone who can’t make it to a polling place on election day 


On Thursday 30 June the early voting centre will be open from 8.30am to 5.30pm.  
On Friday 1 July the centre will be open from 8.30am to 6pm.

Voting instructions

When you vote, you will receive two ballot papers: a green one to vote for a representative of your electoral Division in the House of Representatives, and a white one to vote for a representative of your state or territory in the Senate.

Each ballot paper contains instructions on how to complete it or you can ask polling staff for assistance. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, you can ask for another ballot paper and start again.

Voting rules for the Senate have changed this federal election.  There are new ways to fill out your preferences on your white Senate ballot paper: 
If you choose to vote above the line you now need to number at least six boxes, from 1 to 6, for the parties or groups in the order of your choice, or 
If you choose to vote below the line you now need to number at least 12 boxes, from 1 to 12, for individual candidates in the order of your choice.

Who are the candidates?
Candidate lists are available from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website: http://www.aec.gov.au/election/candidates.htm 


More Information?

For more information visit www.aec.gov.au, or call +61 2 6160 2600

On the AEC home page, enter your postcode to get information for your locality.


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MEDIA RELEASE - NEW RULES


Six new Rules for Norfolk Island have been registered on the Federal Register of Legislation today.   

The Rules complement the Norfolk Island reforms to date.  They relate to long service leave, diagnostic imaging and pathology, the transfer of records and other information, immigration, and business names registration.   

All Rules commence on 1 July 2016. 

Norfolk Island Applied Laws Amendment (Long Service Leave) Rule 2016 

Ensures long service leave accrual under the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW)(NI).  Also ensures Norfolk Island public holidays are recognised for the purposes of long service leave accrual. 

Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act Transitional Rule (Diagnostic Imaging) 2016 

Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act Transitional Rule (Pathology) 2016

These two rules allow Medicare rebates to be claimed for diagnostic imaging and pathology services provided by the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service Facility. 

Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act Transitional Rule 2016 (No 1)

Transfers certain records from the Administration of Norfolk Island to the Commonwealth, and ensures continuity of other arrangements and information under the Norfolk Island Regional Council.  

Norfolk Island Legislation (Migration) Transitional Rule 2016


Transitions residents of Norfolk Island, certain permit holders, and newborn babies of certain permit holders, to the visa system under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).  

Territories Legislation Amendment Transitional Rule (Business Names Registration) 2016

Facilitates the transfer of the Norfolk Island business names register to the national Business Names Register following the extension of the Business Names Register Act 2011 (Cth) to Norfolk Island.   

More detailed information about the Rules will be provided in the next edition of the Norfolk Island Reform Newsletter.   

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
30 June 2016 

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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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NOTICE OF CHANGE OF OPENING HOURS


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IMPORTATION OF FRUIT & VEGETABLES INTO NORFOLK ISLAND



Following the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources public meeting earlier this week, and the widespread objection to imminent importation of previously prohibited fresh food items; the Council of Elders will officially respond to the relevant Australian Government authorities in respect of the Officers claim there is no evidence of opposition to this change in Norfolk Island.

If you would like to have your concerns included with the Council’s submission you are invited to attend an open meeting this Sunday and contribute.

WHERE:    Governor’s Lodge Conference Room

WHEN:      Sunday 26 June 2016
Commencing:     1.00 pm

DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REGISTER YOUR CONCERNS

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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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THE UNITED NATIONS AND DECOLONIZATION



‘Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism’ (2010 TO 2020)
 
On the 26th of June, 2016 all member states of the United Nations will celebrate the 71st anniversary of their commitment in law to end the global scourge of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations. Australia is a member state of the United Nations. 

It is hard to imagine that during the United Nations (UN) ‘Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism’ that Australia, a member state that prides itself on being a good global citizen, took the following action in May 2015 against the expressed wishes of the majority of the Norfolk Island people:

Unilaterally and unlawfully abolished the Norfolk Island Parliament and removed self-government; 
Amended the definition of ‘Australia’ to include Norfolk Island;
Removed all references to the Norfolk Island people who include descendants of the settlers from Pitcairn Island ever having existed as a people in law. 
Assumed control of Norfolk Island; 
Appropriated the Norfolk Island public account; and 
Announced its intention to complete the effective ‘annexation’ of Norfolk Island on 1 July 2016.

“Norfolk Island became a non self-governing territory on 18 June 2015 on commencement of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015”. (Ref The Australian Federal Register of Legislation website)

This is an unprecedented and regrettable return to the darkest days of colonialism.

The following summarises the steps taken/being taken by Norfolk Island People for Democracy (NIPD) to remedy this injustice

On 25 April 2016 a detailed Petition recommending to the UN General Assembly that Norfolk Island be inscribed as a non-self-governing territory under Article 73e was lodged with the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly, His Excellency Mr Mogens Lykketoft in New York.
http://www.norfolkschoice.com/thepetition.pdf 

On 6 May 2016 eminent international lawyers Dr Christopher Ward SC and Professor Vaughan Lowe QC provided Norfolk Island People for Democracy (NIPD) with a Joint Opinion “In the Matter of the Status of Norfolk Island as a non-self-governing territory”. The joint opinion says that Norfolk Island is a non-self-governing territory within the meaning of the UN Charter and proposes two avenues that can be followed for Norfolk Island to be inscribed on the UN List of Non-Self-Governing Territories. http://www.norfolkschoice.com/loweandwardopinion.pdf 

On 13 May 2016 NIPD delivered to the Commonwealth Attorney-General and Shadow Attorney-General evidence of Australia’s legal obligations regarding Norfolk Island and evidence that their current actions are inconsistent with International Law; and requested the deferral of the implementation of the measures due to take effect on 1 July until such time as the UN Special Committee on Decolonization has considered the Petition. The Attorney-General has referred the correspondence to Minister Paul Fletcher MP from whom a response is yet to be received.

During May 2016 NIPD actively lobbied the NSW Legislative Council to refer the Norfolk Island Administration Bill 2016 to a Committee of Inquiry to allow the Norfolk Island People the opportunity to appropriately brief legislators on the impacts of the Bill.  There were extensive speeches by Labor (led by shadow Attorney General Adam Searle) and the Greens (primarily David Shoebridge) talking about the issues, both for the people of Norfolk Island and NSW taxpayers. Both advocated for a parliamentary committee examining the Bill, in particular so that the people of Norfolk Island could actually be consulted about the changes. The motion for referral of the Bill to committee for examination was proposed by Labor but was voted down by the government with the support of the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers. When the Bill was finally put to a vote Labor and the Greens stuck to their commitment and voted against it; the Christian Democrats voted with the government (Liberals and Nationals) to support it and the Shooters and Fishers Party appears to have abstained, with neither MP turning up to the vote. Thanks to the efforts of the ALP and the Greens Norfolk got a good hearing and the courtesy of a decent debate in the Legislative Council.  Links in 2 parts to Hansard of debate are –

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-69341 
https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-69362

On 6 June 2016 NIPD wrote to Members of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation (the C.24) requesting their assistance in achieving recognition by the United Nations that Norfolk Island is a ‘non-self-governing territory within the meaning of Article 73 of the United Nations Charter; and requesting their support for a visit of a mission of members of the C24 to Norfolk Island to investigate the situation on Norfolk Island.  The C.24 is meeting in New York this week.

Today 17 June 2016 NIPD has written an open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, bringing to his attention that Australia is in breach of its international obligations under the United Nations Charter and requesting:

1. That Australia takes immediate steps to have Norfolk Island inscribed on the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories; and
2. That implementation of the measures due to take effect on 1 July 2016 be deferred until such time as the UN Special Committee on Decolonization has considered the Petition.

Lodgement of complaints for violation of human rights

NIPD’s legal team are currently preparing a series of complaints for lodgement with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in Geneva detailing violation of human rights of the Norfolk Island people as a result of Australia’s actions.

 “Abolishing Norfolk Island as an autonomous territory may not seem to matter much in the grand scheme of things, but for an international order that cherishes self-government and proclaims the right of self-determination of people it is a regressive and unimaginative action, an example of the inability to tolerate democracy and difference.”
– Geoffrey Robertson QC

With the increasing support and efforts of a number of individuals the processes that were commenced by NIPD in May last year are moving ever closer to our objective of allowing the Norfolk Island people the choice for their future. Thank you for your help in fundraising, getting the message out, and for your support and belief in Norfolk and its people.

Management Committee
Norfolk Island People for Democracy
17 June 2016
pdsupport@ninet.nf

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COMPLETION OF THE ADVISORY COUNCIL TERM



The Advisory Council wishes to thank the many community members who actively engaged in shaping our community’s future and the community more broadly for your patience and understanding over the past 12 months. 

We congratulate the councillors elect and wish them well as they begin the job of leadership, service to, and advocating on behalf of, all of the Norfolk Island community from 1 July.  

The feedback provided by the community to our consultative work, and advice to the Australian Government based on the feedback, has been published on our website.  It will transfer to the National Archives on 30 June 2016 as a permanent record of the community’s involvement in the reform process during the transition year.   

Our final report to the Australian Government highlights important recommendations about consultation on, and community involvement in, the future application of NSW Law to the Island, and the ongoing work necessary to secure a prosperous future. 

We trust the Regional Council will continue to work with the Australian Government in ways that will achieve beneficial outcomes for all who live, work and invest in Norfolk Island.   

www.norfolkislandadvisorycouncil.nf 
Contact: Melissa Ward 50776 

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SCHOOL AND HOSPITAL UPGRADE



Most people on Norfolk are justifiably proud of the local school and hospital, for both facilities have served our community capably for decades. The buildings themselves appear to have weathered well, but on closer inspection their underlying structures were found to require a major overhaul.

The work currently underway at both locations has been funded through a Commonwealth (DIRD) grant of $1.25 million. It will cover a range of repairs that include the highly visible addition of ramps and fire-safe doors, and less obvious – but extremely important – upgrades to the plumbing and electrical systems at both sites. 

To bring both facilities up to date with current compliance standards, most piping and wiring needs to be replaced. New tanks and filtration systems will also be fitted to ensure the water at each site is clean and safe to drink. Switches and lighting on evacuation routes that ultimately safeguard the community in the unlikely event of a fire, will also be installed. 

“It’s what you won’t see that matters most,” Project Manager Dick Massicks said of the work scheduled for completion in the coming months. “Repairs to the underlying structures are, in many ways, more important than any ‘cosmetic’ fix. It will be great when we no longer have to use bore water at the hospital – and wonderful for the kids to have new bubblers and safe drinking water; not to mention classroom roofs that no longer leak.”

Dick was quick to praise the local contractors for all the effort they are putting in to get the work finished as quickly as possible. “This grant has really increased employment opportunities on the island, and with more work in the pipeline, it’s clearly paving the way for more young islanders to come home and contribute to the real future of Norfolk.”  

This increase in capital works and spending has already seen $250,000 of the $1.25 million paid to local contractors and suppliers for work completed to date. This inflow of cash into the community is in addition to the $200,000 already paid for work to date on the $500,000 Commonwealth-funded Footpath and Channers Corner project. 

Administration of Norfolk Island  17 June, 2016

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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR GARDENING, LAWN MOWING AND GENERAL MAINTENANCE SERVICES AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE, NORFOLK ISLAND



The Australian Government invites proposals from businesses on Norfolk Island to provide gardening, lawn mowing and general (ie non-trade) maintenance services at Government House.   

This will involve having one person based at Government House on normal work days and appropriate off-site support and supervision.  Responses that seek to take advantage of the experience of the current person engaged on these works are encouraged. 

Please contact the Office of the Administrator on tel: 22 152 for tender documentation or email office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au. Quotes should be delivered to the Office of the Administrator by close of business (5pm) on Thursday 23 June.   

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MORE FUEL PRICES RELIEF FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



Fuel prices will fall by up to seven cents per litre for residents of Norfolk Island from today as a result of lower supply prices.  

Fuel prices will fall further from 1 July 2016 when Norfolk Island GST is removed from the wholesale price.  

The latest supply price savings will be fully passed on, resulting in new wholesale prices of $1.53 per litre for unleaded petrol and $1.52 per litre for diesel.   

Wholesale fuel prices will drop by a further 16 cents per litre from 1 July 2016 thanks to the removal of Norfolk Island GST.   

From 1 July, the wholesale price of unleaded petrol will be $1.37 per litre and diesel will be $1.36 per litre.  

In total, the wholesale price of unleaded petrol will have fallen by 66 cents per litre, and diesel by 71 cents per litre, in the 12 months since June 2015, providing broad benefits to the community through savings for individuals and businesses throughout Norfolk Island.  

Retail consumers should expect to see a reduction in the price they pay for fuel as a result of the abolition of the Norfolk Island GST.    
 
The Hon Gary Hardgrave 16 June 2016   

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BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TODAY



Norfolk Island benefit payments will stop on 30 June 2016. If you currently get a Norfolk Island benefit, you won’t automatically receive payments from the Department of Human Services. 

It’s essential you book an appointment to lodge an early paper claim by 30 June 2016 or to talk with one of the department’s staff about your possible eligibility for:
Centrelink payments
Medicare services, or 
Child Support assessment.

Appointments are limited, so book today to avoid missing out. You can book an appointment by visiting or calling the Australian Government Information Centre on 23465. 

You should lodge your claim before 1 July 2016 to avoid delays in receiving the payment you may be eligible for.

Go online to humanservices.gov.au for more information about payments and services or to download Centrelink or Medicare application forms. The forms are also available from the Australian Government Information Centre. 

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MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR



It is with pleasure I announce that Lotta Jackson has agreed to accept the role of General Manager of the Norfolk Island Regional Council. Lotta has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Administration of Norfolk Island to 30 June 2016, and The Norfolk Island Applied Laws Ordinance 2016 allows for a smooth transitioning of Lotta into the General Manager role on 1 July, 2016. 

Lotta’s skills, knowledge and experience will be a vital element in achieving the key priorities of the Norfolk Island Regional Council Operational Plan 2016/17.

Lotta’s appointment is the result of the recruitment programme conducted by McArthur Recruiting Services which commenced in March 2016. Recruitment of Group Managers and Managers will be finalised in coming weeks.

 “I am impressed with the high level of community engagement in the development of the Community Strategic Plan 2016-2026, ensuring the Regional Council has clear direction from the community. I look forward to driving the development of the four-year delivery program, and achieving the key priorities of the Operational Plan 2016/17, being completion of the transition to the Norfolk island Regional Council and achieving the program of reform” Lotta commented. 

Lotta’s biography is attached.

Peter Gesling
Executive Director.
10 June, 2016

Lotta Jackson – a brief biography

Originally from Sweden, Lotta has spent almost 20 years in Local Government in NSW with half of that time in executive positions with the most recent position being that of General Manager at Tenterfield Shire Council and prior to that as the Director of Corporate and Community Services at Glenn Innes Severn Council. Her extensive Local Government experience has been across various functions of council including waste services, road infrastructure, parks and gardens, economic, community and cultural development as well as governance and corporate services. She has worked in various sized council in Sydney metropolitan, coastal and rural areas.  

She is committed to using her extensive skills and knowledge of strategic, business and community planning, and change management to facilitate the implementation of the Vision of the Regional Council of Norfolk Island by working closely with the Councillors, the Community and the Australian Government in achieving a healthy, inclusive and prosperous future for Norfolk Island.

Lotta has several degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration and a Graduate Diploma Psychology. She is an experienced professional who is outcomes focused and thrives on seeing organisations and the community progress and succeed together.  

Apart from healthy living, with exercise and good food, Lotta enjoys spending time in the natural environment and near the ocean, as well as reading, politics and being part of the local community.

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2015/16 PERIODIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - QUARTERS 2 AND 3



I am pleased to release the 2015/16 second and third quarter financial statements for the Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI), the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) and the consolidated entity.  

Prepared as required by the Commonwealth Finance Minister’s (Norfolk Island) Orders 2011, the statements are an important tool for demonstrating accountability for public expenditures.  

Focussing on the third quarter results, ANI is under-budget for the year to 31 March 2016 by $5.41 million and NIHE is over-budget by $18,209.  
  
Due to lower than anticipated revenue flows, NIHE’s budget position has deteriorated and is now in deficit. In order to remedy the situation, processes are being implemented to reduce expenditure where possible. NIHE’s liquidity position is also concerning and will require close attention during the rest of the financial year.   
ANI’s financial outcomes for the year to 31 March 2016 reflect prudent budget management processes which continue to be driven by the need to find savings and build cash reserves in order to provide for a sustainable Norfolk Island Regional Council in 2016/17 and beyond.    

ANI’s financial result demonstrates the benefits of having an operational plan in place which focuses on ensuring resources are allocated more efficiently to the areas of greatest community need.  These areas include: building staff capability, programmed asset maintenance, new asset purchases and investment in new technologies for providing government services.  

If this level of discipline can be maintained, Norfolk Island will be able to quickly move to consistent break-even or surplus budget positions.    

The statements, which contain brief summaries of the financial positions of each entity, are available at: 
 http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Quarterly%20Financial%20Statements/.   

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 
3 June 2016 
 

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NORFOLK ISLAND ELECTS ITS INAUGURAL COUNCIL



Five candidates have been declared elected after Norfolk Island held the first election for its Regional Council on Saturday 28 May 2016.  

Rod Buffett, Lisle Snell, David Porter, John McCoy and Robin Adams will form the new Norfolk Island Regional Council from 1 July 2016. 
 
Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher said the councillors will have an important role in guiding the newly formed Regional Council and supporting efforts to grow the Norfolk Island economy.  

“I congratulate the successful candidates on their election and look forward to working with them once they take office on 1 July 2016,” Mr Fletcher said.  
“I expect an important focus of the council will be revitalising the Norfolk Island tourism industry and taking advantage of the Australian Government’s investment in upgrading local infrastructure, including $13.5 million to upgrade the Cascade Pier.  

“The community and local administration has recently drafted a Norfolk Island Strategic Plan and it will now be in the hands of the councillors to build on this work and set a positive agenda for the Regional Council.”  

Successful candidates will receive training on their responsibilities as councillors before taking office. Councillors will elect a mayor for a period of one year from among themselves.  

Media Contact – Andrew Blow  0411 403 937 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS



Today I advise the election for the Norfolk Island Regional Council has concluded and the results declared.  

Five councillors have been elected in the following order:  

Mr Rod Buffett
Mr Lisle Snell
Mr David Porter
Mr John McCoy
Ms Robin Adams  

In total 942 formal first preference votes were recorded and a quota of 158 votes was required to be elected. Mr Rod Buffett secured sufficient first preference votes to reach the quota and was first elected.    

A process of distribution of Mr Rod Buffet’s surplus votes and the preference votes from the lowest ranked candidates also saw Mr Lisle Snell and Mr David Porter elected respectively, when their votes reached the quota.  Further preference distributions of votes received by the remaining lowest ranked candidates saw both Mr John McCoy and Ms Robin Adams elected respectively without reaching the quota, as they attained more votes than the remaining candidate.   I wish to thank all candidates for their participation in the election process and offer my congratulations to those who were successful.  I look forward to working with each of you when you take up office on 1 July 2016.    

I also wish to acknowledge the work of Australian Election Company which managed the process of this historic election.  Community members interested in reviewing the primary votes and preference distribution process can view this information on the website of Australian Election Company: www.austelect.com.
   
The Hon Gary Hardgrave 
3 June 2016 

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BOUNTY DAY 2016



The Bounty Day procession is held in the World Heritage listed Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area. 

Lorraine and I look forward to welcoming community members to Government House on Bounty Day for the traditional refreshment stop. 

Bounty Day on Norfolk Island represents the anniversary of the arrival of settlers from Pitcairn Island in 1856.   

I trust all will enjoy the day with family and friends.  Bounty Day continues to be celebrated as a public holiday on Norfolk Island.   

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 3 June 2016 

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NORFOLK ISLAND BENEFIT PAYMENTS



Norfolk Island benefit payments will stop on 30 June 2016. If you currently receive a Norfolk Island benefit, you won’t automatically receive payments from the Department of Human Services. 

It’s essential you book an appointment to lodge an early paper claim by 30 June 2016 or to talk with one of the department’s staff about your possible eligibility for:
Centrelink payments
Medicare services, or 
Child Support assessments.
Appointments are limited, so book today to avoid missing out. You can book an appointment by visiting the Australian Government Information Centre or calling on 23465. 

You should lodge your claim before 1 July 2016 to avoid delays in receiving payments you may be eligible for.

Go online to humanservices.gov.au for more information about payments and services or to download Centrelink or Medicare application forms. The forms are also available from the Australian Government Information Centre. 


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OUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE


Last Friday, the Administration of Norfolk Island circulated copies of the second draft of the Community Strategic Plan to most households on Norfolk, via the postal service. It is a very informative document that, in essence, frames the community’s hopes for Norfolk’s future. 

Admin would like to encourage everyone in the community to read through the document and to discuss it openly with family and friends. If you have any comments or suggestions you would like to make submissions prior to finalisation of the document, submissions will be accepted until Friday June 10th, 2016. These can be delivered by hand or mailed to the Office of the CEO in the New Military Barracks or emailed through, to bella@admin.gov.nf 

The Community Strategic Plan reflects how the community feels about Norfolk and explores opportunities that may come to pass, if we plan for our future in a strategic, collaborative way. The document will effectively underpin the many decisions our Regional Council will need to make as they develop a ten year Resourcing Strategy for the island – a strategy that will include workforce and asset management plans, as well as a long-term financial plans.

Endorsing the final draft of the Community Strategic Plan will be one of the first actions the five councillors we elect today are asked to perform, once they take office on July 1st, 2016. Each plan they subsequently develop with the Regional Council Management Team will reference Our Plan For The Future, thus ensuring the long-term vision expressed within its pages is thoughtfully and thoroughly considered. 

If you require an additional copy of the second draft of the Community Strategic Plan, you can either pick one up from the post office or view the document online, on the Administration of Norfolk Island’s Facebook page or their website: http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf

Authorised by the Administration of Norfolk Island
27 May 2016

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AUSTRALIA ELECTION COMPANY


 ADVERTISEMENT/PUBLIC NOTICE  

                                                     Norfolk Island Regional Council Preparatory Election Ordinance 2016                                  
Norfolk Island Regional Council Election 28 May 2016
 

I wish  to advise electors for the Norfolk Island Regional Council Election that an unauthorised handbill or flyer has been distributed through the Norfolk Island print and electronic media and that the same handbill or flyer, but amended to show three (3) names juxtaposed across the handbill or flyer, have been distributed to residents through Norfolk Island Post Office Boxes.   

These handbills or flyers are in breach of clause 356G (1) of the Local Government (General ) Regulation 2005 (LGR), as applied because of the Norfolk Island Regional Council Preparatory Election Ordinance 2016.   

I also wish to let you know that the Returning Officer for the Norfolk Island Regional Council Election has taken formal steps to address these regulatory breaches, in that they do not include the required authorisations.  

Written and authorised by Richard Kidd
Australian Election Company
Delegate of the Electoral Commissioner
36 E & F Taylors Road, Norfolk Island  

25 May 2016 

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PUBLIC SEMINAR BY AUSTRADE AND TOURISM AUSTRALIA ON NORFOLK ISLAND UNDERSTANDING INTERNATIONAL MARKETS


Senior officers from Austrade and Tourism Australia will hold a public seminar on Norfolk Island on 30 May 2016 to explore, and strengthen understanding of international markets.

Time:  10.00am – 12noon, Monday, 30 May 2016
Venue: South Pacific Resort Hotel, Norfolk Island

The speakers at the seminar will be Mr John Brand, Australia’s Consul-General and Senior Trade Commissioner to New Zealand, and Mr Leigh Sorensen Tourism Australia’s General Manager of Industry Relations.

Mr Brand is based in Auckland, New Zealand, which is Norfolk Island’s geographically closest market with direct air and sea links. John has extensive experience with Austrade in the region and is currently responsible for seventeen staff across the markets of New Zealand, Melanesia, Polynesia and Timor–Leste.  Mr Brand will speak about the role of the Australian Government Trade Commission (Austrade) and the importance of differentiating marketing strategies for New Zealand compared to the mainland Australian market.

Mr Sorensen is based in Sydney and is Tourism Australia’s General Manager of Industry Relations.  He will talk about the role of Tourism Australia and how operators in the tourism industry generate new business by reaching out and penetrating new markets.  

Messrs Sorensen and Brand will talk about export and tourism strategies for small business.

In calendar year 2015, the number of visitors to Australia aged 15 years and over reached 6.9 million, increasing by 502,000 (8%) from the previous year.  These visitors spent a record $36.6 billion in the year or $5.5 billion more than the previous year. This is the highest percentage growth in total trip spend since 2001.  

The top five markets for visitors were New Zealand, China, the UK, USA and Singapore. These five markets accounted for 53 per cent of all total trip spend. 

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
25 May 2016

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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT



Norfolk Island residents please be aware that there is a fake email circulating claiming to be from the ‘Australian Government Department of Human Services’. The email’s subject line is ‘Your 2016 subsidy benefit’.

If you receive this email, delete it immediately and report the incident to the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission’s SCAMwatch service at scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam

If you have clicked on the link and entered in your details, you should contact your bank to let them know what has happened.  

Do not provide your personal information in response to this email. Scammers are likely to use it to steal your identity or take money from your bank account.

The Department of Human Services will never ask you to transfer money or provide passwords or PIN numbers to bank accounts. You can read more useful tips on how to spot a scam at humanservices.gov.au/scams

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REGULATIONS ABOUT ACTIVITIES DURING THE NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTION


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REGULATIONS ABOUT ACTIVITIES DURING THE NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTION  

The Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (NSW) as applied on Norfolk Island, contains rules relating to the display and publishing of materials concerning the election, referring to any candidate or indicating how to vote for the Norfolk Island Regional Council Election to be held on Saturday 28 May 2016.  

These regulations provide:  

- Electoral material must be registered with the Returning Officer at 36 E and F Taylors Road (closes on Friday 20 May at 5pm)

- Electoral material must state the name and address of by whom it was authorised and by whom it was printed

- offences for display or publishing material that does not comply with these requirements

- confiscation by election officials or by  the Police of material that does not comply with the requirements  

Please note the regulated period for the election commenced on 18 April 2016 and continues until 6pm on election day, 28 May 2016.

For the full text of provisions related to activities during regulated periods see:

http://www.austelect.com/elections/norfolk-island-regional-council-election/  

Written and authorised by Richard Kidd, Australian Election Company, Delegate of the Electoral Commissioner, 36 E & F Taylors Road , Norfolk Island 2899. 

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THE NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNITY STRATEGIC PLAN OUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE



The photocopying machine at Admin was working overtime on Thursday evening, churning out multiple copies of the 2nd draft of our Community Strategic Plan. These were distributed yesterday to the vast majority of households via the post, and makes for an inspiring read. It sets out a long-term vision for the community and details how this may be strategically achieved.

Our Plan for the Future reflects who we are, what we care about and what we hope for on our island. It reflects the thoughts and wishes of those who took the time to contribute to focus groups and answer surveys specifically designed to get to the heart of what matters in our community. It builds on our current strengths and outlines new social, economic and environmental opportunities that can and will be realised, if we plan for our future in a strategic, collaborative way. 

Norfolk Island’s inaugural regional council will be required to develop short, medium and long-term plans that fulfil the hopes of the community it serves, and so this critical document will underpin many of the decisions the council will need to make on behalf of us all. 

Working collaboratively with the community, our council will be tasked with ensuring cultural expression is maintained and that the island remains a great place to live and visit. Working with commercial partners and various state and federal agencies, they will help grow and diversify our economy, creating a skilled and competitive workforce. But perhaps most significantly, Norfolk’s future mayor and councillors will be charged with developing a ten-year Resourcing Strategy for the island. This strategy will include a long-term financial plan, a workforce management plan and an asset management plan. 

We can – and need – to reboot our economy. We can – and need – to renovate tired infrastructure. We can – and need – to strengthen our community and better protect the natural resources we all depend so heavily on. Our way of life and our health and wellbeing are critically important issues as well. This strategic plan will ensure the community’s aspirations and expectations are duly considered as we work together to create a sustainable, positive future for us all.

Authorised by the Administration of Norfolk Island
20 May 2016

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INFORMATION SEMINARS AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY SECTOR ON NORFOLK ISLAND


Training facilitators from Look Now Training will be on Island in May 2016 to support small business in the tourism and hospitality sector with information seminars and training.  


Information Seminars: 
 Social media and online marketing for small business, with follow-up practical work shops 

o Saturday, 14 May: 2.00pm to 4.00pm 
o Sunday, 15 May: 5.00pm to 7.00pm 

Business Revitalisation  – new trends, stock control efficiencies, product costing, point of sale systems and staffing rosters 

o Saturday, 14 May:  5.00pm to 8.00pm 
o Sunday, 15 May: 1.00pm to 4.00pm 

Understanding the typical regulatory environment for a small business in the hospitality sector, including awards and conditions for employing staff 

o Monday, 16 May: 5.30pm to 8.30pm 

Look Now Training is a registered training organisation dedicated to providing the highest quality training and achieving real world outcomes.  These seminars are fully funded by the Australia Government. 

Please call the Office of the Administrator on 22 152 to register your interest in attending an information seminar.   

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“IN THE MATTER OF THE STATUS OF NORFOLK ISLAND AS A NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORY”



 
“IN THE MATTER OF THE STATUS OF
NORFOLK ISLAND AS A NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORY”

NIPD was very pleased this week to receive a Joint Opinion dated 6 May 2016 from Dr Christopher Ward SC (St. James Hall Chambers, Sydney) and Professor Vaughan Lowe QC (Essex Court Chambers, London) on “The Matter of the Status of Norfolk Island as a Non-Self-Governing Territory”. Dr Ward and Professor Lowe were asked to advise on a number of questions, including –

“Is Norfolk Island a Non-Self-Governing territory within the meaning of Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations?”

Dr Chris Ward SC is a recognised expert in the field of international law (public and private) and is a Senior Counsel for the State of New South Wales (2015) – http://www.sixstjameshall.com.au/christopherward/

Professor Vaughan Lowe QC is Emeritus Chichele Professor of Public International Law at Oxford University and a Fellow of All Souls College – https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/people/vaughan-lowe-qc

A copy of the Joint Opinion and a copy of the Petition lodged with the United Nations on 25 April 2016 by Geoffrey Robertson QC, Albert Buffett and Ken Christian can be accessed on the NIPD website respectively at www.norfolkschoice.com/loweandwardopinion.pdf and www.norfolkschoice.com/thepetition.pdf.

NIPD today was provided with a copy of the following heartfelt email titled “Your Country” from a supporter of Norfolk Island living in Cairns North Queensland.  We thought the email dated 20 April 2016 (which took a bit of time to reach us!) was nevertheless most worthy of sharing!

“Hello! I just watched the documentary about Norfolk Island tonight, and it moved me a lot, I laughed and I cried, and I was in awe, the sense of community and the bond of family, friends and community shone through and I loved that, of course it's your island and its your community, nobody can deny that, you people are the soul and the beating heart of Norfolk Island which transcends Australian government policy and bureaucracy, the words NEVER GIVE UP, ring loud and true. It is so unique and special what has been built by you all and your ancestors, please never let it fade away, I would imagine many other everyday Australians like me would support you in your fight for independence, I am happy to accommodate any Norfolk Islander who has to travel here to Australia to lobby Canberra or needs any assistance I can offer to make sure Norfolk remains independent, good luck (Will in Cairns far North Queensland)”

NIPD has sent a thank you note in reply.

Management Committee
Norfolk Island People for Democracy
12 May 2016

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CAUTION ARGENTINE ANTS


TO KEEP ARGENTINE ANTS FROM BEING SPREAD AROUND NORFOLK, WE ASK PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE ANY MATERIALS INCLUDING FIREWOOD, GREEN WASTE, BUILDING MATERIALS ETC FROM THESE ARGENTINE ANT HOTSPOTS.
 
1. Headstone through to Puppy’s Point – St Barnabas Chapel through to Mission Road;
2. Hibiscus Drive – Entire area between Martins Road, Stockyard Road and Two Chimneys Road;
3. Waste Management Centre to Douglas Drive, down to St Barnabas Chapel;
4. Prince Philip Drive;
5. Mt Pitt Road;
6. Rocky Point;
7. Collins Head Road – Corner of Driver Christian Road to the end of Collins Head Road (right side only);
8. Burnt Pine – Valley area behind the RSL;

Zones 1 and 2 are highly infested with a high priority for baiting.  Please do not remove any materials from these areas unless inspected by the Argentine Ant Program Team.

Zone 3 – Waste Management Centre – Please inspect and only take items from the top drive-through area;

Zones 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are in the eradication stages with numerous yearly baiting showing positive results leading to eradication in those areas. We still ask that the community inspect all materials being removed or call the Argentine Ant Program Team if you are unsure.

For all enquiries please phone 22609 or 52193

Authorised by the Administration of Norfolk Island

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STAFF FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES ARE ON NORFOLK ISLAND



Staff from the Department of Human Services are on Norfolk Island. They’re here to answer your questions and help you lodge early paper claims for a payment or request a child support assessment before 1 July 2016.

You can now lodge your early claim with our staff at the Australian Government Information Centre. To book an appointment or to request a child support assessment, please call the Australian Government Information Centre on 23465.

For more information about payments and services, go to humanservices.gov.au or watch the Norfolk Island video on the Department of Human Services YouTube channel. 

Important information

You’ll receive your final Norfolk Island Social Services benefit payment on 30 June 2016. You will not automatically receive payments from the Department of Human Services after this date. 

In order to receive a payment or service, first you need to lodge a claim and you’ll be informed if it’s successful. You can download the relevant form, depending on your circumstances, from humanservices.gov.au/forms

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NEW ORDINANCES: LATEST STAGE OF REFORM ANNOUNCED



His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, made eight Norfolk Island Ordinances on 5 May 2016.  These Ordinances support a range of important matters, including the establishment of the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS), and to support the transition of businesses to the federal taxation system, the suspension of the Norfolk Island business transactions levy for certain businesses until 30 June 2017.    

In addition, the Ordinances ensure continuation of local public holidays for Foundation Day, Bounty Day, Queens Birthday, Show Day and Thanksgiving.  These Ordinances strengthen oversight of the Gaming Authority and remove market restrictions for telecommunications.  

Details are available on the website:  

 Norfolk Island Applied Laws Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00729)  

 Norfolk Island Appropriation Amendment (2016 Measures No. 2) Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00747)

 Norfolk Island Continued Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00771)  

 Norfolk Island Continued Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 2) Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00751)  

 Norfolk Island Customs Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00736)   

  Norfolk Island Land Transfer Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00762) 

  Norfolk Island Provident Account (Closure and Other Measures) Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00759) 

  Norfolk Island Regional Council Declaration Ordinance 2016 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00721)   

The enacting of these Ordinances supports the Australian Government’s commitment to Norfolk Island economic recovery and the transparent delivery of the reforms.  More detailed information about the Ordinances and their practical application will be provided in the next edition of the Norfolk Island Reform Newsletter.   

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 
11 May 2016 

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AGENT SERVICES - NORFOLK ISLAND


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DIRECTIONS FOR VOTING


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ADVICE TO MINISTER FLETCHER - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT



The Norfolk Island Advisory Council would like to thank members of the community for providing their views about economic development priorities in our questionnaire based on the Norfolk Island Economic Development Strategy prepared by SGS Economics and Planning.

 

We have now provided advice to the Minister about the priorities that were communicated to us through feedback to the questionnaire. Our advice included a copy of the feedback summary on the questionnaire we published in March and has also been shared with His Honour the Administrator and the Executive Director. A copy of our advice to the Minister is available on our website www.norfolkislandadvisorycouncil.nf

 

As 1 July draws closer, the Advisory Council will continue to play a role advocating for the community. We recognise that the changes can be challenging and they will mean different things for different people. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to visit the Australian Government Information Centre to arrange appointments with visiting agencies or access information about the reform process.

 

If you would like to discuss a specific issue with us or would like assistance raising a concern or question with the Administrator or the Minister please call one of the members and we will be happy to provide assistance.

 

Contact: Melissa Ward 50776

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ADMINISTRATION FLEET UPGRADE


 

The Administration is pleased this week to announce the imminent arrival of a new truck and grader for Norfolk Island. These were purchased through Admin’s capital budget with assistance in the procurement by Regional Procurement and will replace assets that have well and truly passed their “Best Before” date.

The NorAm E65 grader is very similar in size to the old Galion grader – a tireless workhorse since it was manufactured in 1965. Doug Creek, Manager of Public Works quipped, “The Galion is as old as some of our crew – but it hasn’t aged nearly as well! It has pretty much worked on every road on Norfolk, but parts are getting harder to source, so it is well and truly time it was retired.”

Doug and his team are looking forward to the arrival of the new grader in June and will doubtlessly be down on the jetty watching as it is double-lightered onto the island. “It has a fully enclosed air-conditioned cab,” Doug enthused. “And lights and, yes! Even a horn! But more importantly, it has modern safety equipment such as ROP switches which activate a roll-over protection system.”

The new Hino truck has an 8 tonne payload and it will replace the one the road maintenance crews have been using on Norfolk since 1982. The combined cost of these two new assets is $303,700 – plus freight.

The next time you drive by our road maintenance crew, be sure to check out the new rollers they are using. These rubber-tyred SAKAI rollers, which arrived on-island in March, are just what the “road-doctor” ordered. “These new rollers are exactly what we needed,” Doug said. “Repairs on the old rollers were getting costly. These new ones are easier to operate and manoeuvre in small areas and far superior for chip-sealing our roads. At a cost of $42,000 each – plus freight – the whole team agrees, it’s money well spent.”

The new equipment will ensure the satisfactory completion of current projects such as the Taylors Road and Queen Elizabeth Avenue road works which are progressing very well, and for future projects. 

Authorised by the Administration of Norfolk Island

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTION DAY


ADVERTISEMENT

NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTION DAY is

Saturday 28 May 2016

Where:

RAWSON HALL,

Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine

 

When:

Saturday 28 May

8:00 am – 6:00 pm

 

Is it compulsory?

 

If you are enrolled as a resident, you must vote as you may be fined if you don’t

.

What if I can’t make it on Election Day?

 

You can apply to vote by Postal vote or you may be eligible to Pre-poll vote.

 

Postal vote applications can be accessed from the Australian Election Company website: www.austelect.com or from the Returning Officer’s Office (36 E & F Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine).

 

Completed Postal vote application forms must be returned by Monday 5:00 pm 23 May.

You

may be eligible to have a Pre-poll vote.

Pre-poll voting will be available from:

 16 May up until 6:00pm Friday 27 May

 during ordinary business hours

 at the Returning Officer’s Office

(36 E & F Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine).

Visit the

Regional Council Election Centre

36 E & F Taylors Road, Burnt Pine (

Tel: 23052 ) or go to Australian Election Company’s website www.austelect.com to find out everything you need to know about the election.

Remember to have your say in the election.

Written and authorised by Richard Kidd, Australian Election Company, Delegate of the Electoral Commissioner, 36 E & F Taylors Road, Norfolk Island 2899

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ELECTION - SATURDAY 28th MAY 2016


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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL

ELECTION - Saturday 28 May 2016

Polling for the contested election will be held at:

 

Rawson Hall, Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine between 8:00am and 6:00pm. on 28 May.

If you are unavailable on election day 28 May, you may apply to vote by Postal vote or Pre-poll vote.

 

Postal vote applications can be accessed from the Australian Election Company website:

www.austelect.com

 

or from the Returning Officer’s Office

 

(36 E & F Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine).

Completed and signed Postal vote application forms must be returned by Monday 5:00 pm 23 May.

 

You may be eligible to have a Pre-poll vote. Pre-poll voting will be available from:

 16 May up until 6:00pm Friday 27 May

during ordinary business hours

 at the Returning Officer’s Office

(36 E & F Taylors Rd., Tel: 23052).

 

For more information on the election, visit www.austelect.com or the Election Office at 36 E & F Taylors Road, Burnt Pine

Written and authorised by Richard Kidd, Australian Election Company, Delegate of the Electoral Commissioner, 36 E & F Taylors Road, Norfolk Island

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTION


NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTION

ELECTION OF FIVE (5) COUNCILLORS

TO BE HELD ON 28 MAY 2016

DIRECTIONS FOR VOTING

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

When you go to cast your vote and you have been issued your Ballot Paper by our Polling Official, enter the voting compartment alone, and in secret, on the Ballot Paper, place the numbers "1","2", and "3", in the squares next to the candidates IN THE ORDER OF YOUR CHOICE. If you wish to vote for any more candidates, place consecutive numbers starting with "4" in the squares next to those candidates in order of your preference for them.

NOTE: YOU MUST NUMBER AT LEAST THREE (3) SQUARES CONSECUTIVELY (i.e. 1, 2, 3) TO MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT.

Written and authorised by Richard Kidd, Australian Election Company, Delegate of the Electoral Commissioner,

36 E & F Taylors Road, Norfolk Island 2899.

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NORFOLK ISLAND BACKGROUND INFORMATION


Politics:

In 1856, Norfolk Island was gifted to the descendants of the Bounty mutineers by Queen Victoria.

 Norfolk Island has never been an Australian possession, rather, the territory was administered by the

Commonwealth on behalf of the British crown.

 

 Between 1979 and 2015, Norfolk Island was self-governed by an elected Legislative Assembly. This administration, funded by local taxes and levies on the island, provided health, education, customs, quarantine, telecommunications, electricity, roads, rubbish, and other services.

 

 Under self-governance, Norfolk Islanders paid no income tax, land tax, or council rates.

 

 The local administration had balanced budgets for three decades, only requesting financial assistance from the Commonwealth during the Global Financial Crisis, when Norfolk Island was specifically excluded from stimulus funding and financial assistance packages provided to other states and territories.

 

 A referendum in May 2015 found more than two-thirds of Norfolk Islanders oppose the Commonwealth takeover.

Financial situation:

Norfolk Island and its 430,000 square kilometre exclusive economic zone provide a net financial benefit to the Commonwealth.

 

 It is estimated that the exclusive economic zone delivers up to $400 million annually to the Commonwealth, with commercial fishing licences alone reaping more than $60 million a year.

 

 Prior to the loss of self-governance, Norfolk Islanders also paid direct and indirect taxes to Australia in the vicinity of $5.8 million per year, according to ATO and ABS data

 

 The Commonwealth used its veto powers to block activities that would have provided a sustainable boost to the local economy, including an agreement to restart a small scale commercial fishing industry, and allow a Canadian company to grow medicinal marijuana on the island:- . The Commonwealth also prevented the Legislative Assembly from borrowing from banks or pursuing many commercial opportunities.

 

Society:

The island has its own language, which is included on the United Nations’ list of endangered languages, as well as unique customs and culture coming from their mix of European and Tahitian ancestry.

 

 Two national anthems that are sung at official ceremonies: God Save The Queen and the Pitcairn Anthem.

 

 Women were allowed to vote on Norfolk Island from 1856, as they had been on Pitcairn Island.

 

 Norfolk Island women held key positions in the parliament and judiciary before the Commonwealth of Australia was even formed.

 

 Norfolk Island introduced compulsory education for boys and girls before any Australian state or territory.

 

 The Legislative Assembly commenced a process to legalise same-sex marriage in 2014/15, the removal of the islands Parliament has halted this proposal.

 

 Under self-government, Norfolk Island had a negligible unemployment rate and did not require unemployment benefits.

 

 Many Norfolk Islanders often work two or more part-time jobs as part of their work ethic and due to the necessity of providing a diverse range of essential services to a small population.

Service Delivery/Utilities:

 

Pre GFC, Norfolk Island’s own taxes have funded infrastructure and service delivery across all community areas:

 

Hospital

– 23 beds/Pathology/Pharmacy/Physio/Aged Care/Dentist/Maternity Ward/Dialysis Facilities/O&E etc

Education

– Kindergarten to Year 12/NI Purchased an education package from NSW/paying Curriculum and Teachers

Communications and Electricity

– Infrastructure/Reticulation/Nationally accredited training/Broadband/Network

Social Support

- Workers Compensation/Aged Pensions/Hardship Allowance/Healthcare & Medical Evacuation

Tourism & Industry

– Tourist Bureau/Management/Promotion/Famils/Branding and Profile development

 

Contact Info: ak@ni.net.nf M: +6723 50273

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THE WORD IS OUT! #WorldsLittlestFreedomFighters


 

It’s been a big few weeks for those on Norfolk Island as well as supporters from around the world who have been spreading the news of Norfolk Island's fight for democracy. Over the last two weeks there have been several events which have seen our community pull together in all kinds of ways.

 

18th April - Public Meeting at Rawson Hall

A public meeting was held hear from local representative stakeholders to discuss issues being faced by the Norfolk Island People. They included representatives from the Norfolk Island Council of Elders, the Private Sector, Health, Norfolk Island People for Democracy, Media Consultants, the Fishing Association and The Accommodation and Tourism Association.

 

There was a call to those attending to ‘stand up’ for Norfolk Island by making an extra effort to attend a community gathering to be held at the parliamentary precinct in the Old Military Barracks in Kingston, home to the abolished Legislative Assembly.

 

25th April - The Petition Submitted in New York

Mr Albert Buffett, President of the Council of Elders and Mr Ken Christian, the Vice President of the Norfolk Island Council of Elders, together with Dr David Buckley (UN Peace Federation Ambassador) and Mr Geoffrey Robertson QC met in New York to attend to the lodgement of the petition with the United Nations to seek inscription on the UN List of Non Self-Governing Territories.

 

27th April - Gathering at Legislative Assembly

On Wednesday at 3pm a Community Gathering commenced within the grounds of the former Legislative Assembly building which brought together many from the Norfolk Island community. Over 300 people met within the walls of the former parliament to show the world that the people of Norfolk Island are standing up for their right to Self-Determination and for their home.

 

There were many speakers from the community including Chris Magri as President of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy who confirmed that the petition had been lodged at the United Nations only hours before. There was also a call to action from Sam Ford, a young member of the community asking for an opportunity to hear the facts about Norfolk's current situation in a search for information to be made more available to the younger generation, who as he pointed out - will be around for a long time. There was a great sense of relief in the community’s practical show of togetherness and solidarity which expressed the common desire for a safe, prosperous and democratic future for Norfolk Island.

 

28th April - 227th Anniversary of the Mutiny on the Bounty

A celebration was held in the form of a community potluck at the local Golf Club in Kingston to commemorate the 227th Anniversary of the Mutiny on the Bounty. This was an opportunity for many members of the community to gather in the island spirit to celebrate what had been a big moment in the island's history.

 

2nd May - Welcoming home Albert and Ken - 25K Crowdfunding!

Albert Buffet and Ken Christian were welcomed home with open arms after their trip to New York to submit the Petition to the United Nations:

 

"Our delegation met with a number of United Nations representatives over a wide range of discussions including topics on governance, the rights of indigenous peoples, economics, and environment. These discussions opened up doors for a wide range of strategies including international networking looking towards the future of Norfolk Island." (Albert Buffett)

 

The night continued on in the grounds of the Legislative Assembly where many came together again to celebrate the island’s achievements thus far.

 

Crowdfunding

This is also a reminder that the crowdfunding campaign has reached over $25,000! We say a big thank you to all those who have been part of the campaign and please remember to share it with your contacts and spread the word! Also, for anybody who has been having trouble with the online facilities, those bugs have been fixed. But if you do have any problems please let us know so we can let Fundrazr know as quickly as possible.

 

The Norfolk Island People for Democracy would like to say a big ‘thank you!’ to all the supporters of Norfolk Island’s fight for democracy who have helped in so many ways, including cooking, setting tables, writing to newspapers, washing dishes, sleeping downtown, continuing to laugh, sharing our story, and the numerous donations of food, time, and much much more.

 

Thaenks fe ucklun

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HUMAN SERVICES RETURNING IN MAY



We’re returning in May to answer your questions and help you lodge your paper claims  


Staff from the Department of Human Services will be on Norfolk Island again in May! They’ll be here to answer your questions and help you lodge early paper claims for a payment or request a child support assessment before 1 July 2016.


You’ll be able to:

  • meet with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer from 2 to 6 May 2016. Our FIS officers will give you information and answer your questions about our payments, income and assets, superannuation, and planning for retirement. Book a one-on-one appointment by visiting the Australian Government Information Centre or calling 23465
  • lodge a paper claim with our staff for a payment, Family Tax Benefit or request a child support assessment from 9 May 2016.

You can lodge your early claim with our staff at the Australian Government Information Centre from this date.

For more information about our payments and services, go to humanservices.gov.au or watch the Norfolk Island video on the Department of Human Services YouTube channel.

 

Important information

You’ll receive your final Norfolk Island Social Services benefit payment on 30 June 2016. You will not automatically receive payments from us after this date.


In order to receive a payment from us, first you need to lodge a claim and we’ll inform you if it’s successful. You can download the relevant form, depending on your circumstances, from our website at humanservices.gov.au/forms


Remember, you can lodge an early paper claim with us from 9 May 2016.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND - mythconceptions & mythinformation versus the facts


 

 

MISCONCEPTION

THE FACTS

Norfolk Island is part of Australia

*   Norfolk Island was gifted to the Pitcairn Islanders by Queen Victoria in 1856 after Pitcairn became too small for the descendants of the mutiny on the Bounty. This was 45 years before Australia became a country.

*   Norfolk Island was never given to Australia. It was only asked to ‘administer’ the island.

*   Norfolk Island is not a “prescribed Territory” under the Tax Assessment Act or the Social Security Act.

*   The Australian government cannot provide any documentation showing Norfolk Island is part of their dominion.

*   Australia Post treats Norfolk Island as an overseas territory and not part of Australia.

*   International calling rates apply for Norfolk Islander, which has it’s own international dialling code.

*   Each time sovereignty has become an issue — most vigorously in 1979 — the Australian Government gave Norfolk Island enough crumbs to keep them part of the wider family.

The Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly was fiscally irresponsible

*   The Legislative Assembly was able to run budget surpluses every year for more than three decades.

*   It was only during the Global Financial Crisis, when Norfolk Island was excluded from the Commonwealth Government’s stimulus package, that the Legislative Assembly sought financial assistance.

*   The Australian government has stymied revenue-generating opportunities, including the rejection of five proposals for sustainable ongoing ventures.

*   The Australian government insists that any funds sought by the Legislative Assembly had to be from the Federal Government, preventing normal commercial opportunities.

Australian taxpayers prop up Norfolk Island financially

*   Before the Legislative Assembly was dissolved by the Australian government, Norfolk Island raised its own taxes to develop and support local infrastructure and services.

*   At the same time, Norfolk was paying direct and indirect taxes to Australia in the vicinity of $5.8 million per year, according to the Australian Tax Office and Australian Bureau of Statistics.

*   The Australian government also received hundreds of millions of dollars annually from Norfolk Island’s Economic Exclusion Zone. None of that money was returned to Norfolk Island. Publicly available information shows $64 million is paid annually to the Australia government for fishing rights in just one area within Norfolk Island waters. The royalties paid for mining exploration and retention leases is even higher.

*   During the GFC Norfolk Island was specifically excluded from any stimulus funding or financial assistance packages which were given to other states and territories.

*   Funding only commenced in 2011, and required Norfolk Island to sign away many elements of self-government through the Territories Law Reform Act. Some of the promised funding has still not been paid.

Norfolk Island delivers little benefit to Australia

*   Norfolk Island’s EEZ reportedly delivers $400 million to the Australian government’s coffers annually. That’s almost a quarter of a million dollars from each and every island resident.

*   Although access to funds which are rightly Norfolk Island’s is important, of greater importance is long-term sustainability, especially from an environmental perspective. The Australian government’s sale of exploration rights is a vexing issue because of the potential to harm the island’s unique ecosystem and tourism industry.

*   Successive Norfolk Island Governments have proposed mutually beneficial commercial, banking and industrial options to bring new or improved revenues to both Australia and Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island is only for “newly-weds and nearly-deads”

*   All ages appreciate the freedom and safety of Norfolk Island. You don’t need high-rise buildings and night life to have a great time in a temperate climate with great outdoor activities and a range of hospitality and entertainment options, including live music nightly and multiple entertainment/hospitality venues.

*   The island’s beautiful sandy beaches and lack of heavy traffic make it a wonderful place for a family holiday.

Norfolk Island is behind the times

*   Most visitors are extremely enviable and would like to see their homes turn the clock back to a time when community spirit and a focus on interacting with a pristine environment was more important than materialistic offerings.

*   Small communities like Norfolk Island don’t need massive infrastructure, just something designed for their needs.

*   While Norfolk Island utilises heritage buildings that, from the outside, are not modern, they add to the charm of the island and are part of its unique history and heritage.

*   Norfolk Island enjoys modern communications, with access to broadband internet and phone services.

*   Norfolk Island roads are fit for service and actually quite good compared to other Pacific Islands, as well as many rural and regional communities in Australia.

Only a small proportion of the population are in employment

*   Norfolk Island has never had the dole, and has not needed unemployment benefits, with a negligible unemployment rate.

*   The 2011 Census showed that 57 per cent of the population were in work, while a further 24 per cent were either studying or yet to start school. That leaves just 19 per cent who were not working, of whom 11 per cent were retired, and the remainder were stay-at-home parents or those with independent wealth.

*   Many Norfolk Islanders work two or more jobs to provide essential services for the local community along with visitors.

*   There is a strong spirit of enterprise and resourcefulness.

*   Many school students have afternoon, evening and weekend employment.

*   Norfolk Island wants, and is striving to maintain a productive economy (and competitive tourism destination).

Norfolk Islanders will be better off under the Australian tax regime

*   Norfolk Island has always paid direct and indirect taxes and levies to its own government, including a Goods and Services Tax (GST).

*   Because of gifting rules and asset tests, many locals who currently receive a local pension may lose their pension and aged care entitlement after July 1, 2016.

*   The economy has developed to suit Norfolk Island’s needs — which are quite different to those in Australia. Transition to a non-purpose built tax regime will create enormous difficulties.

*   The average income in Australia is $75,000 (rising to $80,000 after overtime and bonuses). On Norfolk Island it is barely $30,000. A tax system based on Australian conditions will have a big impact on personal income and won’t raise significant revenue anyway.

*   Norfolk Island is concerned that changes that effect the local economy have not been properly modelled.

*   It is estimated that there will be a 40 per cent increase in costs which will damage the vital tourism sector.

Norfolk Island should have land rules and rates in line with Australia’s

*   This doesn’t take into account traditional land holdings on Norfolk Island, where land originally gifted to Pitcairn Islanders has been handed down from generation to generation.

*   This island is not Australian and the way finite resources such as land have been developed and managed is based more on community than profiteering.

*   A plan to charge rates on the island at NSW / Sydney waterfront levels would have a devastating financial impact on the local population.

*   Lord Howe Island has significant protections in place to prevent over-commercialisation and to look after the local community. The Australian Government has insisted that Norfolk Island should not have the same protections.

Norfolk Islanders will be safer under the Australian healthcare system

*   Many would have welcomed Medicare and PBS, but the changes have actually led to the loss of many health services.

*   The hospital — funded entirely by the community — is having services slashed. The physiotherapist and dentist are being made surplus to requirements and the pharmacy is being shifted to an odd location away from the major health amenities.

The Norfolk Island education system would be better run from the mainland

*   Norfolk Island introduced compulsory schooling for boys and girls well before Australia.

*   Norfolk Island has a superb school and the mix of academic excellence, outdoor pursuits and cultural and environmental appreciation is of great pride to parents and the island as a whole.

*   Norfolk Island NAPLAN results have historically ranked well above the average across Australia.

*   The plan proposed by the Australian government is designed to alter the embracing of a Norfolk Island indigenous identity and replace it with an Australia-centric identity and culture.

Having an administrator on the island is in the best interests of the Norfolk Island people

*   There are many who view that the Australian government-appointed Administrator has not always represented the needs and wishes of the majority of the Norfolk Island community. This has caused unnecessary distress and had a major impact on community health and wellbeing.

*   There is currently a lengthy complaint being prepared for the Commonwealth Ombudsman setting out five major grounds in which the Administrator should be removed from office, supported by examples of dozens of specific instances of improper, inappropriate, misleading or unconscionable conduct.

*   Norfolk Island’s community does not want an Australian government-appointed Administrator. If the position must be there, the preference would be for a replacement who will facilitate, not dictate, on day-to-day issues that affect both Norfolk Island and Australia.

The Commonwealth Government is making sure Norfolk Islanders have the same level of support as all Australians

*   Less than a half of all residents are Australian-born.

*   Many indigenous Norfolk Islanders had to be born off-shore due to various circumstances.

*   A quarter of the population was born on the island and another 20 per cent were born in New Zealand (with many more tracking heritage back to Aotearoa through one of their parents).

*   The background of many more is from Britain or the Pacific Islands.

*   Many of these Norfolk Islanders will have to apply for a permit or become an Australian citizen just to stay in the place they currently call home.

*   What works for Australians in their own country isn’t necessarily appropriate for Australians who have made Norfolk Island their home. Many have settled on the island for lifestyle reasons and appreciate their needs on the island are different to a continent almost 1700 kilometres away.

Norfolk Island’s thinking is aligned with Australia’s on social issues and community

*   Norfolk Islanders have championed gay, lesbian and trans-gender rights, having tried to introduce same-sex marriage and civil liberty rights legislation to the parliament before it was dissolved by the Australian government.

*   Norfolk Island and Australia aren’t really on the same page, either, when it comes to the rights of indigenous people, refugee policy, protection of the environment and the detention of long-term residents in offshore detention centres while awaiting repatriation.

*   The settlers from Pitcairn Island brought with them matriarchal rights, and were the first people in the commonwealth to have universal suffrage.

Australia and Norfolk Island share the same interests

*   Norfolk Island may be home of the first cricket oval in the Southern Hemisphere, but many of the islanders don’t share Australia’s love of the game and aren’t big AFL fans either.

*   Norfolk Island has two national anthems, but Advance Australia Fair isn’t one of them. God Save The Queen and the Pitcairn Anthem are used on official occasions and at informal community gatherings.

*   Norfolk Island has its own flag, its own language, its own customs and a heritage and lineage that is far more aligned to the United Kingdom and Tahiti in the Pacific Islands .

 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HOW COUNCILS ARE FUNDED



As the local governance of Norfolk Island completes its transition from an Administration to a Regional Council, many in the community are wondering how the latter will be funded. Actual budgets for 2016/17 are currently under review, but we thought it prudent to provide a general overview, to allay a perceived “fear of the unknown.” 

While some revenue streams will be unique to Norfolk Island, others are fairly standard throughout New South Wales and Australia. On average, councils receive 28% of their regular income from ordinary land rates, which are paid by land owners according to the size and function of their properties. Other monies come from licencing, levies and taxes on services such as waste disposal and fuel. Councils also receive a grant each year which is ordinarily paid by the Commonwealth Government, through the State Government – an amount made available to fund quite specific services. On Norfolk, these are likely to include: support for legal aid, the removal of noxious weeds and pests, fire services, child welfare, roads, corrective services, coronial services and the courts.

On Norfolk, our regional council will – for the time being at least – retain ownership of Telecom, Norfolk Island Electricity and the Liquor Bond, so significant revenues will continue to flow in from each of these entities. Our council will also collect taxes from the sale of tobacco and lighterage charges, plus various registration fees for things like drivers licences, firearm registrations, vehicle registrations, etc.

In the past, social services, healthcare, education, the hospital and policing were funded by Admin, but from July 1st, 2016, the Commonwealth will assume direct responsibility for delivering – and paying – for these services. This will lift a heavy financial burden on our regional council, which will no longer be able to collect revenue from GST, customs duties, healthcare charges and quarantine levies – all of which will be dropped to ease any potential financial pressure businesses, individuals and families may face through the transition. 

In the coming weeks we shall be releasing a detailed schedule of levies that will apply come July 1st, 2016, plus a comprehensive schedule of residential and commercial land rates. But rest assured, these will be equitable and above all, ensure a sustainable future for Norfolk.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOMINATIONS FOR COUNCIL



Nominations closed on Wednesday, 27th April for the five Councillor positions on the new Norfolk Island Regional Council, set to inaugurate on July 1st, 2016. Ten members of the community have put themselves forward, and no doubt they will begin campaigning vigorously for election soon.

Briefing sessions were held last week for anyone in the community interested in learning about the way councils function and more pertinently, the role each councillor (and the mayor they then elect) will play. Twenty eight locals attended these sessions. Ten locals ultimately deciding they had what it takes to serve the community in this way.  

The 10 nominees (in alphabetical order) are:

Robin Adams

Tim Brown

David Buffett

Rod Buffett

Kim Davies

John McCoy

David Porter

Lisle Snell

Lyle Tavener

Graham White

The Residential and Non Residential Electoral Rolls are now complete, with 1,002 people in – and of – our community set to cast their vote by the 28th of May, 2016. Pre-poll voting will commence on Monday 16th May, at the Office of the Returning Officer on Taylors Road, opposite the Visitors’ Information Centre. Those wishing to lodge a postal vote can obtain an application form from the Office of the Returning Officer or from the Australian Election Company website: www.austelect.com

The five councillors elected on the 28th of May will be instrumental in determining the strategic direction of our community, leading the island towards a sustainable future. We wish each and every nominee our best as they begin their pre-election campaigns. Information about the ballot and how and where to vote will be provided shortly.  

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ARGENTINE ANT UPDATE



Argentine Ants have been a problem on Norfolk since they were first identified in 2005. Unfortunately we aided and abetted their dispersal, via the sale of garden mulch from the Waste Management Centre. But the good news is we are slowly but surely thwarting their invasion, and even winning a few battles in the field.


Argentine Ants are a worry worldwide because they compete with native ant species, often causing localised extinctions. They pose a threat to many invertebrates and – here on Norfolk – our feathered-friends as well, particularly ground-nesting sea birds and the emblematic Green parrot.


This is one aggressive ant you don’t want anywhere near your home or garden. They interfere with pollination and seed dispersal and have a habit of protecting and nurturing aphids for the honeydew they secrete, so when their numbers increase, horticultural crops such as citrus are compromised – potentially destroyed. Small wonder we consider their eradication a priority.


Despite sporadic and insufficient funding to date, the Administration of Norfolk Island has persevered in its attempt to monitor and treat Argentine Ant infestations. The key to continuing success will be finding and implementing baiting techniques that are cost effective, with minimal impact on native biota and the livelihoods of Norfolk Island residents. To this end, the Eradication Program Team has been working closely with Dr Ben Hoffmann from the CSIRO.


“The bait we are currently using was first trialled in California,” Ben ‘Booda’ Nobbs explained. “Dr Ben Hoffmann suggested we try it here, and we appear to be having good success with it. We’ve been treating an area around the Waste Management Centre and we’ve knocked them [the Argentine Ants] right back.”

Booda, who is currently leading the local Argentine Ant Eradication Program Team, explained how the bait was made and distributed. “We use water beads immersed in a solution made from water, sugar and a small amount of poison, and we broadcast this in the area we are treating by hand. We make weekly applications over a ten week period, so it’s very labour intensive.”


Booda was pleased with the co-operation he and his team have received from the community, particularly the contractors who have their earth-moving equipment thoroughly checked for ants before it is moved on to any subsequent job site, lest they inadvertently spread an infestation. He is also excited at the prospect of bringing in a sniffer dog trained in the detection of Argentine Ants, to help locate remnant populations. “Dr Hoffmann suggested this as a ‘clean up’ measure,” Ben explained. “We would take the dog into areas where we have already baited, and use it to quickly sniff out any ants that may have found their way up a tree, or under a rock and [thus] avoided poisoning. It is a cheaper alternative to deploying people to search for remnant Argentine Ant populations, as it will be less labour intensive.”


Argentine Ants are less active during the cooler months, so baiting will ease in the coming weeks. The Argentine Ant Eradication Program Team will still be busy however, cutting tracks through the thick bush where they will recommence baiting in spring – focusing on a section that takes in around 60 hectares from Bucks Point to Stockyard Rd and Two Chimneys. “We are getting there slowly,” Booda said, “and we will eradicate the ants eventually; so long as the funding keeps up.”


Please 'contact us' for more information.

NEWS FROM NEW YORK



"The general consensus is one of SHOCK from the UN that this is happening and that it is Australia doing it ... Australia are on the short list to be appointed 'head' or join a special UN Human Rights Group ...it is raising questions… “(Dr David Buckley, UN Peace Federation Ambassador)

Management Committee

www.norfolkschoice.com

29 April 2016

Please 'contact us' for more information.

SMALL BUSINESS INFORMATION SESSIONS AND WORKSHOPS


Kym and Vicki from NORTEC will return to Norfolk Island 11 to 13 May 2016 to conduct fully subsidised workshops to assist you to take your business forward in 2016.  A limited number of one-on-one business sessions will also be available.

A three hour Business Planning Workshop will be held from 9.00am on Wednesday 11 May, and repeated at the same time on Thursday 12 May.


A separate three hour Financial Skills Workshop will be held from 2.00pm on Wednesday 11 May and repeated at the same time on Thursday 12 May.


Spaces are limited. Please contact the Office of the Administrator for further details (Tel: 22 152). 

NORTEC Small Business Solutions is a not for profit organisation.


Please 'contact us' for more information.

HUMAN SERVICES RETURNING IN MAY



We’re returning in May to answer your questions and help you lodge your paper claims  


Staff from the Department of Human Services will be on Norfolk Island again in May! They’ll be here to answer your questions and help you lodge early paper claims for a payment or request a child support assessment before 1 July 2016.


You’ll be able to:

  • meet with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer from 2 to 6 May 2016. Our FIS officers will give you information and answer your questions about our payments, income and assets, superannuation, and planning for retirement. Book a one-on-one appointment by visiting the Australian Government Information Centre or calling 23465
  • lodge a paper claim with our staff for a payment, Family Tax Benefit or request a child support assessment from 9 May 2016.

You can lodge your early claim with our staff at the Australian Government Information Centre from this date.

For more information about our payments and services, go to humanservices.gov.au or watch the Norfolk Island video on the Department of Human Services YouTube channel.

 

Important information

You’ll receive your final Norfolk Island Social Services benefit payment on 30 June 2016. You will not automatically receive payments from us after this date.


In order to receive a payment from us, first you need to lodge a claim and we’ll inform you if it’s successful. You can download the relevant form, depending on your circumstances, from our website at humanservices.gov.au/forms


Remember, you can lodge an early paper claim with us from 9 May 2016.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

RESPONSE TO MYTH BUSTER


Myth No 1 - Australia is just going to ruin this wonderful place.  

Dear Myth Buster - Of course you are right, Australian islands are pristine natural environments.  

However, to say they are treated with respect is extremely obtuse. For example, if Australian Councils want any chance of being financially sustainable, which most are not, they are required to beg for Federal Assistance and other Grants, like coastal grants, infrastructure grants, expert engagement on threatened species, tourism assistance, forward planning and transparent engagement. In fact, the success of a local council depends largely on whether you are a good beggar or not. 


I can also say definitively that the Commonwealth Government has ruined Christmas and Cocus Islands. Representatives of the Christmas Island and Cocus Island Councils have travelled to Norfolk Island twice to warn us of the impending disaster that is about to befall us and have implored that the NI people to fight with every cell in their being to not allow the Cth to ruin this beautiful place the way they have ruined their islands.  They insisted that their governance arrangements are grossly undemocratic; totally financially unsustainable; and in short a total disaster.

Myth Buster, as this is your ‘first myth’ I am disappointed that you decided to waiver from the mantra of your department in Canberra. Please, if you want to keep your job, remember to stay on message, “Australians living on Norfolk Island will receive the same entitlements and benefits as all other Australians” 

 Myth 2 - Australia is just after our gas and oil reserves 


Dear Myth Buster, this is much better work and I agree with you, this myth is probably ‘Busted’.   


After all, there is no hurry for Australia to look for oil or gas as it is more than satisfied with the revenues it is making from our Fishery.


 Myth Buster, not long ago your Administrator, put out a fact sheet in response to growing calls for information on the revenues Australia makes from the NIEEZ. The official answer - there is no commercial fishing that takes places in the NI inshore Fishery (NIIF).  

Whilst this is partly true the NIIF is only what the Islanders call the ‘box’ and it only makes up a tiny fraction the NIEEZ. The Commonwealth calls the commercial Fishery around Norfolk Island the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) in a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that they make many hundreds of millions of dollars from our Fishery.  


Myth Buster, it may be easier for you to stop trying to defend the un-defendable and focus on easier Myths to bust, like - is it OK for Commonwealth employees to moonlight as a myth buster? 


Myth No. 3 -Australia has been out to get us for years 


Myth Buster, at the outset of the Norfolk Islands previous governance arrangements Norfolk Island enjoyed a fruitful and productive partnership with the Australian Government; enjoyed direct access to Commonwealth ministers; and were able to resolve differences through mutual negotiation. However, post 2006 this relationship was irreparably damaged as a result of the Lloyd intervention into the islands governance. Despite the best efforts of our elected representatives, the Department of Territories orchestrated a determined campaign to ensure the demise of the NIG.  


Whilst this subject is too complex to deal with in this forum if the author of this post decided to take off their rose colored glasses and take an evidence based look at the actions of the Department of Territories over the past ten years it would be impossible for them to come to any other conclusion.  This is why the Norfolk Island People have been demanding an ‘independent observer’ or ‘senate enquiry’ to investigate these matters.  

Myth Buster, please investigate the myth as to why such an enquiry has not been instigated, and who in the Department has the most to lose if the ‘truth’ came out.  

Myth No. 4 - All the dole bludgers will swamp the island 

Dear Myth Buster, let us be clear. If, when you are talking about ‘our’ people then I agree, bludging on the dole is most definitely against our way of life. 

However, if in fact you are talking about ‘your’ people then this myth may be better busted in the Canberra Times.


Myth No. 5 - You will just have high rise and resorts everywhere. 

Dear Myth Buster, it was your Administrator who on TV and in other public forums who spoke of the wonders of cliff top resorts. Alternately, the Norfolk Island People have a wonderful plan which controls development on the Island in a sustainable and environmentally sensitive way – perhaps if you were in fact ‘our’ people you may have seen it before. 

Myth No. 6 - The Current 'footpath is a waste of time and purely a political exercise.  


Dear Myth Buster you will remember at the public meeting at Rawson Hall on 28 January that the only reason that GST was not extended to Norfolk Island was, and I quote the Minister ‘because of a mind numbing explanation provided to me by the Attorney General.’   

If Myth Buster had any understanding of the Commonwealth fiscal equalization arrangements that attach to the division of GST revenues in the states in Australia, you would have known that Norfolk Island’s involvement in that scheme would have resulted in a huge financial windfall for Norfolk Island.   

The fact that Australian GST does not extend to Norfolk Island is simply due to our constitutional separation from any of the mainland States and another example of Commonwealth duplicity in their explanations to this community. 

As far as ‘rates being phased in' – I look forward to a public announcement to that effect. Shame on you Myth Buster,  no-one, besides someone working in the NIAC or the Department could know of such a decision – you just spoiled the Ministers next big announcement. 

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IS YOUR CHEMICAL ACCREDITATION UP TO DATE?


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BOUNTINEERS SIT-IN FOR JUSTICE


A throng of Norfolk Islanders have occupied the island’s former Parliament grounds on the eve of the 227th Anniversary of the mutiny on the Bounty - the most fabled event in the island’s history.


The islanders, many of them direct descendants of Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers, are protesting at the Australian government’s unwelcome takeover of their homeland on July 1.


The impromptu sit-in follows a community gathering this afternoon that the Australian government-appointed Administrator Gary Hardgrave tried to ban.

Norfolk Island People for Democracy Limited (NIPD) spokesperson Andre Nobbs said islanders were standing up for justice just like their ancestors 227 years ago.

“We have genuine grievances and we’re being ignored by an Australian government that is hell-bent on suppressing our culture and democratic future,” Mr Nobbs said.


“We’re at our wit’s end and our community is suffering great stress and hardship, what can we do? Why won’t the Australian government communicate and collaborate with us?


“Do we bow or stand tall? Keep kneeling or rise? Give up or battle on? We’re being blighed and it’s time to channel Fletcher Christian and the strength of his convictions.”


Mr Nobbs said the group had no idea how long they would remain on the site. “This has all happened spontaneously, but there is a real commitment to the cause. If we don’t act now our way of life could be extinguished forever.”


Earlier today the positive spirit at the Norfolk Island United community gathering - on the grounds now being occupied - was only dampened by the refusal of Mr Hardgrave to address concerns raised by the islanders.


Mr Nobbs and NIPD president Chris Magri delivered a letter to Mr Hardgrave calling for him to resign and leave the island. But while they were granted an hour-long audience, no positive outcomes were reached.


“We’re trying to provide practical solutions to the division and hardship that the Administrator is causing by enforcing draconian colonial rule,” Mr Nobbs said. “But it’s like beating your head against a sandstone wall. He’s impossible to deal with and the sooner he is off the island the happier the good majority of our community will be.”


Bountineer (alternative spelling - Bountaneer)


Justified mutinying by crusaders for justice

“The Bountineers were lauded for liberating their community…”


Hands Up For Norfolk Island…descendants of the mutiny on the Bounty have occupied the island’s former Parliament grounds to protest at the Australia government's unwelcome takeover 


Blighed

bl-eyed

1. to be jollily rogered by a tyrant

2. to suppress the masses to a point where they revolt

“They were so sick of being blighed that they exiled the despot.”


Fletcher

flet-chur

1. to stand up and mutiny against injustice

2. to inspire the oppressed to fight for their inalienable rights

“The community decided to fletcher against continued subjugation.”


ENDS

For further information please contact:

 

Andre Nobbs, tel +6723 50273, email handsupfornorfolk@gmail.com

Hands Up Website = www.handsupfornorfolkisland.realstew.com

Facebook = www.facebook.com/handsupfornorfolk

 

Crowdfunding for democracy = fundrazr.com/HandsUpForNorfolk

Norfolk Island People for Democracy Limited (NIPD) Website = www.norfolkschoice.com

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IT'S TIME


It’s time for the doubt and uncertainty to be OVER for Norfolk Islanders! 


It’s time for the Australian Government’s lies, deceit and policy to “expunge” a nation and a culture to be revealed It’s time for the world to know: “NORFOLK ISLAND IS NOT PART OF AUSTRALIA – and NEVER HAS BEEN 

It’s time to deny Australia’s authority and recognize your own because Australia HAS no authority in Law - it has only “assumed” so. In fact, is only authority is in Australian Law. It’s time for Australia to be exposed, (to Norfolk Islanders, to genuine Australians and to the world) for its policy to “expunge” those of Pitcairn descent and denigrate those that identify as Norfolk Islanders. 

It is time for the Australian Government’s “deception” of Norfolk Islanders to be revealed to the World in its shocking entirety. It’s time for the world to know that the Australian government has been and IS exploiting Norfolk Island’s Exclusive Economic Zone for “squillions” of dollars – at the same time making out that NI is an economic “basket case.” 

It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to claim what is rightfully theirs in LAW and to understand that you are sitting on untold wealth that is now being stolen from you (undeclared) in multiple millions of dollars. That is what the Australian Government wants total control of. It’s time for the world to know that THIS IS ABOUT NOTHING MORE THAN GAINING FULL CONTROL OF THE ENORMOUS, UNREVEALED WEALTH in your Exclusive Economic Zone. 

It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to understand that the “sop” being offered to Australians is a “Poison Challis” – with the sweetness of Ethel glycol It is time to reveal the self-interest and conflict of interest that is at the heart of this criminal action by the Australian Government and its cronies. It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to know and KNOW that they know that they have no obligation to Australia and to know and KNOW, that they know that the world is on THEIR side, in law, in spirit and in justice. 

It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to quickly move to take up the options that will allow NI enormous economic prosperity and recognition as a Nation It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to stand together in peaceful but unbreakable unity and to declare to the world that “we are” Norfolk Island – the world’s smallest Nation – ready to talk to and partner with the “real world”. 

And if Australia has an objection and a REAL CASE – they should present that case to an appropriate International forum for adjudication and I believe they would be too embarrassed to do so. It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to know that they have nothing to fear about their future if they stand united. Again, the Australian Government HAS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY here – and never has. Its time for Norfolk Islanders to know that they are NOT alone. You have the support of: 

 One of the world’s largest Accounting Firms, standing ready to assist with Banking 
 The world’s most recognized Author of Constitutions 
 Maritime Unions that will do everything in their power to assist a Maritime Nations like NI 
 The two Australian Banks Currently Serving Norfolk Island have expressed to do everything in their power to continue to support NI And there are many other individuals and Organised too numerous to mention, standing ready to support. 

It’s time for Norfolk Island to deny Australian authority NOW 

It’s time for Norfolk Island to declare its Statehood NOW 

It’s time for Norfolk Island to expel its illegal occupiers NOW and declare you interim Government. 

It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to KNOW that all of this is lawful upon Declaration. 

Again Australia has NO authority in law It’s time for the Australian Government to KNOW that Norfolk Islanders are EXTREMELY OFFENDED by the term and role of “Administrator” – how dare they appoint such a role, especially given that they have no legal authority to do so and especially with the exposure of the REAL MOTIVE for their deceitful action. It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to formally warn the Australian Government against aggressive actions and to be advised that NI would welcome a genuine Australian Official Consular presence on NI (Not an Administrator) for purpose of constructive talks regarding future ongoing relationship. 

Last but not least 

It’s time for Norfolk Islanders to know that they can stand united in full confidence, in righteousness and in justice – with the full strength and determination of their forefathers – but in peaceful, non-aggressive resilience and claim what is rightfully theirs. 

Norfolk Island “owes Australia” absolutely NOTHING 

Norfolk Islanders can go it alone. - All you need is the funds Australia has collected from your EEZ and not declared, then you will no longer burden every Australian with the Australian Government’s projected costs to the Australian taxpayer. 

Sources of revenue that have been denied. 

Non-disclosure of revenue from Fishing, 
Non-disclosure of deep sea mining exploration leases and reservation fees 
Non-disclosure of defence strategic payments received by Australia for access to Norfolk Island

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NORFOLK ISLAND FINDS ALLY IN FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY



Norfolk Island has become the first territory in the world to pin its hopes of self-government and a democratic future on crowdfunding.


The island in the south Pacific Ocean is seeking to raise $275,000 through fundrazr.com to part-fund a petition to the United Nations to be accorded protective rights as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, allowing the islanders to determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.


Andre Nobbs, spokesperson for the Norfolk Island People for Democracy Limited (NIPD), said Norfolk was fighting back against a hostile, and illegal, takeover.


“Against the wishes of an overwhelming majority on-island, we are on the cusp of losing our culture, heritage and identity because the Australia government wants greater access to our Economic Exclusion Zone and natural resources,” Mr Nobbs said.


“Australian interests have already surveyed for oil and natural gas and we fear they’ll wreck our eco-system hunting for oil when it’s an outdated commodity. The world is moving on from fossil fuels. Australia should too.”


As a volunteer committee standing up to the 12th biggest economy in the world the NIPD values influential support and FundRazr was a perfect partner given its success with community-oriented causes.


Founded in 2010, FundRazr has helped raise more than $80 million from over 60,000 campaigns in dozens of countries around the world and CEO Daryl Hatton is determined to provide Norfolk Island with the support to meet its fundraising goals.


“We are excited to see Norfolk Island become the first territory in the world to use crowdfunding to help defend its sovereignty,” Mr Hatton said. “Crowdfunding is all about people working together to solve funding problems. In this case, it allows concerned citizens all around the world to support the people of Norfolk Island in their fight to defend their rights.”


Nobbs says the island has a message for the world: “Whether you’re a believer in democracy, a champion for the little guy, a crusader for justice or an advocate for a threatened environment, you have the chance to put your hand up for an issue that truly matters.


“Please go to fundrazr.com/HandsUpForNorfolk and put your hand up to save our home.”


The genesis for the Hands Up campaign theme was last year’s community-led development of the Field Of Hands in Burnt Pine, a patch of grass containing a trove of green hands, each signed by a Norfolk Islander threatened by the Australian government’s actions in taking over control of the island. The theme has resonated on Norfolk, most recently at a community meeting on Monday night attended by more than 400+ people, just under a quarter of the total population.


Nobbs is confident the funds raised will allow NIPD to strengthen a compelling case to the United Nations to regain their democratic rights.


“We’re sorry we’ve had to ask the world for a hand, but the Australian government won’t engage with us, so we have been left with very few options. The exploitation has to stop.”


Mr Nobbs said the crowdfunding campaign would be divided into two parts - firstly, funds to assist the development and delivery of Norfolk Island’s petition to the United Nations to become a Non-Self-Governing Territory and, secondly, the evaluation and implementation of compelling legal action, if necessary, to return the island’s democratic rights. If the latter was not needed, a second campaign would be cancelled and any leftover funds would be put in trust to assist other small islands to fight for their indigenous rights.


“It’s criminal that we have been forced to fight for rights that are inalienably ours anyway, but if we can achieve our goal of freedom and inspire others in the process, it will have been a battle worth undertaking.”

For further information please contact:

 

Andre Nobbs, tel +6723 50273, email handsupfornorfolk@gmail.com and Skype HandsUp4Norfolk


Websites - Please feel free to jump on our website for background information and archived material, including media releases and rights-free images:


Hands Up Website = www.handsupfornorfolkisland.realstew.com

Twitter = @HandsUp4Norfolk

Facebook = www.facebook.com/handsupfornorfolk

 

Norfolk Island People for Democracy Limited (NIPD) Website = www.norfolkschoice.com

 

 

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COMMUNITY GATHERING


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INVITATION TO A COMBINED CHURCH SERVICE


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TAX OFFICE STAFF TO VISIT NORFOLK ISLAND IN MAY



Small Business Information Session & Business or Individual Appointments - 9 to 13 May 2016

Australian Tax Office (Tax Office) specialist staff will visit Norfolk Island in the week of 9 May to support small businesses and individuals prepare for the Australian tax and superannuation (super) system.


Employer Essentials Seminar

The Tax Office will be repeating the Employer essentials seminar for anyone who may have missed it last time or who just need a refresher. The seminar will provide information on tax and super arrangements from 1 July to those in business or thinking of starting a business. The seminar will be held on Monday 9 May at 5pm at the Governor’s Lodge.


One-to-One Appointments

Personal assistance will be available for both businesses and individuals with one-on-one appointments occurring throughout the week.

At the Tax Office we understand that it is sometimes hard to leave your place of business during working hours. To make it more convenient, the Tax Office can meet with individual employers at your place of business to provide personal assistance. Offsite business appointments are available at various times from Tuesday 10 – Friday 13 May.

The Tax Office can provide information on:

•           registering for tax file numbers, Australian business numbers (ABNs) and pay as you go
             (PAYG) withholding

•           business tax – including deductions, concessions and record keeping

•           employer obligations – tax and super for workers, and

•           personal tax – including what to do if you work multiple jobs.

To book a one-on-one appointment or to register for the seminar contact the Australian Government Information Centre in Burnt Pine on 23465.

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RELEASE OF DRAFT COMMUNITY STRATEGIC PLAN AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY



The draft Community Strategic Plan prepared following community consultation sessions hosted by Monaghan Strategic Pty Ltd is now available online at:
http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/nia/Operational%20Plans/2016_04_21_NORFOLK%20ISLAND%20
REGIONAL%20COUNCIL%20DRAFT%20STRATEGIC%20PLAN%202016%202026.pdf

The Norfolk Island draft Community Strategic Plan lays the ground work for taking our Island from 2016 toward 2026 and builds on the contribution and aspirations of the Norfolk Island community.

The draft Community Strategic Plan leads Norfolk Island’s planning hierarchy, identifying the community's main priorities and expectations for the future and ways to achieve these goals. It will support a Regional Council that is sustainable, has a strong and resilient community and nurtures a skilled economic base, with leadership that thinks strategically and acts collaboratively.

To ensure that the draft accurately reflects your aspirations of the community for the next 10 years, Samantha Muller of R & S Muller Enterprises Pty Ltd has now been engaged to assist the community to review the draft.

Members of the community will recall that Samantha Muller worked with the Norfolk community previously in relation to health services on the Island.
The information sessions on the draft Community Strategic Plan will commence on Saturday, 30 April 2016 with a public forum to be held in Rawson Hall at 1:30 p.m. Community groups, businesses and individuals are encouraged to attend focus group sessions and one-on-one sessions which will be advertised shortly.

In addition, a Community Engagement Strategy has been prepared which sets out the way the Norfolk Island Regional Council will involve the community in future planning and strategic decision making. The Community Engagement Strategy is available at:

http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/nia/Operational%20Plans/2016_04_21_NI%20REGIONAL%20
COUNCIL%20COMMUNITY%20ENGAGEMENT%20STRATEGY.pdf

Peter Gesling
Executive Director
22 April 2016

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RELEASE OF REGIONAL COUNCIL OPERATIONAL PLAN 2016/17



The 2016/17 Operational Plan for the Norfolk Island Regional Council (the Regional Council) has been prepared and is available online at:

http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/nia/Operational%20Plans/2016_04_21_NORFOLK%20ISLAND%20REGIONAL%20
COUNCIL%20OPERATIONAL%20PLAN%202016%202017.pdf

The operational objectives and priorities that have been set for 2016/17 are challenging and will be refined by the Regional Council after deciding on their Delivery Program for the 2016-2020 period.

This plan outlines the Regional Council’s key objectives and priorities for 2016/17. These objectives and priorities are based on two key work streams:

1. implementing the new Regional Council post the transition phase from 1 July 2016 and
2. establishing an environment of continuous improvement within existing service delivery areas.

The 2016/17 work program will be guided by our vision, culture and values, which are also set out in the Operational Plan and have been adapted from those set out by the former Norfolk Island Government in late 2014/15 as well as through staff input. The work program is also guided by the draft 2016-2026 Community Strategic Plan which sets out the long term goals of the Norfolk Island Regional Council. This approach ensures our work in 2016/17 contributes to our long term vision for the future of Norfolk Island.

The strategic planning framework will be enhanced further for 2016/17 through the adoption of the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework developed by the New South Wales Office of Local Government and outlined by the interim Norfolk Island Advisory Council. The Regional Council will publicly report achievement against planned outcomes every six months as well as in the 2016/17 Annual Report. Through this reporting, we will ensure there is transparency regarding public sector performance and the use of the community’s resources.

This Operational Plan proposes continued investment in the staff of the Regional Council to develop their individual and collective leadership and technical capability. This will program will include the establishment of a leadership framework with a continuous improvement focus.

I am confident that this Operational Plan sets a solid foundation for the coming year and look forward to working with the Regional Council staff to achieve the 2016/17 objectives and priorities.

Peter Gesling
Executive Director
22 April

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A MODERN MUTINY ... by http://www.news.com.au/


MEET the tiny island which is having kittens over becoming part of Australia.

Norfolk Island may be stunning and a picture paradise to its residents, but it is also broke.

So when the island’s leaders called on Canberra for help, they didn’t expect what happened next.

That financial help came at a price, sparking threats of a modern day mutiny amid the abolishment of 36 years of self-rule.

Some islanders fear the lack of self-rule will impact on their way of life and spell the start of the demise of its culture and language.

The unique way of life of these islanders feature tonight on Modern Mutiny, part of the SBS documentary series Untold Australia.

The documentary reveals the financial struggle the island’s people face as they are brought closer to the mainland and how many simply don’t want to be part of it.

According to Lisle Snell who was Chief Minister of Norfolk Island between 2013- 2015, islanders consider themselves as Norfolkers first, not Australian.

“While the authorities say that you are Australian, and Norfolk Island is part of Australia we will never accept that,” he said.

“Norfolk Island is a distinct territory.”

However, not all agree — the man brought the island back into mainland life has a very different view, and that is you can’t ask for help and continue to struggle.

Outsider and mainlander The Hon. Gary Hardgrave — the 37th Administrator of Norfolk Island — has been put in charge of bringing in controversial and sweeping reforms for Norfolk and to help govern this self-ruled society.

“I feel a sense of ownership of driving change here,” he said.

“We’ve identified a series of issues that need to be addressed and now I’m really busting to do something about it.”

Mr Hardgrave said it was time the mainland was brought into line with Australian standards.

“It’s the beginning of a new era,” he said.

He said the self government experiment should have been dealt with a long time ago and as it had clearly failed.

His views and governance have left him the most hated man on the island, the documentary reveals, but it is something he accepts.

“You can’t force people to like their country but you have to be disappointed when people offer — as a few have unfortunately — a pretty putrid hatred of Australia,” he said.

The change of governance means the islanders will be brought into line with taxes and Medicare, but in return Norfolk Island’s self-rule will be officially be over in July this year.

FOR SELF-RULE

Mr Snell is a staunch patriot and defender of his homeland’s independence.

Speaking to news.com.au, the descendant from John (Alexander Smith) Adams — Fletcher Christian — William McCoy and Mathew Quintal — mutineers of HMAV Bounty, said many islanders wanted to remain separate from Australia.

“The principle reason for wanting to remain legally separate from Australia is so that the Norfolk Island People can have a homeland — a place where they can make laws and give priority to the things that are important to them,” he said.

“Norfolk Island has a unique history, our family history, culture, language, way of life, community spirit. Consideration for human rights and democracy. Respect for the monarchy. Respect for our elders and children.”

He also said many islanders felt the government’s help was being imposed.

“In May 2015, the island voted overwhelmingly in support of their right to freely determine their political status, their economic social and cultural development,” he said.

“Today evidence suggests that the majority view held at that time is even stronger now that the unwelcome Australian Government “reform” process is being imposed,” he said.

AGAINST:

The government claims the change of governance will improve the island’s finances and its population has no choice but to accept it.

Mr Hardgrave agrees and for him there was no way the island could continue to self-govern and survive.

The cost of running the 35 square kilometre dot in the Pacific and former convict hellhole was way beyond its population.

In the documentary he also reveals how failing infrastructure, poor port facilities, roads and communications would all impact on the island’s future and ability to survive.

According to him, the main port built in 1700s is “dumb” and cruise ships worth potentially millions in revenue can’t even dock there.

He isn’t the only one to acknowledge things couldn’t continue as they were.

Speaking to the UK Telegraph in an earlier interview, Mike King who was the only Labour Party member on the island’s legislative assembly, said that the island had serious financial problems that the legislative assembly was simply too small to fix.

He added local businesses were failing, infrastructure was crumbling and tourism was down.

“There is no answer here on the island, we cannot do it alone despite many people saying that we can,” he said.

The territory was plunged into crisis after the Global Financial Crisis, but by 2012, a collapse in tourism revenue had left it insolvent.

The island allowed Canberra to take back some control in exchange for financial support.

The Australian Government pumped $40,000 dollars into Norfolk Island’s economy, but it wasn’t enough to keep it afloat.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

Norfolk Island has a population of around 1300 people and only about 600 tourists on the island at any one time.

The locals have their own language — a blend of ancient Tahitian and English — and Australian currency is used across the island.

The island was established 1856 — when it became the new home for 194 relocated Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of Fletcher Christian’s Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions.

Prior to that it was used as a penal colony and nicknamed “the hell of the Pacific.”

HOW IT WORKS

Located 1500km off the east coast of Australia, the island remains one of Australia’s most isolated communities.

The Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly sat for the last time on June 17, 2015, bringing an end to 35 years of self-governance on the island.

The changes abolished Norfolk’s Legislative Assembly which will be replaced by a regional council broadly similar to NSW local government councils, according to AAP.

In return, islanders are, from July 1 this year, to be integrated into mainland tax and social security systems which gives them access to Medicare as well as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The Federal Government will deliver national functions such as immigration, biosecurity and customs.

The change also means voting becomes compulsory and everyone is in the seat of Canberra for the House of Representatives and the ACT for the Senate.



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DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES STAFF WILL BE ON NORFOLK ISLAND


Department of Human Services staff will be on Norfolk Island to help you lodge an early claim for our payments and services before 1 July 2016


Financial Information Service Officers will be here from 2 May to help you prepare to lodge an early claim for a payment, a claim for Family Tax Benefit or to request a child support assessment. Staff will also be available to answer questions and provide information about our payments and services.


You can book an appointment to see our Financial Information Service Officers from 2 May by visiting the Australian Government Information Centre or calling 23465.


From 9 May, you’ll be able to lodge an early paper claim for payments. The forms are available at the Australian Government Information Centre.


If you want to get ready now, fill out the relevant form, depending on your circumstances, and get any supporting documents ready that you’ll need to support your claim. You can download the forms from our website at humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms


You can then lodge your claim in person when we’re on the island from 9 May.


If you haven’t already done so, create a myGov account at my.gov.au or ask our staff to help you create an account. For more information about myGov, go to humanservices.gov.au/mygov


For more information about our payments and services, go to humanservices.gov.au 

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SUPPORT FOR SEPARATED PARENTS



The Department of Human Services can help separated parents and non-parent carers with child support. Child support helps separated parents meet the costs of raising children.


Having a child support assessment and working out your child support payments can help your family circumstances. You can ask us to work out how much child support should be paid using the Child Support formula. You can also make a child support agreement with the other parent and register it with us.


You can choose whether child support is paid privately with the other parent, or you can ask us to collect and transfer the payments. This is a free service.


You may be eligible for a payment called Family Tax Benefit if you have a child in your care. If you or your partner have a child in your care from a previous relationship, you or your partner will need to take reasonable steps to obtain child support to be eligible for more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A.

 This is known as the Maintenance Action Test. You can meet this test by applying for a child support assessment. You can apply for a child support assessment online from 9 May 2016.  If you apply for a child support assessment between 9 May 2016 and 1 July 2016, it will start on
1 July 2016.


For more information:

  • go to humanservices.gov.au/separatedparents
  • go to humanservices.gov.au/ftb and click on the ‘Managing your payment’ tab for more information about child support and Family Tax Benefit, or
  • use our online child support estimator to work out your payments based on your individual circumstances at humanservices.gov.au/estimators

If you have any questions about child support, staff from the Department of Human Services will be on Norfolk Island from 9 May 2016 to answer your questions.

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NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNITY MEETING - MONDAY 18TH APRIL - RAWSON HALL



Geoff Gardner OAM, Vice-President of Norfolk Island People for Democracy Ltd (NIPD) welcomed all present and  updated the community on progress with the imminent lodging of the Petition with the United Nations by Geoffrey Robertson QC on behalf of the Norfolk Island People to have Norfolk Island inscribed onto the United Nations List of non-self-governing Territories. 


Geoff went on to explain that the next step after the lodging of the Petition is for NIPD to focus its efforts on working with the community on the re-building of the Island’s governance and sustainability as a self-governing Territory in free association with Australia; and to develop a community vision and long term plan for the future with a 20-year horizon, underpinned by a sound strategic financial plan.


Read on for what Geoff said (verbatim) at the meeting -


“My task this evening is to basically provide an update of Norfolk Island People for Democracy’s agenda and activities since our last meeting in February, and it will focus on three core areas –


One is the progress that we are making with our petition for submission to the United Nations; the second area is dealing with a matter that we hope that you will all engage in, and that is a community gathering; and the other matter is to do with the consultative framework and the development of a Vision and a Plan for Norfolk Island which I will address in due course.


“Since Minister Fletcher was here in January, we have continued to ask, through written request, for a meeting with him in Canberra. To meet with representatives of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy to discuss with him our aspirations, our aims and our goals. You will all recall, particularly those who were here at the meeting in February, that he gave to us, in this hall d Norfolk Island People for Democracy during his meeting in January, that he gave a very clear undertaking that he was prepared to meet with the Norfolk Island People for Democracy in Canberra. He also went on local radio and said exactly the same thing. To this date, we have not had a single response from him on our request, despite follow up letters to the Minister.


“Our activities since our public meeting on 19th February:  the Norfolk Island People for Democracy management group meet at least weekly. We are continuing to work on our Vision and future planning document; I’ll touch on that later. Our media team remains particularly active in social media, written press (both local and international) and via email. And those efforts will now be given significant additional momentum with Dean’s team’s involvement with the launch of their campaign.


“Our Headquarters have been open daily through the week to provide information, and that has given us an indication of the great interest and support, both locally and from our visitor population. Fundraising will need to continue, locally, and will be complemented, as Andre has already talked about, by the crowd funding initiative which is going global. To date, all of the funds that have been raised by NIPD have only been expended on our legal and other advisers’ fees and costs, and general administration of the organisation. All other activities have been funded by the individual members of NIPD and other specifically targeted philanthropic donations.


“Our team and our volunteers have been kept extremely busy. We have had visits of, and continuing discussions with a number of advisers; including, as many on the island know, Geoffrey Robertson QC and his daughter, Georgia. She advises on media strategies and campaigns and works for Amnesty International.


“We have been working tirelessly on the finalisation of the compilation of reports and other documentation to support our petition to the United Nations.


“On the issue of Incorporation of the Association Norfolk Island People for Democracy, that currently remains in limbo despite lodgment of our application in November 2015. Normally it is a two day process. We are still awaiting advice on our application from Commonwealth lawyers. The company structure of Norfolk Island People for Democracy has been finalised, hence our new name, the Norfolk Island People for Democracy Limited. It is something that we have been required to do and that is what we have done.

 

“The Australian Government has continued to deny us access to the local radio; particularly in relation to advertising tonight’s meeting, claiming the content is political, despite making it clear that this is a community meeting to share information. They too, were invited to participate.


“Now to the progress of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy’s submission to the UN. Our timeframe which I reported on in February on behalf of NIPD has been brought forward from May until April (this month). The constitutional opinion that I discussed during that meeting has been finalised; the anthropological study  which was discussed during that meeting has been finalised; the geographical report has been finalised. Importantly, the cover petition has also been finalised. So what does all this mean? What is this all about?


“The primary aim of NIPD is to achieve listing and/or inscription on the UN List of Non-self Governing Territories. In so doing, it is designed to provide a choice to the people of Norfolk Island in determining our own future through an act of self determination. That act, ultimately, will be determined by referendum and the options which I have covered in previous presentations include full independence, integration and free association (which is the preferred course of action of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy). Importantly for this aim to be achieved, the UN has two specific criteria that need to be met.


“Firstly, ‘must be a territory for which a UN member has responsibility’. In our case, Norfolk Island being the territory and Australia is that UN member. The second specific criteria is “that the peoples of the territory have not attained a full measure of self-government”; and clearly that applies to Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island meets both those criteria.


“In addition, it needs to be demonstrated that the territory is geographically separate from the country administering it. You may recall when Minister Fletcher was here in January, the President of NIPD repeatedly asked him whether he could answer that question about Norfolk Island being geographically separate and he avoided it beautifully and never gave a straight answer to that. Well, we do have an answer to that that categorically states we are geographically separate.


“Additionally, we need to demonstrate that the territory is ethnically and/or culturally distinct from the country administering it. Clear and expensive reports have been prepared by experts in their respective fields, to accompany our petition to the UN that conclusively demonstrates that Norfolk Island meets both additional requirements; as I said; geographical separateness and ethnic and cultural distinctiveness. In addition to those requirements, other factors may then be bought into consideration such as administrative, political, juridical, economic and historical nature. Again, extensive research has led to the compilation of a further report addressing each and every one of those factors.


“Tonight the NIPD is confident, supported by views and opinions of experts in their fields of law, international law, the United Nations, geography, anthropology and linguistics (and I’ll just note as far as linguistics is concerned, the attendance tonight of Professor Peter Muhlhausler who is able to be with us tonight), to say that those expert opinions support the fact that Norfolk Island meets the criteria and the requirements of the United Nations to ensure that Norfolk Island is inscribed on the UN list of non-self-governing territories. Next week, that ball will be set in motion.


“Tonight I am delighted to announce that Mr Albert Buffett, President of the Council of Elders and Mr Ken Christian, the Vice President of the Norfolk Island Council of Elders, will travel to New York to meet up with Geoffrey Robertson QC to attend to the lodgment of our petition with the United Nations (loud applause) which is to seek inscription on the UN list of non-self governing territories.


“Geoffrey Robertson, as I alluded to earlier, visited the island with his daughter; he became fully conversant obviously with the documentation and the many opinions that we have received on all of those matters that I discussed earlier. His firm view was that we are fully deserving of taking our matter to the UN. It has his full support and he is incredibly confident of our position and our arguments.


“So what happens next? Well, no doubt, our claim will be referred to Australia, the government of Australia for their comment and response. It’s all part of the process. And no doubt there will be a countervailing and an opinion produced by them. The UN will consider the matter in due course, possibly as early as June, but at this stage there is no indication as to when a response from the UN will be received to our petition. As part of the lodgment of our petition, NIPD has specifically requested that the UN send a UN investigator, a UN Special Rapporteur to confirm our claims by visiting Norfolk Island as soon as is practicable.


“The second matter dealing with the consultative framework: Norfolk Island People for Democracy, aside from concentrating and focusing its efforts on the listing issue, has also been developing a consultative framework which we believe will give the opportunity, incentive and confidence of the entire community of Norfolk Island to be informed and educated on, and to participate and be involved in the process of rebuilding the island’s governance and sustainability as a self governing territory in free association with Australia. As I said while Norfolk Island People for Democracy has been focusing on our primary goal of listing with the UN, it has also been working on a Community Vision and long term Plan underpinned by a sound strategic financial plan. This was discussed also during the course of our February meeting.


“It is important to restate that political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a reason to delay an act of self determination. That’s directly out of United Nations paperwork.  The NIPD has, however, recognised the importance of demonstrating that those matters have, in fact, been given attention and NIPD have developed such a draft document entitled, ‘A Vision for Self-Government in Free Association with Australia’.


“I believe it’s the only bound copy because of limited resources, but I think Chris has suggested that if anybody wants to have a thumb through it, they may at the end of the meeting; it is in very draft form. But I’ll let you know what it includes:  Historical information and context; explanation about self determination and the UN process; a Vision for future governance, importantly not just picking up what we had, but making sure that we have a model of governance that will serve this community as is designed. It also includes a vision for economic development and a draft action plan for implementation. It is, however, important to state that it is only a guiding document. It’s been developed to lead discussion and to stimulate ideas, but the NIPD is very conscious that the future will be one that must be determined by the Norfolk Island community. Not the NIPD or any other body, association or government – but by the Norfolk Island community.


“The third matter deals with a proposed community gathering and NIPD has welcomed a proposal for a community gathering on Wednesday 27th April at 3pm at the Legislative Assembly building, or the Court House (applause). I’m not sure I’ve ever heard so much enthusiasm to go to the Court House or the Legislative Assembly! But that’s at Kingston for those of you who don’t know where it is, and the purpose of that community gathering is to recognise the importance of the petition to the UN and for representatives of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy to read the relevant sections of the petition and the supporting documentation. The gathering is designed to be purely symbolic of the community’s desire to bring back some order to our lives and to our futures. It is designed to use the international press focus that will result following lodgment of our petition in New York to show the world that the Norfolk Island people have been misrepresented and our rights at international law denied. Of course, we encourage your attendance and support. It is important to our efforts to have a significant visual representation of our community’s determination to be heard. It is time to show a truly united front to the world, we join with the Council of Elders in that regard, which Australia will not be able to ignore any longer. This opportunity to stand united is not an NIPD initiative, it is an initiative of the Norfolk Island community, supported by the NIPD, other organisations, individuals and, of course, our Council of Elders. Chelsea Evans will speak a little bit more about that later.


“In conclusion, there has been an incredible effort put into compiling our petition to the UN. Almost 12 months ago to the day, a group of very interested people, a dozen or so people, got together and decided that enough was enough and we needed to do something about it. That group eventually formed itself into the Norfolk Island People for Democracy and each and every one of those people have been working tirelessly to achieve our ultimate aim of listing with the UN. We are ready to go, launch day is imminent! Norfolk Island needs each and every one of you on board. If you want to have a meaningful say in your future and the future of Norfolk Island, then this is the only option that will give you that certainty. Norfolk’s voice can no longer be ignored. It’s our future and it must be our choice. On behalf of the Management Committee of the NIPD and over 1000 registered supporters, I want to thank you for your time and for your support to date.


There still remains much to do and regular updates will be provided.  Thanks very much.


From the Management Committee of

Norfolk Island People for Democracy Ltd

www.norfolkschoice.com

21 April 2016

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19. NORFOLK ISLAND ACCORDING TO THE SBS: WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?


Yesterday afternoon I was really looking forward to the SBS TV programme on Norfolk Island entitled ‘A Modern Mutiny: Untold Australia’.  I felt there was a genuine need for the pros and cons of the situation on the island - involving as it does the opposition between a Norfolk Island and an Australian Government perspective - to be aired and discussed well in public. Perhaps the multicultural channel SBS was the medium to provide it: after all the word ‘mutiny’ in the title suggested one thing in opposition to another.  After having watched the programme, I was left wondering what it was all about. The programme was promoted as a documentary. It could be called a documentary in the sense of recording what people said and did in front of the camera. But as for being a documentary in the sense of being an objective presentation of issues, it was not.


The juxtaposition of the two thematic characters of a older generation Norfolk Islander showering at his home in his underpants, and squeezing lemons to make his Bounty Day liquor, and the Australian Administrator driving around in his 4X4, criticising current Norfolk Island conditions and showing how the Australian Government intended to fix them, was crudely reductionist and a parody of the real issues facing Norfolk Islanders. The programme failed even to grasp the core issue on the island: namely the contestation between two positive but different approaches to the island’s future.


The SBS programme added insult to injury after its camera crew attended the Community Meeting held at St Barnabas Parish Centre on 10 June 2015. The meeting was attended by some 120 islanders, and there were several speeches made dealing with major island issues and what might be done about them. However of this nothing was heard in the SBS programme, which chose rather to highlight a speaker from the floor making an impromptu uncomplimentary comment about the Australian Government.


The final sequence in the film showed scenes of the Administrator in front of the word ‘Mutiny’ which had been painted on the wall of the compound in the KAVHA World Heritage area. The Administrator referred to this as vandalism. On that matter we can agree with the Administrator, and that such vandalism is unacceptable. However to many on the island, the removal of the furniture and fittings of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly from the Old Military Barracks in the KAVHA World Heritage area also constitutes vandalism. This programme chose to mention only the former example.


So what was the programme all about? Was it a genuine attempt at a documentary film fallen victim to a terrible ignorance? Was it a pot-boiler merely to amuse mid-evening couch dwellers? Or was it a propaganda video in favour of the Australian Government? It is hard to tell. Norfolk Islanders, whatever their political inclination, would have reason to feel offended by this programme. And sadly too, SBS stands diminished by this episode.      

      

 - Chris Nobbs  

[Earlier letters in this series are available at: http://www.norfolkonlinenews.com/chris-nobbs.html]

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MYTHBUSTERS ... http://www.bpositive.website/#!MythBusters/cjds/57169a910cf253d6b399c309


Australia is just going to ruin this wonderful place. 

 

Being in the tourist game you hear this one a lot. When you try to dig a little deeper or ask a question like "what do you mean?" then the vehemence and forthrightness falters and usually the person mumbles out something to do with high rise or casinos or dole bludgers..both of which we address later. My question back to them is "give me an example of what you mean. Which other island has Australia ruined?" They are stumped. They can't think of one. You might get the occasional person bring up Christmas Island's detention centre and I ask if they have ever been there to see the natural beauty and wonder of the island that is being preserved through government and local co-dependance. The detention centre is a small part of a large picture. But Australia has thousands of islands, surely you can think of one. 


They must be ruining them all over the place, swinging wrecking balls and evicting populations of disgruntled natives. There must be a refugee crisis right on our doorstep to rival Europe. Surely?


Well, of course, it is nonsense. Australian islands are pristine natural environments that are not only treated with respect but financially rewarded through land and coastal grants, infrastructure grants, expert engagement on threatened species, tourism assistance, forward planning and transparent engagement. MYTH BUSTED


Australia is just after our gas and oil reserves

 

What? Yep, you heard right Norfolk Island is apparently sitting on the largest deposit of coal seam gas since ...well, ever. and Australia has been conspiring for thirty years to retrieve it and screw the Norfolk Island people out of it's birthright of oodles and oodles of Gas money. This is a conspiracy theory that is doing the rounds with no basis of fact or evidence at all. Even if it is true, why shouldn't Australia exploit it's own territorial waters (environmental impacts and debates aside). Do individuals who spout this line of thinking believe that they have rights to whatever is found in the vicinity. Even the indigenous people in Australia have land rights only from the topsoil upwards, so what makes these individuals think that they have rights to the ocean floor without shelling out a cent? MYTH BUSTED

 

Australia has been out to get us for years

 

False: Australia has been warning through various reports and committees since the late nineties that if Norfolk didn't change it's governance structure or find cost cutting methods then the economic outlook would be bleak. Those warnings have persisted and the NIG failed to act on them. In fact they did the opposite, tightening immigration, stifling investment, protectionism, shunning investment opportunities, and more, ensuring the downward slide continued. MYTH BUSTED

 

All the dole bludgers will swamp the island

 

False: First of all we agree that bludging on the dole is not on and is against our way of life. On the flipside, the dole is an important part of Australia's safety net for the disadvantaged and vulnerable. The first myth busted is this. It is illegal (if you are already on the dole)  to move from a larger population to a smaller one if you can't find work. Current dole bludgers would need to live in a place with less than 2000 people to be able to move to Norfolk and stay on the dole. There is also the work for the dole scheme which is an invaluable tool to help people find work and self worth. Also I can barely afford to live here now and I work two jobs, how on earth will a dole bludger be able to afford it?  MYTH BUSTED


You will just have high rise and resorts everywhere.

 

An important aspect of our new regional council is town planning responsibilites. Local environment and buildings impacting on the island will all have to go through a locally elected council for approvals and assessments. The proposed Port Arthur Resort has the full approval of the Port Arthur Site Management Authority and will replace a hideous 1970's motel currently on the site. It will be built with traditional concepts in mind incorporating gardens and architecture in keeping with the environment with an emphasis on unobtrusiveness. Doesn't sound like a bad deal, and keep in mind this project has been on the drawing board for over 10years. It doesn't sound like everyone is rushing to ruin this site or dump a monstrosity right in the middle of the convict precinct. All local approvals must be obtained. MYTH BUSTED

 

The Current 'footpath is a waste of time and purely a political exercise.

 

I suppose you can be cynical about everything. My thoughts are these. If the Commonwealth is looking to ruin Norfolk island and everything it holds dear and wreck its finances, why are they not introducing GST to the island? Why is Superannuation and minimum wages being phased in over many years? Why also, are rates being phased in? Why is the important road and pier upgrades happening NOW? 


Why is the Commonwealth spending thousands of dollars bringing over experts and advisors to help educate the community through free workshops?  Everyone can see what needs improving on island and the Commonwealth are actually doing something about it. This won't sit well with anyone who hates change on any level, but you know what? Tough. 


It's time Norfolk Islanders' standard of living was raised to that of mainland Australians. It's overdue, it's appreciated by many and it is the ONLY realistic option for real change NOW.  MYTHS BUSTED

 

We will be busting more myths each week or as they present themselves.

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MORE WORKERS LAID OFF ON NORFOLK ISLAND


There is further turmoil on Norfolk Island with about 20 more government workers losing their jobs on Wednesday. 


This comes as part of the Australian government's winding down of services ahead of the island being formally reduced to regional council status. 

The latest job losses come after dozens of others have been laid off, without redundancy and unemployment payments and with limited opportunity of other work being found. 

The Australian administrator on the island, former talk-back radio host Gary Hardgrave, said he cannot speak about any of the issues because he was overseeing the election of the new regional council. But reports from the island say workers are furious at the lack of information given and what has been called the curt manner of the dismissals. 

Meanwhile, Norfolk Islanders wanting to sit on the soon to be established regional council are being invited to briefing sessions. 

Last year the Australian government ended Norfolk's limited self-government with plans to have it administered as a regional council under the New South Wales Government. 

 That change is due in June. The move is highly controversial on Norfolk with many people angry over Canberra's actions and concerned at the loss of their independence and the impact on their culture. 

A meeting on Monday endorsed plans to present a petition to the United Nations next week in New York seeking listing as a Non-Self Governing Territory. 

Nominations for the regional council close on Wednesday 27th April.

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NOTICE OF ELECTION AND CALL FOR NOMINATION PROPOSALS


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PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATE INFORMATION BRIEFINGS


Do you wish to become a Councillor?

Councillors can play a key role in making decisions that influence both the short-term concerns and long-term strategic direction of their local community. In so doing, they can learn various skills, such as public speaking, strategic planning and advocacy. However, it is a big commitment, and prospective councillors need to know what will be expected of them.

Prospective Candidate briefings will be conducted by a representative of Local Government New South Wales and a briefing by the Returning Officer.

WHEN: Wednesday, 20 April 2016
WHERE: Whalers Room, South Pacific Hotel, Taylors Road
TIMES: 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.


Aim of Briefing Session
The briefing session will provide prospective councillor candidates with the opportunity to learn what such a key role will entail. It will highlight the challenges, requirements and benefits of being a councillor, as well as guidelines and the processes that will need to be followed. Councillors have the opportunity to participate in decision-making in key areas of community need, as well as being advocates for the local community. However, it is a significant commitment in terms of time and energy, and is not a decision to be taken lightly. The briefing session should be of considerable assistance to candidates in helping them to make this decision.

Key Content
The key content of the presentation to potential councillors will be as follows:
 Presentation by Returning Officer (including questions/answers)
 The elections: background and candidate requirements
 Why become a councillor?
 Challenges of being a councillor
 What does it take to become an effective councillor?
 What do you typically do as councillor?
 The Council Charter
 The three tiers of government in Australia
 Overview of council functions and services
 Integrated planning and reporting
 Governance versus management
 Why is governance important?
 The roles of mayor, councillors, general manager and staff
 Council meetings: councillor roles and responsibilities
 Code of conduct and conflicts of interest
 What support do you receive as councillor?

Please contact Alma Davidson on adavidson@admin.gov.nf of telephone 22001 ext 121 to register your interest and advise which session you wish to attend.

Peter Gesling
Executive Director

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NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNITY MEETING


MONDAY 18TH APRIL 5:30PM RAWSON HALL


This is an invitation to join a public meeting and be informed on a range of important matters relating to current issues and other important issues regarding the future of Norfolk Island.

Presenters will include:
 THE NORFOLK ISLAND COUNCIL OF ELDERS
 THE NORFOLK ISLAND PRIVATE SECTOR REP’S
 HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES
 NORFOLK ISLAND PEOPLE FOR DEMOCRACY
 MEDIA PROFESSIONALS
 THE NORFOLK ISLAND FISHING ASSOCIATION
 ACCOMMODATION AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION

Presenters will be discussing issues such as:

The economic impact of the imposed changes; Information relating to Fisheries, United Nations process and progress and information on the commencement of the UN self-determination campaign; Strategic and financial planning for Norfolk Island’s future, timelines for each initiative; who is involved; how you can be involved and much more..

We look forward to seeing you all at Rawson Hall on the 18th at 5:30pm.

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ANZAC DAY 2016 COMMUNITY GUNFIRE BREAKFAST



A Community Gunfire Breakfast will be held at Government House following the ANZAC Day Dawn Service on Monday, 25 April 2016.


His Honour the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, and Mrs Lorraine Hardgrave invite all members of the community and visitors to the Island who attend the Dawn Service to join them for the Community Gunfire Breakfast. 


This will be a further opportunity to share the spirit of ANZAC Day.


A light breakfast and tea and coffee will be served.


There is no charge, but members of the public are invited to take the opportunity for a gold coin donation next time they visit the RSL Sub Branch.


Office of the Administrator

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HOW OUR REGIONAL COUNCIL WILL BE STRUCTURED


Norfolk Island is amazing. It feels like a small country town, only it’s surrounded by a vast acreage of ocean!


Because of the size and isolation of our community, our future governance will be unique, with responsibilities that might ordinarily be shouldered by a State Government, falling to the Commonwealth or Regional Council. 


As a rule, the Commonwealth is responsible for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Telecommunications, Immigration and Pensions. State Governments look after Public Hospitals, Public Schools, the Fire Brigade, Ambulance and Police. And Regional Councils take care of Roads, Public Health, Public Libraries, Building Inspections, Waste Collection and Childcare.


The State Government of NSW has agreed to take responsibility for Norfolk’s hospital and school, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. But key emergency services will continue to be managed on-island.


Broadly speaking, the responsibilities borne by a typical regional council include:

  • The provision and maintenance of infrastructure – roads, parks and gardens, footpaths, sporting fields, etc
  • Supporting community development – child and senior citizen services, recreational, library and cultural services, etc
  • Safeguarding public health – food and service industry safety, pest and vermin control, hazardous material containment, etc
  • Protecting the environment – waste disposal, pollution control, street cleaning, noxious weed control, etc
  • Planning for sustainable development – long-term strategic planning, zoning and subdivisions, building site and compliance inspections, etc

On a day-to-day basis, these functions and services will be performed by a small number of independent contractors and a large contingent of full-time and part-time staff employed across a range of different departments – each with its own manager. Most of these departments will be ongoing, but some will operate temporarily – in particular those that have been set up to ensure the transition from Admin to Council runs smoothly.


Perhaps the simplest way of explaining how our Regional Council will be structured, is with a diagram:


One big anomaly here on Norfolk that we’ve had to consider in the creation of our unique Regional Council framework, is the number of commercial enterprises that Admin has maintained as part of its long-standing charter; the Liquor Bond, Telecom, Norfolk Island Electricity, the Tanalith Plant, etc. The potential for privatisation of these businesses will be more thoroughly considered in the coming months, but for now they will continue to be managed under the Group Manager –Services portfolio.


Authorised by

Administration of Norfolk Island

15 April, 2016

Attachment – functional organisational chart


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NOTICE OF ELECTION AND CALL FOR NOMINATION PROPOSALS


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18. AUSTRALIA’S RELATIONS WITH EAST TIMOR BACK IN THE NEWS: ANY LESSONS FOR NORFOLK ISLAND?


Citizens of Norfolk Island who might casually think that the Australian Government is primarily here to help them, might wish to consider the situation of East Timor and its relations with Australia, which have returned to the media spotlight in recent days.

The island of Timor lies along a chain of islands that is part of the archipelago which constitutes Indonesia, and is distant about 600km NW of Darwin. The eastern part of the island is the sovereign state of East Timor (Timor-Leste) with capital Dili, while the western part remains a province of Indonesia, with Kupang the main town. (The harbour at Kupang it will be recalled was where Captain Bligh ended his epic journey of 5,800 kilometres across the Pacific in his 23-foot open boat.)

Abandoned as a colony by the Portuguese in 1974, East Timor suffered invasion by Indonesia in 1975 and a resistance struggle ensued. Finally, and after a period of administration by the United Nations during which a United Nations-sponsored act of self-determination was held, East Timor emerged as an independent nation in 2002. It has a population of about 1.3 million, and is one of the poorest countries in the world, with GDP per capita of less than US$4,000. It is ranked 147th out of 187 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index.

The key to East Timor’s economic development now and in the future lies in the opportunities provided by the natural gas and petroleum reserves in the area between it and Australia, often referred to as ‘the Timor Gap’.  There are three treaties relating to the exploitation of these reserves in the Timor Gap: the Timor Sea Treaty (2002); the Sunrise International Unitization Agreement (2003) which allocated shares of resources in the Greater Sunrise ‘joint petroleum development area’; and the Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS)(2006).

Under the Sunrise IUA the known petroleum resources were apportioned so that Australia received 82 per cent of the total resource, leaving impoverished East Timor with 18 per cent. This gross imbalance was to some degree mitigated in the CMATS treaty, which provides for a 50:50 split of revenues derived from the field. (Australia has however ensured that the refining operations are carried out in Darwin rather than in East Timor.)

An ongoing problem with these treaties is that the maritime boundary between Australia and East Timor remains undefined. (In fact it has emerged that CMATS includes a clause that requires that the maritime border issue not be raised for fifty years.) Australia has steadfastly refused to discuss the matter of where the maritime boundary between the two countries should lie. It is East Timor’s contention that under international law the vast majority of the estimated US$40bn of oil and gas reserves of the Timor Gap would fall within its territory.

In April 2013 East Timor formally notified Australia that it was exercising its right to arbitration under the Timor Sea Treaty, and was initiating a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to argue that CMATS is invalid because Australia conducted espionage and did not negotiate the treaty in good faith. The underlying reason for this claim it has turned out, was the fact that in 2004 under the guise of an aid project to renovate the Prime Minister’s office in Dili, Australian spies installed bugging devices which could well have been used during the years of treaty negotiations, to Australia’s commercial advantage. In a remarkable dressing down by an international tribunal, the International Court of Justice (also in The Hague) in March 2014 ordered the Australian Government to stop spying on East Timor and its legal advisors.

Late in 2013 lawyer Bernard Collaery, who was leading East Timor’s case in The Hague, had his Canberra house raided by ASIO and documents seized. The raid was authorised by Australian Attorney-General George Brandis. In addition, a key witness in the hearings in The Hague, the former Australian foreign intelligence service agent who ran the bugging operation, had his passport seized, and current Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has determined that it should not been returned, on the grounds of ‘national security’. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, himself a former intelligence analyst has recently commented: ‘Every way you look at this it’s grubby’. Mr Collaery has noted that the issue raised broader questions about whether Australia abides by the requirements of the international treaties it signs.

On 11 April 2016 East Timor announced that it will be seeking compulsory conciliation proceedings under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to determine where the boundary between the two nations lies. Australia’s moral reputation is very much on the line internationally, and for all to see. It will be very interesting to see what transpires.

- Chris Nobbs

The evolution of this sorry story can be followed at many places on the Internet, including Wikipedia. East Timorese community-based reportage can be found at:

http://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/Boundary/CMATSindex.htm

Recent items in Australian news media include: Steve Cannane, ‘East Timor bugging scandal’, ABC Lateline, 3 February 2016; and Tom Allard, ‘East Timor takes Australia to UN over sea border’, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 April 2016.

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WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE OF NORFOLK ISLAND?


In March 2016, Monaghan Strategic Pty Ltd conducted 21 focus-group sessions on Norfolk Island. They were seeking to involve the community in the development of a Community Strategic Plan – a document that will effectively underpin the island’s future governance. These meetings were well attended and Monaghan Strategic’s comprehensive report – based on the feedback they received at those meetings and via survey – has just been released. You can read this report in full on the Administration of Norfolk Island’s website: http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/ under public broadcasts.


Monaghan Strategic has extensive experience in delivering complex policy implementation and was thus able to collect and interpret information that will assist in the preparation of our Community Strategic Plan – a document NSW Regional Councils are required to develop as part of an Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework. The key questions they put to the community were:

  • ‘What’s great about Norfolk Island now?’
  • ‘How do you see Norfolk in ten years’ time?’
  • ‘Generally, what are the top ten most important issues?’ and more specifically,
  • ‘What are the top five most important issues for Norfolk Island’s Environment, Economy, Cultural and Social Welfare, Infrastructure and Services and Governance/Finance?’

Monaghan Strategic’s report shows that as a community, we have confidence, a positive attitude and a clear and aspirational way forward. With this information we can develop a Community Strategic Plan, which is necessary for the future of the Island. It will help guide the new Regional Council as they prepare the Delivery and Operational Plans that will detail the resources and strategies needed to achieve our community’s expectations.


The independent report shows a strong alignment with the work of the former Norfolk Island Government and the Interim Advisory Committee, all of which was presented to and considered by the Minister, the Hon Paul Fletcher.


More workshops will be held later this month – the details of which will be announced soon – enabling the community to see and understand the draft Community Strategic Plan.


Peter Gesling

Executive Director of Norfolk Island

11 April 2016

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ENROLLING FOR THE ELECTION OF THE REGIONAL COUNCIL


NIPD supporters have, for some time, been expressing their views to us on how they would like to see the NIPD Management Committee deal with the upcoming election of the Regional Council.
 
Many of our supporters have either expressed a desire to ‘boycott the whole illegitimate election process’, or alternately, ‘create an NIPD Party and use our large supporter base to fill the Council with likeminded people’.
 
Whilst many in the Management Committee are sympathetic to both ideas, both come with risk. The risk of boycotting the election would allow a newly elected Council to use their position of purported ‘representative authority’ to further erode the rights of the Norfolk Island People. The risk of creating an NIPD Party is that historically the Norfolk Island People have never supported political parties, preferring instead to support the individuals they feel are the most capable of doing the job.
 
The truth is there is no one answer to this issue and the Management Committee has had to think long and hard about how to deal with this matter. In the end the Committee has, on balance, decided the risks of not participating are too high.

 

NIPD would like to encourage NIPD supporters to enrol for the election of a Regional Council if they are eligible to do so.
 
The NIPD Management Committee will ask its registered supporters to ONLY vote for candidates who support transitioning Norfolk Island's governance arrangements towards a new and appropriate democratic governance model for Norfolk Island based on and guided by a spirit of partnership, cooperation, shared values, respect for human rights and respect for the principles of the United Nations.

 

From the NIPD Management Committee
11 April 2016

www.norfolkschoice.com

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AUS GOVERNMENT HAS HANDS ON NORFOLK ISLAND ... by Pauline Hanson


Last weekend I watched the Sunday Night programme about Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island is situated approximately 1600 km off the coast of NSW between New Zealand and Australia. The beauty of the island is in its tranquility, people, scenery and autonomy. I know because I holidayed there in December 2014.

The island was colonised by Great Britain as part of its settlement of Australia in 1788, at which time is was uninhabited. A convict penal settlement was established until May 1855, except for an 11 year period between 1814 and 1825 when it was abandoned. The second penal settlement was wound down after 1847. The last convicts were taken to Tasmania in 1855. Once again the island was uninhabited.  

In 1856 the descendants of Tahitians and the HMS Bounty mutineers, including those of Fletcher Christian,194 in total from Pitcan Island, took up permanent residence on the island in 1856.

The new inhabitants of the island took advantage of the remaining buildings left from the penal settlement and made them their homes. They gradually established traditional farming and whaling industries on the island. Lisle Snell, the Chief Minister at the time told me the island was granted to the inhabitants by Queen Victoria. They believe they have their own sovereignty and self-determination.

In 1979, Norfolk was granted limited self-government by Australia, under which the island elects a government that runs most of the island's affairs.

In 2006, a formal review process took place, in which the Australian government considered revising this model of government. The review was completed on 20 December 2006, when it was decided that there would be no changes in the governance of Norfolk Island. 

Financial problems due to the Global Financial Crisis, which in turn saw a reduction in tourism led to Norfolk Island's administration appealing to the Australian federal government for assistance in 2010. In return, the islanders were to pay income tax for the first time, but would be eligible for greater welfare benefits. However, by May 2013 agreement had not been reached and islanders were having to leave to find work and welfare. 

An agreement was finally signed in Canberra on 12 March 2015 to replace self-government with a local council but against the wishes of the Norfolk Island government. A majority of Norfolk Islanders have objected to the Australian plan to make changes to Norfolk Island without first consulting them and allowing their say. The majority of people I spoke to, told me they were not consulted, had no idea what was going to happen, and didn’t want to be taken over by Australia.

The Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly decided to hold a referendum on the proposal. On 8 May 2015, voters were asked if Norfolk Islanders should freely determine their political status and their economic, social and cultural development, and to "be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted upon by the Australian parliament". 68% out of 912 voters voted in favour. The Norfolk Island Chief Minister, Lisle Snell, said that "the referendum results blow a hole in Canberra's assertion that the reforms introduced before the Australian Parliament that propose abolishing the Legislative Assembly and Norfolk Island Parliament were overwhelmingly supported by the people of Norfolk.

What I find most interesting about Norfolk Island is that the Australian Government has put restrictions on the island that would have allowed them to prosper. Fishing off the island would be a big drawcard for tourism, with pristine waters and variety of reef fish, Australia said no. I see  potential in exporting fish, why has our government not supported this? The island is of interest to cruise ships, if it had a safe wharf for passengers to disembark, why has this not been supported. 

Australia was giving $650 million to Indonesia in foreign aid till this year, now reduced to $350 million, who now say they don’t want it. Do we have a say in their governance and accountability of money given?

The Australian government gave $12.5 million to Norfolk Island this year and decided to strip the island and its inhabitants of self determination which now comes under New South Wales and its legislation from the 1st July 2015.

The people of the island as friendly and I take offence to Gary Hardgraves comment that they hate Australians. This is not true, they hate him. He is unapproachable, arrogant and has no time for the locals. He lives in his government mansion on the island as an Administrator, supplied with his own personal chief, housekeepers and gardeners, paid for by the Australian taxpayer. 

The people are very grateful for all that Australia has done. They only want a helping hand not a take over. The island has barely any crime. There has been 2 murders on the island one in 2002 which was the first since 1893, wouldn’t we love that in Australia. Most of the residents have 2 or more jobs. They pay no income tax, but have a GST of 15%. They pay a high health care levy, and there is no welfare system. 

My concern is that they will loose all of this and businesses will close, with all the extra taxes they will be up for and not being able to buy their goods directly from other countries as they do now but will have to go through Australian agents adding more cost, as one business man told me. The island will then become too expensive for tourism. 

I heard talk there may be oil and gas near the island, is this part of the reason why our government wants it? Gary Hardgraves talks of condominiums on the island. Can he see Chinese development happening. This is the last thing this island wants or needs. He made a smart ass comment with regards to their water supply. I had no problem drinking it. Some places in Australia I have no desire to drink our water, because of additives, taste and lack of maintenance we have here. 

Does Australia plan to use the island as a dumping ground for refugees from the detention centres? I can see it becoming a haven for dole bludgers and welfare dependents because of its way of life. 

I felt I had to share my concerns with regards to the Norfolk Island in light of having been there and spoken to the people. I fear for their future and way of life apparently they do to, but our government is not listening, surprise, surprise.

My suggestion - Gary Hardgraves is a waste of space and money as Administrator, get him off the island to start with and give the people the respect they deserve and a say in their future instead of railroading them.

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NEW ROLLS


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THERE ARE NEW ROLLS SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS ELECTIONS


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BUSINESS PLANNING AND INFORMATION SESSIONS FOR FARM AND AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES ON NORFOLK ISLAND



Sunday 1 May 2016

1.00pm – 3.00pm: Farm business planning and management

5.30pm – 7.30pm:  Agronomic topics

Wednesday 4 May 2016

1.30pm – 3.30pm: Farm business planning and management


6.00pm – 8.00pm: Agronomic topics

Anson Advisory is a Queensland-based company that provides farm and agricultural business advisory services.  Stirling Tavener on behalf of Anson Advisory, will visit Norfolk Island and deliver a series of free information sessions on 1 and 4 May 2016 for farm and agricultural businesses.  The information sessions are supported by the Australian Government’s funding for small business on Norfolk Island announced on 5 February.  Places are limited.  Please call the Office of the Administrator during work hours and book early (tel: 22152).


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INFORMATION FOR TRADES PERSONNEL ON NORFOLK ISLAND



INFORMATION FOR TRADES PERSONNEL ON NORFOLK ISLAND

Pointsbuild has spent this past week engaging building and construction trades personnel on Norfolk Island about license classes and qualifications in NSW, and general industry information. 

NEXT VISIT: PLUMBING, DRAINING AND GASFITTING

Pointsbuild will return to Norfolk Island 14 to 16 May 2016 for information sessions and one-on-one consultations with plumbers, drainers and gas fitters.


Information sessions will be held on the Saturday morning, and followed by one-on-one consultations.  The one-on-one sessions will provide individuals the opportunity to explore options for becoming licensed under NSW regulations.


Please contact the Office of the Administrator during work hours to book an appointment (tel.  22 152). 

Subject to demand, a limited number of additional sessions for consultations with building and construction trades personnel may be held at this time. 


Background information on trades licensing in NSW can be found on Department of Fair Trading website: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tradespeople.page

Pointsbuild is a leading provider of professional development, education and training courses, including for those in the building industry.


Pointsbuild is supported by the Australian Government’s funding for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island, as announced on 5 February 2016.

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A NEW PHONE BOOK IS ON THE WAY!


If your copy of the current Norfolk Island Phone Book looks anything like mine, then I’m sure you’ll agree: we’re long overdue for a new one. If mine was any more dog-eared, it could well jump into my lap and start barking!


The current telephone directory is now three years old, and an updated version had been on the agenda for some time. However, Norfolk Telecom has decided to delay the process so the new phone book can include all the new government numbers that will activate on the 1st of July, 2016 - when ‘Admin’ effectively becomes a Regional Council.


There will doubtlessly be a suite of new contact numbers as the organisation is reformed, and in the coming weeks, the community can expect to learn more about that restructure and how it will function. In the meantime – rest assured – the one thing that won’t change in the phone book is the ‘Faasfain ‘Salan Bai Dems Nikniem’ listing!


In the coming months, Norfolk Telecom will be calling for expressions of interest for advertising in the new phone book. So watch this space for more details. The word on the street is they may also be thinking of running a photography or drawing competition for the cover… so all you keen shutter-bugs and budding artists out there, take advantage of the magnificent weather we’re having, and be inspired by our lovely autumn light.


Don’t forget – while the current printed version of our phonebook is past its prime, the online version is regularly updated. So if you’re looking for listings that post-date 2013, jump on line at:


http://www.whitepages.gov.nf/

http://www.yellowpages.gov.nf/

- and let your fingers do the walking!

 

Jon Gibbons

Chief Executive Officer

8 April 2016

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REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTORAL UPDATE



Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher has given his powers to me as the Administrator of Norfolk Island to act as Electoral Commissioner for the Norfolk Island Regional Council election.

This decision was made under the Norfolk Island Regional Council Preparatory Election Ordinance 2016.
Accordingly a Returning Officer from the Australian Election Company has now been formally appointed to conduct the poll. The Australian Election Company is an independent election service provider with expertise in the conduct of local government elections.

Preparations are now well underway for the Norfolk Island Regional Council election, and some may have noticed the establishment of an enrolment centre on Taylors Road (opposite the Tourism Information Centre).

As a new electoral roll is being established, this means each eligible resident will need to enrol to be able to vote in the Norfolk Island Regional Council Election on 28 May 2016.

New enrolment forms are available from the Enrolment Centre and online at www.austelect.com
The electoral roll closes at 6:00 pm on 18 April 2016. It is important residents complete, sign and submit the form as soon as possible to ensure their voice is heard.

The enrolment form also gives residents the option of enrolling to vote in the federal election due later this year.

Enrolment on the federal roll will be compulsory for eligible persons from 1 July 2016.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
8 April 2016

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17. HOW TO DISMEMBER A COMMUNITY – THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT AND NORFOLK ISLAND


Lessons from the Scottish Highlands

The major reason why the Scottish Highlands of today are so empty of people is a consequence of what are known as the ‘Highland Clearances’ of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In earlier times the Highlands were populated by people holding traditional land tenancies and practicing small-scale agriculture. However the aristocratic landowners saw profit in the new industries associated with sheep raising, and so they drove many thousands of Scottish peasants off their lands, often with considerable brutality. This resulted in the dispersal of Highlanders across the globe, and in the destruction of much of Gaelic culture. One culture eventually replaced another. 

While the analogy with Norfolk Island’s current predicament is not complete, it is important to give some thought to the social aspects of the process of transition imposed by the Australian Government on the Norfolk Island community: what is being done, what is being lost, and how the island’s traditional culture and practices might be retained or modified according to the wishes of the people. At its simplest a ‘community’ is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. So it can have a geographic aspect, such as people living in a small town; or it can have a quite different characteristic, such as a community of religious belief which, while a community in that sense, is likely to be widespread geographically. 

Norfolk Island as a community shares both of these attributes – at once being geographically isolated, and also being a population with a shared interest in successful economic and social outcomes for its members. Islandness and isolation emphasise the need for islanders to hang together in mutual support in the face of both natural and man-made insecurities of island life. 

Travel writer Andy Jarosz in 2010, on a visit to the island of Barra in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, listed six characteristics of what he refers to as the ‘seductive charms of life on a small island’: a ‘sense of total trust’ and absence of crime; ‘no-one is a stranger’; ‘everyone knows others’ business’; ‘common greetings’; ‘the concept of “the Mainland”’; and ‘many hats are worn’ (meaning people take on multiple jobs). Norfolk Islanders would no doubt recognise all of these. (There is an interesting aside here. The island of Barra was itself a victim of the Highland Clearances in 1838 when most of the islanders were expelled to make way for sheep farming. However in 1937, Robert NcNeil, wealthy American and 45th chief of the clan McNeil, bought the island back for the clan, which remains the owner today.) 

The glue of culture

What exactly is the glue that holds island communities together? Culture is the collection of ideas, customs, practices, habits, rules and other social behaviours of a particular society or community. It sets out the understandings – assumptions, values, procedures – associated with the community. It defines what is important for the life of the community, and how one should act in relationship with others. This culture is transmitted in the community is by social interaction – primarily within the family, but also in social institutions such as schools, churches, workplaces, hospital, sports and politics.

Key elements in the content of any culture are language, and symbols. Language is important first because it is the way we communicate, and second because no two languages ‘see’ the world in the same terms i.e. they each express a cultural view of the world.  Another important part of the glue is provided by symbols. A symbol is basically a physical object associated with an abstract idea. In Buddhist culture for example the lotus (symbol) is associated with purity (abstract idea). For a Christian community a hymn is not just a song, but also a shared symbol of what the community members have in common, and expresses the values to which the community members subscribe. (It is important to note too that it is the members of the group who define the symbolic meaning that a symbol has: so an outsider may see the physical object, but be totally unaware of its deeper meaning.)

For Norfolk Island, in addition to language, important symbols include:  the Pitcairn anthem and other hymns, Bounty Day, island weaving, cuisine, the Norfolk Island flag, yorlor possession, free burials, a sense of attachment to the British Crown, participation in the Pacific and Commonwealth games, ‘looking after each other’, trust in strangers, the Kingston museums, Captain Cook memorial, KAVHA buildings, the now-dissolved Legislative Assembly. These things – and others you can no doubt think of - draw together Norfolk Island as a community, and define the ideas we have of pride, self-belief, dignity, compassion, tradition. It is not for nothing that the aspirational values of the Norfolk Island Central School are: ‘Praid, Tradishan, Kalcha, Achiiwment’.

Community consequences of Australian Government changes

The passage of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 has introduced immense changes – perhaps the largest in over 150 years - to the way the Norfolk Island community is being asked to see itself. How will these changes affect the Norfolk Island community? 

It is evident that in large measure the changes undermine the island’s social institutions and symbols, and thereby delegitimising its existing culture. The heaviest blows have been the loss of the Legislative Assembly and the deliberative forum that that provided for the resolution of island issues; the introduction of unrestrained immigration; the elevation of Australian public servants over local; and the introduction of a land-based rating system which will undermine traditional island identification of land with cultural continuity. 

However there are many more subtle means by which the community’s dignity and self-belief are being undermined. Here are some powerful ones: the downgrading of the hospital to a service limited by population calculation; removal of the Island’s representational status from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and so on; disparaging comments by the Administrator in regard to things Norfolk; the failure of the Commonwealth to encourage and promote discussion by the Administration with the representatives of the community as to its plans; the writing out of mention of Pitcairn heritage from the preamble of the Norfolk Island Act 1979. 

There are also unfortunately other more general economic forces working to undermine the vision of a vital local island community. In particular the free market ideas that are rife in Australian Government thinking, and the increase in commercialised enterprises in social services, erode local democracy and the notion of public goods. Individuals are being encouraged to see themselves more as consumers of services rather than as participants in society. As a replacement for island culture, the Australian Government seems limited to proposing ‘Be Australian’. In all the mountain of literature generated by the Australian Government about Norfolk Island in recent years, starting with the JSCNCET report, I know of no attempt to clarify what they think a community on a small island actually is, how it functions, or how government actions might impinge upon it.  

In closing, I should note that there is nothing in this letter that says that cultural change is always bad. The letter’s intention is to invite citizens to consider carefully what they may gain in change and what they may lose. If important things are being lost, then how might they be retained, refurbished and enhanced? At this level the Australian Government seems not to give a damn, so such matters would be more usefully discussed at a later date.

- Chris Nobbs

[Earlier letters in this series accessible at: http://www.norfolkonlinenews.com/chris-nobbs.html]


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ARE YOU READY TO VOTE?



Are you ready to vote in our first Regional Council Election? Or do you think you can just register “on the day”?  If you answered yes to this all-important question, then it’s time for a total rethink.


In order to take part in the forthcoming Regional Council elections, all Norfolk Island residents, 18 years and over, who hold Australian citizenship need to formally enrol before 6:00pm on Monday, 18th of April.  Even those who already vote in Federal Elections need to complete and lodge a new enrolment form to ensure their right to vote locally.  British subjects are also eligible to vote, provided their names appear on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll prior to January 1984.


Provided you qualify, it’s a relatively easy process to enrol – one you can even do online.  Simply download the enrolment form from www.austelect.com and fill out the details required.  Alternatively, use the form you would have received in the mail or pick one up from the Enrolment Centre - opposite the NI Visitors Information Centre on Taylor’s Road or from the Office of the Administrator.


Once you’ve completed and signed the enrolment form, simply scan and email it to info@austelect.com or return the enrolment form to the Enrolment Centre.  You can also drop it in the special locked box inside the NI Post Office.


The Residential Roll is limited to people who live on Norfolk Island and is being prepared by the Australian Election Company.


Absentee landowners can apply to be on a separate non-residential electoral roll, should they wish to vote in the election.  This roll is being prepared by the Administration. 


Nominations for the forthcoming election open on 18 April, 2016.  Ultimately, five Councillors will be elected on Saturday 28th May, and it will fall on their shoulders to elect a Mayor from their number.   Exciting times ahead!


Remember - if you’re not enrolled, you’re not entitled to vote.


Jon Gibbons

Chief Executive Officer

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WHAT IS A REGIONAL COUNCIL


Next month, Norfolk Island residents who are over 18 years of age and hold Australian citizenship will be asked to vote in a new team of leaders in the Norfolk Island Regional Council elections. But what exactly will these leaders be asked to do, in the context of our new Regional Council? What will their role entail week-to-week, and what will their responsibilities be? Moreover, what services will the council be providing on Norfolk and how will these be sustainably funded?


In the following weeks we will endeavour to explain many of the great mysteries surrounding our future governance, commencing today with a brief but comprehensive look at how a Council is structured, and how your soon-to-be elected Councillors – and the Mayor they will inevitably select – fit in to the big council ‘picture’.


A Regional Council is a form of local government that provides a range of services - and performs certain functions - within a particular community. Traditionally, these include things like town planning, road maintenance, the provision and management of recreational facilities (such as libraries and playgrounds) and waste management, but here on Norfolk will also include some responsibilities ordinarily shouldered by a State government – for example, overseeing the provision of electricity, telecom and fire services as well as a range of business activities.


Norfolk Island’s Regional Council will be administered by a General Manager. He or she will preside over a team of Managers who will collectively oversee the operation of the council’s various departments. These departments will be staffed by skilled, on-island employees who will be tasked with delivering the day-to-day services required by our unique community.


While most of the “heavy lifting” in Council will be done by its employees, the elected Councillors will form an entity similar to the Board of a public company. As members of this governing body, they will be required to provide policy framework and strategic planning for the future economic and cultural development of the community they represent.


The General Manager and Council Management team will report directly to the elected Councillors, detailing their activities and outcomes at regular meetings. The Councillors will, in turn, provide leadership and where necessary, make decisions that will need to be implemented by the council’s management team and their staff.


Because our community is remote and diverse, it is important we elect Councillors who can best serve the interests of all the community. And those councillors must trust and respect each other, as they will need to make difficult decisions on the community’s behalf – including, but not limited to, the equitable allocation of ratepayer’s money across the suite of services their council will provide.


It is no small task, by any means, least of all in these turbulent, changing times. So a sense of optimism and a can-do attitude will be as mandatory as good leadership skills – particularly for the Councillor who will ultimately become Norfolk Island’s first Mayor.


Commonly regarded as the leader in a community, a Mayor must act as the spokesperson for the council and preside over certain civic and ceremonial functions. They must also act as the Chairperson at council meetings.


All Councillors will be bound by the Code of Conduct and cannot direct staff on the day to day administration of any council functions. They must seek, at all times, to strike a balance between representing their constituents and making decisions on their behalf, taking into account the competing interests of various stakeholders.


Further information about how a Regional Council will operate will continue to be released over coming weeks, so stay tuned.


Jon Gibbons

Chief Executive Officer

6 April 2016

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NEW ROLLS


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THERE ARE NEW ROLLS SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS ELECTIONS


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TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES ON NORFOLK ISLAND FORKLIFT AND OTHER QUALIFICATIONS



Register your interest for training opportunities on Norfolk Island over the next two weeks – 4 to 16 April 2016. 


Priority will be placed on those currently working in the field and seeking accreditation or re-accreditation.  Course fees (at a subsidised rate) will be payable direct to the training facilitator for some training (marked with an *).


White Card (general construction induction)

Group 1           Monday           04APR            4.00pm-10.15pm        max 20 pax


Group 2           Friday             15APR            4.00pm-10.15pm        max 20 pax

Forklift Licence*

Group A          Thursday         07APR            8.00am-4.00pm          max 8 pax

              Friday             08APR            8.00am-12.30pm

                  1.00pm-7.00pm (assessment)

Group B          Saturday          09APR            8.00am-4.00pm          max 8 pax

            Monday           11APR            8.00am-12.30pm

                1.00pm-7.00pm (assessment)


* Please note course fees are applicable for forklift training.  This is at the reduced cost of $300 per person, payable direct to the instructor. 


Working at Heights

Group 1           Tuesday          12APR            8.30am-3.30pm          max 10 pax


Subject to demand, an additional session of White Card training may be available in the evening on Thursday 7 April.


Also subject to demand, an additional session of forklift training may be scheduled on 13 and 14 April, or alternatively, this could be restructured for an additional session of working at heights and/or working in confined spaces training.  We welcome your views.  A final decision on the training to be delivered on 13 and 14 April will be made in coming days.


This training is supported by the Australian Government under funding announced on 5 February 2016 for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island


Please telephone the Office of the Administrator on 52634 any time between 08.00am to 8.00pm on Saturday 2 April to Monday 4 April to register your expression of interest.

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TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES ON NORFOLK ISLAND PLANT AND HEAVY VEHICLE LICENCES



Register your interest for WorkCover and verification of competency training opportunities to be delivered on Norfolk Island over the next two weeks: 4 to 16 April 2016.


Priority will be placed on those currently working in small business using the relevant equipment or vehicle, and seeking accreditation or re-accreditation. 

Training starts Monday 4 April for some courses:

  • Crane (three day course with assessment on the 4th day, starting Monday 4 April)
  • Dogging (three day course with assessment on the 4th day, starting Monday 4 April)
  • Skid steer (three day course with assessment on the 4th day, starting Monday 4 April)

Recognition of prior learning for experienced operators will be assessed and considered by the training facilitators.

Additional training will be made available after the first phase, including:

  • Medium Rigid (MR)  (one day course, to be held at various times)
  • Heavy Rigid (HR) (one day course to be held at various times)
  • Heavy Combination (one day course to be held at various times)
  • Front end loader (wheeled) (three day course, 8,9 and 11 April)
  • Excavator (four day course starting 11 April, with assessment on the 4th day)
  • Scaffolding (basic) course (four day course starting 11 April, with assessment on the 5th day).

Additional training opportunities may be announced during the two-week training period.  The heavy vehicle training is available for those who currently hold a valid licence and are seeking refresher training or certification of their existing license.

This training will be facilitated by Business Solutions and is funded by the Australian Government under support announced on 5 February 2016 for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island.

Please telephone the Office of the Administrator on 52634 any time between 08.00am to 8.00pm on Saturday 2 April, Sunday 3 April or Monday 4 April to register your expression of interest.  Placements for training starting Monday morning will be confirmed Sunday evening.

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THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED



It is one of the conventions of self-government in the Westminster tradition that once self-government is granted to a political entity, it should not thereafter be taken away except in the most extreme circumstances, for example, war or civil disturbance.


The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department confirmed this principle in a submission to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Northern Territory in 1974 (Parliamentary Paper No. 281 of 1974) in which it stated it would be politically unthinkable to take away such powers after they had been granted. And yet, history clearly records the Australian Parliament took away Norfolk Island’s Parliament and self-government against the wishes of the majority of the people.


“A MODERN MUTINY”

On Wednesday 20 April 2016, a documentary titled “A MODERN MUTINY” will be screened on SBS - just eight days before the 227th Anniversary of the world’s most famous mutiny –  “The Mutiny on the Bounty.”


Viewers may be able to get an insight from the title and perhaps the content in the SBS documentary from the preview.  In the preview the Norfolk Island Administrator is triumphantly showing the SBS film maker the word ‘MUTINY’ which was illegally painted on the walls of the Kingston compound. To see the preview to the SBS documentary go to -


http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/untold-australia/article/2016/03/14/modern-mutiny

One would have hoped the Administrator, a Vice Regal appointee, might have realised that his public presence in front of the word ‘MUTINY’ is inflammatory and may be viewed by some as incitement – or perhaps he did. Perhaps also the Administrator should take the time to revisit the findings of the 1926 Royal Commission regarding the removal of the then Norfolk Island  Administrator.  This would be a timely exercise in the light of the Administrator’s behaviour since he arrived on Norfolk Island and in light of the 2015 petition sent to the Governor-General requesting the Administrator’s immediate removal from Norfolk Island.

NIPD does not condone vandalism.  However, a friend of NIPD in Australia, a Sociologist, when asked what Mutiny in the Norfolk context means, said – “When someone writes Mutiny on a prominent wall in Norfolk Island, it is a poetic call to justice; a call to rally together around the heritage of Norfolk Islanders as an independent culture that deserves respect. So the word Mutiny in the current context is a cry of the heart and a political statement. But it is more. It is a poet at full lungs saying that the emperor has no clothes; that the new deal is a raw deal, that local hearts and minds feel trampled on. It is a humble request for Australia to give Norfolk Island a fair deal. Not to let the Norfolk Islander community see their livelihoods and their pride taken away.”


NIPD UPDATE

NIPD had hoped to have a weekly talk back and phone in segment on the Norfolk Island ‘Community Radio’ to allow supporters (or detractors) to ask questions relating to our work. Within days of making that request the work of our Association to uphold the rights of the Norfolk Island People was deemed to be ‘against the Government’. NIPD is not welcome on the Australian Government controlled radio – formerly known as the islands ‘Community Radio’.


NIPD had hoped to provide some protection to our Committee members by incorporating as a legal Association, a process that normally takes only a few days. NIPD applied in November 2015 and is yet to hear if that application is to be approved. We have been led to believe that the Commonwealth Legal Officers are still busy working out a way to refuse our application. In recent weeks we have had to take a more expensive legal path to protect our Committee members.


NIPD had hoped to garner the public support of a wider range of groups, Associations and individuals. However NIPD is having to receive their support through third parties (and in confidence) because of fear of retribution by the Australian Government.


It is extremely sad that standing up for one’s rights is met with such resistance in this modern day, and especially from a Government that asserts that it upholds  the principles of democracy and the rule of law.


Given the importance of our work we are understandably cautious and despite overwhelming odds the Committee is still making fantastic progress, so much so that our international, academic and political support base grows substantially as our state of affairs gathers greater profile. .

We leave you with these thoughts:

  • Norfolk Island belongs to the descendants of the original settlers from Pitcairn Island, and the many other people, irrespective of their nationality, who have chosen to make Norfolk Island their home since 1856.

  • Australia’s current actions are illegal in International Law.

  • On Monday 18 April NIPD will be holding a public meeting and will be in a position to update the Norfolk Island people on the progress and work of NIPD, including our application to be listed as a non-self-governing territory with the United Nations.

From the Management Committee

www.norfolkschoice.com

31 March 2016

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$13 MILLION UPGRADE TO NORFOLK ISLAND'S CASCADE PIER



Waterway Construction has been selected as the successful tenderer to construct the $13 million upgrade of Cascade Pier on Norfolk Island.

Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher said Waterway Constructions are specialists in the construction and refurbishment of maritime structures and will bring an experienced construction and engineering team to Norfolk Island to deliver this vital infrastructure.
Importantly, the company is committed to using local businesses for supply of materials and to hiring local people to work on the project where practical,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Waterway's competitive pricing has allowed the Australian Government to commit to lengthen the pier by an extra 3 metres, bringing the total length of the extension to 24 metres.

“This extension will enable the loading and unloading of cruise ship passengers and freight to occur more safely and under a wider range of weather and sea conditions.”

Mr Fletcher said the refurbishment will also include the installation of a boom dock hydraulic crane to facilitate the future unloading of cargo.

“Additional funding will be provided for the construction of customised barges to service the new pier,” he said.

“Once the project is complete, nominated members of the Norfolk Island community and regional council staff will receive training in the safe and effective operation of the hydraulic crane.

“The Cascade Pier project will deliver great benefits to Norfolk Islanders, although inevitably there will be disruption to the normal operations of the pier during construction.

“Waterway Constructions and my Department will consult with port users with a view to minimising disruptions so vital freight deliveries occur, scheduled cruise ship arrivals are accommodated and the impacts to commercial fishing operations are contained. Norfolk Island residents will be kept closely informed on the progress of construction.”

Works on the Cascade Pier extension upgrade will commence in late May 2016 and be complete by late 2017.

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TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW: ALEX SLOAN ABC 666 CANBERRA, ‘AFTERNOONS’ PROGRAMME, WITH DR CHRIS NOBBS, 9 MARCH 2016


ALEX SLOAN:  On 666 Afternoons we have been following the story of Norfolk Island and governance, and the fact that self-government has been taken away from Norfolk Islanders, even though three quarters of the population have expressed a clear wish against this. At the University of Canberra the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis are tomorrow running a workshop to examine the issue and explore alternative models of governance. And here in Canberra from Norfolk Island is one of the people speaking at this workshop and that is Chris Nobbs who is, actually a Pitcairn descendant. Chris, nice to see you in Canberra – it is a place you know well.

CHRIS NOBBS:  Thanks Alex. Yes I do.


ALEX SLOAN:  Now, I introduced you as a Pitcairn descendant, What does that mean to you, and why is that important in this story?

CHRIS NOBBS:  I think we have to realise that the Pitcairn descendants on Norfolk didn’t get there from Australia, they came from the east, and they have had ever since their arrival in 1856 a very specific set of ideas, of goals, of manners of behaviour, of culture, particularly related to land, which they have felt is a very much an integrating part of their society and which many of them feel is being torn apart.


ALEX SLOAN:  So that connexion and that culture are very much part of this story, at the moment?

CHRIS NOBBS:  It is, but not for everybody. There is a larger story, and that is about the Australian Government in making this transition which for many people on the island, and including those who are not Pitcairners, actually think that the Australian Government is out of control. It is really running amok with what it is doing, and if it is not very careful there will be very damaging consequences not only for the economy, but also for what has been a traditional society.


ALEX SLOAN:  So that decision was made last year by the Australian Government…

CHRIS NOBBS:  It was.


ALEX SLOAN:  And so Norfolk Islanders come under Australian Government law, for taxation, don’t you?

CHRIS NOBBS: The deal was that Norfolk Islanders would receive Australian welfare benefits, in return for essentially Australian taxation, and that they would be transformed from being an external territory with a certain amount of independence – not a great deal, but some – into being a regional council under Commonwealth control but with laws that look like those in New South Wales. And as you said, a majority – it is very clear that a majority of Norfolk Islanders do not want that.


ALEX SLOAN:  But that’s not what you got. So why is it important to have this workshop tomorrow and why have you come to the workshop? What will be discussed?

CHRIS NOBBS:  There are a number of things. I think for me one of the key reasons is that I think Australians actually need to know what is being done on Norfolk Island in their name. In my view it is grossly unfair and unjust, and it is actually a disgrace, some of the conduct of some of the Commonwealth Government and its organs in relation to what Australians generally would consider as democracy. But even so, that said, whatever happens on Norfolk Island, and there are other moves by a group called the Norfolk Island People for Democracy to take this issue to the United Nations, and we might discuss that a little later…  It is really important that Norfolk Island gets a decent deal, that works. So that tomorrow’s workshop will consider – whatever the outcome of this transition process may be - what might be the way forward, the manner which can create a good environment and society and economy for Norfolk.


ALEX SLOAN:  Well what is the way forward? This all began I suppose as an argument about services… what is the way forward in terms of governance?

CHRIS NOBBS:  Well the Australian Government has a particular view of that, which as we have said, Norfolk Islanders don’t particularly like, and that may well be imposed on them. There are some things that the Australian Government could do. In my view it would be important that they actually slow down the process and have another look at what is actually happening on the ground. One of the problems it seems to me is that they have an almost ideological model of what the economy should look like, they have a lot of bureaucrats and consultants and a lot of money in trying to put those things together. What is lacking is anyone who is actually going and talking to the people, and they are the ones who are in the front line – they’re the ones who actually know what is going on – what’s going to happen to prices, what’s going to happen to employment. So there are things that the Australian Government could do. Another thing they could do if they took the bull by the horns they could… well I should say that a few years ago the Australian Government and the Norfolk Island Government said that there would be a dummy run of income, of making income returns. That for a year or so everyone would have a tax file number and they would do a dummy run to see what this [system] was going to be like. And the Commonwealth Government reneged on that.


ALEX SLOAN:  But you think it should have happened?

CHRIS NOBBS:  I think it would have been a remarkably good idea. And the reason is that people have to understand that these are people who have never filled in a tax form in their lives. They are being invited into a system which they don’t understand and by and large which is quite foreign to them and even if it is going to happen it needs in my view to have a gentle process and I’ve written to the Minister suggesting that…


ALEX SLOAN:  And what response did you get back?

CHRIS NOBBS:  Not only have I not had a response, I didn’t have an acknowledgement that he had received it. And this is one of the problems that Norfolk Island is dealing with at the moment, I had an email from the head of the Norfolk Island Accommodation and Tourism Association, which is responsible for about 70 per cent of the economy – now he has written to the Minister Fletcher, he has written to the Administrator, and he has also written to the responsible department which is Infrastructure and Regional Development about certain queries he had. He has not had a response from any and he has not even had an acknowledgement of his letter.


ALEX SLOAN:  You’ve had a changeover over there of Ministers though haven’t you, from Jamie Briggs to now Paul Fletcher.

CHRIS NOBBS:  Correct.


ALEX SLOAN:  So should we just give that time?

CHRIS NOBBS:  Well no, my letter was to Paul Fletcher. And he has been on the island recently.


ALEX SLOAN:  And who did he meet with?

CHRIS NOBBS:  That raises another [point]. He had a community meeting, a public meeting, in which he went through some of these things. And to be fair to him, it was the first time that a minister had fronted up at a public meeting to hear what Norfolk Islanders thought, and wished to say to him. An interesting element of that meeting was that the Chief Executive Officer refused permission for the Norfolk Island People for Democracy to run an ad on the radio station. He also refused the radio station permission to broadcast the Minister’s meeting. When the acting manager of the radio station enquired from him to get some clarification of that, she was removed from her position with one week’s stress leave, and placed somewhere else in the Norfolk Island Public Service.  And there have also been more recently sacking of volunteers for being ‘political’ on the radio. Now if you were aware of how…


ALEX SLOAN:  You’re saying that freedom of speech has been shut down. 

CHRIS NOBBS:  Freedom of speech is one of the casualties of this behaviour.


ALEX SLOAN:  Well we’ll certainly put in a call to the Minister, because we have been talking about this for a while, and if you’re saying that it is getting to issues such as freedom of speech has been denied, and as you say, the Minister did visit Norfolk Island, so we’ll try and follow that through.

My guest this afternoon is Chris Nobbs who is in town for a seminar tomorrow at the University of Canberra, and the public can attend if you would like to go along… sorry it is in the Theo Notaras Centre not the University of Canberra. That is from 12:30 to 4:00, tomorrow afternoon. So if you have been following this issue in this whole issue of self-government and democracy, this is quite an interesting case. And just before I let you go, you mentioned Chris Nobbs you mentioned that approach to the United Nations. At what status is that at?

CHRIS NOBBS:  I don’t know. I’m not part of that conversation. But the idea is that as an external territory the Norfolk Island People for Democracy wish Norfolk Island to be considered by the Decolonisation Committee so that they can have a fee and independent choice as to whether they join Australia completely or in free association, or something else. That’s the deal.


ALEX SLOAN:  And what do you hope comes out of tomorrow’s session? You’ve come to town for it, so what do you hope will come out of it?

CHRIS NOBBS:  A little more clarity around the issues, and a public awareness – I think that is important – a public awareness of what is going on on Norfolk Island.

ALEX SLOAN:  Lovely to meet you. Thanks for coming to town, thanks for coming into the studio, and have a great session tomorrow. 

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16. A RESPONSE TO MINISTER FLETCHER’S RADIO INTERVIEW


[Note: Transcriptions of the two radio interviews referred to follow this letter.]

Dear Editor,


On March 10 there was a seminar held in Canberra on the subject “No Man is an Island: The Future of Governance on Norfolk Island” hosted by the University of Canberra’s School of Governance and Policy Analysis. As part of my visit to Canberra I was interviewed by Alex Sloan of ABC 666 Radio Canberra about the upcoming seminar. In response to some of the issues raised in that interview, Alex invited Minister Paul Fletcher to respond on her programme. The main emphasis in Alex’ interview with the Minister was on democracy on Norfolk Island, the substance of the transition process, and what other possibilities there might be for Norfolk Island’s future. Alex’ interview with Minister Fletcher was printed in The Norfolk Islander last week. (Transcripts of both these interviews are available – see below (1).)


I would like to respond to some of the statements made by Minister Fletcher during his interview. The first observation to make is that at the public meeting held with the Minister on Norfolk Island on 28 January 2016, he presented three general arguments about why the Australian Government was proceeding in the manner in which it is. These arguments were: that the majority of Norfolk Islanders wanted it; that there would be substantial economic benefits for the island; and that as Australians, Norfolk Islanders should receive the same benefits as other Australians.


In examining what the Minister said in interview with Alex Sloan, we can note that the first of these arguments was not mentioned. It appears that the Minister has finally recognised that there is no evidence in the public domain to establish this proposition and that it is, in essence, false.


The second argument, that Norfolk Island will be a substantial economic beneficiary of the changes, was only mentioned in passing. Perhaps the Minister has almost recognised that the economic modelling on which this proposition is based cannot legitimately sustain his view – as was pointed out by independent analysis of the models made by Professor Michael Common in his report of November 2015. (Furthermore it needs to be noted that this modelling referred only to economic costs and benefits, with social costs and benefits being ignored.)


The core argument of the Minister’s interview with Alex Sloan was that ‘services available to people on Norfolk Island are not the same as are available in the rest of Australia’, and ‘It’s a question of giving people living on Norfolk Island the same rights as are available elsewhere in Australia’. Well, that is a point of view. However this point of view needs to be held up in comparison with other points of view. In particular the view of the Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Hon Robert ‘Bob’ Ellicott QC in 1978, when he announced the following with regard to Norfolk Island, was that:


“The Government is prepared over a period, to move towards a substantial measure of self-government for the Island, and is also of the view that, although Norfolk Island is part of Australia and will remain so, this does not require Norfolk Island to be regulated by the same laws as regulate other parts of Australia;…….. The Government believes that social service benefits appropriate to the conditions of the Island should be provided as of right, but does not believe that the services provided should necessarily be the same or at the same level as those available on the mainland…;” (2)


The key fact here is that these are both statements made about Norfolk Island by the responsible Ministers in the Liberal Australian Governments of the day. They represent different points of view - or as one might say, political stances. They are different value judgements about how Norfolk Island society ought best be organised. Neither statement represents an argument. The alternatives have to be argued for and against, and the present Australian Government has so far provided no coherent or substantial arguments in favour of its case. Constant repetition of the catechism about Norfolk Islanders having the same benefits and costs as Australians, gets us no further forward. (In prefiguring such an argument, I personally find support in the view expressed by Winston Churchill who, in a speech to the House of Commons in 1940, expressed the view that people should receive the nurture ‘not of totalitarian uniformity but of tolerance and variety’.)


And as for processes involved, the Minister’s assertion of there has been adequate consultation with the citizens of Norfolk Island cannot be accepted for a number of reasons, the most evident being the processes of  establishment and conduct of the Norfolk Island Advisory Council. (There are others, but to retail them here would take us too far away from our purpose.) Nor can the Minister’s claim to bi-partisanship between Liberal and Labor MPs in the passage through the Parliament of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill be taken as prima facie evidence of virtue. While both parties may currently cleave to the catechism mentioned above, support for the legislation probably had much to do with the relative importance given to this issue compared to other ‘continental’ issues with which the Australian legislature needs contend; to partial briefings provided by Commonwealth public servants and the well-documented misleading statements made by the then Minister Jamie Briggs in the Parliament and elsewhere; and to the overwhelming dominance of the Canberra media by the Commonwealth Government in comparison to the ability of a small island to gain any media attention at all for its case. (The deception involved in the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories in exceeding its terms of reference to recommend the abolition of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, to which the Assembly itself had no rights of submission, requires a separate consideration.)  


So the question of what is best way forward for Norfolk Island and Norfolk Islanders remains a matter of legitimate debate. Whether the actions of Australian Government amount to ‘colonisation’ as Alex Sloan suggested to the Minister in her interview, or not, as the Minister claimed, may be determined soon enough. 

- Chris Nobbs


(1) Transcripts of both interviews are available under the heading of this letter, at http://www.norfolkonlinenews.com/chris-nobbs.html. Transcript of the Fletcher interview also available at  http://www.investinaustralia.com/news/transcript-abc-alex-sloan-norfolk-island (dated 22 March 2016).


(2) Norfolk Island – Annual Report for 1977-1978, p.1.

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS NON RESIDENTIAL ROLL



Applications are invited from qualified persons for inclusion on a non-residential roll for the 2016 Norfolk Island Regional Council election.

Qualified persons must:

  • Own land on Norfolk Island and reside elsewhere; or
  • Occupy land on Norfolk Island with a right to continue occupation for not less than 3 years from the date of this application;

and

  • Be an Australian citizen; or a British subject who was enrolled on the Commonwealth electoral roll on 25 January 1984;
  • Be 18 years or older at the time of enrolment.

Application forms can be obtained by:

  • Downloading an electoral form from the ANI website at http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf ;
  • Downloading an electoral form from the Australian Election Company website www.austelect.com/elections/norfolk-island-regional-council-election ;  or
  • From the Norfolk Island Regional Council Enrolment Office, Shop 36H Taylors Road, Norfolk Island (opposite the Tourist Information Centre); or
  • From the Norfolk Island Post Office.

Completed Claims for Enrolment as a Non Residential Owner or Occupier for the 2016 elections must be received on or before 6pm (EST) Monday 18 April 2016.  Forms must be lodged by one of the following:

  • By post to: P.O. Box 3056, Caboolture, Qld, 4510;
  • By hand to: Norfolk Island Regional Council Enrolment Office, Shop 36H Taylors Road, Norfolk Island(opposite the Tourist Information Centre); or
  • By scanning and emailing to: info@austelect.com

No person can be enrolled more than once for the Norfolk Island Regional Council election.

Peter Gesling

Executive Director                                                                                                30 March 2016

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TRANSCRIPT - ABC ALEX SLOAN ON NORFOLK ISLAND ... http://www.investinaustralia.com/


ALEX SLOAN:  Mr Paul Fletcher, good to talk to you.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Thanks Alex.

ALEX SLOAN:  If I can start with democracy, the evolution of self-government means that this year Norfolk Islanders, under Australian compulsory voting laws, will vote in the Lower House for the seat of Canberra and for the ACT in the Senate. So does this make sense in any way?

 

PAUL FLETCHER:  Well it does makes sense, because the people of Norfolk Island are citizens of Australia and so they will now have voting arrangements that align with those of people around Australia. So for example, in our other external territories, residents of those territories are on the electoral roll in one of the mainland electorates. And of course, what we are also seeing as a result of these changes is that there will be a council on Norfolk Island – the Norfolk Island Regional Council – that will operate under broadly the same rules as apply to councils in New South Wales. It will have broadly the same range of powers. So the same democratic rights that are available to Australians elsewhere will be available to the citizens of- to Australians who live on Norfolk Island.

ALEX SLOAN:  How will that – because the claims from Norfolk Islanders about that model of governance is that the New South Wales Local Government Act hasn’t been utilised for regional councils and they’re unsure of how this is going to work for them.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Well look, they’re- obviously it’s a change from the current arrangements. Let’s just remind ourselves what happened there, and I had the chance to see this for myself when I visited Norfolk Island in January, met with a lot of people on the island. We had a community meeting with over 300 people there; it went for an hour and three quarters. We discussed a whole range of these issues. Now the issue is that Norfolk Island has had self-government since 1979, but it’s become clear over really quite a number of years that the level of services available to people on Norfolk Island are not the same as are available in the rest of Australia. So in a similarly isolated community on the mainland, people, for example, have access to Centrelink, they have access to the Age Pension, to Disability Support, to Newstart Allowance. They have access to Medicare. Now, on Norfolk, today for example, the healthcare system is Norfolk-specific. There’s an insurance scheme that’s specific to Norfolk Island. Most people now will no longer have to pay premiums under that scheme; they’ll have the benefit of Medicare. So that is just one of a number of ways in which people are going to be better off as a result of these changes, and that in turn is why there was bipartisan support for these changes when legislation went through the Australian Parliament last year.

ALEX SLOAN:   Three quarters of Norfolk Islanders said they didn’t want self-government to be abolished in a vote there. Have we just been lazy? At a recent seminar at the University of Canberra, attended by a Norfolk Islander, including Chris Nobbs who spoke on my program, they pointed to New Zealand models of governments for external territories, particularly Niue and the Cook Islands, and these models allow the right of self-determination by the people living there. Why not explore these models, rather than just cancel out their rights to vote? Or their rights to self-govern, to self-determination.

P

AUL FLETCHER:  It’s a question of giving people living on Norfolk Island the same rights as are available elsewhere in Australia and using the same model as is used, for example, on Christmas Island and on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and other external territories.

ALEX SLOAN:  There are complaints about that as well, but let’s just concentrate on Norfolk Island. Why not explore these other models of governance?

PAUL FLETCHER:  Well because the model that we are introducing is consistent with the models used on other Australian external territories, and is the model best placed to deliver services to the 1500 people who live on Norfolk Island.

ALEX SLOAN:  But isn’t it just colonisation?

PAUL FLETCHER:  No. No, it’s not colonisation at all, because Norfolk Island is a territory of Australia, has been for many, many years. What it’s about is delivering to people on Norfolk Island the services that people expect from government: Medicare, Age Pension, Newstart. And the modelling makes it clear that people are going to be better off. The economic modelling that the Government’s done shows that there’s going to be a 14 per cent increase in what’s called gross territory product, in other words economic activity across the island. Yes, people will now be paying Australian tax, but the social security payments going onto the island of about $4.9 billion will more than offset the tax which is paid. So ultimately it’s about whether the people living on Norfolk Island get the same services that people elsewhere in Australia would expect.

ALEX SLOAN:  But Minister Fletcher, why are you not sounding like a colonial master saying this is going to be good for you, trust me, don’t worry that you’re not involved in the consultation or the negotiation?  This is coming from someone in Canberra.

PAUL FLETCHER:  I think the premise that the people of Norfolk Island have not been involved in consultation is really… that is not what’s happened.

ALEX SLOAN:   Because that’s the complaint. The complaint is this was imposed by us from politicians in Canberra. This is not what we want; we’re now very unhappy about it. Including freedom of speech: the people for Norfolk Island democracy have been banned from the radio station. Any notice that is run on that radio station has to be first vetted by a Commonwealth public servant. What’s going on there? That’s a real freedom of speech issue.

PAUL FLETCHER:  The radio station is obviously an important forum for people to be able to speak about issues of concern on Norfolk Island. I had the chance to be interviewed myself when I was there in January. Certainly, there was plenty of probing scrutiny, as you would expect, as any politician would expect appearing on radio anywhere across the country.

ALEX SLOAN:  But the people for Norfolk Island democracy are banned from that radio station.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Look, the… important issue here is that the Government of Australia has responsibility for the welfare of the people of Norfolk Island, as it does for the welfare of people all around the rest of Australia, and so this reform process is being undertaken because the services that have been available to people on Norfolk Island have demonstrably fallen behind services in other parts of Australia.

PAUL FLETCHER:            And yes, there are some people on Norfolk Island who prefer the way things have been, those people put their views to me very forcefully at the community meeting I attended in January. At the same time, it’s the assessment of the democratically elected government of Australia that this is the best thing to do for Norfolk Island …

ALEX SLOAN:        But you’re invoking democracy there but then you’re denying democracy of the Norfolk Islanders who three quarters of them voted last year in a plebiscite to say we don’t want to have our right to self-government taken away but that was ignored.

PAUL FLETCHER:            The changes that the Australian Government is introducing do reflect extensive consultation on Norfolk Island over many years, including, for example, extensive investigation by the Committee of the Australian Parliament which oversees Norfolk Island and many other government processes. So, ultimately the responsibility of the Australia Government is to deliver services and meet the needs of people of Australia wherever they happen to live, including Norfolk Island.

ALEX SLOAN:        But was that consultation with Commonwealth bureaucrats?

PAUL FLETCHER:            Not at all, not at all. There’s been very extensive consultation with the people of Norfolk Island, that’s why I went there in January this year, that’s why my predecessor minister Jamie Briggs went there last year, that’s why, for example, Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja was there earlier this year, that’s why the Labor Member for Canberra who will become the Member representing the people of Norfolk Island and already informally represents a number of them has been many times. So there’s been extensive engagement with the people of Norfolk Island.  There is an interim council now led by …

ALEX SLOAN:        And the governance of that is still very unclear.

PAUL FLETCHER:            And – well there are five people appointed to inform the Australian Government and the administration of Norfolk Island and within a few short weeks there will be an election of the Norfolk Island Regional Council so that we can have locally elected people on the council as we have throughout Australia governed under New South Wales law.

ALEX SLOAN:        Minister Paul Fletcher is with me this afternoon. I believe one of the big issues today on Norfolk Island is the future of the hospital with fears that it could be downgraded to a health centre. Is there any argument or thoughts along the line of privatising healthcare on Norfolk Island and also privatising the pharmacy?

PAUL FLETCHER:            Look, there’s a lot of work going on, on what is the best model to provide healthcare on Norfolk Island and the issues that arise there are the same as arise in isolated communities all around Australia, including our other external territories but also isolated. For example, Indigenous communities, communities all throughout Australia. Now, it’s important to understand that the operating theatre in the hospital has not been used for several years, in other words it’s not a hospital today that is able to provide operations.

The model that is proposed is what’s called a multipurpose service. So, there’ll be general practitioners available, there’ll be aged care services, allied health professionals and of course the capacity to medivac people who need acute care to mainland hospitals. So, this is a well-established care model which is used in isolated communities all around Australia. We’re working through right now who the provider is going to be and we’ll have more to say about this.

ALEX SLOAN:        And what right will Norfolk Islanders have in saying how they want their health services delivered, what opportunity will there be for them?

PAUL FLETCHER:            Obviously the views of Norfolk Islanders will be important and Norfolk Islanders will be consulted. But at the same time the Commonwealth Government has a responsibility to deliver services and of course …

ALEX SLOAN:        So the decision will be made in Canberra.

PAUL FLETCHER:            Well, the decision will be made by the democratically elected government as is the case for a whole range of services for people all around Australia. So, the people of Norfolk Island have the benefit of services provided by the Commonwealth Government, they’ll have their local council once its elected and then in terms of state services, because there is no state level of government, then it’s incumbent on the Commonwealth to make alternative arrangements, so for example, the New South Wales Education Department today provides education services at the school under a contract between the Commonwealth Government and the New South Wales Government and so in relation to education, in relation to health and other services, the Commonwealth is responsible for delivering those services, we’ll make arrangements as to how to do that obviously in consultation with community members.

ALEX SLOAN:        And just finally, Paul Fletcher, it’s been put to me, at the heart of this is how we, as a great democracy, and we’re going through a great festival, perhaps a 2 July double dissolution election, certainly a fixed term election in the ACT, how we as a great democracy feel it’s okay to return Norfolk Island to a colonial status.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Look, I vigorously reject that characterisation. This is about ensuring that Australians who live on Norfolk Island get the same services as people anywhere else in Australia. The evidence is clear that the self-government arrangements have led to people on Norfolk Island not having the same standard of services as Australians everywhere expect and as the years have gone on, that’s become a situation which is increasingly…

ALEX SLOAN:        But could another model have been explored, has …

PAUL FLETCHER:            … so this is a model which has been developed to give people of Norfolk Island the services that they are entitled to and rightly expect as Australians and as Australians anywhere else would rightly expect.

ALEX SLOAN:        So you’re comfortable with …

PAUL FLETCHER:            I am comfortable. I think this is an important reform, I don’t think it’s an accident that there is bipartisan support for it because as Commonwealth politicians, whichever side of the political spectrum we’re on, we can look at the level of service presently delivered in Norfolk Island and readily conclude that people on Norfolk Island are not getting today the same level of service as Australians elsewhere and that needs to be fixed and we’re fixing it.

ALEX SLOAN:        Minister Paul Fletcher, I do appreciate your time today, thank you so much.

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NEW ROLLS


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THERE ARE NEW ROLLS SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS ELECTIONS


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NEW SOUTH WALES TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO NORFOLK ISLAND



Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher and New South Wales Premier Mike Baird today announced the New South Wales Government will assist the Australian government to provide some services on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016.

Mr Fletcher said he was delighted Premier Baird had agreed to assist with health and school education services for Norfolk Island following the Australian Government's decision to extend Australian social security, immigration, taxation arrangements and government services to the island.

From 1 July 2016, Australian citizens residing on Norfolk Island will also have the rights and responsibilities of mainland Australians, including access to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

"The Australian and New South Wales governments are working closely together to determine the scope of services involving NSW, but these will include school education, the management, delivery and regulation of state type health services and advice about financial support for the newly established Norfolk Island Regional Council," Mr Fletcher said.

"The Australian Government is committed to providing high quality, affordable and safe health and aged care services for Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island will benefit from New South Wales agency expertise in commissioning services for rural areas and island communities such as Lord Howe Island. "I am looking forward to working with New South Wales government agencies to ensure the best possible outcomes for the Norfolk Island community," Mr Fletcher said.

"The Australian Government is committed to reforms which will result in a sustainable, stronger and more prosperous Norfolk Island." Mr Baird said New South Wales is pleased to help the Australian government achieve its objectives to improve social and economic outcomes for Norfolk Islanders.

"We are incredibly proud to support the Australian Government to ensure the delivery of safe, reliable and effective services to the Norfolk Island community."

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS - YOU MUST ENROL TO HAVE A VOTE


As part of the Norfolk Island reforms, from 1 July 2016 the Administration of Norfolk Island will be replaced with an elected Norfolk Island Regional Council. The Regional Council will consist of five (5) Councillors. The first election is being held on Saturday 28 May 2016. The Councillors will elect a Mayor from among their number. There are no wards for the Regional Council, meaning that all candidates stand in an undivided electorate. The proportional representation voting system will apply; which requires a candidate to receive a quota of the formal votes cast to be elected.


New electoral rolls are being created for this election. All people eligible to vote in this Regional Council election should therefore apply to be included on the new electoral roll before 6:00pm Monday 18 April 2016. Even if you are already enrolled to vote on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll for federal elections as a Norfolk Island Elector, you won’t automatically be included on the Norfolk Island Regional Council electoral roll, as there needs to be a new roll created for the Regional Council election.

You must submit an enrolment form specifically for these Regional Council elections.

You are eligible to enrol to vote on the residential roll for the Norfolk Island Regional Council election if you live on Norfolk Island, and: are 18 years or older at the time you enrol.

The residential roll is limited to people who live on Norfolk Island; it is not sufficient to be a permanent resident of Norfolk Island living elsewhere.
Land owners and occupiers who do not live on Norfolk Island are also eligible to vote. The non-residential roll will be prepared by the Administration.

Enrolment for voting in the Norfolk Island Regional Council election is not compulsory. However, if you are enrolled as a resident, you must vote and you may be fined if you don’t.

You can enrol by completing the enrolment form and returning it by 6:00pm on Monday 18 April, 2016 to the Locked Box inside the Norfolk Island Post Office; or returning it to the Office at Shop 36H Taylors Road (opposite the Tourist Information Centre), Norfolk Island Or by downloading an enrolment form online from www.austelect.com and returning the completed and signed form by scanning and emailing to info@austelect.com . Enrolment forms will also be available from the Office of the Administrator.

The deadline for enrolling is 6:00pm Monday 18 April 2016. If you want to vote in the first Norfolk Island Regional Council election, you must be enrolled on the Norfolk Island Regional Council roll.

The election is being held on Saturday 28 May 2016. Information on where and how you can vote will be provided closer to the election date on the radio, in the newspaper and other media sources.

Further information on the Election can be found online from Australian Election Company www.austelect.com
Written and authorised by Richard Kidd, Australian Election Company, PO Box 92, Norfolk Island 2899

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TRIAL ROAD PATCHING METHODS


The roads here on Norfolk are the butt of many a good joke - among locals and visitors alike.  Over the years we've seen awas potholes planted out with plun, and laughed at suggestions the bigger ones 'daun-a-town' might make great Turkish Baths for the tourists! But this week's reference to the pothole-patching efforts of our tireless road repair contractors and crew as "50 Shades of Grey" takes the cake.

All jokes aside, the art of road maintenance here on Norfolk is an ode to island ingenuity. We haven't always had access to the latest technologies - nor  funding to an optimal  level. But our  lads on the roads have done a sterling job over the years, regardless. And they are currently experimenting with some clever new technology that may just change our road-building ways - long term and for the better.

"Most people don't realise how much road surfaces move," Doug Creek, Manager  of  Public Works, explained . "They actually deflect, or flex, every time a vehicle goes over them. We can now measure that rate of deflection with an apparatus called a Benkelman Beam." This beam is 2 metres long and easily fits on the back of a truck.

The rate of deflection in a road indicates how solid the sub-base and road base layers are. Simply put, the lower the rate of deflection, the better the road-base is, and the better the road base - the more durable the surface bitumen will be. A more durable road surface will deliver a better result with fewer potholes!

"Road base is preferably somewhere between 100mm and 150mm  thick," Doug explained. "But  the amount of moisture in that road base is significant too, so we're taking samples to determine what is optimal for Norfolk's roads."

These samples are being tested  in a makeshift 'lab', set up in the Works Depot staffroom. "It's a  bit primitive, using the old oven," Doug Creek added, "but it actually works. The samples are accurately weighed, dried out in the oven and reweighed, and that simple technique is giving us a clear indication of the moisture levels we're working with here. Too much moisture - or not enough - will result in less than optimal compaction of the road-base. So all this testing will ultimately help us deliver better roads in the  future."

Doug and his team have also been trialling a small device called  a  nuclear  densometer.  This  measures the density of the road-base - a critical factor that influences  the  actual  compaction  process. "We are up-skilling our team  to  use  this  new  equipment,  and  remain  quietly  confident tlus new technology will improve  all we  do on the roads,"  Doug  said. "There is a perfect  formula  for our road-base  out  there,  and  we're  determined  to  find  it. The  stronger  the layer  beneath  the b" tumen,  the better  our roads will be."
 
Jon Gibbons
Chief  Executive  Of ficer

 
Jon Gibbons
Chief Executive Officer

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A NEW CHERRY PICKER FOR NORFOLK ISLAND ELECTRICITY



Have you noticed the lads from Norfolk Island Electricity (NIE) lately, trimming overhanging trees from the safety of their swish new Elevated Work Platform (EWP)? They've been using it for a few weeks now and John 'Moochie' Christian, the Electricity Manager, couldn't be happier with its performance.

"The old cherry picker needed to be recertified," Moochie explained "but it was going to be too expensive to have it shipped off the island and to meet compliance standards. So it had to be taken off-line. The Administration discussed this major risk for Norfolk Island with the Commonwealth and the purchase was included in the 2014/15 Funding   Agreement"

To save on additional costs, the new $400,000 EWP was modified in Australia so that on arrival, it would simply replace the old one, attaching smoothly to the existing NIE  work truck. "The last job for the old cherry picker was straight after Cyclone Winston," Moochie said. "So we were lucky with the timing, as the truck re-fit took 3 weeks to complete. We just used a ladder during that time, and delayed doing any non-essential work until the new one was operational."

The significant difference with the newer model EWP is that it's remote controlled.  "That  took the 5 of us a day to train and qualify for certification," Moochie said. "The bucket and swivel move in both directions and the fly jib can rotate nearly 360 degrees. So it is much safer - and easier - to operate than the old one."

Moochie extended his thanks to the Commonwealth and to the Administration especially Bruce Taylor, Deputy CEO for all the assistance that he and his team at NIE received, and added that the new cherry picker would be available for hire at a very reasonable rate. "We only charge $48 per hour for the operator and picker, so people don't try to trim their own big trees themselves," Moochie explained. "This really minimises the risk to our Electrical Reticulation Infrastructure."

The Administration is currently working out the best course of action for the old cherry  picker.

For all enquiries, please call the NIE on 22078.

Jon Gibbons
Chief Executive Officer


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TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW: ALEX SLOAN ABC 666 CANBERRA, ‘AFTERNOONS’ PROGRAMME, WITH PAUL FLETCHER MP, MINISTER FOR MAJOR PROJECTS, TERRITORIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 22 MARCH 2016


ALEX SLOAN:  Mr Paul Fletcher, good to talk to you.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Thanks Alex.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  If I can start with democracy, the evolution of self-government means that this year Norfolk Islanders, under Australian compulsory voting laws, will vote in the Lower House for the seat of Canberra and for the ACT in the Senate. So does this make sense in any way?

 PAUL FLETCHER:  Well it does makes sense, because the people of Norfolk Island are citizens of Australia and so they will now have voting arrangements that align with those of people around Australia. So for example, in our other external territories, residents of those territories are on the electoral roll in one of the mainland electorates. And of course, what we are also seeing as a result of these changes is that there will be a council on Norfolk Island – the Norfolk Island Regional Council – that will operate under broadly the same rules as apply to councils in New South Wales. It will have broadly the same range of powers. So the same democratic rights that are available to Australians elsewhere will be available to the citizens of- to Australians who live on Norfolk Island.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  How will that – because the claims from Norfolk Islanders about that model of governance is that the New South Wales Local Government Act hasn’t been utilised for regional councils and they’re unsure of how this is going to work for them.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Well look, they’re- obviously it’s a change from the current arrangements. Let’s just remind ourselves what happened there, and I had the chance to see this for myself when I visited Norfolk Island in January, met with a lot of people on the island. We had a community meeting with over 300 people there; it went for an hour and three quarters. We discussed a whole range of these issues. Now the issue is that Norfolk Island has had self-government since 1979, but it’s become clear over really quite a number of years that the level of services available to people on Norfolk Island are not the same as are available in the rest of Australia. So in a similarly isolated community on the mainland, people, for example, have access to Centrelink, they have access to the Age Pension, to Disability Support, to Newstart Allowance. They have access to Medicare. Now, on Norfolk, today for example, the healthcare system is Norfolk-specific. There’s an insurance scheme that’s specific to Norfolk Island. Most people now will no longer have to pay premiums under that scheme; they’ll have the benefit of Medicare. So that is just one of a number of ways in which people are going to be better off as a result of these changes, and that in turn is why there was bipartisan support for these changes when legislation went through the Australian Parliament last year.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  Three quarters of Norfolk Islanders said they didn’t want self-government to be abolished in a vote there. Have we just been lazy? At a recent seminar at the University of Canberra, attended by a Norfolk Islander, including Chris Nobbs who spoke on my program, they pointed to New Zealand models of governments for external territories, particularly Niue and the Cook Islands, and these models allow the right of self-determination by the people living there. Why not explore these models, rather than just cancel out their rights to vote? Or their rights to self-govern, to self-determination.

PAUL FLETCHER:  It’s a question of giving people living on Norfolk Island the same rights as are available elsewhere in Australia and using the same model as is used, for example, on Christmas Island and on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and other external territories.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  There are complaints about that as well, but let’s just concentrate on Norfolk Island. Why not explore these other models of governance?

PAUL FLETCHER:  Well because the model that we are introducing is consistent with the models used on other Australian external territories, and is the model best placed to deliver services to the 1500 people who live on Norfolk Island.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  But isn’t it just colonisation?

PAUL FLETCHER:  No. No, it’s not colonisation at all, because Norfolk Island is a territory of Australia, has been for many, many years. What it’s about is delivering to people on Norfolk Island the services that people expect from government: Medicare, Age Pension, Newstart. And the modeling makes it clear that people are going to be better off. The economic modeling that the Government’s done shows that there’s going to be a 14 per cent increase in what’s called gross territory product, in other words economic activity across the island. Yes, people will now be paying Australian tax, but the social security payments going onto the island of about $4.9 billion will more than offset the tax which is paid. So ultimately it’s about whether the people living on Norfolk Island get the same services that people elsewhere in Australia would expect.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  But Minister Fletcher, why are you not sounding like a colonial master saying this is going to be good for you, trust me, don’t worry that you’re not involved in the consultation or the negotiation?  This is coming from someone in Canberra.

PAUL FLETCHER:  I think the premise that the people of Norfolk Island have not been involved in consultation is really… that is not what’s happened.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  Because that’s the complaint. The complaint is this was imposed by us from politicians in Canberra. This is not what we want; we’re now very unhappy about it. Including freedom of speech: the people for Norfolk Island democracy have been banned from the radio station. Any notice that is run on that radio station has to be first vetted by a Commonwealth public servant. What’s going on there? That’s a real freedom of speech issue.

PAUL FLETCHER:  The radio station is obviously an important forum for people to be able to speak about issues of concern on Norfolk Island. I had the chance to be interviewed myself when I was there in January. Certainly, there was plenty of probing scrutiny, as you would expect, as any politician would expect appearing on radio anywhere across the country.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  But the people for Norfolk Island democracy are banned from that radio station.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Look, the… important issue here is that the Government of Australia has responsibility for the welfare of the people of Norfolk Island, as it does for the welfare of people all around the rest of Australia, and so this reform process is being undertaken because the services that have been available to people on Norfolk Island have demonstrably fallen behind services in other parts of Australia.

PAUL FLETCHER:  And yes, there are some people on Norfolk Island who prefer the way things have been, those people put their views to me very forcefully at the community meeting I attended in January. At the same time, it’s the assessment of the democratically elected government of Australia that this is the best thing to do for Norfolk Island …

 

ALEX SLOAN:  But you’re invoking democracy there but then you’re denying democracy of the Norfolk Islanders who three quarters of them voted last year in a plebiscite to say we don’t want to have our right to self-government taken away but that was ignored.

PAUL FLETCHER:  The changes that the Australian Government is introducing do reflect extensive consultation on Norfolk Island over many years, including, for example, extensive investigation by the Committee of the Australian Parliament which oversees Norfolk Island and many other government processes. So, ultimately the responsibility of the Australia Government is to deliver services and meet the needs of people of Australia wherever they happen to live, including Norfolk Island.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  But was that consultation with Commonwealth bureaucrats?

PAUL FLETCHER:  Not at all, not at all. There’s been very extensive consultation with the people of Norfolk Island, that’s why I went there in January this year, that’s why my predecessor minister Jamie Briggs went there last year, that’s why, for example, Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja was there earlier this year, that’s why the Labor Member for Canberra who will become the Member representing the people of Norfolk Island and already informally represents a number of them has been many times. So there’s been extensive engagement with the people of Norfolk Island.  There is an interim council now led by …

 

ALEX SLOAN:  And the governance of that is still very unclear.

PAUL FLETCHER:  And – well there are five people appointed to inform the Australian Government and the administration of Norfolk Island and within a few short weeks there will be an election of the Norfolk Island Regional Council so that we can have locally elected people on the council as we have throughout Australia governed under New South Wales law.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  Minister Paul Fletcher is with me this afternoon. I believe one of the big issues today on Norfolk Island is the future of the hospital with fears that it could be downgraded to a health  centre. Is there any argument or thoughts along the line of privatising healthcare on Norfolk Island and also privatising the pharmacy?

PAUL FLETCHER:  Look, there’s a lot of work going on, on what is the best model to provide healthcare on Norfolk Island and the issues that arise there are the same as arise in isolated communities all around Australia, including our other external territories but also isolated. For example, Indigenous communities, communities all throughout Australia. Now, it’s important to understand that the operating theatre in the hospital has not been used for several years, in other words it’s not a hospital today that is able to provide operations. The model that is proposed is what’s called a multipurpose service. So, there’ll be general practitioners available, there’ll be aged care services, allied health professionals and of course the capacity to medivac people who need acute care to mainland hospitals. So, this is a well-established care model which is used in isolated communities all around Australia. We’re working through right now who the provider is going to be and we’ll have more to say about this.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  And what right will Norfolk Islanders have in saying how they want their health services delivered, what opportunity will there be for them?

PAUL FLETCHER:  Obviously the views of Norfolk Islanders will be important and Norfolk Islanders will be consulted. But at the same time the Commonwealth Government has a responsibility to deliver services and of course …

 

ALEX SLOAN:  So the decision will be made in Canberra.

PAUL FLETCHER:  Well, the decision will be made by the democratically elected government as is the case for a whole range of services for people all around Australia. So, the people of Norfolk Island have the benefit of services provided by the Commonwealth Government, they’ll have their local council once its elected and then in terms of state services, because there is no state level of government, then it’s incumbent on the Commonwealth to make alternative arrangements, so for example, the New South Wales Education Department today provides education services at the school under a contract between the Commonwealth Government and the New South Wales Government and so in relation to education, in relation to health and other services, the Commonwealth is responsible for delivering those services, we’ll make arrangements as to how to do that obviously in consultation with community members.

 

ALEX SLOAN:   And just finally, Paul Fletcher, it’s been put to me, at the heart of this is how we, as a great democracy, and we’re going through a great festival, perhaps a 2 July double dissolution election, certainly a fixed term election in the ACT, how we as a great democracy feel it’s okay to return Norfolk Island to a colonial status.

PAUL FLETCHER:      Look, I vigorously reject that characterisation. This is about ensuring that Australians who live on Norfolk Island get the same services as people anywhere else in Australia. The evidence is clear that the self-government arrangements have led to people on Norfolk Island not having the same standard of services as Australians everywhere expect and as the years have gone on, that’s  become a situation which is increasingly…


ALEX SLOAN:  But could another model have been explored, has…

PAUL FLETCHER:  … so this is a model which has been developed to give people of Norfolk Island the services they are entitled to and rightly expect as Australians and as Australians anywhere else would rightly expect.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  So you’re comfortable with…

PAUL FLETCHER:  I am comfortable. I think this is an important reform, I don’t think it’s an accident that there is bipartisan support for it because as Commonwealth politicians, whichever side of the political spectrum we’re on, we can look at the level of service presently delivered in Norfolk Island and readily conclude that people on Norfolk Island are not getting today the same level of service as Australians elsewhere and that needs to be fixed and we’re fixing it.

 

ALEX SLOAN:  Minister Paul Fletcher, I do appreciate your time today, thank you so much.

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INTRODUCING THE AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL WELFARE SYSTEM ON NORFOLK ISLAND


Many people may not be aware that since at least 2006 the Commonwealth Government has had access to reports which modelled the economic impact of introducing Commonwealth law to Norfolk Island; and chose not to share all of the information in those reports with the Norfolk Island People.

                

Despite the many disturbing findings in these reports the Commonwealth Government has chosen to introduce all Commonwealth law to Norfolk Island.


NIPD recognises, that as a direct result of the negative economic impact of introducing Commonwealth law to Norfolk Island the introduction of the Australian social welfare system has become a necessity and not a luxury as we are being asked to believe.


NIPD also recognises -

  1. That some people may be financially advantaged by the introduction of the Australian Social Welfare system - and we will fight to have those support mechanisms retained; and

  1. That in the shift from the Norfolk Island social welfare system into the Australian social welfare system there are demonstrable and serious grievances regarding the financial effect on those people who will lose entitlements – and we will fight to have those benefits restored.

Both of the above outcomes can be achieved under NIPD’s preferred governance model of ‘Self-government in Free-Association with Australia’.

And finally, NIPD recognises that there are some people who are worried that Australia may leave Norfolk high and dry if Norfolk Island is listed as a non-self-governing territory with the United Nations. This is not the case. Under international law Australia, as a member of the United Nations, has a range of obligations to Norfolk Island including:

  • To ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses; and

 

  • To develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement.

 

Management Committee

www.norfolkschoice.com

23 March 2016

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INTERNET RATES PLUMMET


Great news today for Norfolk Telecom customers: from April 1st, 2016, you’ll all be getting a lot more ‘bang’ for your Internet buck!

Mick Donohoe, Acting Telecom Manager, revealed a new suite of Data Plans today, and they’re all-but guaranteed to put a mega-byte smile on every customer’s dial.  “The new data allowances – and the per-Gig cost for going over those allowances – have been radically reduced for all Norfolk Island Telecom subscribers,” Mick said. “Businesses, individuals and families across the island will benefit from our new rates, which we feel – given the costs involved in providing this service to such a remote community – are really quite generous.”

If you were previously on the most popular $50 Data Plan, from next month your 3-Gig allowance will massively increase to 20 Gig. And for every Gig you use over this allowance, your excess will drop from $17.00 per Gig to $9.80. “We’ve modified the plans considerably, and urge customers to study the table below to determine which one will suite their needs best,” Mick said. “And more good news – the Unlimited Off Peak component of every plan will remain intact, providing free Internet for all between midnight and 5:00am.”

On April 1st, all customers currently on the ADSL 30, ADSL 50 and ADSL 90 who do not wish to move plans, will automatically receive the new data limits, as per the below schedule. Those on the old ADSL 150 plan will be automatically moved to the new ADSL 90. Those customers currently on the old ADSL 230, will be moved to the ADSL 180 Plan.

“Anyone currently on the E-Mail Plan, or customers wishing to change their existing ADSL Plan to one that isn’t automatically scheduled, will need to pop into Norfolk Telecom prior to April 1st 2016, to fill out the necessary paperwork,” Mick explained. “Everyone else can just relax and enjoy a seamless transition to a more affordable, more substantial Internet service.”

NT’s CURRENT ADSL PLANS:

ADSL PLAN

Allowance

Excess Per Gig

$30

1.5 Gig

$20.00

$50

3 Gig

$17.00

$90

6 Gig

$11.50

$150

14 Gig

$7.00

$230

28 Gig

$5.00

FROM APRIL 1st, 2016:

ADSL PLAN

Allowance

Excess Per Gig

$30

3 Gig

$10.00

$50

20 Gig

$9.80

$90

35 Gig

$9.50

$180

60 Gig

$5.00

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WATER QUALITY IN EMILY & SLAUGHTER BAYS



Due to extraordinarily heavy rainfall on Monday, some flash flooding caused  a  temporary impact on water quality at Emily and Slaughter Bays. Swimming is not recommended in Emily Bay however water quality is now suitable for swimming in Slaughter Bay.

Testing will continue on a daily basis by the Administration of Norfolk Island and further announcements will be made.

Jon Gibbons Chief Executive Officer

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15. COMMONWEALTH DAY, THE COMMONWEALTH CHARTER, AND WHY THE NORFOLK ISLAND ADMINISTRATOR SHOULD RESIGN OR BE SACKED


The Norfolk Islander for 12th March 2016 carried an article by the Administrator, Hon Gary Hardgrave, supporting “Commonwealth Day 2016”, set down for March 16 and with the theme “An Inclusive Commonwealth”. (We should note that here “Commonwealth” refers to the Commonwealth of Nations, not the Commonwealth of Australia.) In his article the Administrator points to the fact that despite the diversity of the nations that comprise the Commonwealth, it is what we have in common that unites us. He states that An Inclusive Commonwealth “refers to values of tolerance, respect and understanding, as well as equity and fairness, which are set out in the Commonwealth Charter”.


The Commonwealth Charter is in fact a document signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth in March 2013, which reaffirms the core values and principles of the Commonwealth of Nations. (http://thecommonwealth.org/our-charter) In view of the Administrator’s endorsement of the Charter, these values and principles are worth a closer look.


The first inscribed core value of the Commonwealth Charter is Democracy, and states: “We recognise the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live...”  So how does the abolition of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly fit with that? And how does the promotion of the notion that the “vast majority” of Norfolk Islanders want union with Australia fit with that when the results of the Norfolk Island referendum of 8 May 2015 - carried out under the strict and formal supervision    provided in the Norfolk Island Referendum Act  - showed the opposite?  (See further my letter to The Norfolk Islander and Norfolk Online of 13/02/16.)


The second core value of the Commonwealth Charter is Human Rights, and states: “… We are committed to equality and respect for the protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights…” So how does the dismantling of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly chamber in the Old Military Barracks in what is a World Heritage Site, fit with that? (my letter of 09/01/16) And how does the removal of mention of Norfolk Island’s Pitcairn heritage from the preamble of the Norfolk Island Act 1979 in the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 which replaced the earlier Act, fit with that?


The fourth core value of the Commonwealth Charter is Tolerance, Respect and Understanding, stating: “We emphasise the need to promote tolerance, respect, understanding, moderation…”. So how does the Administrator’s response to the public assembly and demonstration on 17 June 2015 called to mourn the dissolution of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, which he referred to as a ‘mob’ and a ‘school breakout day kind of activity’ and one which could give rise to stealing and intimidation of Government House, fit with that? (letter of 27/06/15)  Or the Administrator’s statement on Radio New Zealand on 29 May 2015 that opposition to the Australian reforms was merely ‘being led by a few politicians who fear for their jobs’? Or his demand that the Norfolk Island Returned Services League at its Anzac Day service give precedence to the Australian anthem rather than the British anthem? (See: “Norfolk Island RSL Community Announcement”, The Norfolk Islander, 14/03/15.) In regard to which it should be noted that during both World Wars and up until January 1949 Norfolk Islanders were British citizens, and that the Norfolk Island RSL has honoured  the British anthem for the last 100 years – since the Island’s first Anzac Day service in 1916.  


The fifth core value is Freedom of Expression and states: “We are committed to peaceful, open dialogue and the free flow of information, including through a free and responsible media, and to enhancing democratic traditions and strengthening democratic processes.” So how does the gagging of free speech on Radio Norfolk and the sacking of its staff fit with that? (letter of 27/02/16)


The eighth core value refers is Good Governance: “We reiterate our commitment to promote good governance through the rule of law, to ensure transparency and accountability…”. So how does failure of the Administrator’s Office to respond to or even acknowledge correspondence on issues related to Norfolk Island’s future, fit with that? Although my letter of 06/02/16 refers to my own experience in this regard, similar experiences appear to be widespread, including failure to respond to enquiries by the Executive of the Norfolk Island Accommodation and Tourism Association, the official representatives of the largest economic sector on the island. And furthermore how does the bias and lack of accountability of the Norfolk Island Advisory Council process, fit with that? (letter of 16/01/16)

The tenth core value is Protecting the Environment: “We recognise the importance of the protection and conservation of our natural ecosystems and affirm sustainable management of the natural environment is the key to sustainable human development.” So how is it that the Norfolk Island Administration has endorsed an economic development strategy for the island in which the words “precaution”, “stability”, “sustainability”, and phrases “sustainable development” and “sustainable management” do not occur at all, “uncertainty” only once (in relation to “misinformation”), “limit” only once (in relation to “bed numbers”), and “sustainable” where it does occur, appears mainly related to private sector investment? (letter of 12/12/15)


(Others of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter refer to International Peace and Security, the Separation of Powers, Rule of Law, Gender Equality, and so on.)


The Administrator and his Administration have by their actions (and inactions) comprehensively failed to maintain the core values and principles of the Commonwealth of Nations, and justifies the call, already make by others, that the Administrator resign forthwith or be sacked.


Chris Nobbs.

 

The letters referred to in this text are available at: http://www.norfolkonlinenews.com/chris-nobbs.html, or alternatively from: nobbs298@gmail.com.

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NORFOLK ISLAND ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE


The Norfolk Island Advisory Council would like to thank members of the community for providing their views about economic development priorities in our most recent questionnaire. The Questionnaire was based on the Norfolk Island Economic Development Strategy prepared by SGS Economics and Planning and released in September 2015.

A summary of the feedback has been prepared and is available online at www.norfolkislandadvisorycouncil.nf. We will provide a copy of the feedback summary to the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, His Honour the Administrator, and to the Executive Director.

We would also like to wish everybody a happy and safe Easter.

Contact: Melissa Ward 50776

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VISIT WILL SUPPORT BUSINESSES WITH ADVICE ON INTRODUCTION OF THE FAIR WORK ACT


Officers from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and the Department of Employment will again be visiting Norfolk Island between 11 and 15 April 2016.

With the Territories Legislation Amendment Bill coming into force on 1 July 2016, Norfolk Island residents will soon be covered by the national workplace relations framework through the Fair Work Act 2009. There are protections under the Fair Work Act 2009, including national minimum employment standards and modern award wages and conditions, which do not currently cover employees on Norfolk Island. The Department of Employment and the Fair Work Ombudsman visited Norfolk Island and consulted with businesses and stakeholders in August 2015. This follow-up visit will provide an opportunity to build on these conversations and to talk through the reform process with residents now that the details are known. The approach being taken involves a phased extension of specific provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009. This will ensure employment protections are in place for workers and employers are given appropriate time to adjust to the changes.

 From 1 July 2016, Norfolk Island employees will be entitled to 85 per cent of the National Minimum Wage - that is, currently around $14.70.
 From 1 July 2017, the Norfolk Island minimum wage would then be increased to 100 per cent – the current National Minimum Wage is $17.29.
 From 1 July 2018, Modern Awards (wages and conditions) will be extended to Norfolk Island.

I encourage residents to meet with the Employment and FWO officers, who will be happy to provide advice on how employers and employees can prepare for the alignment of the Norfolk Island workplace relations framework with the national system. Meetings can be arranged through the Australian Government Information Centre in Burnt Pine.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
23 March 2016

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FUTURE GOVERNANCE ON NORFOLK ISLAND



“Future Governance on Norfolk Island”

Convened by Adjunct Professor Jon Stanhope and Emeritus Professor Roger Wettenhall

Hosted by the University of Canberra’s Institute of Governance on 10th March, 2016


The Canberra Seminar on “Future Governance on Norfolk Island” was attended by three from Norfolk Island.  Despite the non-attendance of invited politicians and representatives from DIRD, the seminar was successful, interesting, and exciting in the context of having so many academics speaking about governance, both in the Norfolk Island context, or from their perspective, and their insight into some other small jurisdictions.


Adjunct Professor Jon Stanhope (a former Administrator of Christmas Island), as co-Convenor, imparted considerable information about the unfortunate or inappropriate way the external territories have been, and are still being treated.  Norfolk Island is the newest so affected, but in essentially the same manner as the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT’s)!


Dr Chris Nobbs and Geoff Bennett, by way of presentations with a Q & A that followed each, covered a number of topics about certain events and changes happening within the Norfolk Island polity, touching on some historical context to Norfolk Island’s governance, whilst also focusing on some of the more disturbing elements of change and lack of meaningful consultation, in recent times. 


The genesis, the role, the aspirations, and the current activities of Norfolk People for Democracy Ltd were conveyed to the Seminar. 


The Seminar was challenged to consider the development of a more appropriate form of governance for small, insular, tightly-knit communities or jurisdictions – a model that might better address the difficulties that can arise from legislators being too accessible by the constituents; the inevitable need to minimise conflict with relatives, friends, and neighbours when sensitive decisions are taken that impact upon them; and to thus limit or eliminate  less than desirable outcomes in decision-taking, especially when addressing important change.


Professor Aulich observed that an actual NSW model of a Regional Council does not exist (it does in Queensland), and thus, being guided by the NSW Local Government Act might present some difficulties because this Act does not cover a Regional Council model.  There appeared to be consensus that, even though the model of governance for Norfolk Island is to be called a Regional Council, it is more likely to be a Shire Council, re-branded.


Emeritus Professor Roger Wettenhall spoke about different small islands around the world that have different governance models, including many with ‘free association’ status with a larger administration.  Professor Wettenhall has had a long interest and involvement with Norfolk Island, including the co-authorship of the 1992 Report – “Norfolk Island and Canberra – A Community of Interest?”  (A Report that concluded that there was NO community of interest)


Vivien Twyford, who facilitated the first November 2014 Public Meeting in Norfolk Island, spoke of her experiences arising from that meeting; the need to keep the dialogue open; and her difficulty of understanding the extent to which the Commonwealth seems to resist more adequate consultation. In her expressed view, better outcomes are derived through meaningful collaboration.


Former Administrator of Norfolk Island Alan Kerr made a moving presentation about being sad, distraught, and somewhat angered over the manner in which change was being imposed upon the people of Norfolk Island.  Alan spoke of his time as Administrator; and about some of the important considerations such an appointee should address when first appointed - which is essentially, to gain an understanding of the people, their aspirations and their concerns ahead of any serious thoughts of major governance changes.  A very humbling presentation!


Overall, the Seminar was very successful, but needs some further support to develop considered outcomes.  Having academics expressing a willingness to discuss and shape a free association governance model would be a great asset to Norfolk Island.  There was sufficient dialogue with the academics to suggest that they were ready to respond to the challenge of developing a more robust, sustainable, accountable method of governing, with more effective participation by the people being so governed.  This opportunity is to be encouraged.


Contributed

17 March 2016


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THE SILENCE MAY SEEM DEAFENING....



But in the silence really positive progress is being made and the members of the NIPD Management Committee are working hard behind the scenes to fine tune the Strategy to have Norfolk Island listed with the United Nations as a Non-Self-Governing Territory.  The community will be called together in early April so you can be updated and to let you know how you can be involved.


“No Man is an Island, Entire of Itself: The future of Governance on Norfolk Island”…


This was the title of a Seminar on Norfolk Governance held in Canberra on 10 March 2016. NIPD was invited to participate in the Seminar which was convened by Jon Stanhope and Professor Roger Wettenhall, and hosted by the University of Canberra's Institute of Governance.  Two members from the NIPD Management Committee attended. A full write up on the Seminar can be read elsewhere in Norfolk Online.


A REMINDER  that The Centre for Democracy is open weekly on a Thursday evening from 5.30 to 7 pm and the Management Committee invites people to drop in for a chat on current issues.

The Centre is also now open weekdays from 9am till midday. Drop in and have a chat. Have a grumble or a laugh with us. Share a story or a memory or two!!  Or even bring your “Smoko.” The Management Committee would welcome offers from supporters able to give an hour or more each week to man the Centre. Sincere thanks to those who have already put down their names.


Management Committee.

www.norfolkschoice.com

18 March 2016

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14. CANBERRA SEMINAR ON FUTURE GOVERNANCE ON NORFOLK ISLAND – SUCCESSFUL BUT STRUCK BY ABSENTEEISM


Dear Editor,

On Thursday 10 March I attended a seminar in Canberra entitled “No Man is an Island: The Future of Governance on Norfolk Island”, hosted by the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis of the University of Canberra. The purpose of the seminar was to examine the effects of the removal of self-government from Norfolk Island, and to explore positive opportunities for the Island’s future. It would also lay some groundwork for possible future research on various aspects of the governance and economy of small islands. (As Christmas and Cocos Islands are undergoing a similar transition to that of Norfolk Island, it was also anticipated that examination of the Norfolk Island case might provide some input to an understanding of that situation and appropriate policy responses.)

The seminar was attended largely by university personnel, by three Norfolk Islanders, and individuals from other professions. As an academic exploration of the matter, no presumption was made by the seminar organisers as to the virtue of one arrangement over any other.

Apart from the analysis and insights provided during the course of the seminar, what was most remarkable was the complete absence of attendance from Commonwealth politicians associated with Norfolk Island, and from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, despite invitations to both groups to participate. This no-show was most regrettable. As invitees were invited to send proxies, it can only be assumed that the politicians and public servants either lacked the courage to front up to explain and justify their existing policies in open session, or that they were too uninterested to explore options that might be best suited for Norfolk Island’s future well-being (or that of Christmas and Cocos Islands).

For the record, the heroes and heroines of democracy invited to participate but who failed to appear (or send a proxy) included the following:


All members of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories which delivered the report on Norfolk Island Same Country: Different World (October 2014), namely:

Chair, Mr Luke Simpkins MP (Liberal), Cowan WA

Deputy Chair, Senator Carol Brown (Labor), TAS

Senator Chris Back (Liberal), WA

Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP (Liberal), Mackellar NSW

*Ms Gai Brodtmann MP (Labor), Canberra ACT

*Senator Katy Gallagher (Labor), ACT

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), SA

Senator Gavin Marshall (Labor), VIC

Hon. Bruce Scott MP (National), Maranoa QLD

*Senator Zed Seselja (Liberal), ACT

Hon Warren Snowdon MP (Labor), Lingiari NT

Mr Ross Vasta MP (Liberal), Bonner QLD

* Invited in their capacity as the local members for Norfolk Island.

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development invitees:

Andrew Wilson, Deputy Secretary

Robyn Fleming, Executive Director, Local Government and Territories

Glenda Kidman, Norfolk Island Desk, Local Government and Territories

No representative of DIRD participated in the seminar.

In the final analysis, the programme of speakers at the seminar was as follows: Adjunct Professor Jon Stanhope AO – Chair; Dr Chris Nobbs – The Transition: A View from the Community; Mr Geoff Bennett - Case Study: The Role of Norfolk Island People for Democracy and Patterns of Community Governance; Mr Alan Kerr - Next Steps for Norfolk ; Professor Chris Aulich –Considering the NSW Regional Council Concept; Emeritus Professor Roger Wettenhall AM - Governing Small Territories with Aspirations for Self-Government; Ms Vivien Twyford - Getting Better Outcomes through Collaboration; and Professor John Halligan – Closing Remarks.

Chris Nobbs.

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NORFOLK ISLAND COUNCIL OF ELDERS SURVEY FORMS


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ANXIETY ON NORFOLK ISLAND OVER COMING JOB LOSSES ... http://www.radionz.co.nz/


There are reports from Norfolk Island dozens of government workers are set to lose their jobs when Australia completes the removal of the island's limited self-rule.

This is set to happen on July 1st when the island's administration will become a regional council under the New South Wales government.

Already some Border Force employees from the mainland are on the island with local customs staff expected to go.

The stand-in administration is yet to say just what will happen to the local state workers but a minister in the Norfolk government removed last June, Robyn Adams, said there was rising anxiety in the island community.

"They feel betrayed. The agreement with the Commonwealth was there was to be a net benefit for Norfolk Islanders, taking into account local circumstances. You cannot say there is a net benefit when the Norfolk Islander is being displaced from his jobs and his homeland."

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REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS



The Norfolk Island Preparatory Election Ordinance 2016 was made yesterday by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

This Ordinance takes effect from today, 11 March 2016, and applies the New South Wales local government electoral laws, with modifications to cater to Norfolk Island’s circumstances. These laws provide a tested and effective framework for the conduct of local elections.

A new electoral roll will be established for the Regional Council election and eligible persons will need to enrol to vote to elect the people who will take decisions to progress local matters important to the community into the future.


To be eligible to vote, you need to be an Australian citizen, or an eligible British subject who was on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll prior to 26 January 1984. You must also be a resident on Norfolk Island, or own or occupy land on the Island.

Information on how and where to enrol, together with material to assist electors and potential candidates to understand the election process, will be provided soon.

The Executive Director of Norfolk Island is appointing independent assistance to manage the election and conduct a community education campaign to ensure eligible Norfolk Island residents and potential candidates understand their obligations as well as the enrolment and voting process.

Training will also be provided to assist those who are interested in standing for the local election.

The Norfolk Island Administrator Ordinance 2016 was also made yesterday, to establish the position of Administrator of Norfolk Island post 1 July 2016.
The Hon Gary Hardgrave

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COMMONWEALTH DAY 2016



‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ is the theme for Commonwealth Day 14 March 2016.

As a long standing nation within the Commonwealth, Australia has evolved into a nation of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity.  However, it is what we have in common which unites us.  Regardless of whom we are and where we come from we are subject to the Rule of Law and we communicate with each other through the common English language.

There is a real strength through our diversity just as there is across our inclusive Commonwealth of Nations.

Australia dynamic and diverse community keeps us at the forefront of innovation, growth and contributing to global value. In a diverse and increasingly connected global network, mature Commonwealth Nations like Australia bring fresh perspectives and new ideas yet we are strengthened by our solid values as the world’s sixth oldest continuous democracy. 

"An Inclusive Commonwealth” refers to values of tolerance, respect and understanding, as well as equity and fairness, which are set out in the Commonwealth Charter.

  

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

11 March 2016

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IT'S TIME TO SHAPE OUR FUTURE


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QUEEN ELIZABETH AVENUE/TAYLORS ROAD FOOTPATH AND ASSOCIATED ROAD WORKS



The Administration of Norfolk Island wishes to advise the public that work on the Queen Elizabeth/Taylors Road footpath and associated roadworks commenced on Monday 7 March 2016.


Funding from the Australian Government has been provided to complete this project.


The new footpath along Taylors Road from Channer’s Corner to Burnt Pine will complete the missing link connecting the school with the shopping centre. This work will provide an accessible, all weather, off road path for pedestrians and cyclists.


Roadworks will also be undertaken at Channer’s Corner to improve safety, reconstruct failed road pavement and improve drainage. It will also provide a more clearly delineated intersection. Reconstruction of the road pavement on the approaches to the intersection will improve ride comfort and pavement strength.


The Commonwealth of Australia previously engaged consultants Worley Parsons to work with the Administration of Norfolk Island, adjoining landowners and the community in designing specifications and alignment of the footpath.


Works is being carried out by prequalified contractors and Administration of Norfolk Island staff. Construction is being undertaken between 7am and 3pm weekdays and traffic delays may occur in the work area.


Appropriate signage and directions will be provided on site and all motorists are asked to obey these or any other instructions. 


The Administration wishes to apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused to the public by these works. The road will be open to traffic outside these hours and any closures will be managed to minimise disruption as far as possible.


Any enquiries can be forwarded to Manager Public Works, Mr Doug Creek on 50452 or 22006.


Peter Adams

Operations Manager

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ARE YOU READY?



Are you ready? week is coming!

Staff from the Department of Human Services are coming to the island for Are you ready? week. We’ll be there next week, from 14 to 18 March 2016, to answer questions and help you get ready to lodge a claim. We’ll go through our processes step by step with you to make sure you have everything you need.

Visit us at the Australian Government Information Centre during Are you ready? week to:

  • get help creating a myGov account
  • learn more about the income and assets tests, confirming your identity and the supporting documents you’ll need to lodge a claim
  • attend a Financial Information Service (FIS) seminar, or
  • find out more about Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services.

Our FIS Officers and social workers will be available during Are you ready? week. You can attend a FIS seminar for useful information about financial matters and how to make informed decisions about your financial situation.


You can make a booking by visiting the Australian Government Information Centre or calling 23465.


For more information about our payments and services, visit humanservices.gov.au

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HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR APPOINTMENT?



Have you booked an appointment with a Financial Information Service Officer?

Staff from the Department of Human Services are coming to Norfolk Island for Are you ready? week. During this week, Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers will be running sessions and conducting face-to-face appointments. These sessions will inform Norfolk Island residents about the payments and services offered by the Department of Human Services.


The following topics will be covered in the sessions:


Australian Government Payments and Services

  • payments available from the Australian Government
  • eligibility criteria
  • payment rates
  • effect of your income and assets on your payments
  • claim process, and
    • telling us about changes in your circumstances.

Understanding Superannuation and Investment options

  • how super works
  • building your super
  • making contributions
  • investment options
  • taxation
  • insurance, and
    • planning for retirement.

There are four sessions per day, each 90 minutes long. The session times are 9 am, 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm every day, and 7 pm Wednesday evening. Places at the sessions are limited, so bookings are essential.

You can also book a one-on-one session with a FIS Officer.

At a face-to-face appointment a FIS Officer will:

  • explain the payment types and concessions available
  • discuss how your rate of payment is calculated (with approximate estimations)
  • detail the eligibility requirements for each payment.

You can make a booking at the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465.

For more information about our payments and services, visit humanservices.gov.au/fis

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AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT FURTHER GAGS NORFOLK ISLAND FREE SPEECH


[Norfolk Island, South Pacific, Friday 4 March 2016, 1000 AEST]


The Australian Government and its subsidiary Norfolk Island Administration have taken further steps to restrict free speech on Norfolk Island.


As a result of the passage of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 in the Australian Parliament, the Government has embarked on a process of transitioning Norfolk Island from the status of an external territory with a limited form of self-government, to that of a regional council modelled on those in the State of New South Wales. This is against the wishes of the majority of the people of Norfolk Island.


As reported on 29 January, prior to the visit to the island of the responsible Minister Hon Paul Fletcher, the Executive Director of Norfolk Island Peter Gesling directed that a radio announcement on behalf of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy not be broadcast. On 28 January he went further and directed that the public meeting to be held with the Minister not be broadcast.


Further moves by the Administration against Radio Norfolk have now transpired. On 27 January Gesling also decreed that henceforth all community announcements would require approval from the Administration, and that all interviews were to be pre-recorded and approved by him prior to broadcast. A request for clarification of this ruling from Gesling by the Acting Manager of Radio Norfolk was met with her removal from her position with one week’s ‘stress leave’, and subsequent redeployment elsewhere in the Norfolk Island Public Service.


In unrelated incidents one volunteer presenter was sacked for mentioning on radio that the Australian Government would not be providing funds for the radio station after 1 July 2016; and two volunteer presenters of a popular and mildly satirical weekly show were sacked with immediate effect for not being “apolitical”.   

In a letter published 27 February in The Norfolk Islander and on Norfolk Online, Dr Chris Nobbs argues that the reasons given by the Administration for these actions are specious, and that they are merely intended to gag free speech and criticism of the Australian Government. Concern is also expressed that Norfolk Island public servants may be being stifled in the exercise of their democratic rights to free expression on the political processes involved in the island’s transition.

Contact: Chris Nobbs, an independent commentator, Norfolk Island


              E: nobbs298@gmail.com    T: +672 3 22727                        

[Nobbs’ letter to The Norfolk Islander and archive on this issue available at:         http://www.norfolkonlinenews.com/chris-nobbs.html]                 

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INFORMATION SEMINARS FOR BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES PERSONNEL ON NORFOLK ISLAND


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NORFOLK ISLAND REFORM UPDATE ISSUE 9 - FEBRUARY 2016


Message from Administrator

Since the recent successful visit of Territories Minister Paul Fletcher, work has continued on a range of outstanding reform initiatives to assist businesses and the community prepare for 1 July 2016 and beyond.

Important changes have been made to federal election and enrolment arrangements for eligible Norfolk Islanders, as well as further arrangements for social security access.

Changes have also been made to the Norfolk Island Act and relating the definition of Australia for the purposes of many Commonwealth laws, including key pieces, such as the federal employment framework.

Following a range of meetings with Employment and the Fair Work Ombudsman in August 2015, the announcement of a phased transition of the Australian workplace relations system under the Fair Work Act 2009, will allow both employees and employers prepare for changes.

The Australian Parliament is currently considering new Legislative measures which focus on improving services and addressing long-standing issues of public sector governance and sustainability which have faced the Island's economy.

Locally, there have been many expressions of interest from a range of businesses interested in participating in the three-day Foundations of Governance Course, hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors in early April. I will soon announce further opportunities as part of the small business and private sector skills development, which the Australian Government is funding.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

Progressing legislative reform for Norfolk Island

In March 2015, the Australian Government announced a reform package for Norfolk Island. As part of this package, the Government committed to extend mainland tax, social security and other Commonwealth payments and programs to Norfolk Island.

The first tranche of reform legislation extended Australian social security, immigration, health and taxation arrangements to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016, ensuring Australian citizens on Norfolk Island have the same rights and responsibilities as Australian citizens on the mainland.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development consulted broadly with other Australian Government agencies to identify further legislation which should be extended, or which should be excluded from extending, to Norfolk Island. The results of these important discussions are contained in the Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (Territories Bill).

The Territories Bill makes consequential amendments to some Commonwealth legislation to allow its extension and transition to Norfolk Island, including access to social security arrangements for eligible New Zealand citizens living on Norfolk Island.

The package of Bills continues the Australian Government's commitment to provide Australian citizens on Norfolk Island with the same rights and responsibilities as those in other parts of Australia.

The Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 can be found atwww.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_before_Parliament and a link is available at infrastructure.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform/

Changes to Federal Electoral Act

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is responsible for maintaining an impartial and independent electoral system for eligible voters. This is achieved through conducting federal elections and referendums, as well as maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll.

The AEC also provides a range of electoral information and education programs and activities, and I am advised will be engaging directly with the Norfolk Island community following Royal Assent of the amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984.

Changes to this important piece of legislation will require eligible persons living on Norfolk Island to enrol and vote in federal elections and referendums from 1 July 2016.

Strengthened federal representation, as well as having a local voice through the Norfolk Island Regional Council, provides residents with improved representation and participation in the democratic process which other Australians follow.

New electoral enrolment claim forms will need to be completed and will be available soon.

Information about the Australian Electoral Commission can be found atwww.aec.gov.au

Workplace relations arrangements confirmed for Norfolk Island

The Department of Employment and the Fair Work Ombudsman have provided the following information.

The Australian Government is committed to strengthening Norfolk Island's economy and the implementation of the workplace relations framework is a vital part of this.

We have sought the views of Norfolk Island residents on the best approach to transitioning to the national framework. The strong message received was that residents would prefer a phasing in of the framework over at least two years.

The Australian Government has heard this message and the approach being taken involves a three-stage transition of the federal workplace relations system under theFair Work Act 2009 (Fair Work Act).

This approach involves extending the provisions of the Fair Work Act—including the National Employment Standards, the registered organisations framework and the enterprise bargaining framework—from the day of commencement of the legislation on Norfolk Island.

Subject to the passage of the legislation through Parliament, it is intended that from 1 July 2016, the Fair Work Act will apply to Norfolk Island.

From 1 July 2016, Norfolk Island employees will be entitled to 85 per cent of the National Minimum Wage—that is, currently around $14.70.

From 1 July 2017, the Norfolk Island the minimum wage would then be increased to 100 per cent—the current National Minimum Wage is $17.29.

From 1 July 2018, Modern Awards (wages and conditions) will be extended to Norfolk Island.

There will, therefore, be a two-year gap between the introduction of the National Minimum Wage and the application of other entitlements under Modern Awards to Norfolk Island to support businesses transition to the new arrangements.

This approach puts all Norfolk employees on a pathway to parity with minimum wages received by mainland employees immediately, with complete parity with the mainland achieved in two years.

It also provides business owners with time to adjust to an increase in the minimum wage rate and a full year before the full minimum wage would apply to Norfolk Island.

Whereas award conditions will not be a requirement until two years after commencement, it would benefit employers and employees to become familiar with the terms and conditions under their relevant award as soon as possible to prepare for the transition to the full national framework.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can provide advice to Norfolk Island businesses and employees on the Fair Work framework including which particular award would apply to them.

Further information on the national Workplace Relations framework for Norfolk Island is available at www.fairwork.gov.au/norfolkisland

National Employment Standards

From the date of commencement of the Fair Work Act, workplace relations on Norfolk Island will be underpinned by the National Employment Standards.

These are 10 minimum employment entitlements which have to be provided to all employees.

The national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards make up the minimum entitlements for employees in Australia.

An award, employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement can't provide for conditions which are less than the national minimum wage or the NES.

The 10 minimum entitlements of the National Employment Standards are:

  1. A maximum standard working week of 38 hours for full-time employees, plus 'reasonable' additional hours.
  2. A right to request flexible working arrangements.
  3. Parental and adoption leave of 12 months (unpaid), with a right to request an additional 12 months.
  4. Four weeks paid annual leave each year (pro rata).
  5. Ten days paid personal/carer's leave each year (pro rata), two days paid compassionate leave for each permissible occasion, and two days unpaid carer's leave for each permissible occasion.
  6. Community service leave, leave for jury service or activities dealing with certain emergencies or natural disasters. This leave is unpaid except for jury service.
  7. Long service leave.
  8. Public holidays and the entitlement to be paid for ordinary hours on those days.
  9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay.
  10. The right for new employees to receive the Fair Work Information Statement.

Employment visit

Officers from the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Employment will again be visiting Norfolk Island in April 2016.

This will provide an opportunity to talk through the process with residents and provide advice on how employers and employees can prepare for the alignment of the Norfolk Island workplace relations framework with the national system.

Claiming payments from the Department of Human Services

There are a number of payments and services you may be eligible for from 1 July 2016.

The Payment Finder is a way for you to learn more about our payments and services. You can use it for yourself or for someone else.

Simply visit humanservices.gov.au/paymentfinder and answer some questions about your circumstances.

Online estimators provide an estimate of your payment amount and compare payments based on your personal circumstances. The online estimator will calculate:

  • Centrelink payments, including pensions and allowances;
  • family assistance, including Family Tax Benefit and Child Support;
  • child care fee assistance; and
  • compensation impacts.

You will need to confirm your identity when you lodge a claim for a payment. We will not be able to assess your claim without confirming your identity, so make sure you have the correct documents to support your claim.

For more information about confirming your identity, visit humanservices.gov.au and search 'confirming your identity'.

For more information about the department's payments and services, call its information line on +61 3 9250 9100, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.

International call charges apply, including calls from mobile phones, which may be charged at higher rate.

You can call this number from the Australian Government Information Centre at no charge.

'Are you ready?' week is approaching!

'Are you ready?' week will be held on Norfolk Island from 14 to 18 March 2016.

Staff from the Australian Government Department of Human Services, including Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers and social workers, will be on island to help you get ready to lodge claims and to answer any questions you may have.

During 'Are you ready?' week you'll be able to:

  • get help to create a myGov account;
  • learn more about confirming your identity, the income and assets tests and the supporting documents you'll need to lodge a claim;
  • attend a FIS seminar for useful information about financial issues and how to make informed decisions about your financial situation;
  • book a confidential appointment with a social worker if you're experiencing a difficult time in your life. Social workers provide counselling and support, as well as information if you're unsure how to access the right assistance; and
  • find out more about Medicare and Child Support services.

Visit the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465 to book an appointment with a social worker or for a FIS seminar.

Update—Medicare and Bulk-Billing

From 1 July 2016 Medicare benefits will apply to eligible services on Norfolk Island.

To be eligible for Medicare you will need to complete a Medicare enrolment application. Applications will be available on island prior to 1 July 2016.

For more information on Medicare go to the Human Services website atwww.humanservices.gov.au/medicare

Bulk-Billing

The choice about whether to offer Bulk Billing on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 will be a decision made by the health provider. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development will require the provider of Norfolk Island's Multi-Purpose Service to make its services affordable to Norfolk Island residents and visitors.

Medicare Safety Net

After 1 July 2016, individuals and families will be eligible for the Medicare Safety Net. Under the Medicare safety net arrangements, patients who meet the threshold for out of pocket expenses will be eligible for additional safety net benefits on top of the standard Medicare benefit for out-of-hospital services for the remainder of the calendar year.

This may mean that visits to your doctor or having tests could cost you less for the rest of that calendar year.

For information about the Medicare safety nets and the qualifying thresholds visitwww.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/medicare-safety-net

What is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)?

The PBS is an Australian Government program that benefits you and all Australians by subsidising necessary medicines to make them more affordable and reliably accessed.

If you are an Australian Resident on Norfolk Island after 1 July 2016 and you get your Medicare card then you can receive subsidised medicines under the PBS.

The PBS also provides for visitors from other countries where there is a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with Australia, such as New Zealand and the UK.

PBS Safety Net

The PBS Safety Net reduces the cost of medicine for individuals and families once the PBS Safety Net has been reached. When you are close to reaching the PBS Safety Net threshold, ask your pharmacist about a PBS Safety Net card.

With this card your PBS medicine is less expensive, or free, for the rest of the calendar year.

Audited financial statements

On 11 February 2016, the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, Paul Fletcher, tabled the 2014-15 Audited Financial Statements of the Administration of Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau, and the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise in the House of Representatives following their completion by the Australian National Audit Office.

The Statements have now been tabled in both houses of Parliament.

While overall, the financial position of each entity has improved, the audits have identified findings surrounding governance and management issues which need to be addressed and rectified in 2015-16.

The tabled report is available at regional.gov.au/territories/publications/norfolk-island-financial-statements/index

Did you know?

Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships

You may recall during his visit last year, the Hon. Bruce Scott MP encouraged Norfolk Islanders to apply for a Nuffield Scholarship during 2016.

The objective of the Nuffield scholarship is to increase practical farming knowledge and management skills and techniques.

The Scholarship provides Australian citizens an opportunity to study farming practices in New Zealand, Europe, Asia, the Americas and other countries.

For more information visit www.nuffieldscholar.org

Community information sessions—Department of Immigration and Border Protection

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will present two community information sessions for foreign national permit holders, Norfolk Island Residents and Norfolk Island businesses.

1:30 pm and 6:30pm
Wednesday 9th March
Conference Room at Governor's Lodge Resort Hotel
(Queen Elizabeth Avenue)

All members of the Norfolk Island community are welcome and encouraged to attend. Foreign nationals residing on Norfolk Island are particularly encouraged to attend.

The sessions will provide information on arrangements from 1 July 2016 for:

  • transitioning from permits issued under the Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980 to appropriate Australian visas;
  • pathways to Australian citizenship for foreign nationals; and
  • visa options available to employers who engage foreign workers under Australia's migration arrangements.

If you would like to attend, register your interest at the Australian Government Information Centre (Taylor's Road, Burnt Pine).

If you would like to provide comments or feedback, you may submit a feedback form to the Australian Government Information Centre. The form will be available at the information session and at the Centre.

If you would like to further discuss your individual circumstances, you may book an appointment with representatives of the department to discuss visa arrangements for transitioning from permits to an Australian visa, Australian citizenship, and visa options for businesses.

The Australian Government Information Centre will offer extended opening hours during this period.

Thursday 10 March: 9.00 am—7.00 pm
Friday 11 March: 9.00 am—7.00 pm
Saturday 12 March: 9.00 am—5.00 pm
Monday 14 March: 9.00 am—7.00 pm

Please note—the Information Centre is closed from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

Visit the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465 to make an appointment.

Students and specialists learn together

Students from the Norfolk Island Central School were able to work with visiting specialists from the University of New England, to help uncover part of the Kingston Cemetery's history.

Research into the cemetery indicated a gravestone which vanished from the cemetery sometime in the past was lying just below the surface, covered with windblown sand. Previous research by the Cemetery Sexton, Shane Quintal, historic photos and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) investigations provided strong evidence for the headstone's location.

The visiting archaeologists, Martin Gibbs and Brad Duncan, undertook the excavation to recover the gravestone, and the strong research led to its discovery with the first test pit.

During their morning visit, the school students learnt of the cemetery's long history, how it is cared for and managed, how an archaeological dig take place and how objects recovered from such work are cared for.

Students also learnt how Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) is used to read faded inscriptions on gravestones by visiting engineers Greg Jackson and Pam Forbes, who are using the technique to reveal detail once thought lost from some of the headstones of Kingston Cemetery.

The fascinating technique is only undertaken at dawn and dusk with a specialised lighting rig. Multiple images of the one inscription are taken and combined as a 3D image to allow for greater resolution.

I would like to thank the visiting specialists for providing their time and expertise, the Commonwealth Heritage Manager, Shane Quintal and the other Administration staff who worked successfully together to make the project possible. I would also like to thank the Norfolk Island Central School and especially the students, whose continuing interest and pride in our shared history is inspiring to us all.

However, like many archaeological finds, the discovery of the gravestone raised more questions than it answered. Located about half a meter down, the stone was found to be broken about 40cm from its base. It would appear this break happened long ago, and there were no indications of the top of the gravestone in the immediately surrounding area.

There were some very faded inscriptions on the bottom which the engineers took images of to see if any of the carvings can be read.

Based on some decorative elements on the base of the stone and its location, the gravestone may date from the 1860-1880 period, however we still have no information on who lies beneath the stone.

Passenger movement charges

When passed by the Parliament, a $55 departure charge for people travelling from Norfolk Island to another country will apply from 1 July 2016.

This charge is consistent with travel from mainland Australian and also applies to departures from the Indian Ocean Territories to another country.

For example, if you are travelling to New Zealand from Norfolk Island, the charge will apply. If you are travelling to Fiji via Sydney, this charge will be added to your ticket.

International departure charges which relate to the Passenger Movement Charge Act 1978, together with the Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act 1978 will not apply to people travelling from Norfolk Island to the mainland or to other Indian Ocean Territories.

Further information about the Passenger Movement Charge can be found atwww.border.gov.au/Trav/Ente/Goin/Departing/Passenger-Movement-Charge-(PMC)

What will be in the March newsletter?

The next edition of the Norfolk Island Reform Update will include information about:

  • Australian Business Numbers and Business Name Registration;
  • Regional Council election;
  • private health insurance;
  • update of health and aged care services;
  • the role of the Fair Work Ombudsman and further information for employees and employers;
  • further opportunities to meet with Australian Government officers visiting Norfolk Island to explain changes ahead of 1 July 2016 and details about programs and services;
  • and much much more!

Australian Government agency visits to Norfolk Island

February 2016
Who? When? How they can help you?
Australian Border Force From February Establishing an ongoing presence on the Island.
March 2016
Department of Immigration and Border Protection 9 March Provide information about Australian citizenship, visas and overseas employees.
Department of Human Services 14 to 18 March Are you ready? Week—staff will be available to answer questions and help you get ready to lodge a payment claim.
April 2016
Department of Employment Fair Work Ombudsman 11 - 15 April Discuss workplace relations and proposed changes to the Fair Work Act.
Deputy Commissioner, Department Veterans Affairs 25 to 29 April ANZAC Dawn Service.
May to July 2016
Australian Taxation Office 9 to 14 May Ensure employers are ready for 1 July 2016.
Department of Human Services May to July Staff will be available to help you lodge an early payment claim or child support assessment.

Please note this schedule contains the visits known to date as at 24 February 2016, and is subject to change. Visits might be added as agencies confirm arrangements and dates below might change. This schedule will be updated regularly.

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IT'S TIME TO SHAPE OUR FUTURE


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NORFOLK ISLAND ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE



On 16 February 2016, the Norfolk Island Advisory Council provided its second formal set of recommendations to the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP about a modern legal framework for Norfolk Island.

The advice reflects a range of community feedback received by the Advisory Council including feedback to our discussion papers, letters and presentations to the Advisory Council. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for sharing your views with us and for assisting in shaping the future legal framework for Norfolk Island.

A copy of the advice is available on our website www.norfolkislandadvisorycouncil.nf

This week the Advisory Council also released a questionnaire on economic development on Norfolk Island. The questionnaire is based on the Norfolk Island Economic Development Strategy prepared by SGS Economics and Planning and released in September 2015.

The Advisory Council will be accepting responses to the questionnaire until 16 March 2016. Completed questionnaire forms can be dropped in the ballot box at the post office, number 11 Quality Row, or to the Australian Government Information Centre in Burnt Pine.

Contact: Melissa Ward 50776

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COMMUNITY STRATEGIC PLAN



In establishing the Norfolk Island Regional Council, it is a requirement of a New South Wales styled Local Government to develop a Community Strategic · Plan as part of an Integrated Planning & Reporting  Framework.  Further  details  can be  found  at www.olg.nsw.gov.au. Af ter a selection process Monaghan Strategic Pty Ltd was appointed to undertake the community consultation phase.

Monaghan Strategic Pty Ltd is partnering with EcoNorfolk and the University of Sydney to complete this work in March 2016. They will be undertaking a series of conversations with questionnaires, surveys and workshops with community groups and individuals  on  the  Island. This will establish an information base to draf t the Community  Strategic Plan that  will build on the work of the previous Government, the Interim Advisory Council and  establish a framework for reporting to the community.

A Community Strategic Plan addresses four questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be in 10 years time?
  • How do we get there? and
  • How we will know we have arrived?


    It is about our engagement with all Government Services, with Delivery and Operational Plans to detail the resources and strategies to achieve the community's expectations. Michael Monaghan, with extensive experience in delivery of complex policy implementation, will co-ordinate the project. All community members are encouraged to participate in public sessions or by contacting the consultant. The consultants will be contacting groups and seeking general public input.

     Peter Gesling
     Executive Director - Norfolk Island

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WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE CENTRE FOR DEMOCRACY



The Norfolk Island People for Democracy Management Committee would like to thank all those who attended the soft opening of the Centre for Democracy last Saturday. We appreciate all those who were able to pop in and say hello, who brought food, gave words of encouragement, stayed and sat for a cup of tea and made those around them feel welcome. Thanks also to the many who, since the Centre's early beginnings, have lent a hand to get us ready to open the doors.


A new ‘happening’ at The Centre for Democracy


Commencing Thursday 10 March the Centre will be open weekly on a Thursday evening from 5.30 to 7 pm and the Management Committee invites people to drop in for a chat on current issues.


Daytime hours of opening of the Centre are currently being settled – more about that next week.


Management Committee

www.norfolkschoice.com

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COUNCIL OF ELDERS & BOB NEVILLE COMMUNITY SURVEY



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2014-15 ANNUAL REPORT AND AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS


The 2014-15 Annual Report, audit reports and audited financial statements for the Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI), the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) and the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau (NIGTB) have been published today.   


These provide a summary of each entity’s operational and financial performance in 2014-15 and are key tools for demonstrating accountability to the Norfolk Island community regarding performance in delivering services and the expenditure of public monies.


Annual Report

In the period up to 18 June 2015, the operations of ANI and the Territory Authorities were controlled by the previous Norfolk Island Government.  The absence of strategic and operational planning has resulted in a report which meets legislative requirements but does not effectively address performance in meeting the community’s needs and expectations.


This will change from 2015-16. ANI has an operational plan for 2015-16 and will implement the New South Wales planning framework in 2016-17.  These new planning processes include engagement with the community in relation to objectives and priorities and annual reporting of achievement against these. This will greatly enhance current levels transparency and accountability to the community.


Key 2014-15 outcomes were:

  • continued provision of essential services;
  • development of a waste management strategy which, if implemented, will address the existing backlog and future disposal of hazardous waste and recyclables;
  • completion of a human resources skills audit as a first step in beginning the process of transitioning to a Regional Council in 2016-17;
  • an increase in visitor arrivals across the year of 8 per cent; and
  • introduction of new Public Service Act and Regulations and Community Title Act and consequential legislation.

Audit Reports and Audited Financial Statements

The audit reports, provided by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), highlight the entities as not being ‘going concerns’ as they will not exist in their current form beyond      30 June 2016.  The audit reports do however acknowledge the statements as having been appropriately prepared and fairly presented.

With the exception of NIHE, the final results for each entity have not changed materially from what was reported in the ‘2014-15 Final Budget Outcome Report’ released on             29 October 2015.  The final valuation report necessitated a reduction in the carrying value of NIHE’s land and buildings to $1.83 million (2013-14: $3.03 million).  This in turn increased NIHE’s 2014-15 final operating loss to $0.83 million.

ANAO also reports on the adequacy of each entity’s financial controls.  Key ANAO findings included:

  • weaknesses in ANI’s cash management controls, which resulted in accounting errors;
  • ANI and NIHE do not have asset management plans which address current risks and future priorities and costs;
  • governance weaknesses regarding ANI and NIHE’s corporate planning, risk management and internal audit processes; and
  • ANI’s financial and management reporting processes require further improvement.  In particular, there needs to be monthly monitoring of financial performance.

Addressing these findings is a focus for management in 2015-16 and the Audit Committee is playing an active role in monitoring progress.

Please click on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Financial%20Statements/ to access the audit reports and financial statements.

The Annual Report can be found at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Annual%20Reports/

 

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

26 February 2016

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13. THE GAGGING OF RADIO NORFOLK – ANOTHER DISGRACE FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT


Dear Editor,

The morning announcements from Radio Norfolk come over each day with a smooth and breezy professionalism, suggesting all is well at the station. However beneath the surface a battle is being played out which has brought the community’s trust in this central institution into serious jeopardy.


What we know

 

On Tuesday 26 January, Radio Norfolk in its community notices section carried an announcement from the Norfolk Island People for Democracy (NIPD), relating to a flag-raising ceremony to be held at their newly refurbished headquarters in Taylor’s Road on Thursday 28th, just prior to a public meeting with the Minister responsible for Norfolk Island, Hon Paul Fletcher then visiting Norfolk Island, the meeting to be held at Rawson Hall.


On Wednesday 27 the Transition Manager in the Norfolk Island Administration, Susan Law, wrote to the Acting Manager of Radio Norfolk, instructing her to discontinue the broadcast of this notice.  Further, the Executive Director of the Norfolk Island Administration Peter Gesling informed the Acting Manager that all community notices would henceforth require approval from the Administration, and that all interviews were to be pre-recorded and approved by him prior to broadcast. (We know these things because it was the fate of the Acting Manager to have to explain to citizens exactly what they could and could not do, and what they could and could not expect, from Radio Norfolk in the wake of the Minister’s arrival on the island.)


A request for clarification of this ruling from Executive Director Gesling by the Acting Manager was met with her removal from her position at Radio Norfolk with one week’s ‘stress leave’, and subsequent redeployment elsewhere in the Norfolk Island Public Service. A further edict from the Executive Director on 28 January directed that Radio Norfolk not broadcast the proceedings of the Minister’s public meeting at Rawson Hall.


In an unrelated meeting with Radio Norfolk staff, the Transition Manager noted that there would be no Commonwealth Government funding for the radio station after 1 July 2016. After one of the Radio’s registered volunteers, Graham White, mentioned this fact on his regular weekend show he was sacked from his volunteer position, without explanation, by Administration CEO Jon Gibbons.


And more recently still Radio Norfolk hosts of the mildly satirical Thursday evening show “Very Nearly Relevant”, Bob Turner and Simon Brown, registered volunteers both, received letters from CEO Jon Gibbons dated 12 February 2016, sacking them with immediate effect.


A look at the arguments


The reasons given by Susan Law to Chris Magri, President of NIPD, as to why the Executive Director had issued his instruction to cancel the NIPD announcement were that the announcement was ‘sectorial’ and ‘political’.


With regard to ‘political’ Ms Law explained to Mr Magri that: “Minister Fletcher is on Norfolk Island in his capacity as a member of the Australian Government, not as a politician. Accordingly, his announcement was not a political statement but a government announcement.” This is nonsense. All government members try to promote their cause at the cost of their opposition, and all their messages carry political as well as informational content, as any television discussion involving politicians will demonstrate. Furthermore, if Ms Law had listened to Minister Fletcher at the Rawson Hall public meeting, she would have heard him say in introduction to answering one question: “As a politician I  …” [meeting transcript, about 73 minutes in].


As for ‘sectorial’ (actually the word is ‘sectoral’) it merely means - as the dictionary tells us - that reference is being made to a distinct part or branch of a nation’s economy or society. As a reason for not broadcasting an announcement, this is bizarre. Common sense indicates that almost every community announcement that one can think of is sectoral in nature –church notices for religious groups, child care for parents, sport for sports fans, lighterage calls for lighteragemen. About the only announcement that would not class as sectoral would be a cyclone emergency warning.


In further explanation, Ms Law explains that the relevant sections of the Acts and Policies to which she is appealing are two. First, the Norfolk Island Broadcasting Act 2001 section 6(4). This states: “The Crown in right of Norfolk Island may, subject to this Act, make provision for the content, style, subject matter, or any other thing concerning and connected with the operation of the Norfolk Island Government Broadcasting Service.”  This merely states that the Administration has the power to do what it did. This is not the issue. The issue is whether in doing what it did it has acted in fairness and justice and in the support of democratic principles. Ms Law should perhaps have read further in the Act to section 14(f) which provides the opportunity for the responsible Minister to make: “rules relating to the reasonable preservation of free speech and opinion by persons in the community and operators and providers of broadcasting services.”


The second appeal by Ms Law is to the Radio Norfolk – Policy on Programming (2014), section 4.1. This states: “Radio Norfolk’s programming policy shall at all times remain independent. This means that the programming policy of Radio Norfolk shall be conceived and implemented without reference to the needs of any specific interest group (other than offering access) including political, religious, or any business interest.” One will note that this also indicates independence from government influence. However there is a more important point. The policy says that the radio station should be independent: it does not say that alternative views should not be expressed. (And it is certainly the case that a community’s radio station should remain independent of the views expressed on its airwaves.)

The letters received by Mr Turner and Mr Brown from CEO Jon Gibbons in sacking them are essentially based on the same arguments as those advanced by Ms Law to Mr Magri, with the addition of a specious reference to “our responsibility to deliver services which are apolitical”. As we have just seen, no such responsibility exists.


The present situation orchestrated by the executives of the Norfolk Island Administration is a disgrace to themselves and the Australian Government. Because the reasons given for these actions are so devoid of content, we must look elsewhere to explain them. All things considered the situation looks much more akin to the Administration using the radio station as a weapon to control criticism and free speech.


A related matter: staff harassment

There is more than a whiff of workplace harassment in these actions by the Australian Government and its compliant Norfolk Island Administration. Indeed on a number of occasions Norfolk Island public servants have expressed to me their sense of being intimidated out of participating in community forums and other means of political expression, by managers quoting to them of clauses from the Norfolk Island Public Services Act.


It is of course the responsibility of any public servant to carry out his or her duties with due diligence and with respect for his or her employer. This does not preclude that person from holding political opinions, joining a political party, or being active in trying to create a better society (as he or she might see it). There will always be a balance to be struck here, but balance there must be. To suggest otherwise is to run blind towards the trappings of a police state.


When an employer has so much power as the Australian Government has, and alternative employment for public servants is scarce, it may be difficult for an employee to assert his or her legal and democratic rights. However, Norfolk Island public servants should be aware that under the Norfolk Island Public Service Act 2014 there is a Public Service Commissioner to whom complaints can be made. Annwyn Godwin who has recently accepted this role, is also Merit Protection Commissioner under the Australian Public Service Act 1999. Her role is set out at:


http://www.apsc.gov.au/merit/merit-protection-commissioner-role-and-functions/norfolk-island-public-service-commissioner; some of the skills and experience she brings to her role are given at: http://www.apsc.gov.au/trash/the-merit-protection-commissioner. She can be contacted at: annwyn.godwin@apsc.gov.au or inquiries@apsc.gov.au. The Australian Community and Public Sector Union may also be able to offer advice and assistance.


Yours sincerely, Chris Nobbs.

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NORFOLK ISLAND COUNCIL OF ELDERS INFO BULLETIN FEBRUARY 16


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NORFOLK ISLAND COUNCIL OF ELDERS PRESENTATION TO HON. PAUL FLETCHER MP




















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WELL ATTENDED PUBLIC MEETING HOSTED BY NIPD



The NIPD Management Committee was pleased to see so many community members at the Public meeting held in Rawson Hall on Friday 19th February. This was a good opportunity to bring our supporters up to date with the matters we have been pursuing, and to allow everyone to hear from some of the presenters who had been participating in the Small Islands Forum.

 

Lisa Richards, as MC, first introduced Geoff Gardner OAM, former Chief Minister, who spoke about the progress of our application for the U.N. Listing. Geoff took a number of questions before Lisa introduced our other presenters, who spoke of the challenges facing Norfolk Island on a number of levels, making reference to how these challenges are dealt with by other small communities, particularly Christmas Island.

 

Of particular interest was the presentation from Dean McLachlan who, in the next few weeks, will be carrying out, on our behalf, a large scale media and crowdfunding campaign. Dean urged us to support one another, and where possible to get behind the campaign through social media. His words "If you don't change history, you are going to be history" reinforced the fact that we all need to be part of the struggle to regain our rights and democracy. The other speakers included Bob Neville, who spoke about community regeneration, Ian Stevenson who addressed the difficulties we may face in areas of bureaucracy,taxation and the economy, and Simon Millcock who spoke of his experiences with the system on Christmas Island, under a regional council and applied W.A. Law. Finally Gary Russell, representing the United Nations Association of New Zealand, encouraged us to put passion and heart into our fight, and maintain our morale, believing we have right on our side.

 

To conclude the meeting, Troy Hamilton-Irvine, one of our Management Committee members, reminded those at the meeting that the Committee is focussed on the U.N.listing issue. However, Troy pointed out that there are many ways in which others can become actively involved in standing up for Norfolk Island, and not all action or protest needs to be funnelled through N.I.P.D.

 

There were a number of excellent questions and contributions from the floor, and all agreed it was a very worthwhile and productive meeting.

 

PUBLICITY AND CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN.

Months of preparation have gone into this, under Dean McLachlan who is a leader in this field. The campaign will be launched at an appropriate stage in the newscycle, and we will keep our members informed. We are also hopeful that this camapign will bring us the funds we need to complete our journey to the United Nations.

 

CENTRE FOR DEMOCRACY

There has been a great deal of time and effort given to preparing our headquarters in Taylors Road.We are really grateful to all those who have generously donated time and goods to help us in the setting up.

 

Although more work needs to be done, we have decided to have an Open Day this Saturday 27th February between 10a.m. and 2p.m. We encourage our friends and supporters to drop in, have a chat with Committee members, and enjoy a cuppa.

We are hoping that in the near future we can have a regular evening where anyone can call in and share concerns and ideas with us, so we can keep encouraging one another.

 

MINISTER FLETCHER

A letter has been sent to Minister Fletcher accepting his verbal invitation, issued on radio and at the Public Meeting, to meet with him in Canberra. We stress that we are only seeking discussion on the issue of U.N. Listing. No reply has been received at this stage.

 

LOCAL FUND RAISING

Donations of course will continue to be gratefully received and the bank details are as follows:

 

ACCOUNT NAME:                              NORFOLK ISLAND PEOPLE FOR DEMOCRACY

ACCOUNT TYPE:                                Community Solution Cheque Account

HOME BRANCH:                                Westpac Norfolk Island

BSB/ACCOUNT NO:                           032855 / 187591

 

THANK YOU ‘NORFOLKERS – BOTH ON AND OFF ISLAND - FOR YOUR  CONTINUING GENEROSITY!

 

From the NIPD Management Committee

24 February 2016

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UNTANGLING THE NORFOLK ISLAND WEB ... by 9news.com.au


Taking over a little island is complicated.

Almost a year ago, the Australian government - in the teeth of bitter, though not unanimous, opposition from locals - ended Norfolk Island's 36 years of self-government.


The cost of running the 35 square kilometre dot in the Pacific and former convict hellhole was way beyond its 2300 population, Canberra decided.

The island was broke and many vital services had almost disintegrated.


The changes abolished Norfolk's Legislative Assembly, to be replaced by a regional council broadly similar to NSW local government councils.

In return, islanders are, from July 1 this year, to be integrated into mainland tax and social security systems. They'll have access to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.


The federal government will deliver national functions such as immigration, biosecurity and customs.


But swapping some democracy for decent services isn't simple.


Territories Minister Paul Fletcher demonstrated this on Wednesday with a bill that starts by actually amending the definition of Australia to include Norfolk Island.

But that means, Mr Fletcher explained, that all Commonwealth legislation will automatically apply to Norfolk, unless the island is specifically excluded.

So his bill amends 23 Acts to expressly exclude Norfolk from their cover.


However, there are difficulties with other laws that will apply.

Take the Fair Work Act. Among other things, it sets the minimum wage at $17.29 an hour. Norfolk's minimum is now $10.70.


Local businesses screamed that such a rise would bankrupt them. So Mr Fletcher has promised a "phased extension" to give islanders "appropriate time to adjust to the changes".


Then there's federal electoral arrangements.


The old voluntary arrangements were strange, with Australians on the island able to choose the electorate they'd vote in.

The results: very few voted, those who did cast votes all over the place, and no particular MP or senator formally represented the island.

Mr Fletcher's changes mean voting becomes compulsory and everyone is in the seat of Canberra for the House of Representatives and the ACT for the Senate.

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MOST COMMONWEALTH LAWS TO EXTEND TO NORFOLK ISLAND




Legislation introduced into Parliament today will extend most Commonwealth laws to Norfolk Island, including the Fair Work Act 2009, and reform federal electoral arrangements for the territory.

“This Bill continues the Australian Government's commitment to reform Norfolk Island and provide its Australian citizens with the same rights and responsibilities as on the mainland,” Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, Paul Fletcher said.

From 1 July 2016, most Commonwealth laws will apply to Norfolk Island unless they have been specifically excluded.

“One of the key changes is that compulsory enrolment and voting in federal elections will apply to Australian citizens on Norfolk Island. Norfolk Islanders will vote in the division of Canberra and be represented by ACT Senators,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The Australian Government is committed to strengthening Norfolk Island's economy. Implementing the national workplace relations framework through the Fair Work Act 2009 is an important part of the reform process.

“Employers will be given time to adjust to the changes with the national minimum wage and Modern Award conditions being phased-in.”

The Australian Government will work closely with residents to inform them of the changes and assist with transitional arrangements.

The Bill will also correct inconsistencies in Commonwealth legislation by ensuring New Zealand citizens on Norfolk Island are able to access the social security system on the same terms as on the mainland, aligning the early claim period for child support and social security payments on Norfolk Island, and extending the child support framework to Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

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MEDIA RELEASE (4) - NORFOLK ISLAND ECONOMY IN DANGER OF COLLAPSE


President of the Norfolk Island Accommodation and Tourism Association (ATA) Rael Donde expresses serious concern that the Norfolk Island economy is on the verge of collapse. This situation is caused by the sudden and substantial changes being introduced on the island by the Australian Government and the continuing uncertainty regarding their detail, described by Mr Donde as ‘reckless and irresponsible’. These views are expressed in a letter from the ATA to the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, Hon Paul Fletcher, now published in The Norfolk Islander.


Tourism is Norfolk Island’s only major industry, accounting for 71 per cent of all businesses and 68 per cent of all private sector employment, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.


The Australian Government has recently embarked on a process of transitioning Norfolk Island from the status of an external territory with a limited form of self-government, to that of a regional council modelled on those in the State of New South Wales: a process to be completed by 1 July 2016. This is against the wishes of the majority of Norfolk Islanders.


Mr Donde points out that the transition being implemented by the Australian Government will increase taxation, superannuation contributions from businesses, capital gains tax, and see substantial increases in regulatory compliance costs. These will lead to substantial price rises and further depress the already-depressed island economy.


Mr Donde says that the same unresolved issues he raises in his present letter were raised by the ATA with the previous Minister over six months ago and to which no reply was ever received. The ongoing uncertainty has serious implications for Norfolk Island and makes business planning impossible.


With less than five months to go to the proposed transition completion, Mr Donde points to several significant and still unresolved issues, including:

o    very large impact of any introduction of mainland award pay rates, particularly for weekends and public holidays;

o    uncertainty in the impact of federal income tax (the Commonwealth having reneged on an earlier  written agreement for a phased introduction of income taxation);

o    the removal of the Norfolk Island Tourism Manager and the lack of a replacement;

o    lack of any announced short-term economic stimulus policy for Norfolk Island;

o   the lack of serious engagement by the Australian Government with the local tourism industry concerning policy directions and the resolution of outstanding issues.



Mr Ian Kiernan, manager of the island’s major supermarket notes: “There is undeniably uncertainty throughout the business community on Norfolk Island. We are trying our best to identify and understand the myriad of changes coming into effect from 1 July 2016, but limited interaction with the various Australian Government Departments has so far been inadequate. Economic collapse is certainly a possibility.”

___________

Contact: Chris Nobbs, an independent commentator, Norfolk Island

               E: nobbs298@gmail.com    T: +672 3 22727  

               [archive: http://www.norfolkonlinenews.com/chris-nobbs.html]                                                   

Details:  Rael Donde, President, Norfolk Island Accommodation and Tourism Association (ATA)

            E: http://welcometonorfolkisland.com/contact-us/;

Letter at: http://welcometonorfolkisland.com/ata-letter-to-commonwealth-minister-responsible-for-norfolk-island/

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'ARE YOU READY?’ WEEK IS APPROACHING!



‘Are you ready?’ week will be held on Norfolk Island from 14 to 18 March 2016. Staff from the Australian Government Department of Human Services, including our Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers and social workers, will be on island to help you get ready to lodge claims and to answer any questions you may have.

During ‘Are you ready?’ week you’ll be able to:

  • get help to create a myGov account
  • learn more about confirming your identity, the income and assets tests and the supporting documents you’ll need to lodge a claim
  • attend a FIS seminar for useful information about financial issues and how to make informed decisions about your financial situation
  • book a confidential appointment with a social worker if you’re experiencing a difficult time in your life. Social workers provide counselling and support, as well as information if you’re unsure how to access the right assistance
  • find out more about Medicare and Child Support services.

Visit the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465 to book an appointment with a social worker or for a FIS seminar.

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PUBLIC SERVICE UPDATE


Employees of the Administration of Norfolk Island have been provided with a staff update on the transition process to a Regional Council at a meeting held this week.

The meeting provided an opportunity to explain the breakdown of responsibilities for the Executive Management Team together with a draft structure for the future Norfolk Island Regional Council.  The finalised organisation structure is expected to be released in coming weeks.

Changes to the organisational structure are needed to:
Address the impacts of the transition of federal and some state type services to the Commonwealth from 1 July 2016; and
Streamline current operations to make the Regional Council sustainable. This is critical as future funding from the Commonwealth will be limited to local government equivalent grants and funding for services the Regional Council will provide under any contract for services.  Funding will not be provided to cover Norfolk Island budget deficits.  

Employees were advised their Long Service Leave and Recreation Leave will be paid out before 30 June 2016 so the Regional Council is not starting out with leave liabilities.  In addition, it was confirmed the Provident Account will cease and funds will be distributed to members before 30 June 2016.  

I will continue to consult closely with staff about future employment with the Regional Council, on the basis of a finalised organisation structure.


Peter Gesling
Executive Director

19 February 2016

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'ARE YOU READY?’ WEEK IS APPROACHING!


‘Are you ready?’ week will be held on Norfolk Island from 14 to 18 March 2016. Staff from the Australian Government Department of Human Services, including our Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers and social workers, will be on island to help you get ready to lodge claims and to answer any questions you may have.

During ‘Are you ready?’ week you’ll be able to:

  • get help to create a myGov account
  • learn more about confirming your identity, the income and assets tests and the supporting documents you’ll need to lodge a claim
  • attend a FIS seminar for useful information about financial issues and how to make informed decisions about your financial situation
  • book a confidential appointment with a social worker if you’re experiencing a difficult time in your life. Social workers provide counselling and support, as well as information if you’re unsure how to access the right assistance
  • find out more about Medicare and Child Support services.

Visit the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465 to book an appointment with a social worker or for a FIS seminar.

Please 'contact us' for more information.