<< Go Back

NATIONAL STRONGER REGIONS FUND APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN


I am pleased to announce applications are now open for Round One of the Australian Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund, which will invest $1 billion over five years in key community infrastructure projects.

Funding will be provided for capital projects which involve construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade, extension or enhancement of existing infrastructure.

Projects selected for funding should deliver an economic benefit to the region beyond the period of construction, and should support disadvantaged regions or areas of disadvantage within a region.

Local Government and incorporated not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply for grants of between $20,000 and $10 million.

Applications for Round One funding will close on 28 November 2014. 

I would encourage all eligible not-for-profit organisations on Norfolk Island to consider applying for funding of any suitable infrastructure projects they may be considering. Further information is available at: www.infrastructure.gov.au/nsrf

His Honour the Hon Gary Hardgrave

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE REPORT INTO NORFOLK ISLAND


The Australian Government welcomes the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories’ report into economic development on Norfolk Island.

The Committee’s findings highlight that the current economic development arrangements are unsustainable.

The Australian Government will seek the views of the Norfolk Island community in considering its response and will be focused on delivering reforms which secure the island’s long-term sustainability.

Without governance reform, economic development on the island will continue to suffer.

Delivering the right governance structures will be critical to improving service delivery and boosting economic growth, whilst preserving the island’s unique culture and local representation.

The island’s economic sustainability is dependent on structural reforms which provide a modern legal framework, remove impediments to investment and provide certainty to local business.

To date, almost forty reports have questioned the sustainability of governance arrangements on Norfolk Island. As a remote Island with a population of around 1800, Norfolk Island does not have the capacity to fund and manage the delivery of critical services and lacks the capacity to maintain and enforce legislation in areas such as quarantine, immigration and customs.

The Australian Government is committed to delivering on its election commitment and providing a stronger economic future for Norfolk Island.

The Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, is leading community consultation through a series of public forums. Members of the community are also invited to submit written feedback at www.infrastructure.gov.au.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE REPORT COMMUNITY FORUMS


I join with Assistant Minister the Hon Jamie Briggs MP in welcoming the Report into Norfolk Island’s Economic Future by the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories.

The unanimous Report of the Joint Standing Committee could not be more direct in its recommendations.  The Committee and the Report offer encouragement for the future potential for Norfolk Island.

The Report offers a way forward for the Community.  If adopted, the Report provides the basis for a plan for Norfolk Island which will establish a strong economy and future for all residents.

I understand the Australian Parliament will discuss the Report further in coming days.

 

The Assistant Minister has announced I will be leading community consultation through a series of public forums. 

These forums will provide inclusive opportunities for local people to play a positive role in the reform process.

The Report places emphasis on building a positive future and not racking over negative coals of the past.

I will announce the time and place for these forums in coming days. 

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

His Honour The Administrator

Please 'contact us' for more information.

TRAFFIC ACT AMENDMENTS


On the 15th October the Minister for the Environment, who has responsibility for road safety introduced a Bill to amend the Traffic Act 2010.

The Bill seeks to reduce the level at which sanctions are provided for driving under the influence of alcohol and to make provision for obtaining random tests for alcohol and drug use. The Bill proposes to reduce the principal acceptable level of alcohol from 0.08 to 0.05 grams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or its equivalent in 210 litres of breath.

BACKGROUND

While other road safety initiatives have been implemented, the introduction of random tests and reduction in the acceptable level of alcohol was not previously introduced due to Norfolk Island’s relatively low traffic density and low speed limits, along with an absence of alternative modes of transport.

The work of the Road Safety Committee, and the outcomes of the 2013 Road Safety Forum, confirm that there are a number of critical road safety issues facing the Norfolk Island community.

INFORMATION

  • There have been a range of road traffic incidents involving extremely high blood alcohol levels, and serious accidents that leave no doubt that increased control measures are needed to ensure the safety of other road users.

  • Both the Court of Petty Sessions and the Coroners Court have made comment in respect of the incidence of high range drink driving.

  • As Minister with responsibility for road safety I cannot ignore the statistics of extremely high alcohol levels on public record, nor can I ignore the need to provide our police force unambiguous laws that enable them to do their work effectively.

  • Serious alcohol and drug related accidents impact on insurance costs for every motorist.

  • The consequences of a serious crash are extreme – no amount of commercial activity justifies this trauma.

  • This Bill will be a source of angst for some but, as responsible Minister, I cannot ignore the risks to individuals or the risk of litigation following a serious drink or drug related accident.
  • Whilst I recognise that such laws will have an impact on some members of the community due to public transport not being readily available; such  inconvenience is considered acceptable if it reduces the risks of extreme injury or worse  to every road user and all in the vicinity of alcohol or drug impaired drivers

16th October, 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

LOSS OF DEMOCRACY ON NORFOLK ISLAND


“With the possibility of the Legislative Assembly being reduced to a Local Government Status what is actually meant by Loss of democracy on Norfolk Island”. Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today.

“Local governments do not pass legislation they pass by-laws and manage, for example:

  • Collection and management of garbage
  • Sewerage
  • Management of parks
  • Building regulation and permits
  • Pet control and licensing

You can make a judgment on the way they are performing at the local council election period and either support them or register your opposition through your vote.

State Governments do pass legislation and develop policies and manage, for example:

  • Health and health services
  • Education and policy
  • Power regulation and pricing
  • Policing and law and order policy and legislation
  • State roads
  • Payroll tax where it exists
  • Licencing of alcohol outlets and
  • Shopping and trading hours

Under a Norfolk Island Governance model that does not have a State Government equivalent level you cannot make a judgment on how the Administrator or the public servants are performing those functions.

This is what is meant by the LOSS OF DEMOCRACY ON NORFOLK ISLAND you lose the right to make that judgment on State Government functions. You don’t have a vote on that.

Some people might have you think this is not important, but it is a basic democratic right that I believe is important to understand that you will lose in a Local Government model.

It is not for me to explain or defend that, it is for the Administrator and the Federal Minister to do that.

 

The Administrator and the Assistant Minister should publically face the people of Norfolk Island and explain fully the changes being contemplated and how the potential loss of a State Government level vote is both democratic and fair.

The Norfolk Island Government’s preferred model for self-governance is as follows”. The Chief Minister said today.

1. Territory Institutions.

Current Territory institutions to remain.

Territory Executive comprising: an Administrator; and a Ministry elected from a Territory Parliament

Territory Legislative Assembly

Territory public service or Administration

Territory Courts and Tribunals

2. Territory Government responsibilities and functions

A. Norfolk Island Government to transfer federal functions to the Commonwealth in accordance with the process outlined in the Road Map

B. Norfolk Island Government to retain State and Local Government type functions

C. Funding for Norfolk Island Government’s delivery of public infrastructure and State and Local Government type functions shared with the Commonwealth, similar to other self-governing jurisdictions within the federal taxation system.

Lisle Snell                                                                  

Chief Minister

Date 17/10/2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

BREAST CANCER SCREENING ON NORFOLK ISLAND


The Alice Buffett Breast Cancer Trust has been working tirelessly to introduce breast screening on Norfolk Island. The Trust approached me to assist in this campaign, and I am working alongside the community and Government to support the delivery of this important service on the island.

There is much work still to be done to make it happen, but I am pleased to say we have had the offer of a donation of a screening machine.  I hope to be able to make some further announcements on this in the near future, but would like to thank all the members of the Trust and the community who have contributed to this cause and in particular Allen Bataille, Dale Howe and Tracey Yager.

For women over the age of 50, a mammogram is the best method available for detecting breast cancer early. When breast cancer is found early it can be treated more effectively as it is still small and has not spread.  Nine out of ten women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer.  

This service is a great initiative and will benefit all women on the island - especially those who cannot afford to fly to the mainland to have easy tests such as this undertaken.

His Honour the Hon Gary Hardgrave

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER


Please 'contact us' for more information.

LOSS OF DEMOCRACY ON NORFOLK ISLAND


The Norfolk Island Government was shocked yesterday by Assistant Minister Briggs and the Federal Government’s refusal to enter into discussions for the implementation of the Norfolk Island preferred model of self-government which has been on hold for the last four years. 


Minister Briggs indicated that a cabinet paper was with the Prime Minister as a prelude to a full cabinet decision which would not include our recommendations.


It is clear the Federal Government intends to remove the current Norfolk Island Self Governance and take away the voting rights of Norfolk Islanders in that process.


They intend to do this without any meaningful consultation with the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and the Norfolk Island Community.


The Federal Government’s new model as indicated by Assistant Minister Briggs clearly does not include state level responsibilities such as education and health  functions which is currently the case on Norfolk Island, and will result in more power to the Administrator and Canberra departmental staff.  


“I believe the Federal Government intends to impose on Norfolk Island a slightly modified Christmas Island model, which has proven to be dysfunctional, inoperable and does not allow for community representation and input above that of Local Government status as clearly identified by the recent Administrator of Christmas Island”. The Chief Minister said.


That model will add more cost to the Australian Taxpayer and downgrades the self-governance of Norfolk Island to local Government status, thereby removing the democratic rights that was provided by the Commonwealth in 1979 with the formation of the Norfolk Island Act


“I will be reporting back to the full Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly on Wednesday next week on these proposed changes and then we will engage the community on the way forward” The Chief Minister said today.


It is the wish of the Norfolk Island community that Norfolk Island returns to full economic sustainability and not be a liability to the Australian taxpayer.


Lisle Snell                                                                  

Chief Minister 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

KAVHA BOARD SECRETARIAT REQUIRED TO VACATE NO. 11 QUALITY ROW


The KAVHA Board Secretariat has been relocated to the Royal Engineers Cottage following “the eviction” by the Administrator of the Norfolk Island Administration and the KAVHA Board Secretariat from No. 11 Quality Row notwithstanding that the KAVHA Board comprises Commonwealth Government and Norfolk Island representatives which jointly manage and fund the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), Norfolk Island.


“There has been a breach of faith by the Commonwealth in the arbitrary decision of the Administrator for the KAVHA Board Secretariat to give vacant possession of No. 11, Quality Row.

“As Minister with responsibility for KAVHA in the Norfolk Island Government, I am very concerned at this stance taken by the Administrator” Minister Adams said, “ and I am further concerned that the Administrator in his letter to the Chief Minister of 3 October 2014 when stating that “the Commonwealth has no further plans to alter arrangements in other buildings within the Australian Convict Heritage Site at Kingston”, the Administrator does so with the proviso “though we reserve the right to do so”.


“I have written to the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Warren Truss MP, and to the Minister for the Environment the Hon Greg Hunt MP seeking their intervention in resolving this impasse in the best interests of all stakeholders in KAVHA” the Minister said.


In writing to these senior Ministers Minister Adams has spoken of the value of the longstanding joint partnership arrangement with the Commonwealth Government in our shared management and funding of the KAVHA which was reinforced in 2008 when our two governments were successful in reassuring the Norfolk Island community that our desire to inscribe KAVHA on the World Heritage register was a desirable action.


“However I believe”, Minister Adams said, “in light of recent events in KAVHA the community can be excused for its wariness in 1998 when at referendum on the question ‘Do you wish the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area of Norfolk Island to be nominated for World Heritage Listing?’ there was a resounding “NO” response (626 against, 276 in favour).”


“Our governments were only able to achieve the significant shift in opposition in 2010 because of the governments of the day and their KAVHA Board and respective Department representative’s demonstrated good will and a genuine desire to work together in the interests of the Site which is highly significant to both governments and the people that our governments represent”, the Minister said.


“I look forward to commonsense prevailing in this matter”, Minister Adams said, “and to the return as promptly as possible of No. 11 Quality Row as the Hub for the KAVHA Board Secretariat, the KAVHA Site Manager (yet to be appointed by the Norfolk Island Administration), and the newly appointed Commonwealth Heritage Manager in which we all work together cooperatively for the overall good of the Site going forward into the future”.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

AWARDS ON AUSTRALIA DAY 2015



Please 'contact us' for more information.

SKY NEWS VISITING NORFOLK ISLAND IN OCTOBER


It is with much pleasure I announce Sky News will be visiting Norfolk Island over the weekend of 11 and 12 October 2014.

The purpose of their visit is to record segments to showcase Norfolk Island. 

The community may have noticed that a few months ago the daily Sky News weather map included Norfolk Island.  Sky News is currently the only major Australian television network to include Norfolk Island on their weather maps. 

This alone is a major achievement to attract more tourism to Norfolk Island especially during the sub-zero winters in the South Eastern parts of the mainland.

Sky News is spending time on Norfolk Island entirely at its own cost.

I trust the Norfolk Island community will join Lorraine and I in welcoming them for the few days they are here and encourage them to return on a regular basis.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

6 October 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

FUNDING AGREEMENT 2014/2015 AND THE NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT’S PREFERRED MODEL FOR TERRITORY SELF GOVERNANCE


The Chief Minister said today, “The Norfolk Island Government has instructed the Chief Executive Officer to sign the Funding Agreement 2014/15 between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Administration of Norfolk Island on behalf of the Norfolk Island Government” to assist in the provision of essential services, eg health, education and police.

While the Norfolk Island Government still has a number of concerns with parts of the Funding Agreement, and with the deadline of 9 October 2014 to sign the Funding Agreement imposed by the Commonwealth “the Norfolk Island Government has a responsibility not to place the Norfolk Island community in a position of further reducing services and additional employment cuts that would be necessary if the agreement was not signed”, the Chief Minister said.

The Norfolk Island Government has written to Minister Briggs indicating that the Norfolk Island Government has instructed the Chief Executive Officer to sign the Funding Agreement 2014/15 in its presented form and with conditions that have been identified as difficult, inappropriate or impossible to achieve.

The Chief Minister advised, “The Minister for Finance and I, together with the Chief of Staff and Chief Executive Officer are meeting with Minister Briggs on Wednesday 8 October where we intend to raise again the ongoing uncertainty in the Norfolk Island community and the need to finalise the Norfolk Island Government’s preferred model for Territory Self-Governance and Norfolk Island’s fiscal relationship with the Commonwealth.”


The results of the Household and Business Income and Expenditure Survey has reinforced the urgency to stimulate the Norfolk Island economy and the need for an agreed way forward with the Commonwealth to achieve long term sustainability and it is hoped that this meeting will be a positive step forward.

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NUMBER 11 QUALITY ROW


There is currently concern and speculation within the community concerning the current use of No11 Quality Row.

“Accordingly it is necessary for the Norfolk Island Government to indicate the current position to allay those concerns”, the Chief Minister said today.

The ongoing use of No11 Quality Row by the KAVHA secretariat has been subject to a demand from the Administrator for the Administration to vacate No11 by Close of Business on the 9th of October 2014.

The Norfolk Island Government has again written to the Administrator this afternoon seeking further explanation and clarification on his correspondence received today.

“The Norfolk Island Government has proposed a cooperative approach to this matter and we are hopeful that a joint resolution that is both fair and reasonable to Norfolk Island Government and the Commonwealth can be reached”, the Chief Minister said.   

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NEW IMMIGRATION CHANGES GOOD FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


Today I have signed into law amendments to the Norfolk Island Immigration Act which will provide certainty and permanent residency to many in our local community.

These Amendments will allow a number of highly regarded members of our community to settle permanently here by repairing consequences of Section 33A of the Act.

Immigration is a Nation Building process.  Applicants with skills and ambition who pass the key checks of Character, Security and Health bring vitality to any community.

No one migrates from one country to another to go backwards.  Their personal drive to succeed and often to ensure their children become lawful contributors to our society is an economic growth force which should be encouraged.

Norfolk Island needs new permanent residents with skills and capacity to help grow this economy.

I look forward to the Minister and the Department Officers enthusiastically and efficiently processing the applicants waiting to join the Australian Family on Norfolk Island as Permanent Residents.

In time I look forward to these new Permanent Residents becoming Australian Citizens.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

2 October 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

IMMIGRATION ACT AMENDMENT


Robin Adams MLA Minister for Cultural Heritage & Community Services is pleased to be able to update the community on the progress that is being made to correct the unintended consequences that occurred after amendments were made to the Immigration Act in May 2013.

The Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly has presented and passed a Bill to take into account those persons affected by those changes, thereby allowing them to apply for residency which the amendment in May 2013 precluded them from doing so.

The Bill has received assent today.

The Norfolk Island Immigration Services will contact those that were affected by those changes to advise them of the change and the options that are now available as a result of the changes.

Whilst there are a number of persons affected by the May 2013 amendment every endeavour will be made to have this process carried out as quickly as possible.

  

The proposed changes will allow a considerable passage of time for those persons that were affected by the May 2013 changes to regularize their immigration status in accordance with the changes provided for in these amendments.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

2 October 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HEALTH CHECKS FOR MEN



I am pleased to announce further Australian Government funding has been provided to the Lions Club of Norfolk Island for prostate and cholesterol checks for Norfolk Island men over the age of 50.


These checks are very important in any community for ongoing health and community wellbeing.  They may also be instrumental in early detection of any issue that may need further exploration.


I strongly encourage all eligible men in Norfolk Island community to contact Mr David Bell of the Lions Club of Norfolk Island to take advantage of this initiative funded by the Australian Government.


David can be contacted on 50701, 22601 or david@islandrealty.nf


His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

30 September 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

COUNCIL OF ELDERS SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT


The Council of Elders has received the following letters and attachment from the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Robin Adams.  The Council would welcome input from members of the community.  You can speak to any of the Elders (Ken Christian, Mera Martin, David (Dids) Evans, Edie Christian, Shane McCoy, Edith Christian, Robyn Butterfield, Ross Quintal, Joe Adams, Helen Dowling, Colleen Crane, Greg Quintal Snr, Gaye Evans, Jan Nobbs or Roy Nobbs) or write or email elders@assembly.gov.nf












Please 'contact us' for more information.

REPORT OF THE EDUCATION REVIEW NORFOLK ISLAND



From the Office of the Minister with responsibility for education in the Norfolk Island Government

Report of the Education Review Norfolk Island

At the sitting of the Assembly on Wednesday Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams, tabled the Report of the Education Review Norfolk Island.  “This review”, Minister Adams said, “has been undertaken over the past 12 months by a very dedicated Education Review Working Group headed by Mrs Ward MLA as Chair and as my Executive Officer.  I extend my sincere thanks to all who have participated in this very important initiative; in particular Mrs Ward who has been very ably assisted by Mrs Trish Magri in the compilation of the final report.”

“The working group was established in October 2013”, Minister Adams said, “And its purpose was to enquire into, report and make recommendations in relation to the provision of education in Norfolk Island.  The review was carried out in three stages; Stage One examined the Memorandum of Understanding on education between the Commonwealth Government and Norfolk Island Government dated April 1988; the Memorandum of Understanding on Teacher Staffing ato Norfolk Island Central School between the NSW Department of Education and Training and the Norfolk Island Government date May 2008; and the Education Act 1981 (NI) and Education Regulations; which include provisions relating to Bursaries and Scholarships.”

“This extensive report can be accessed on the Government’s website http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/info/Education/Education%20Review%202014%20-%20September_14.pdf.” Minister Adams said, “and the next step in the process is for Members of the Legislative Assembly to work through the eighteen substantive recommendations in the Report over the coming months”.

New Memorandum of Understanding on Teacher Staffing at Norfolk Island Central School between the NSW Department of Education and Communities and the Norfolk Island Government

Minister Adams advises that a new Memorandum of Understanding (the new MOU) between the Administration of Norfolk Island and the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities on Teacher Staffing of the Norfolk Island Central School was signed recently.  The new MOU replaces the 2008 MOU. 

As part of the Education Review process the Working Group last February recommended to the Minister  that the 2008 MOU no longer be used in its current form and that the Minister as soon as possible enter into dialogue with the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) Director of Staffing.

“The new MOU”, Minister Adams said “is the result of extensive discussion between the NSW DEC and the Norfolk Island Government and I am pleased to advise that on Thursday afternoon DEC staff at the Norfolk Island Central School were each provided with a copy of the new MOU and the contents of the MOU explained to them via a videoconference link up with Mr Peter Johnson, Executive Director People and Services with the NSW Department of Education and Communities”.

The new MOU can be accessed on the Government’s website at http://ww.norfolkisland.gov.nf/info/education.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

19 September 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

FIVE MORE NORFOLK ISLAND RESIDENTS JOIN THE AUSTRALIAN FAMILY



The newest members of the Australian Family were welcomed at a very special Citizenship Ceremony held today at Government House.


Today, 17 September, is Australian Citizenship Day.  2014 marks the 65th Anniversary of Australian Citizenship.


Australian Citizenship recognises how our world’s best blend of diverse family cultures and traditions are all afforded the same rights and responsibilities.


Citizens by choice are on the same status as Citizens by birth.  Our diversity is our strength.

People are not directed to change who they are, they are challenged to be who they are for Australia.


The unique opportunity to be sworn into the Australian Family on Norfolk Island means you gain two for the price of one.


Whether you are from New Zealand, Great Britain, Germany, Singapore, Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan, when you become a Citizen of Australia you can still cheer for your traditional sporting team, but as a Citizen you have a responsibility to adhere to our Laws and our broad traditions.


Each of the new Citizens deserve high praise for their decision to join the Australian Family freely and openly.


The new Citizens are:

  • Heidi Adams;
  • Kevin Coulter;
  • Robin Nisbet; and
  • Dick and Rowena Massicks.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

17 September 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

YOUNG ENDEAVOUR 2015 WORLD VOYAGE



Applications are now open for the 2015 national Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour voyage around the world.

The crew will be made up of 24 people (aged 18-30) and 12 Navy staff.  The voyage will sail from Sydney across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Mediterranean Sea, the English Channel and into the North Sea.  It will finish its trip at Fremantle via the Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean.

The voyage will include ports of call in the United Kingdom where Young Endeavour was built as a Bicentenary gift to the Government and people of Australia.

Places will be offered to over 200 people to join one of nine crews over the 12 month voyage.

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), has launched a nation ballot to fill the over 200 positions. The Governor-General is the Patron of the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme and fully supports this scheme recently describing it as a wonderful reflection of our national identity and values of having a go, giving it your all, being courageous, making friends and being proud of what you achieve.


I encourage all eligible members of the Norfolk Island community to apply for this once in a lifetime experience that will be a tremendous opportunity and unforgettable journey.

More information on the voyage and how to apply is available at www.youngendeavour.gov.au

Applications close on 30 September 2014.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

15 September 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER



Please 'contact us' for more information.

AUSTRALIAN CONVICT HERITAGE SITE (KAVHA) CAPITAL WORKS PROJECT AN AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE


                                                                               
The Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, and the Norfolk Island Minister with responsibility for roads, the Hon Ron Ward MLA, announce that the work to erect a new safety barrier along Country Road near the Watermill Dam will commence the week of Monday, 22 September 2014.

 

The project is being funded by the Australian Government as part of Australian Convict Heritage Site (KAVHA) Capital Funding Program in 2013-2014.

 

The project will replace the timber fence with a steel crash barrier and the works, to be undertaken by the Administration Works Team with the assistance of one of the KAVHA Team members, are expected to take three weeks depending on weather conditions.

 

Traffic flow will be one way south bound on Country Road for the duration of the works between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and all north bound traffic will need to use an alternate route

 

Motorists and pedestrians are advised to take care during this period and to follow any directions or road signs to ensure their safety and the safety of the workers and other road users.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Hardgrave                                                                                                Ron Ward

His Honour The Administrator                                                                  Minister for the Environment

 

12 September 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ROADS PROGRAMME 2014-15


The Minister with responsibility for roads, the Hon Ron Ward, has advised that the Roads Programme for the 2014-2015 financial year has been adopted. The roads program has been a budget commitment of the Government with the funds dedicated to road maintenance increased from $112,000 in 2013/14 to $500,000 in 2014/15.

The Government has made this commitment to assist road users and to inject funds into the local economy.

For the information of the community the following is the proposed roads programme with the indicative monthly break down which may be subject to factors including the weather:

October/November     -        Sealing of Hibiscus Drive as an interim measure to overcome current problems experienced by road users.  It is noted that a future upgrade of the road may be required along with the installation of improved electricity and telecom infrastructure;

December/January       –       Hemus Road;

February/March           -        Part of Anson Bay Road;

April/May/June                    -  Taylors Road from the Village to Channer’s Corner.

Road patching will be ongoing throughout the financial year.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ANALYSIS


The Norfolk Island government and Legislative Assembly members have received a briefing from Deloitte on their draft analysis of Norfolk Island’s government business enterprises.

Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today, “The briefing presented by Robert Southern and Todd McInnes from Deloitte was informative, unbiased and presented the government with a draft framework for developing a review of the government’s business enterprises”.

The Norfolk Island Government and Legislative Assembly members have the ability to forward comments on to Deloitte in the lead up to the release of their final report in about 4 weeks.

The Norfolk Island Government looks forward to the release of their final report and working constructively with the Federal Government in the progressing the direction of that report into more effective utilisation of our government business enterprises” Chief Minister Lisle Snell said.

It is imperative the Federal Government and the Norfolk Island Government work in unison to ensure the most effective implementation of Deloitte’s report, which presents the Norfolk Island government with the opportunity to examine the operations of its government business enterprises against the solid analysis the Deloitte’s report provides.

“I congratulate the Federal Government on the commissioning of the report and look forward to working closely with the Federal Government when the final report is released” Chief Minister Lisle Snell said. 


Lisle Snell                                                                  

Chief Minister

Date 05/09/2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK PHILATELIC SHOWCASE AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE


I have asked Norfolk Island Philatelic to open a special sales point at Government House during Open Day this Wednesday, 10 September.

The quality of the stamp products made available means Norfolk Island Stamps are very attractive and also a suitable souvenir for visitors.

These products are of a world class standard and it is hoped visitors to Open Day will seize the opportunity to purchase First Day Covers and Year Books as a way to understand the many facets to the Norfolk Island story told through the stamps which are issued here.

Open Day runs from 1.30 till 3pm on Wednesday afternoon and admission proceeds will aid Norfolk Island Community Organisations.  This week volunteers from NATIN (Norfolk Assists Those In Need) will help act as sitters for those visiting Government House Open Day.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

4 September 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

DELOITTE DRAFT REVIEW OF NORFOLK ISLAND BUSINESS ENTERPRISES


Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today, “The release of the anticipated Deloitte’s draft report of Norfolk Island Business Enterprises has been provided to the Norfolk Island Government.”

The Government and Legislative Assembly Members will review the draft 355 page report including a 59 page summary.

“The Government is committed to ensuring the most effective structure and operation of our Business Enterprises to achieve the best outcome for Norfolk Island and looks forward to having discussions with Deloitte on their draft report. “The Chief Minister said.

The report is important as to how we move forward in terms of the operation of the Government Business Enterprises, accordingly the government has requested the proposed meeting with Deloitte’s suggested for 3 and 4 September be moved to the 10th and 11th of the following week.

“This would enable a more detailed analysis of Deloitte’s draft report which we only received today to be carried out. “The Chief Minister said.

.

Lisle Snell                                                                  

Chief Minister 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

REVIEW OF NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ENTERPRISES



With support from the Australian Government, Deloitte Access Economics has presented a draft report for the second phase of its review into the operations of Norfolk Island’s Government Business Enterprises.


Deloitte will shortly visit Norfolk Island to discuss its draft findings with the Norfolk Island Government and Administration.


The aim of the review is to assist the Norfolk Island Government to assess the operational efficiency of 19 Government Businesses Enterprises and to support future decision making around their structure and operations.


It is critical for the Norfolk Island community and both the Australian and Norfolk Island Governments to establish a higher level of transparency in the operations of these businesses.


Australian Government funding has been committed as part of a suite of measures aimed at addressing Norfolk Island’s deficit and improving public sector efficiency and economic development—including over $12 million in 2014–15. 


This funding is additional to the $13.43 million that has been made available through the Community Development Grants Programme.


I thank the senior officers of the Administration of Norfolk Island for their commitment of time and resources and cooperating with the development of the Analysis.


The information compiled in the Analysis will assist in future decision making and move Norfolk Island to a more financially sustainable future.


A summary of the key findings is attached.


His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave


Norfolk Island Government Business Enterprise Analysis

Key findings

  • There is limited scope to privatise Government Business Enterprises as:
    • Norfolk Island is not a big enough market – the service delivery monopoly would be transferred from government to private enterprise.
    • Financial performance is unclear and lacks reliable data.
    • Investment requirements would be prohibitive.
    • The Norfolk Island Government relies on revenue from its business activities to fund day to day operations.
  • It is possible to introduce elements of competition or market pressure without completely selling off the business. 
  • For many businesses a simple management outsourcing arrangement is considered the best option in the short term.  This would ensure the business is run efficiently while still retaining the Government’s revenue stream.


Business specific findings

  • The lack of data makes it difficult to assess the ‘true’ position of businesses.
    • All earnings are remitted straight to the Government – no money is put aside for infrastructure maintenance or upgrades.
    • Day to day operations are directly controlled by the Government – including pricing/purchasing decisions.
    • Managers have no incentive to improve efficiency/profitability. There is a need to put in place appropriate incentive structures.
    • Many businesses explicitly or implicitly operate in an anti-competitive manner. This makes it hard for the private sector to participate in the market.
    • Privatisation is not a feasible option for any of the businesses at present. Put simply, there’s nothing to sell.
    • Elements of competition/market forces can be introduced through other means – e.g. management contract – and down the track (say, in five to ten years) privatisation may be feasible and/or desirable.
    • None of the businesses adhere to what can be termed ‘core requirements’ in regard to desired governance, reporting and operational arrangements.


Improvement recommendations

The businesses under review play a significant role in the fabric of Norfolk Island, and there are significant opportunities for their improvement.  These include:

  • Implementing transparent and reliable accounts to assess their true financial position; implementing appropriate incentive structures to ensure that management operates in a profit maximising manner; and implementing clear governance structures.
  • Implementing core requirements with regard to governance, reporting and operational features that represent best practice for business operations.
  • Investigating optimal operating structures, which will differ for each business in question.  This includes continuation of government ownership, private sector participation through the outsourcing of management arrangements, through the ‘proper’ implementation of GBE arrangements, or through the outsourcing of back office functions to third parties.
  • Establishing a commitment to move toward a more efficient, transparent and effective operating environment that will benefit the Norfolk Island community.
  • Effectively communicating goals, and desired outcomes to the Norfolk Island community.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

SUPPLY OF BULK FUEL


As indicated in the Government Gazette of 22nd August 2014, it is the intent of the Norfolk Island Government to exit the bulk fuel business.

The government became involved in the importation, storage and distribution of unleaded petrol, diesel and Jet-A1 fuel when Mobil pulled out of Norfolk Island. Since October, 2007 the supply of fuel has been carried out under a contract by a third party supplier, as has the on-island distribution and aircraft refueling operations.

In the past seven years the Government has invested in excess of $1.5 million in maintaining the Ball Bay facility as a compliant high-level fuel storage and distribution facility.

Improvements have been made in that time, such as a new truck loading station and changing the storage tank configuration which has reduced the frequency of tankers from over 4 per years to less than 3 each year.

Minister Sheridan said “It is now an opportune time for the Government to move out of the bulk fuel business with both the supply and the distribution contracts expiring. The importation, storage and distribution of fuel will be returned to the private sector.”

In October 2007 the Government’s fuel pricing policy was to break-even in the fuel operation. That policy continues today.

In the future the Government will continue to collect the applicable taxes and charges, namely:-

  • the 20 cent per litre on fuel used on the road, under the Fuel Levy Act 1987,
  • GST , under the Goods and Services Tax Act 2007, and
  • 10% Import Duty on fuel, under the Customs Act 1913.

“In the future the Government’s involvement in fuel will only extend to purchasing the diesel required for electricity generation, and the diesel and petrol required to operate government-owned plant and equipment”, Minister Sheridan said.

There were two notices appearing in the Government Gazette last Friday.

  1. The first being a Request for Tender No. 14/14. This RFT is for the supply of petrol and diesel to the Government.
  2. The second being an Expression of Interest No. 15/14. This EOI is for the sub-lease of the Ball Bay facility, allowing the new supplier of fuel to Norfolk Island to have access to a bulk storage facility. This sub-lease will be for three years, the period until current Crown Lease expires and will require the lessee to maintain the facility to the current standard.

Minister Sheridan  expressed the Government’s thanks and appreciation to those who have assisted over the past seven years;

the fuel supplier – Natjola Pty Ltd;

the distributors – initially Martins Agencies Ltd  followed by Burnt Pine Fuel Pty Ltd;

the contractors who have supplied goods and services to maintain the Ball Bay facility;

and the Administration employees in all areas of Norfolk Energy’s operations.

The RFT and EOI were advertised in the Government Gazette on Friday 22nd August, 2014. RFT and EOI documentation are available on http://www.info.gov.nf/tenders/OpenTenders/ .

Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MUNICIPAL RATING


The community will be aware that the introduction of municipal rates for Norfolk Island is a condition of funding for the grant provided by the Commonwealth Government for the Cascade Jetty upgrade and part of milestones to be met in Funding Agreements with the Commonwealth.


The Norfolk Island Government subject to passing legislation will be issuing a municipal rates notice to all Norfolk Island land owners in 2014/15. For those of you who are new to the concept of municipal rates, a rate is a contribution that each ratepayer makes towards the Government’s cost of providing community services and facilities.

Rates payments will be utilised to fund the everyday maintenance of sporting grounds, parks and gardens, libraries, museums and radio and television broadcasting as well as supporting our education, hospital and tourism activities.

Minister Sheridan said, “The Norfolk Island Government has been working to develop a rating strategy, a new rating Act with Regulations, to establish rates models and to develop the supporting documents and software that will be necessary. It is expected at this stage that the first rates notice will be issued around February 2015”.

The first notice will be based on a system of levies. In 2015/16 the rates notices issued to property owners will then be based on property valuations as typically occur elsewhere.

When determining how much each property owner will have to pay, the Government will use a differential system, in which all land will be categorised according to its land use and/or demand for or benefit from the Government’s services. A municipal rates system can not simply be a flat charge payable equally by all land owners.

In 2014/15, the Government anticipates raising a total of $250,000 through the new rates regime. In subsequent years, this amount will increase as agreed with the Commonwealth Government.

Whilst the legislation is still being finalised, there will be opportunities for pensioners to receive discounts and for ratepayers who experience hardship. “Further details will continue to be released for information and guidance purposes and a public meeting will be held in the future to clarify matters further”.

The Rates Strategy and draft model are still available on the Government website at 

http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Municipal%20Rates/ and “I would encourage anyone who hasn’t read this information to do so” Minister Sheridan said.

Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ELECTRICITY – COMMUNITY CONSULTATION AND EXPRESSION OF INTEREST


Minter Sheridan said today, “I am pleased to at last release a copy of the Working Group report and associated attachments following the community consultation into electricity pricing and storage solutions undertaken earlier this year.

I would encourage anyone interested in electricity to spend time looking at the information available and to see the many comments, ideas and suggestions that were obtained through the surveys, the focus groups, displays in the shopping mall and through general communications”.

These documents are now available on the Government website at: http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Electricity%20Working%20Group%20Report%20&%20Attachments/

The community consultation process has been a very valuable exercise for the Norfolk Island Government and has enabled a very complex expression of interest document to be prepared to assist to find solutions to the surplus electricity generated daily at the power house.

The adoption of alternative pricing methods is still being finalised and allowances have been made in the 2014/15 Norfolk Island Budget to obtain smart power meters. These meters will provide improved data exchange and also allow adjustments to time of day charging if necessary.

“The expression of interest will be issued this Friday with the documents available from Saturday. Due to the size and nature of this contract, the Government has engaged LocalBuy of Queensland to assist with the expression of interest process. This adds greater probity, security and confidentiality to the process”.  Minister Sheridan said.  The EOI documents for persons who may be interested in submitting a proposal can be found at www.lgtenderbox.com.au .

Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Date 27 August 2014

                                                                                               

Contact

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PUBLIC MEETING ON MEDICINAL CANNABIS


The public meeting yesterday was extremely well attended with over 120 Island residents taking the opportunity to hear and have input on the question of the possible introduction of a Medicinal Cannabis industry on Norfolk Island.


Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services Robin Adams said “The community response to the meeting was a clear endorsement of the Government’s actions in trying to secure that industry for Norfolk Island.”


The meeting gave the opportunity for residents to be briefed on the proposal by Tascann CEO Troy Langman on the benefits to the Island in both economic and employment terms. Together with outlining Tascann’s commitment to working with the Norfolk Island Government and the Australian Government to resolve issues surrounding the Administrator’s decision to cancel the conditional licence that was granted to Tascann.

“The feedback, questions and comments from the residents at the meeting was a clear indication the residents want the Norfolk Island Government to work with both Tascann and the Australian Government to ensure all barriers to granting of a licence to Tascann for the cultivation of Medicinal Cannabis on Norfolk Island are addressed and overcome”. Said Minister Adams.


“The Norfolk Island Government is committed to working tirelessly with both Tascann and the Australian government to achieve a positive outcome for Norfolk Island for the introduction of Medical Cannabis industry on Norfolk Island.”


Minister Adams extends her sincere thanks to meeting Chair Geoff Gardner for chairing the meeting in an exemplary manner, “Mr Gardner, a former Chief Minister in the Norfolk Island Government,  also brought to the meeting his broad background knowledge of the 1998 industrial hemp industry initiative together with his background in horticulture”, the Minister said


Minister Adams also expresses her thanks to Mr Andre Nobbs. “Mr Nobbs, a former Chief Minister in the Norfolk Island Government and current CEO of the Oceania Economic Development Corporation, provided invaluable technical assistance with setting up the public meeting and ensuring it ran as smoothly as it did.”


The Norfolk Island Government expresses it’s thanks to the residents for attending the meeting and looks forward to a positive outcome on this Industry for the Island.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

22 August 2014

 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

SITTING OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON WEDNESDAY 20 August 2014



The Office of the Clerk has advised that the following matters were dealt with at the sitting of the Fourteenth Legislative Assembly held on Wednesday 20 August 2014 at 10 am:

 

NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

WEDNESDAY 20 AUGUST 2014

 

NORF’K AILEN

DIISEM MENETS LARNEN WATHING HAEPN

INAA

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

WEDNESDAY 20 ORGAS 2014

 

 

1          The Legislative Assembly met at 10.01 am, and the Speaker, Hon David Buffett AM MLA, took the Chair and read Prayers

 

2          CONDOLENCES

Mr Evans recorded the passing of –

 

STEPHEN HOLDER CHRISTIAN

 

As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased all Members stood in silence

 

3          QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE (10.03-10.41 AM)

 

4          ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

Responses were provided to:

76  Mr Porter asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services –

Will the Minister inform the House –

  1. How many GEP applications have been lodged in the last 12 months;
  2. How many have been declined;
  3. How many of those declined have appealed; and
  4. How many are under review.

77  Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister –

Given that Section 31A (4) of the Tourist Accommodation Act 1984 states that the Minister shall appoint, by instrument in writing published in the Gazette, a person for the purposes of grading registered tourist accommodation houses, will the Chief Minister advise the House on the following:

1.   When was the last appointment made,

2.   When does that appointment expire,

3.   When was the last grading carried out and what was the cost,

4.   Was the cost recovered from accommodation houses; and,

5.   What is the Government's policy on future grading?

78  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services –

Will the Minister provide to the House the reason for the KAVHA Crank Mill and Officers' Bath being closed to the public and how long will they be closed for?

79  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Given the Minister’s public statement that the approach concerning the production of medicinal cannabinoids in Norfolk Island was made in only early July, how can the Minister justify the speed with which a licence was granted when, the controversial nature of the cannabis and cannabinoids subject has resulted in a debate which is not yet settled?

80  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Is it a fact that neither the Infrastructure and Business Development Committee nor the Administration of Norfolk Island produced a white paper which focused the government’s attention on the pros and cons of the medicinal cannabinoids proposal?

81  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

If a white paper was not produced how and to what extent did the Minister evaluate the evidence surrounding cannabis and cannabinoids and what evaluations weighed most heavily in favour of the Minister’s decision to grant a production licence?


82  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

In the interests of satisfying the community that the Minister has fully and properly informed herself will the Minister table for public examination all documents considered by the Norfolk Island Government prior to a production license being granted?

1)     Paper tabled:         Ms Adam: Letter from Administrator dated 30 July 2014

2)     Paper tabled:         Ms Adam: Letter to Administrator dated 1 August 2014

3)     Paper tabled:         Ms Adam: Medical Cannabis Producer Licence dated 4 August 2014

            83  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for the Environment

      Will the Minister provide to the House the number of planning development applications which have been lodged and granted over the past year in comparison to the previous five years?

4)     Paper tabled:         Mr Ward: Development Applications from 2009-2014

84  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Is it a fact that the holder of a temporary entry permit is ineligible to buy a Norfolk Island business?

85  Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minster

Is it a fact that the Chief Minister wrote to the Hon. Jamie Briggs MP on March 25, 2014 requesting that State level services be delivered to the Island in a way similar to Christmas Island, and if so; will the Chief Minister explain what he meant by that?

86  Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Finance

      Will the Minister provide an update on the implementation of changes to the electricity pricing system as proposed in the 2014-15 budget session

 

Speaker resumed chair at 10.46 am

 

5          PRESENTATION OF PAPERS

            The following papers were presented:

 

5)     Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Centre for International Economics – Economic Impact Assessment  - and moved –

 

THAT the House take note of the paper

6)     Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms AdamsLetter from Administrator giving Federal’s Minister’s Response

Debate ensued

Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

7)         Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Customs Duty Exemptions

8)         Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Bookmakers and Betting Exchange Act 1998 – Licence

9)               Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Bookmakers and Betting Exchange Act 1998 – Report of Gaming Authority June 2014

10)            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Gaming Act 1998 – Report of Gaming Authority June 2014

11)            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Virements June 2014

12)            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Revenue Fund Financial Indicators for April 2014

13)            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – NIGTB Budget Item breakdowns

14)            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – NIHE Budget Item breakdowns

15)            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan –  - Revenue Fund Financial Indicators for                    May 2014

16)       Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan –  - Revenue Fund Financial Indicators for June 2014

 

6          STATEMENTS OF AN OFFICIAL NATURE

The following statements were made –

1)               Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Immigration (Amendment No 2) Act 2014 / Imegrieshan (Chienjen 2) Bil 2014 – not to be presented at this Sitting

17) Paper tabled: Ms Adams – Immigration Legislative Review Committee (ILR) First Report

18) Paper tabled: Ms Adams – ILR Committee Terms of Reference

                        Mrs Ward moved –

 

THAT the Statement be noted

Debate ensued

Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

2)               Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Attendance at the 2014 Australasian Casino and Gaming Regulators Conference September 2014 

3)               Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Attendance at the ‘Centenary of the First World War Service for the Commonwealth’ at Glasgow Cathedral 4 August 2014

19) Paper tabled: Mr Sheridan – Order of Service

4)               Mrs Ward – Education Review

            Ms Adams moved –

 

THAT the Statement be noted

Debate ensued

Question put and agreed to on the voices

5)     Chief Minister, Mr Snell – Quota’s 35th Anniversary

6)     Chief Minister, Mr Snell – White Oaks

7)     Chief Minister, Mr Snell – Attendance at XXth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland

 

NOTICES

 

7          IMMIGRATION ACT 1980 - AUTHORISATION OF APPLICATION FOR GENERAL ENTRY PERMIT

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams, moved:

 

THAT for the purpose of paragraph 17A(1)(e) of the Immigration Act 1980, this Legislative Assembly resolve that ¾

 

Glenn Zerby; and

Sandhya Patel

 

be authorised to make an application for a general entry permit under the Act.

Debate ensued

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

8          CUSTOMS ACT 1913 - EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF CUSTOMS DUTY

            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan, pursuant to notice moved –

 

THAT, under subsection 2B(4) of the Customs Act 1913, this House recommends to the Administrator that the goods specified in column 1 of the Schedule imported by the person specified in column 2, and on the conditions mentioned in column 2 of the Schedule, be exempted from duty.

 

                                                SCHEDULE

Column 1                                                         Column 2

Goods                                                              Importer/conditions

 

Pool Table                                                       DAA Side for Ucklun (Youth Centre)

- amount of duty applicable $256.57                   Conditions: Nil

 

Trampoline                                                       DAA Side for Ucklun (Youth Centre)

- amount of duty applicable $297.67                   Conditions: Nil

Debate ensued

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

9          REFERENDUM ACT 1964

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services (Robin Adams) pursuant to notice, moved –

 

THAT this House –

 

  1. Notes that as a consequence of the commencement of the Territories Law Reform Act on 10 December 2010 –

 

a)     the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and the Norfolk Island Government lost substantial control over its financial affairs; and

 

b)     laws passed by the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly became in all cases subject to the approval of Australian authorities thereby effectively diminishing the self-governing status of Norfolk Island;

 

  1. Notes that the Commonwealth Minister with responsibility for Norfolk Island under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 is examining the most appropriate governance model for Norfolk Island to be considered by the Australian Cabinet later this year;

 

  1. Being of the opinion that before any change to Norfolk Island’s model of governance is made, the Norfolk Island community should be given an opportunity at referendum or plebiscite to express its views;

 

4          Directs the Speaker, pursuant to section 5 of the Referendum Act 1964, to  immediately commence the process to ascertain the opinion of the electors on the following questions relating to the peace, order and good government of Norfolk Island, namely -

 

“1. Do you agree that the Norfolk Island community should be given the opportunity to have a vote in a referendum or plebiscite on the future model of government for Norfolk Island?


                                          YES                             NO  

 

  1. Do you agree that the referendum or plebiscite should be conducted by an independent authority unrelated to Norfolk Island or to Australia?





                                    YES                             NO    

 

20) Papers tabled: Ms Adams – Articles from “The Parliamentarian” from 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2014

            Debate ensued

 

Deputy  Speaker Nobbs took the chair at 11.42 am

 

SUSPENSION OF SITTING

The Deputy Speaker suspended the sitting of the House at 1.05 pm

 

RESUMPTION OF SITTING

The Speaker took the Chair and resumed the sitting at 2.30 pm

 

            Debate continued on Referendum motion

            Mr Ward moved –

 

THAT clause 3 of the motion be amended by deleting the word ‘being’ and inserting ‘is’ and deleting the word ‘should’ and inserting ‘shall’ and clause 4 of the motion be deleted

 

Debate ensued

Question – That the amendment be agreed to – put and agreed to on the voices

Question – That the motion as amended be agreed to – put and agreed to on the voices

 

10        MOTION BY LEAVE

NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ACT 1985 – RE-APPOINTMENT OF MEMBER TO ADVISORY BOARD

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services (Ms Adams) by leave, moved -

 

THAT this House, in accordance with section 12 of the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985, resolve that ¾

 

Gerard Marr, Chief Executive of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

 

be re-appointed by the Minister as the representative member of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District on the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board for the term  commencing on the date of gazettal of this appointment until 24 December 2014.

Debate ensued

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

11        REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

REJISTRIESHAN 'BERTH, DETH EN MAERIJ (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

            Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, presented a Bill for an Act to provide for the noting of gender reassignment in the register of births and to remove Schedules and for related purposes and moved –

 

THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

21) Paper tabled:  Mr Snell tabled the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill

           

Debate ensued

            Mr Snell moved –

 

THAT debate be adjourned and the resumption of debate made an

Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

12        PUBLIC SERVICE BILL 2014

PABLIK SERWES BIL 2014

            Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, presented a Bill for an Act Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, to present a Bill for an Act to regulate the administration of the public service of Norfolk Island, to repeal the Public Sector Management Act 2000 and for related purposes and moved –

 

THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

22) Paper tabled:  Mr Snell tabled the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill

           

Debate ensued

            Mr Snell moved –

 

THAT debate be adjourned and the resumption of debate made an

Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

13        PROVIDENT ACCOUNT (AMENDMENT) ACT 2014

            PROEVEDENT AKAUNT (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, presented a Bill for an Act to amend the Provident Account Act 1958 and moved –

 

THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

 

23) Paper tabled:  Mr Snell tabled the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill

           

Debate ensued

            Mr Snell moved –

 

THAT debate be adjourned and the resumption of debate made an

Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

 

14        MESSAGES FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR - MESSAGE NO. 14 – “PUBLIC SERVICE BILL 2013.

Resumption of debate (Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams) from 25 June 2014 on the question – THAT the Message be noted

Debate ensued

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

15        INFRASTRUCTURE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE (IBDC) – GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS

Resumption of debate (Mrs Ward) from 16 July 2014 on the question – THAT the Paper be noted

Debate ensued

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

16        INTRODUCTION OF LAND RATING SYSTEM

Resumption of debate (Mr Nobbs) from 16 July 2014 on the question – THAT the motion be agreed

Debate ensued

            Mr Nobbs moved –

 

THAT debate be adjourned and the resumption of debate made an

Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

17        LAND ADMINISTRATION FEES (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

LAEN ADMINESTRIESHAN FII (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

Resumption of debate (Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward on behalf of the Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan) from 16 July 2014 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

            Debate ensued

            Question put

            Bill agreed to in principle on the voices

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage

Mr Sheridan moved –

THAT the Bill be agreed to

Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

 

 

18        FIXING OF NEXT SITTING DAY

            Mr Evans moved –

 

            THAT the House at its rising adjourn until Wednesday 17 September 2014 at 10 am

 

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

19        ADJOURNMENT

            Mr Nobbs moved –

 

THAT the House do now adjourn

 

Debate ensued with Mr Snell, and Mr Nobbs participating

Question put and agreed to on the voices

AND THEN the House at 3.52 pm adjourned until Wednesday 17 September 2014 at 10.00 am

 

 

 

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: All Members were present

 

To read the Notice Paper, Programme, Minutes of Proceedings and legislation tabled in the House go to www.info.gov.nf. Issued from the Office of the Clerk

 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MEDICINAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


The Norfolk Island community will be aware that on Thursday, 14 August 2014, the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave exercised his authority under section 13 of the Norfolk Island Dangerous Drugs Act 1927 and cancelled the conditional licence issued by the Minister with responsibility for health, Robin Adams, to Tasman Health Cannabinoids (N.I.) Pty Limited (Tascann) on 4 August 2014.


“The Norfolk Island Government has expressed its extreme disappointment to the Administrator both in writing and in person this morning when all Ministers met with him at our regular fortnightly meeting”, Minister Adams said.


“For the information of the community” Minister Adams said, “as a courtesy I met with the Administrator some weeks ago in the company of my Chief of Staff, Crown Counsel and the Chief Executive Officer (NIA), to apprise the Administrator of the Tascann application for a license under section 7A of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1927.  At that time I offered the Administrator and his staff the opportunity to meet with the principals of Tascann who were then on Island so that he could acquaint himself with the initiative first hand.


“It is most regrettable that an economic initiative with the capacity to generate substantial income and employment for this community over time has needed to be put on hold”, the Minister said, “but I give the community the assurance of both myself and my ministerial colleagues that we will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government to achieve what we trust can be a satisfactory outcome that a further licence can be issued to Tascann.  Some of the concerns raised by the Administrator include the need for wider community consultation and consultation with federal law enforcement and health authorities, together with consideration of international treaties on cannabis.  The Norfolk Island Government has committed to undertake further consultation,” the Minister said.

 

The Norfolk Island Government has convened a public meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, 21 August 2014 at Rawson Hall at which Ministers of the Norfolk Island Government and Principals of Tascann, who will be on Island, will be present to answer any questions the community may have.  At the request of the Norfolk Island Government the meeting will be chaired by a previous Chief Minister, Mr Geoffrey Gardner.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER





Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND EDUCATION REVIEW


In October 2013, the Minister for Education, the Hon. Robin Adams MLA announced the establishment of an Education Review Working Group.   The principal objective of the working group was to examine the regulatory framework and identify the current level of services being provided in relation to education and training on the Island and to examine how Norfolk Island residents may gain equivalent access to relevant services and programs which are available to the broader Australian community

It is important to note that the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cth) created a unique self-governing arrangement which left the Island without the application of most Australian law, services and programs.  The Australian Education Act 2013 (Cth) does not apply to Norfolk Island and as a result Commonwealth funding opportunities which are available to other schools in Australia are not available to the Island
As Chair and on behalf of the Review Working Group I am pleased to make available to the community the Draft Education Review Report. 

The Draft Report is now on display at the school's front office and the public library until the 30th of August 2014. 

It is also available at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf  under Public Broadcasts or Education.   

Members of the community who are interested in current and future education and workforce skill development are encouraged to read, absorb and provide comment to me; mward@assembly.gov.nf or any other working group member.  

Additional time may be made available on request.  All feedback will be gratefully received and considered.  It is hoped that the Final Report will be tabled at the September Sitting of the NILA.

Melissa Ward MLA.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT WELCOMES NEW CHIEF OF STAFF



The Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, the Hon Lisle Snell, has advised that Mr David Price has been appointed as the Chief of Staff to the Norfolk Island Government for a period of three years commencing Monday, 18 August 2014.


“Mr Price has a Bachelor of Business from the University of Tasmania and brings to Norfolk Island significant political experience.  His most recent appointment was as Advisor to Senator Thorp in Tasmania; he has been a former Chief of Staff and was head of the Caucus Committee and Support Training Unit in Canberra.

 

“During the period 2000-2001, Mr Price was the Chief Executive Officer of the Shire of Christmas Island assisting reform within the Shire.  Mr Price’s experience in the political arena will be beneficial to the Norfolk Island Government and we look forward to working with him.


“Members of the community will, I am in no doubt, join me in welcoming Mr Price to Norfolk Island”, the Chief Minister said.

 

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

15 August 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

TASMAN HEALTH CANNABIS LICENCE CANCELLED


I have today exercised my powers under section 13 of the Norfolk Island Dangerous Drugs Act 1927 to cancel the licence issued to Tasman Health Cannabinoids (NI) Pty Ltd (‘Tascann’) by the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, the Hon Robin Adams MLA, to import, export, grow and produce cannabis for medical treatments.

I have sought advice from Minister Adams and the Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell MLA, over the last two weeks to ensure they have conducted due diligence on the Tascann proposal. I do not consider the advice I have received sufficient to warrant Minister Adams issuing a licence under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1929.

The licence was issued to Tascann under section 7A of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1927. This provision was included in 1997 for the purpose of establish an industrial-grade hemp industry on Norfolk Island. There is no reasonable prospect of a hemp industry being established on Norfolk Island in the near future and Tascann’s proposal to cultivate cannabis for medical treatments is fundamentally different to, and inconsistent with, this purpose.

The potential social, economic and environmental impacts of Tascann’s proposal were not properly identified and assessed prior to the issue of the licence. The haste in which the licence was granted has also reduced the opportunity for the community to be adequately consulted. The Chief Minister has suggested to me that these steps can be undertaken at a later date; however I consider this inappropriate given the sensitive nature of the proposal.

The Australian Government has a range of obligations under international law regarding the cultivation and trade of illicit drugs. The licence issued to Tascann may not adequately address these obligations and it was issued without consulting the relevant federal authorities.

In light of these matters I have made the decision to cancel the licence with immediate effect.


His Honour The Hon Gary Hardgrave

Administrator – Australian Territory of Norfolk island
14 August 2014
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

VISIT OF HMA SHIPS LABUAN & TARAKAN



His Honour the Administrator, the Honourable Gary Hardgrave would like to advise the community of the forthcoming visit of the Royal Australian Navy to Norfolk Island.


HMA Ships Labuan and Tarakan will be visiting the island from Friday 15th August and departing on Monday 18th August 2014.  The ships will anchor at either Kingston or Cascade depending on prevailing weather conditions at the time of arrival.  The ships will be under the command of Lieutenant Chris Cockerill, RAN and Lieutenant James Carroll, RAN .  Some of the ships’ companies will come ashore during their brief visit and look forward to participating in local social and sporting events.  


The Royal Australian Navy has three remaining Landing Craft Heavy (LCH).   


The LCH fleet has had a long link to Northern Australia and neighbouring countries throughout their service, playing a critical role in peacekeeping and resupply in Bougainville and East Timor.


They were there to help Darwin after Cyclone Tracey in 1974 and more recently, they assisted Queensland in the clean up after Cyclone Yasi in 2011.


While the ships are due to be decommissioned later this year, they continue to work hard to maintain the Navy’s amphibious capabilities.


After the visit to Norfolk Island, Labuan and Tarakan are undertaking a South West Pacific deployment to New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.


His Honour would like to take this opportunity to wish the crew of both ships a very warm welcome to the island.


Enquiries regarding the visit can be directed to the Office of the Administrator on telephone 22152 or Mr Terence Grube on 54848.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

 

8 August 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PRIVACY DATA COLLECTION BY THE ADMINISTRATION



The Administration of Norfolk Island is in the process of updating their Finance and Land Registry name and address details.


To that end a letter has been sent to all persons who have a registered interest in land to clarify that the owners contact details held by the Administration are correct. In those instances where the contact details are different or don’t correspond there is an opportunity for the owner to correct this by returning the information to a secure box provided at the Post Office by the 1st September 2014.


The collection of this data is to comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth).


Further information can be obtained by contacting the Registry office on 23691 or on 22001 extension 4.


Jon Gibbons

Chief Executive Officer

 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT - HOUSEHOLD and BUSINESS INCOME and EXPENDITURE SURVEY 2014


These surveys were conducted during the week of 23rd July 2014, with most collections complete by the 26th July.


After collections on the 26th July, 752 household surveys and 241 business surveys were checked and readied for data entry. 


Contracted data entry personnel advise that most business surveys and about 35% of household surveys have been entered to date.  There are some business surveys still outstanding.


It is anticipated that data entry will be completed within the next week. Analysis of the data and preparation of appropriate income and expenditure reports will be completed before the end of August, allowing for the final report to be distributed in early September.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who participated by completing a survey.  The information will give all of us a more informed view of the state of households and businesses in Norfolk Island.


Bruce Taylor (Statistician for the Norfolk Island Government) 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXPERTS ENGAGED ON NORFOLK ISLAND REFORMS



The Australian Government has engaged the Centre for International Economics to advise on reform options for Norfolk Island.


Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development the Hon Jamie Briggs MP has advised me members of the Centre for International Economics would soon commence work with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to develop an economic model of Norfolk Island.

The model will measure the possible economic impacts of proposed reforms, including the extension of federal social security and taxation.

These reforms will see a wide range of changes occur on Norfolk Island and it is important the impact of these changes is fully understood.

The Australian Government remains committed to a broad reform agenda for Norfolk Island.
The Australian Government and the Norfolk Island Government have a shared commitment to adjustment and reform for long-term benefits to the people of Norfolk Island.

Members of the Centre for International Economics will soon travel to Norfolk Island and will be available to meet with the Norfolk Island Government and members of the local business community.

It is expected the Centre for International Economics will deliver a report on the impacts of the proposed reforms to the Australian Government by September this year.
I will also soon announce members of a new Administrator’s Business Advisory Group which will be charged to provide views directly to me on ongoing and new economic development opportunities for Norfolk Island.

The Administrator’s Business Advisory Group will consist of local business people with a variety of views to create a positive dynamic and plan for the future.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave
6 August 2014
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

JOHN STANHOPE LETTER TO THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE



Please 'contact us' for more information.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY








Please 'contact us' for more information.

RESPONSE TO SUBMISSION BY FORMER ADMINISTRATOR


Following publication of the Submission by Mr Neil Pope, former Administrator of Norfolk Island, to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories Inquiry into Economic Development in Norfolk Island, the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, the Hon Robin Adams acting on behalf of the Norfolk Island Government in the absence of the Chief Minister has written to Assistant Minister Jamie Briggs and provided yet again, a copy of the Preferred Model for Territory Self Governance. Minister Adams gave an undertaking to the community when speaking on VL2NI last Tuesday to publish a copy of the Norfolk Island Government’s letter to Minister Briggs expressing its concern at comments made by Mr Pope to the Joint Standing Committee. A copy of that letter follows.

The Norfolk Island Government has again sought a meeting with Assistant Minister Briggs to discuss all outstanding issues and in particular Norfolk Island’s preferred model for territory self-governance having regard to evidence given to the Committee by the Department and the former Administrator and their recommendations as to future governance for Norfolk Island.

It was reassuring that the Department’s Supplementary Submission to the Inquiry reaffirmed Assistant Minister Brigg’s undertaking to the Norfolk Island Government that he will consult Norfolk Island on future governance issues as follows: 

“Issue: Norfolk Island proposed models of self-governance 

Norfolk view: the Australian Government has not provided comments on the Norfolk Island preferred models of self-governance (dating back to July 2011 and May 2013) and this is hindering investment in Norfolk Island.

Department comment: The Australian Government is considering reforms to governance arrangements as part of its deliberations on the election commitment to extend federal taxation and social security to Norfolk Island. The Community of Norfolk Island has been given the opportunity by the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, The Hon Jamie Briggs MP to express its views on future governance of Norfolk Island to the Australian Government. Assistant Minister Briggs has also committed to further consultations with Norfolk Island on these issues.”

The Norfolk Island Government would be pleased to receive a copy of any submission provided by Members of the community to Assistant Minister Briggs in response to his request for views on future governance for Norfolk Island. This information will assist the Norfolk Island Government when considering the options presented to it by Assistant Minister Briggs.

The Preferred Model for Territory Self-Governance which was adopted by the 13th Legislative Assembly in July 2011; re-affirmed by the 14th Legislative Assembly in May 2013 and published again in March 2014 is repeated below.

“NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT’S PREFERRED MODEL FOR TERRITORY SELF GOVERNANCE

1. Territory Institutions
Current Territory institutions to remain.

Territory Executive comprising an Administrator and Ministry elected from a
Territory Parliament;
Territory Legislative Assembly;
Territory public service or Administration;
Territory Courts and Tribunals:

2. Territory Government responsibilities and functions

A. Norfolk Island Government to transfer to the Commonwealth any
federal functions in accordance with the process outlined in the Road
Map.

Noting the Norfolk Island Government’s preference is to defer removal of local
permit controls on residents pending review of the efficacy of land and planning
controls in achieving the same population management outcomes in the Territory
context. A local permit regime can coexist with the federal immigration regime
when extended to Norfolk Island.

B. Norfolk Island Government to retain State and Local Government type
functions.

C. Funding for Norfolk Island Government’s delivery of public infrastructure and State and Local Government type functions to be shared with the Commonwealth, similar to other self governing jurisdictions within the federal taxation system.”

Robin Adams
Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services
25 July 2014
CONTACT:

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MINISTER ADAMS RESPONSES TO NEIL POPE SUBMISSION



Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMMUNITY TITLE BILL 2014 HAVE YOU HAD YOUR SAY!


The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Ron Ward reminds the community that the time for comment on the exposure draft of the Community Title Bill will conclude on Thursday, 31 July 2014.


The following documents were tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 21 May 2014 and can be accessed on line at www.info.gov.nf under the heading Legislative Assembly/Exposure Drafts of Bills.

  • Exposure Draft Community Title Bill 2014; and
  • Explanatory Memorandum relating to the Bill.

Comments should be addressed to Hon Ron Ward, MLA, Minister for the Environment, Legislative Assembly, Norfolk Island or email rjward@assembly.gov.nf or achiefofstaff@assembly.gov.nf

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLE MEETING





Please 'contact us' for more information.

HOUSEHOLD and BUSINESS INCOME and EXPENDITURE SURVEYS 2014


Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMPARISON OF EDUCATION SERVICES


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams MLA, provided the  community last week with the results of the comparison of Health Services between the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise and Christmas Island. This week Minister Adams has released a comparison of education services.

“The Principal has prepared a report as part of a milestone commitment under the June 2013 Funding Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Norfolk Island Administration”, the
Minister said. “This milestone required that the Norfolk Island education budget be benchmarked against equivalent services in New South Wales to identify appropriate service levels, against specific staffing levels, to ensure benchmarks are not eroded or where greater than NSW standards, appropriate savings measures can be applied. The benchmarking was to be with a small rural community of similar size and population and Bowraville Central School and Lightning Ridge Central School in NSW were chosen. I provide this report to the community so that they can acknowledge the excellent results achieved at our local school”, the Minister said.

“I extend my thanks to the Principal and all of the Norfolk Island Central School staff for the
outcomes they achieve with the students at our School and the dedication that they show to their work”, Minister Adams said.

The Norfolk Island Road Map (March 2012) provides that the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Governments agree to work together to consider ways to provide facilities and opportunities for excellent education outcomes on the Island for future employment; and to investigate the expansion of educational opportunities for tertiary and vocational education. A review on the provision of education to the Island commenced in October 2013 under the chairmanship of Mrs. Melissa Ward MLA. The Education Review Working Group Report will assist the Norfolk Island Government with its considerations.

Robin Adams
Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services
10 July 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHIEF MINISTER TO ATTEND COMMONWEALTH GAMES


I have been requested to give an update to the community in relation to the Commonwealth Games Team and my attendance at those Games.


Members of the community will, I am in no doubt, join me in congratulating all those athletes who have been selected to represent Norfolk Island at the 20th Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow from 23 July to 4 August 2014.


Norfolk Island will be represented in Badminton, Lawn Bowls Squash, Clay Target and Pistol Shooting, and will have a team of 33 athletes and officials.  The team will be accompanied by other supporters from the Island and Brentt Adams is the accredited media for Norfolk Island.  It is fitting that the Games are being held in Scotland this year as it was in Edinburgh Scotland that Norfolk Island was admitted to the Commonwealth Games Federation in its own right in 1986.


As Chief Minister I was pleased to receive an invitation from the Norfolk Island Amateur Sports and Commonwealth Games Association to attend the Games and although no funding was available to assist with travel costs, I accepted the invitation and I will attend and meet my own travel costs. The cost of my accommodation in Scotland will be provided by the host country.  Games passes and other benefits may be provided to me during my visit.


I look forward to attending the Games and giving support to our athletes.  During the period of my absence from Norfolk Island I will be undertaking official duties and will attend a conference and function organised by the Scottish Parliament Commonwealth Games Diplomacy and Dignitary Management Team. 


In addition, I received an invitation of Her Majesty’s Government and the Lord Provost of Glasgow to attend the First World War Commonwealth Commemorative Event to be held on 4 August 2014, however, as I will leave Scotland to return to Norfolk Island prior to this event, the Hon Tim Sheridan will represent Norfolk Island.  It is anticipated that 1400 people will attend the service including members of the Armed Forces, the British Legion, faith groups and organisations representing your people.  Tim’s attendance at the event is fitting as he will be a participant in the Games and is a returned serviceman.

 

 

 

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

11 July 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

SURVEYS of HOUSEHOLD and BUSINESS INCOME and EXPENDITURE 2014


The Funding Agreement for the Territory of Norfolk Island requires the Norfolk Island Government to undertake Income and Expenditure surveys for households and businesses across Norfolk Island.

 

The information gained will assist the Norfolk Island Government to know more about the island’s economy, and evaluate the island’s cost of living.  The information will also assist the Norfolk Island and Commonwealth Governments to better understand the capacity to raise money to fund the delivery of services in Norfolk Island.

 

What is a household?  A household is a domestic group living and eating together.  A person living alone is also a household.  Someone who lives with a family and provides food for himself / herself constitutes a separate household.  Someone who is working offshore but provides financial assistance to their family on NI is considered part of a household.  A survey must be completed by each household.

 

What is a business?  Any person(s) carrying on business on NI must complete a survey.  Businesses would include:

-            Those registered for GST in NI.

-            Those that sell goods online, or at local markets, or from home roadside stalls, to the public.

-            Those that sell a service (lawn mowing, cleaning, maintenance, gardening, etc) for remuneration to customers on NI.  

-            Those that supply or provide a professional service (legal, accounting, IT, etc) for remuneration to customers on NI and offshore.

-            Those that receive royalties (or similar remuneration) for services, products, Intellectual Property (IP) etc.

 

There are several instances in NI where multiple businesses are owned by a single person, or a parent business entity.  It is permissible to submit a single completed survey for all businesses rather than complete a survey for each business.

 

In those instances where a business is owned by multiple people, only one survey should be completed for that business.  Please think about who is best to complete the survey and let the survey officer know who that person is when they deliver to your household.

 

How will privacy of information be ensured?  There are several important points about privacy of information provided for these surveys.

-            The Census and Statistics Act 1961 provides that the information cannot be seen by anyone other than Survey staff.

-            Each staff member, including the Statistician, Survey Supervisor and Field Collectors, is legally bound to maintain confidentiality. 

-            There is no requirement in the survey to provide names of people or businesses. 

-            Once the surveys have been readied for data entry by the Survey Supervisor, it will not be possible to link a completed survey back to any person or business.

-            MLAs in NI, Administration of NI employees, and representatives of the Commonwealth, will not be able to read through the completed surveys.  They will only be able to read aggregated results, not individual surveys.

-            Persons employed to do data entry will not be the same people who delivered and collected surveys.

 

What are the key dates for the surveys?  The surveys will be delivered to households by Field Collectors between the 17th and 19th July 2014. The household survey must be completed on the evening of the 23rd July 2014 for all persons in the household who are 15 years of age and older.  Business surveys must be completed by the 23rd July 2014 using information available for the financial year to 30th June 2014.  Completed surveys will be collected between the 24th and 26th July 2014.

 

What can I do now?   It will help if you start collecting weekly or annual data (for each person in the household 15 years and over) now for:

-            Wages and / or salaries

-            Business, professional or farm income

-            Income from Workers Compensation

-            Income from interest, dividends, rent, royalties, profits from sales, pension, superannuation, gratuities, gifts etc

-            Total household assets – property, cash, retirement funds, own business, shares etc held in Norfolk Island and elsewhere

-            Home loan repayments

-            Costs of electricity/gas, personal loan repayments, credit card payments, medical insurance, motor vehicle (fuel, registration, CTP etc), childcare, telephone and Internet, cigarettes, alcohol, entertainment, dining out, food and clothing, financial support for others on- and off-island

 

Business information required for the financial year 2013-14 will include:

-            Income

-            Expenses – wages and salaries, employer contributions to superannuation, Workers Comp costs, purchases, insurance premiums, rent and leasing costs for land/buildings, interest expenses, depreciation, intellectual property rents or royalties, GST, other expenses, capital spend

-            Estimates of business equity: assets (cash-on-hand, receivables, inventory, plant and equipment), less liabilities (payables, debt)

 

What if I need help completing the surveys?  The Field Collectors can help you to complete the surveys.  Also, if you are vision impaired or unable to write for example, ask the Field Collector for assistance.

 

Where can I find more information about the survey?  Visit the NI Government website at http://www.info.gov.nf/nia/MediaRelease/ for past media releases.

 

If your household or business has not received a survey form by the evening of 19 July 2014, or you have questions about the survey, please contact Wally Beadman, Survey Field Supervisor on 50394 or by email surveysupervisor@admin.gov.nf.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

GREETINGS FOR TYNWALD DAY


On Saturday 5th July the Isle of Man celebrates its National Day, Tynwald Day. In recognition of the special relationship that Norfolk Island shares with the Isle of Man and the Cultural Agreement between these two Islands, the Hon Ron Nobbs, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assemlby, sent the following letter to the Hon Clare Christian, President of the Isle of Man -                             

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND MUNICIPAL RATING IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY


The focus of the Norfolk Island Municipal Rating Implementation Strategy 2014/15 - 
2017/18 (referred to as the Municipal Rating Strategy) is to determine the methods to 
be used by the Norfolk Island Government to rate property owners in the Island 
commencing 2014/15 for a period of four years. 
 
The Municipal Rating Strategy has been developed with input from the Land 
Valuation and Property Tax Working Group and Norfolk Island Members of the 
Legislative Assembly. 
 
In introducing a Municipal Rating Strategy it is noted that the Norfolk Island 
Government needs to regularly evaluate its rating system to ensure it satisfies its 
legislative objectives as well as ratepayer satisfaction. The Norfolk Island 
Government has prepared and adopted this Municipal Rating Strategy to assist in 
guiding both the Commonwealth and the community in its understanding of rating 
concepts and decisions relevant to Norfolk Island. 
 
The amount of rates to be collected by the Norfolk Island Government depends 
initially upon the requirements as set by the 2013/14 Funding Agreement and then in 
later years upon considered decisions of the Government. These decisions are made 
by establishing the quantity and quality of services that are to be provided and the 
amount that can be recovered from other revenue sources. The amount of rates 
collected will represent the difference between the total expenses budget 
appropriated by the Norfolk Island Government to fund its service delivery programs, 
maintain assets and to service and redeem debt, and the total revenue from all other 
sources. In effect, the rates component will represent the balancing figure between 
total expenses and the income received from all other revenue sources. 
 
The Norfolk Island Government acknowledges that the property rate process does 
not recognise that some individual ratepayers may be “asset rich and income poor”. 
While income tax and goods and services taxes are more reflective of ability to pay, it 
is not possible to expect a rating system based on valuation to easily or practically 
cope with aspects of the ability to pay as experienced by individual households and 
businesses. Given this, Norfolk Island Government will provide an alternative rating 
system to that based upon valuations as well as flexible payment options to any 
ratepayer experiencing genuine hardship. 


Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMPARISON OF SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ENTERPRISE HEALTH SERVICE AND TEH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORIES HEALTH SERVICE (CHRISTMAS ISLAND)








Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMPARISON OF HEALTH SERVICES NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ENTERPRISE/INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORIES HEALTH SERVICES (CHRISTMAS ISLAND)


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams MLA, explained today that the Director of the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise recently completed a funding agreement milestone requirement; which was to benchmark the Norfolk Island Hospital Health Service against  the Indian Ocean Territories Health Service.


“I would like to provide the benchmarking report to the community for them to be proud of the health services that Norfolk Island offers, especially considering the small operating annual budget of  our Hospital Enterprise”, Minister Adams said.


“I take this opportunity to thank the Director, all of the Norfolk Island Hospital staff including visiting  specialists and allied health professionals for the excellent work that they undertake and provide to  the community everyday”, Minister Adams said.

“The Norfolk Island Government continues to have preliminary discussions with the Commonwealth  on the October 2013 Norfolk Island draft Health Service Plan prepared by Nexus Management Consulting. I will keep the community updated on the discussions as they progress”, Minister Adams  said.


Robin Adams
Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND HOUSEHOLD and BUSINESS INCOME and EXPENDITURE SURVEYS


What are the surveys?   The Funding Agreement for the Territory of Norfolk Island requires the Norfolk Island Government to complete surveys for Household Income and Expenditure, and Business Income and Expenditure Survey – across Norfolk Island.


Every household will be delivered a survey for completion on the night of 23 July 2014.  Business owners must complete a survey for their businesses by the 23 July 2014 and should use best available information for the financial year ending 30 June 2014.


Why is this important?   The survey results will provide the Norfolk Island Government with better data to size the Norfolk Island economy, better evaluate the island’s cost of living, and comply with a key condition under the Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth.  The data obtained will also assist governments to better understand the capacity in Norfolk Island to raise revenue to fund the priorities of government.


Is Survey information private and confidential?  Yes.  All information collected is strictly private and confidential.  The Census and Statistics Act 1961 provides that the information cannot be seen by anyone other than Survey staff.  Each staff member, including the Statistician, Survey Supervisor and Field Collectors, is legally bound to maintain confidentiality.  There is no requirement in the survey to provide names of people or businesses.  Once the surveys have been readied for data entry, it will not be possible to link a completed survey back to any person or business.


Is the Survey compulsory?   Yes.  The Survey is compulsory and is authorised by the Census and Statistic Act 1961.  Every person 15 years or over in each household on the 23 July 2014 must be included on a survey form.  Information for businesses that operated in Norfolk Island during the financial year ending 30 June 2014 must be included in a survey.


How will the Survey be conducted?  Survey Field Collectors will have an identification card and will deliver survey forms to households and for businesses between 17 July 2014 and 19 July 2014.  If there is no one home at the time the survey will be left at the premises, for example under the door.  Households will be required to complete the Survey form on the 23 July 2014.   Business surveys must also be completed by 23 July 2014.  From 24 July 2014 Field Collectors will collect the completed Surveys sealed in the envelopes provided.  If you are not at home at collection time please leave the envelope where the Collector can easily find it.


What can I do now?   For the household survey, you should start collecting information (for each person in the household 15 years and over) that will be needed to complete the survey using weekly or annual data for:

-          Wages and / or salaries

-          Business, professional or farm income

-          Income from Workers Compensation

-          Income from interest, dividends, rent, royalties, profits from sales, pension, superannuation, gratuities, gifts etc

-          Total household assets – property, cash, retirement funds, shares etc held in Norfolk Island and elsewhere

-          Home loan repayments

-          Costs of electricity/gas, personal loan repayments, credit card payments, medical insurance, motor vehicle (fuel, registration, CTP etc), childcare, telephone and Internet, cigarettes, alcohol, entertainment, dining out, food and clothing, financial support for others on- and off-island

 

Business information required for the financial year 2014-15 will include:

-          Income

-          Expenses – wages and salaries, employer contributions to superannuation, Workers Comp costs, purchases, insurance premiums, rent and leasing costs for land/buildings, interest expenses, depreciation, intellectual property rents or royalties, GST, other expenses, capital spend

-          Estimates of business equity: assets (cash-on-hand, receivables, inventory, plant and equipment), less liabilities (payables, debt)

 

For more information call Wally Beadman, Survey Field Supervisor, on 50394 or by email surveysupervisor@admin.gov.nf.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

SURVEYS of HOUSEHOLD BUSINESS INCOME and EXPENDITURE


The Funding Agreement for the Territory of Norfolk Island requires the Norfolk Island Government to undertake Income and Expenditure surveys for households and businesses across Norfolk Island.


The information gained will assist the Norfolk Island Government to know more about the island’s economy, and evaluate the island’s cost of living.  The information will also assist the Norfolk Island and Commonwealth Governments to better understand the capacity to raise money to fund the delivery of services in Norfolk Island.


The Census and Statistics Act 1961 requires that all households and businesses complete a survey.


The Household Survey is to be completed on the evening of 23 July 2014 and must include all members of the household over 15 years of age.


The Business Survey is to be completed by the 23 July 2014 using business information for the financial year ending 30 June 2014.


A Q and A sheet about these surveys is available in this week’s media. 


Survey Field Collectors will be delivering survey forms to households between the 17 July 2014 and 19 July 2014.


If your household or business has not received a survey form by the evening of 19 July 2014, or you have questions about the survey, please contact Wally Beadman, Survey Field Supervisor on 50394 or by email surveysupervisor@admin.gov.nf.  

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXPRESSION OF INTEREST - APPOINTMENT OF VALUER - GENERAL FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



THE ADMINISTRATION OF NORFOLK ISLAND

 

            Expression of Interest – Appointment of Valuer-General for Norfolk Island

The Administration of Norfolk Island is seeking to appoint a person to the role of Valuer-General for the island. The appointment will be for a period of 5 years with an option for appointment for another 5 years.


The appointment is made under the Land Valuation Act 2012 and the position description and details about how to lodge an expression of interest is available at the Administration of Norfolk Island website at  www.norfolkisland.gov.nf


A draft contract of service containing the position criteria, detail as to how to respond to an expression of interest, evaluation criteria, a draft copy of the contract of engagement and a copy of the Land Valuation Act 2012 is available at the Administration of Norfolk Island web site.


Written expressions of interest close at 4.30pm on Friday 25 July 2014 and should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Administration of Norfolk Island, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 or emailed to registry@admin.gov.nf  and marked ‘Expression of Interest – Appointment of Valuer-General for Norfolk Island’


                                                                                    Jon Gibbons

                                                                                    Chief Executive Officer

                                                                                    Administration of Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY OF NORFOLK ISLAND AND THE CHIEF MINISTER




Please 'contact us' for more information.

EIGHT APPRENTICESHIPS FOR LOCALS



Reuben Bigg is a successful recipient of the Commonwealth funded apprenticeship/traineeship scholarships for Norfolk Island.

“I am pleased that the concept we pushed in late 2012 is now a reality with eight scholarships recently awarded through the Norfolk Island Apprenticeship/Traineeship Scholarship Initiative” said His Honour Neil Pope.

Reuben is employed by Trevor Gow Building and is studying an apprenticeship in carpentry.  The other seven successful scholarship recipients are undertaking apprenticeships relevant to occupations including motor mechanic, electrician, cabinetmaker, greenkeeper and hairdresser.

The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope said the aim of the scholarships is to grow the skilled workforce in both traditional trade and non-trade areas through the provision of Commonwealth financial assistance to support participation in apprenticeships/traineeship opportunities.

Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HEALTHCARE UPDATE


The Hon Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, wants to remind Healthcare members that the Healthcare Office cannot accept applications for
Exemption or Suspension after 30 June 2014 for the current quarter.

In addition, Minister Adams advised that changes to the Healthcare Regulations were made today at Executive Council. “The change was to clarify the procedure for members making
any claims for reimbursement of medical costs in a financial year; that members must lodge their claim with the Manager of Healthcare by 30 September following the end of that
financial year. That is, for those members making a claim this financial year, 2013/2014, the claim must be received by 30 September 2014” the Minister said.

“The change above occurs whilst the Norfolk Island Government continues to seek from the
Commonwealth a concrete timeframe for the extension of Medicare to the island” the
Minister said.

Robin Adams
Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services
Date 27 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHIEF MINISTERS UPDATE


The Hon Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, today received a letter from the Hon Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.

“I thank Minister Briggs for his prompt response and note that he is providing a copy to the Norfolk Island community. To give context to Minister Briggs’ letter received by me today, I
herewith provide to the Norfolk Island community the Norfolk Island Government’s letter to Minister Briggs dated 25 June 2014. The community will recall that I read into Hansard, at the
11 June 2014 formal sitting of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, the letter received from Minister Briggs dated 5 June, articulating the Commonwealth’s additional requirements to secure Commonwealth funding, and also my 11 June response.

“The Hansard extract was published in the Norfolk Islander on 14 June 2014 and is also
available online at http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/legislativeassembly/hansard.html” Mr Snell
said.

I also provide a copy of the letter to Minister Briggs of 12 June 2014, written by the Hon Tim
Sheridan, Minister for Finance, on the advice of the Commonwealth Financial Officer.

Lisle D. Snell
Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism
Date 27 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CONGRATULATIONS NORFOLK ISLAND



Trip Advisor has recently announced its major 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards that Norfolk
Island has won this year which include -.
     · Norfolk Island being ranked No. 7 in the top 10 South Pacific Islands;
     · Fletchers Mutiny Cyclorama is ranked No. 5 in the Top 10 Landmarks in Australia and
      No. 6 in the top 25 Landmarks in the South Pacific;
     · Emily Bay – No. 24 in the Top 25 Beaches in Australia.

The following have been ranked No. 1 on Norfolk Island –
     · Paradise Hotel & Resort – No. 1 Hotel Accommodation
     · Endeavour Lodge – No. 1 Specialty Accommodation
     · Café Tempo – No. 1 Café
     · Norfolk Blue – No. 1 Restaurant.

“Trip Advisor is the world’s number one source for consumer driven feedback on travel with
millions of travellers rating destinations, attractions, accommodation and restaurants every
day. This online version of ‘word of mouth’ advertising connects to a huge audience and plays a significant role in the marketing of Norfolk Island.

“For Norfolk Island to receive this level of recognition in the Trip Advisor Travellers Choice
Awards for 2014 is a fantastic endorsement of the wonderful tourism product we have on
island. To rate so high in such a competitive industry also highlights what a unique and quality

experience Norfolk Island offers travellers. It is great to see our visitors enjoying our Island
and sharing their positive experiences online” Mr Glen Buffett, General Manager of Norfolk
Island Government Tourist Bureau said.

“I offer my congratulations to the recipients of these awards for their efforts on behalf of
Norfolk Island which further promotes our wonderful destination” Mr Snell said.

Lisle D. Snell
Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism
Date 27 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

STATEMENT - HON LISLE SNELL, MLA CHIEF MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR TOURISM - FAREWELL TO ADMINISTRATOR


Mr Speaker


As this is the last occasion upon which we will sit during the term of current Administrator of Norfolk Island, the Hon Neil Pope Administrator, I take this opportunity on behalf of us all here and the community of Norfolk Island to extend to the Administrator and Mrs Jen Pope I sincere thanks for their contribution to the community of Norfolk Island.  Neil’s term as Administrator will conclude on 30 June 2014.  Neil’s term as Administrator commenced on 1 April 2012.


Mr Speaker, Members will recall that at the time of his appointment as the 36th Administrator of Norfolk Island by the Governor-General of Australia we were advised that Neil has had a distinguished career as a local government officer and member of the Parliament of Victoria from 1982 to 1992.


Neil was the Labor member for Monbulk in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1982 to 1992. He was the Victorian Minister for Labour from 1988 to 1992, Minister for Youth Affairs from 1988 to 1991 and Minister for School Education from January to October in 1992.

Immediately prior to his appointment, Neil was Managing Director of Neil Pope and Associates, a Human Resources and Employment Relations consultancy practice that has consulted to many of the top 200 companies in Australia and to all three tiers of government across most States of Australia.


When the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Hon. Simon Crean announced the appointment of Neil as Administrator of Norfolk Island he said “Mr Pope’s long and impressive career in state and local government, together with his recent management consultancy experience will greatly assist in overseeing the implementation of the reform process.  An important role for the new Administrator will be to continue to foster active community engagement in the reform agenda by providing opportunities for all residents and stakeholders.”


Mr Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution made to this community by both Neil and Jen in allowing their home, Government House, to be open to visitors and for the financial contribution to the community groups during their time in Government House, a staggering $32,000 last financial year.  In addition, to Jen, thank you for your tireless efforts in assisting community groups as their Patron and for your initiative and drive in establishing new community groups, particularly Natin.


To both Neil and Jen we wish you god speed as you return to your family and friends in Australia.  We trust that Norfolk Island will hold a special place in your memories and we look forward to welcoming you back.


Thank you, Mr Speaker

Please 'contact us' for more information.

THANK YOU NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNITY FROM NEIL AND JEN



We leave Norfolk Island on Monday after 27 months as Administrator and wife.


We extend a huge thank you for embracing us as part of your wonderful community. This has been such a special experience for us and one we feel very privileged to have had.


We will be leaving Norfolk Island with a very heavy heart on the plane on Monday, but leave here in the knowledge that we now have more lifelong friends.


A special big thank you to our staff at Government House, Julia, Di, Jane and Jamie, and similarly to Anne, Barb, Ginny, Steve and Alison in the Office.


We trust you embrace the Hon Gary Hardgrave and Mrs Hardgrave as you have embraced us.

With warm good wishes to you all.


Neil and Jen Pope

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXOTIC PEST ALERT: POTATO-TOMATO PSYLLID ERADICATION PLAN


BACKGROUND

Tomato/ Potato psyllids have now been confirmed at six Norfolk Island localities in low numbers. As this pest and associated agricultural disease pose such threat to our fresh produce supply and food security, an island wide Psyllid eradication project is being developed and possible project funding details are currently being worked through. The associated liberibacter bacteria have been identified at three locations.


This pest insect and the bacterial disease pose a massive threat to our food security, our capacity to produce healthy fresh produce, and poses a biosecurity risk to our regional neighbours not already affected by these pests.

NEXT STEPS

  • Since the emergence of this issue most growers and many others have indicated a strong support for an eradication effort. Eradication can only succeed with community support. The acceptance of government appointed officers or other external agents onto private land can be confronting for some. This project will only be progressed if there is strong community support for it to do so.
  • An eradication project has been developed, costed and was included in the Norfolk Island Government’s 2014 -2015 annual supply budget. However the budget was only able to partially cover the projected costs and we are currently working through the consequences of this partial supply.
  • The New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture has been extremely helpful and forthcoming with information including providing links that have revealed several more potential host species.
  • For an eradication project of this scale to be effective it is crucial that:

  1. There is community recognition of the problem and acceptance of the eradication effort, and that all growers are willing to work with the eradication team to achieve a rapid and effective response. Many Norfolk gardens are in secluded settings that could easily be missed if owners are not forthcoming. Unchecked gardens amount to causing failure of the eradication attempt. There will also be a need for growers to take various crop management actions to aid the eradication attempt.

  1. All possible measures are taken to minimise transportation of produce and related agricultural materials. Preventive measures will need to be taken to ensure tractors and other farm machinery are adequately cleaned prior to movement between properties.

  1. That household waste containing vegetable material is properly disposed of to avoid contamination of farms and gardens.

  1. While growers are the initial and primary observers, all gardens and likely host plants need to be thoroughly inspected by those who have the knowledge and reference materials to rely on.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

As growers take advantage of the wetter months to revive their gardens, and as potato crops derived from recent consignments of imported seed potatoes develop, it is highly likely there will be more affected gardens identified. Growers need to be on the alert for symptoms. It is asked that all commercial and home growers view the psyllids material held at the Quarantine office and regularly inspect their crops, particularly Tomato, Capsicum, Potato and sweet potato (Kumara). The psyllids (adults and young) can be difficult to find and identify, so please have your gardens checked by those who have the knowledge and reference materials to rely on.


Any concerns should be referred to Quarantine officer Mr Neil (Snowy) Tavener) in the first instance.


The Norfolk Island Quarantine Office continues to progress the survey field work and data collection to determine distribution of the psyllids and the bacteria.

If suspected infestations are found it is better to refer the infestation for coordinated control rather than individuals taking a range of control measures that could limit success of island wide control effort. There is no cost to land holders for inspection or control works instigated by the Administration.

 

All queries regarding the psyllids and the risks they pose to local agricultural production should be directed to the Health and Quarantine Office on phone 22609 during their business hours.


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

26th June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMMUNITY TITLE BILL 2014 - HAVE YOUR SAY


The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Ron Ward tabled the following documents in the Legislative Assembly on 21 May 2014:

  • Exposure Draft Community Title Bill 2014; and
  • Explanatory Memorandum relating to the Bill.

These documents represent a further step towards the introduction of community title and strata title into Norfolk Island. 

 

The community will recall that in 2012, during the term of the 13th Legislative Assembly, the University of New South Wales was retained to prepare a White Paper on the introduction of strata title in Norfolk Island.  


The White Paper was prepared by Professor Peter Butt and Senior Lecturer, Cathy Sherry, both of whom are highly regarded Australian property lawyers with a particular interest in strata title issues.   The White Paper was tabled in the House by the Hon Tim Sheridan in April 2012.


In September 2013 this Government issued a Position Paper in response to the numerous recommendations set out in the White Paper.   The Government’s position was broadly in agreement with most, if not all of the White Paper recommendations.


The Exposure Draft Community Title Bill 2014 has been developed for public review and comment.  The Explanatory Memorandum provides a fairly comprehensive outline of the operation of the Bill.   Also included is a comparison of White Paper recommendations, the Norfolk Island Government Position Paper responses and references and commentary as to the implementation of the recommendations within the Bill.


The introduction of community title legislation will require amendments to other legislation, the introduction of regulations and, of particular importance, variation of the Norfolk Island Plan made under the Planning Act 2002.  The changes to the Norfolk Island Plan needed for community title purposes will be considered in the context of the statutory review of the Plan due to be completed in early 2015.


The Minister continues to seek public comment on any issues or concerns arising out of the Exposure Draft which can be accessed on line at www.info.gov.nf  under the headings Legislative Assembly/Exposure Drafts of Bills.


Please note that the time for you to have your say on the draft Bill will close on Thursday, 31 July 2014.  Comments should be addressed to Hon Ron Ward, MLA, Minister for the Environment, Legislative Assembly, Norfolk Island or email rjward@assembly.gov.nf or achiefofstaff@assembly.gov.nf


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

26 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MUNICIPAL RATING STRATEGY


Hon. Tim Sheridan, the Minister for Finance would like to provide the community with an update on the proposed introduction of municipal rates on Norfolk Island.


The Norfolk Island Government is required under the Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth to develop a municipal rating strategy and the implementation of municipal rates was linked to the grant funding for the Cascade Pier project by Minister Briggs in February 2014.


 “A municipal rating strategy has been developed that provides for a model unique to Norfolk Island.  The model is a levy system in which income raised is more directly focused on the provision of government services. The Norfolk Island Government considers a levy system to be more equitable than land valuation in Norfolk Island.


“Furthermore, the Norfolk Island Government acknowledges that some residents have a close affiliation with their traditional land and trusts that this model will help with the implementation of such a new system to the island as a whole acknowledging that many residents are asset rich and pocket poor”, the Minister said.


 “The Commonwealth was provided with the Strategy on 4 June 2014 to allow their assessment of the Strategy during the month of June, at this stage the Government has not been provided with formal feedback.    Once a model has been agreed by the Commonwealth it is my intention to hold a community public meeting to discuss municipal rates in more detail and to allow the community to have input before the draft municipal rating legislation is finalised” the Minister said.


The Norfolk Island Government continues to suggest a phasing in period and have worked on the target of raising an additional $1 million in revenue which was detailed in the 2013-14 Funding Agreement.  The phasing in period we have suggested is 25% in the first year, 50% in year two, 75% in year three and 100% in year four.  This would mean, based on the model put to the Commonwealth, that a household with only one residential property would pay a total of $94.29 in year one, and $377.15 in year four ”, the Minister said.


Minister Sheridan reminds the community that municipal rates will unfortunately not replace current user charges such as water assurance, waste management and fuel levy but are designed to fund areas such as Public places/cemetery, Environment and planning, as well as Tourism related activities.


The delay in progressing this milestone is as a result of the difficulty Norfolk Island has had in securing a qualified valuer able to conduct such a vast land valuation service on the Island.  Delays continue in securing an appointment of a Valuer-General, which is required under the Land Valuation Act 2012.  The role of the Valuer-General includes the appointment of valuers and to deal with objections and valuation appeals and also maintains the valuation roll.  The Valuer-General must be appointed prior to any valuation based system being implemented.

Minister Briggs in his letter of 5 June 2014, to the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, again states that he also wants a land tax regime introduced on Norfolk Island in addition to municipal rates.  The Norfolk Island Government will be discussing this requirement with Minister Briggs further, as modelling is yet to be undertaken on a possible land tax for the Island, and the Norfolk Island Government is apprehensive about imposing any further imposts on the community without the results of the soon to be conducted Household and Business Survey’s which will assist both governments in determining the community’s ability to pay.


“A considerable amount of work has been undertaken by the public service on this strategy and I thank them for their hard work and commitment in what was a difficult challenge”, Mr Sheridan said.


The Municipal Rating Strategy and Rating Model can be viewed at http://www.info.gov.nf/reports/Municipal%20Rates/  


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

20 June 2014

 

Contact: Chief of Staff, Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, Old Military Barracks, Kingston, Norfolk Island 2899 South PACIFIC. Telephone: (+6723) 22003  Facsimile: (+6723) 23378

Please 'contact us' for more information.

BANYAN PARK 3 YEAR OLDS VISIT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



The Administrator and his wife Jen were this week visited by the 4 year olds early in the week and then the five 3 year olds on Friday.


“It is great having the little ones go through Government House and the different perspective they have on aspects of the House,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Jen said they are always so respectful and inquisitive and it is a delight to take them through, including feeding the fish and seeing the heritage garden.


 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND - THE WAY AHEAD





Please 'contact us' for more information.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE HERITAGE GARDEN OPENS



Government House has established a fruit and vegetable heritage garden in the former livestock area adjacent to the golf course.

The Administrator Neil Pope and his wife Jen have been keen to establish a garden exhibiting all the old fruit and vegetables so well known to the Island’s history.

The development of this area is a further offering for tourists viewing Government House on open days.  Additional funds raised will be contributed to local charities on the Island.

Produce from the garden will be donated through community groups to those in need in the community.

Jen opened the garden on Tuesday 17 June.  She thanked the community for its contribution of vegetable plants, fruit trees and advice. 

In attendance at the opening were Merv Buffett, Charles and Kim Christian-Bailey, Jim Olsen, Rosalie Quintal, Dave Magri and Derek Greenwood.

Fruit and vegetables that may be planted in the garden include: plun (bananas), kale, tomatoes, corn, sweet tatie (kumera), tarla (taro), pumpkins, maize, cabbages, broccoli, zucchini and sweet corn.

“We are so fortunate to have two very enthusiastic gardeners Jane Rutledge and Jamie Ryves who have shown such commitment to the project and who have included this project in their normal weekly routine,” said His Honour Neil Pope

Neil Pope

Administrator

Please 'contact us' for more information.

APPOINTMENT OF NORFOLK ISLAND ADMINISTRATOR


Today I am pleased to announce that the Hon Gary Hardgrave has been appointed as the 37th Administrator of Norfolk Island.  


The two year appointment, to commence on 1 July 2014, was made by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).


Mr Hardgrave served as the federal member for Moreton from 1996 to 2007 and held the ministerial portfolios of Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Vocational and Technical Education and was the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister.


As a former Minister, Mr Hardgrave is well placed to support the Australian Government’s reform agenda for Norfolk Island in close consultation with the community.


The Australian Government is committed to a broad reform agenda for Norfolk Island including integration with Australia’s taxation and social security systems, and examining the most appropriate governance for the Island.  These reforms will be considered by Cabinet later this year.


To address the immediate needs of Norfolk Island, the 2014 Budget committed up to $7.5 million to support essential services including education, health care and policing, with an additional $2 million to fund ongoing governance reforms.


A recent audit by the Australian National Audit Office forecast unfunded deficits for the Norfolk Island Government of $7.4 million in 2014‑15. The funds set aside in the Budget will support the Norfolk Island Government whilst also requiring it to meet specific reform objectives to improve transparency and reduce the Island’s deficit.


The Australian Government is also investing in Norfolk Island’s economic development by committing $13 million to build productivity enhancing infrastructure projects, including an upgrade of Cascade Pier to stimulate tourism and improve freight management.


We have also recently extended Air New Zealand’s air services contract to ensure regular flights to and from Norfolk Island continue until at least 31 July 2016.


I would like to thank outgoing Administrator Mr Neil Pope for his outstanding job in bringing the community together in support of reform.  I would also like to extend my thanks to Mrs Pope, for her dedication to the Norfolk Island community and her invaluable charitable work. I wish them the very best for the future.

 

Contact: Andrew Ockenden        0429 877 721

Please 'contact us' for more information.

OPEN DAYS AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE RAISE $32,000 FOR ISLAND CHARITIES



Charitable organisations on the Island are the beneficiaries of $32,000 from this year’s open days at Government House. Each organisation received a cheque for $1997.37 at Government House on Tuesday 17 June.


“Thanks to the volunteer sitters we have had an excellent year with Government House open days giving more tourists than ever before the opportunity to look through this iconic building. At the same time we have been able to assist the wonderful charities on the Island,” said the wife of the Administrator Jen Pope.


At Government House Neil and Jen held a reception for the regular sitters, and also invited a representative from each of the organisations to receive a cheque.


The Administrator also opened Government House earlier this year to raise money for the Australian families that suffered from the terrible bushfires on the mainland.


 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHIEF MINISTER WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF NEW ADMINISTRATOR


The Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, the Hon Lisle Snell, advised today that he has received advice from the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, that the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia has appointed the Hon Gary Hardgrave as Administrator of Norfolk Island commencing 1 July 2014.


“On behalf of the Government of Norfolk Island and the community of Norfolk Island, I welcome this announcement and we look forward to welcoming Mr and Mrs Hardgrave to Norfolk Island.


“I take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to our outgoing Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope, who will conclude his term as Administrator on 30 June 2014, for the significant role that he has played in assisting Norfolk Island to obtain financial assistance from the Commonwealth Government.  The Norfolk Island Government also extends to Mrs Pope, our heartfelt thanks for the significant contribution made by her to the many community groups she has assisted and/or been instrumental in their establishment.  In particular we acknowledge the considerable sums raised for this community through their preparedness to allow access by visitors to Government House.


“On behalf of us all, I wish Neil and Jen, godspeed as they embark on their next phase in life and I whilst I know that they are pleased to be returning to be with family and friends, I am sure that Norfolk Island will hold a special place in their memories”, Mr Snell said.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

18 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE HON LISLE SNELL, CHIEF MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR TOURISM


Mr Speaker

It is regrettable that the Norfolk Island Government finds itself in this position today. 


The Legislative Assembly made the decision to meet today for the sole purpose to allow the Minister for Finance to present the Appropriation Bill 2014-2015 to authorize expenditure from the public account for the period ending on 30 June 2015.


It is appropriate that the Minister made his Statement as a Matter of Public Importance so that the listening public can understand the situation as to why an Appropriation Bill is not being presented today.


Mr Speaker

The Norfolk Island Government sought assistance from the Commonwealth Government to fund its deficit budget for the 2014-2015 financial year and we were all extremely pleased that the Federal Budget included funding in the sum of $7.5m together with other financial assistance to Norfolk Island.


As the Minister for Finance has said, I issued a Media Release on 14 May 2014, the day after the Federal Budget announcement, acknowledging the announcement and as a result of this the Administration commenced preparation of the budget for the new financial year believing there was certainty in the funding to be provided by the Commonwealth.

It is regrettable that only this morning the Minister for Finance received a letter from the Administrator seeking more information before he is prepared to recommend the Appropriation Bill 2014-15.


The draft Schedules to the Funding Agreement were only provided on the evening of Tuesday, 3 June 2014 for negotiations to commence the next day, that is Wednesday afternoon, the 4 June 2014 and in the morning of Thursday, 5 June 2014.  The negotiations were conducted between officers of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Administrator and the Acting Official Secretary with the Chief Executive Officer, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and the Acting Chief of Staff.


Mr Speaker,

At the time of the negotiations the Norfolk Island officers were not aware that a letter had been written to me by the Hon Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.  The letter was hand delivered to me on Friday, 6 June 2014 by the Administrator.  The letter articulates the Federal Minister’s expectations of the Norfolk Island Government.


It is important for me to point out and to stress that this letter arrived after the discussions which were held the previous two days between Commonwealth Department officers and Norfolk Island Administration officers.  Therefore, the letter containing the Federal Minister’s expectations was not available and therefore not considered during the officer level discussions.


Mr Speaker

There are a number of complex issues to be addressed by the Administration and the Norfolk Island Government in the letter and I have written to Minister Briggs seeking an urgent meeting in Norfolk Island with him to discuss and resolve the commitments by both governments.


I table a copy of the letter from Assistant Minister Briggs dated 5 June 2014 and the Norfolk Island Government’s response dated today.  For the listening public I will read them into Hansard


Letter addressed to the Honourable Lisle Snell MLA, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Government of Norfolk Island, Old Military Barracks, Kingston, Norfolk Island.


“Dear Chief Minister, thank you for your letter of 14 May 2014 regarding the Australian Government’s 2014-15 budget announcement of a further package of support for Norfolk Island.  This package of support is being provided as a short term measure while the Australian Government considers its broader election commitment to integrate Norfolk Island into the Australian Taxation and Social Services Systems.  Prior to entering into a funding agreement, I would like to take the opportunity to articulate for the Norfolk Island Government my expectations which underpin the Commonwealth’s continued support.  These expectations extend to all aspects of the Norfolk Island Government, Administration, Health Enterprise, Tourist Bureau all their operational and administrative arms and Government Business Enterprises, which I will collectively refer to in this letter as “the Norfolk Island Government”.  Commonwealth funding will be contingent upon a number of higher level commitments by the Norfolk Island Government to reduce its deficit position through the implementation of stronger expenditure controls consistent with Australian National Audit (ANAO) recommendations; enhanced revenue raising and strengthened revenue collection systems; as well as a continued commitment to implement in a timely manner broader reforms which are preconditions to tax and social services integration.  I would also expect an accelerated program of Immigration, healthcare and Public Sector reform.  Public sector reform must include all Norfolk Island Government employees, not just those of the Administration.


These commitments are:

  • The Australian Government, through officials from my Department and including the Commonwealth Financial Officer based on-Island, will formally agree the Norfolk Island annual Budget, and subsequent Budget updates and/or changes, prior to relevant Appropriation Bills being considered by the Legislative Assembly.  Once agreed the document will be publically released to the broader Norfolk Island community.  Any subsequent changes to the budget must be agreed in advance by the Australian Government, and any new or unbudgeted expenditure must be fully offset.  These offsets must be genuine savings and not deferrals of expenditure or liabilities into future years;
  • Implementation of an annual 2.5 percent efficiency dividend to be applied to expenditure across the board commencing in 2014-15 and applied perpetually across the out years, using 2013-14 as the base year.  These must be genuine savings and not deferrals of expenditure or liabilities into future years and any further pay rises for Norfolk Island Government employees must be met from within the reduced annual budget.
  • Financial reporting against the agreed budget and including all Norfolk Island Government activities (including the Hospital Enterprise) must be provided on a monthly basis to my Department within five business days after the month close date;
  • The Norfolk Island government will introduce municipal rates and land tax regimes within the first quarter of this agreement;
  • Community Title legislation will be introduced during 2014-15;
  • Essential services, including external funding arrangements in the areas of Health, Education, Policing Utilities and Transport are to be the first calls on Australian Government funding provided, with any shortfall to be guaranteed by the Norfolk Island Government;
  • The Norfolk Island Government will, early in 2014-15, finalise its Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Federal Police to support policing to a standard consistent with mainland jurisdictions.  This would include the implementation of Road Safety practices and policies consistent with mainland standards and introduction of appropriate legislation, including for example, to allow drug and alcohol testing;
  • A commitment to reduce all further barriers to immigration within the first quarter of this agreement including the treatment of foreign nationals in a way consistent with the Migration Act 1958 (Cth);
  • Introduction of legislation, agreed in advance with the Commonwealth and within the first Quarter of this funding agreement for Public Sector Reform;
  • Immediate action to address the mandatory high and extreme findings from the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards accreditation review process;
  • The key recommendations of the 2013 Nexus Management Consulting Health Services Plan review must be implemented within the life of this funding agreement;
  • Capital works projects for the Incinerator and the Cascade Jetty are to be progressed as a priority to ensure funding conditions are met and the projects are brought to finalisation;
  • A new model for the governance and funding arrangements for the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area will form a schedule to the Emergency Funding Agreement; and
  • Full implementation by the end of March 2015 of the agreed recommendations arising from the current Deloittes review of Government Business enterprises.

I am mindful of your previous comments on the milestones in the current 2013-14 funding agreement.  Your agreement to the measures outlined above will allow for the 2014-15 funding agreement to be streamlined considerably.


Officials of my Department are happy to discuss any aspect of this letter to you.  To that extent, the relevant contact in my Department is Ms Robyn Fleming on +61 2 6274 7446 or Robyn.Flemming@infrastructure.gov.au , Yours sincerely, kind regards, Jamie Briggs, 5th June, 2014.


Mr Speaker, I read into Hansard my response of today.  To the “Honourable Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Parliament House Canberra, ACT 2601. Dear Minister, 2014-15 Federal Budget Support Package for Norfolk Island.   I refer to the visit to Norfolk Island last week of Ms Robyn Fleming and Mr Paul McInnes of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development during which they met with Officers of the Administration of Norfolk Island and the Acting Chief of Staff to consider the first cut draft of the proposed Schedule to the Template Funding Agreement which was not received until the evening of Tuesday, 3 June 2014.


I also acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 5 June 2014, given to me by hand by the Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope, on 6 June 2014 after the initial funding agreement negotiations conducted between our officers on Wednesday afternoon, 4 June 2014 and Thursday morning, 5 June 2014.  As a result, they were unaware of the content of your letter and it was not able to be considered during the discussions.


Your letter contains a number of complex issues to be addressed by the Administration and the Norfolk Island Government and we seek an urgent meeting with you to discuss and resolve them.


It was intended that the Norfolk Island Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, MLA would present the Appropriation Bill 2014-2015 at the sitting of the Legislative Assembly on 11 June 2014.


The Administrator has advised that he cannot recommend the proposal of the Appropriation Bill 2014-2015 to authorize the expenditure from the public account for the period ending June 2015 as it is reliant on the $7.5 million announced in the Federal Budget.

Following the release of the Federal Budget and the Media Release “Norfolk Island and the Federal Budget” issued by the Administrator, I also issued a Media Release on 14 May 2014 which contained, amongst other things, the following statement:


“The provision of these funds will enable the Norfolk Island Government to continue to fund essential services in the 2014/2015 financial year and will now assist the Administration of Norfolk Island to prepare its Annual Budget with certainty.”


The Administration of Norfolk Island was tasked with preparing a budget for the Territory of Norfolk Island based on the Federal Government’s announcement and advice that it would meet the Norfolk Island Government deficit of $7.4 million.


It was disturbing to be told that no Appropriation can be proposed without first signing the Funding Agreement, a Funding Agreement which is at this stage only a Template and Schedules which are in the early stages of negotiation and require clarity around what the expectations are.  The Norfolk Island Government is concerned about the content of your letter and the additional requirements (outside of the draft Funding Agreement) which the Norfolk Island Government may not be able to comply with.  The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, along with all the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, is very concerned in regards to the requirement to commit to implement an annual 2.5 percent efficiency dividend “across the board”.  The Norfolk Island Government seeks urgent clarification as to what is actually required in relation to the 2.5% efficiency dividend “across the board” and in particular whether this includes education, policing, the hospital, social welfare etc. 


The Minister for Finance has also expressed concerns in regard to the impacts on the private sector economy, a sector which is desperate for assistance, assistance that the Norfolk Island Government has not been able to provide over the past 4 years during the period of financial assistance from the Commonwealth and these additional requirements he fears will further impact and cause further uncertainty within this sector.  Minister, on behalf of the Norfolk Island Government, the Members of the Legislative Assembly and the people of Norfolk Island, I request that our two governments return to the negotiation table with a view to resolving all the outstanding issues committed to by the Commonwealth Government and the Norfolk Island Government to give certainty as to future governance of Norfolk Island.


At your meeting in February 2014 with Members of the Legislative Assembly you indicated a clear willingness to hold regular video conference/teleconferences, with the Norfolk Island Government, seeing this as a worthwhile means of ongoing dialogue between our two governments.  It is unfortunate that we have been unable to settle times for that dialogue to commence.  Accordingly, I write to propose to you that you return to the Island at your earliest convenience to have frank and open discussions – government to government – on a way forward for Norfolk Island which ensures that the path down which Norfolk Island is travelling into the future is one which has as its prime objective to become sustainable, which is the goal of both our governments.

You will appreciate that there are a number of difficulties in allowing our public servants to negotiate agreements which require government level decisions.

I look forward to early receipt of advice that you will return to Norfolk Island to discuss all the outstanding commitments.

In the meantime and depending on the outcome of the funding agreement, the Minister for Finance will seek to present a Supply Bill seeking supply for three months only if the funding agreement is not signed by the 25th June 2014, to facilitate further discussions to take place.  Yours sincerely, Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, cc to the Hon. Neil Pope, Administrator, Ministers of the Norfolk Island Government, Members of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, the CEO of the Administration of Norfolk Island.”

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

11 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HON RON WARD, MLA MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE


I endorse the comments of the Chief Minister and support the timeframe outlined by Minister Sheridan.  The apparent lack of co-ordination between Minister Brigg’s office and his supporting Department is of concern – as is the apparent lack of recognition that residents here are paying beyond their sustainable capacity now.  There is no way this government can raise the revenue take from this dwindling population.  Any raising of taxes will only hasten the decline of our population and our economy.  In the last few days we have seen more substantial business closures – apart from the personal anguish of these closures, these are businesses that will no longer be contributing to the Norfolk economy.  As I have said previously, Norfolk Island has funded three levels of government supported by one fickle industry.  We have not had the benefit of a mining boom such as that mainland Australia enjoyed – and even they have experienced decline.  It is time for respectful dialogue between the parties and the time for us to move forward in a positive way, and I look forward to these negotiations that our Chief Minister has referred to.  Thank you Mr Speaker.

 

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

 

11 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HON. ROBIN ADAMS, MLA MINISTER FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE AND COMMUNITY SERVICES DEBATE ON MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE


On 14 May this year the Administrator issued a press release advising that Norfolk Island was to receive in excess of $10 million in a variety of measures.  These funds were provided in recognition of the serious economic problems Norfolk Island is facing and the need for support and certainty.  The funding, the Administrator said, will provide support for the continued delivery of essential services on Norfolk Island in the short term; and that the Australian Government will continue to work with the Norfolk Island Government to enhance Norfolk Island’s economic sustainability.  The provision of these funds, the Administrator said, will be tied to reform milestones, which the Australian Government will negotiate with the Norfolk Island Government in the coming months – and, I repeat – in the coming months.  In responding to the Administrator’s announcement that same day, the Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell, when expressing sincere thanks to Assistant Minister Briggs, to Departmental Officers and to the Administrator for their efforts in securing this vital funding, advised the Norfolk Island community that these funds will enable the Norfolk Island Government to continue to fund essential services in the 2014/2015 financial year and will now assist the Administration to prepare its Annual Budget with certainty – I repeat – with certainty.


Acknowledging that the essential funding would come tied to reform milestones, the Chief Minister at the time requested that the Norfolk Island government and the Norfolk Island Administration receive an advance copy of the funding agreement so that due consideration can be given as to whether we have the resources to meet the milestone timeframes and to enable appropriate negotiation in this respect.


Mr Speaker we have heard this morning that the Administrator is not prepared to issue a message under the Norfolk Island Act for the Appropriation Bill to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly today until he is provided with evidence of certain requirements having been met, or will be met before the Bill is passed and returned to His Honour for assent.  That is the Administrator’s prerogative.  However, let the record show that despite the Norfolk Island Government having requested it receive an advance copy of the funding agreement, and the Administrator in his press release indicating that negotiations on the funding agreement milestones would take place in the coming months, regrettably that has turned out not to be the case. The Funding Agreement template and schedules were not received until last Tuesday with further milestone requirements being placed on the table by Minister Briggs as late as last Friday morning with an expectation that signing of the Funding Agreement was a prerequisite to a message being provided by the Administrator under section 25 of the Norfolk Island Act 1979.  The Chief Minister has tabled and read into Hansard the letter from Assistant Minister Briggs.


Mr Speaker when standing for election to the 14th Assembly I made it quite clear that I strongly supported a return of the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Governments to the negotiation table.


Mr Speaker that time has surely arrived and the Norfolk Island Government in responding today to the letter from Minister Briggs is proposing, as the Chief Minister just read, that Minister Briggs return to the Island at his earliest convenience to have frank and open discussions – government to government – with a view to resolving all the outstanding issues committed to by the Commonwealth Government and the Norfolk Island Governments since November 2010 to give certainty as to future governance of Norfolk Island, a future which ensures that the path down which Norfolk Island is travelling is one which has as its prime objective to cease to be a contingent liability on the Commonwealth of Australia which surely is the goal of both our governments.


Members will recall and the Chief Minister has already referred to this in the letter that has been tabled today and read into Hansard from the Norfolk Island Government to Minister Briggs, that when Minister Briggs sat around this table with all of us in February 2014 Minister Briggs indicated a clear willingness to hold regular videoconference/teleconferences, with the Norfolk Island Government, seeing this as a worthwhile means of ongoing dialogue between our two governments.  Regrettably, It is unfortunate that we have been unable to settle times for that dialogue to commence. A return visit by Minister Briggs will commence that dialogue; long overdue dialogue, and obviate the current unpalatable difficulty where Norfolk Island public servants are being required to negotiate funding agreements which require decisions of both our governments and/or of the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island.


Thank you Mr Speaker.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

11 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE


The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, MLA, on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 sought approval in accordance with Standing Order 81 of the Standing Orders for the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly to propose a Matter of Public Importance in relation to the Appropriation Bill 2014-2015 to authorize expenditure from the Public Accounts for the period ending on 30 June 2015.

 

The Speaker determined that it was in order and read the request from the Minister for Finance to the House.  The Speaker advised that the proposed discussions must be supported by three Members, including the proposer, rising in their places as indicating approval.

 

All Members of the Legislative Assembly rose in their place to indicate their approval to the Minister proceeding with his Matter of Public Importance statement.

 

The Statement made by the Minister for Finance follows.  Statements were also made by the Chief Minister, the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, the Minister for the Environment and Members of the Legislative Assembly.

 

STATEMENT

 

Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 81, I presented to you a written statement of a Matter of Public Importance which you have just read to the House.


Honourable Members, it was my intention to present the Appropriation Bill 2014-2015 to authorise expenditure from the Public Account for the period ending on 30 June 2015 and a letter requesting a Message was provided to the Administrator on the 6th June 2014.


The public service has in good faith prepared the annual budget based on the announcement by the Commonwealth of Australia on 13th May 2014 that it would fund the Norfolk Island Government budget deficit in the sum of $7.5m.


A further breakdown of the financial assistance to be provided by the Commonwealth Government in the Federal Budget was provided to the Norfolk Island community by His Honour the Administrator in a media release.  The Chief Minister also acknowledged the announcement in his media release dated 14th May 2014.


Honourable Members, we all know that funding support is tied to Funding Agreements and the need for the Norfolk Island Government to meet milestones in these Funding Agreements. However, I have been advised that despite the funds being “for emergency funding support to ensure the Norfolk Island Government can meet its budget deficit and is in a position to deliver essential services”, the budget cannot be presented containing the allocated funds from the Commonwealth until the Funding Agreement is agreed and signed.  The Administrator has advised that he is not prepared to issue the required Message in accordance with section 25 of the Norfolk Island Act 1979 recommending to the House that an enactment for the expenditure of monies be considered by this House.  By letter to me some 45 minutes ago, and Mr Speaker I would like to read that letter into the House.  It's addressed to myself the Honourable Tim Sheridan and it says "Dear Tim, thank you for your letter of 6th June 2014 concerning the Norfolk Island Government's Appropriation Bill 2014-2015.  As you are aware Commonwealth funding will make up a significant component of the Norfolk Island Government's budget for 2014-15.  However the Funding Agreement for this support has yet to be finalised and negotiations between officials are ongoing.  


I am aware that in previous years the Norfolk Island Government has proposed an initial Appropriation for the first quarter or half of the financial year pending the finalisation of a Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth.  I understand that this approach was discussed with officers from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development last week.  I would appreciate your advice on why the Norfolk Island Government has now decided to pursue an Appropriation for the full financial year without having finalised the terms of Commonwealth support.  The Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development the Honourable Jamie Briggs MP, wrote to the Chief Minister on 5th June 2014 setting his expectations for the Norfolk Island Government in order to receive Commonwealth support.  Specifically, Minister Briggs stated that "the budget was to be agreed with the Commonwealth before the end of the financial year and that it was to include measures to identify efficiencies across expenditure and measures to increase the generation of revenue.  These requirements are in addition to those included in the Part 2 of the Commonwealth Finance Minister's (Norfolk Island ) Orders 2011 relating to the preparation of an Annual Budget.  Before agreeing to recommend the Appropriation Bill 2014-15, I ask that you provide me with evidence that these requirements have been met, or will be met before the Bill is passed and returned to me for assent.  Finally, your letter identifies a preference to introduce the Appropriation Bill 2014-15 in the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly on the 11th June 2014.  While I appreciate your desire to settle the budget promptly, the  issues I have identified above are vital to controlling the Norfolk Island Government's budget deficit.  Please provide me with a revised timeframe for passing the Bill, once these issues have been addressed.  Yours Sincerely, Neil Pope, Administrator." 


Mr Speaker, It is important Honourable Members that I point out to you and to the Norfolk Island community that the draft proposed Funding Agreement and the Schedules thereto were only provided late on the evening of Tuesday 3rd June after the arrival of Officials of the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.


Administration officers met with the Departmental officers last Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning to consider the proposed draft Schedules to the new Funding Agreement and negotiated reporting periods and sought clarification of some of the matters contained therein.  The Departmental officers departed on Friday last and will prepare a further draft based on these discussions.  The actual terms of the Funding Agreement which are now based on the new template from the Australian Government Solicitor is yet to be fully discussed as the latest information from the Department has not as yet been inserted into the template or the optional clauses removed.


The draft Funding Agreement seeks the agreement of the Norfolk Island Government to pass legislation addressing a number of issues, however, legislation is a parliamentary process and a matter for this House as a whole, not just the four elected Members holding Ministerial portfolios.  Whilst the previous Government in the 13th Legislative Assembly and indeed this Government in June last year authorised the Chief Executive Officer to sign Funding Agreements containing requirements for changes to legislation and/or new legislation, this was and is not appropriate and made commitments which could not necessarily be guaranteed to be met by this House.


The Administration officers, who are uncomfortable with this scenario, have pointed this out to the Departmental officers, the Administrator and the Official Secretary that these sections of the Funding Agreement are not something that can be agreed as they require agreement of the whole Legislative Assembly and may be interpreted as undue interference with the parliamentary process of this House.


Mr Speaker, the comments made in relation to the Funding Agreement are important but are an aside to this Matter of Public Importance and that is the inability to present an Appropriation Bill to this House for expenditure of public monies during the FY 2014-2015.

Members, when the Chief Minister acknowledged the announcement of the allocation of funds for Norfolk Island, he said in his media release that “the provision of these funds will enable the Norfolk Island Government to continue to fund essential services in the 2014-2015 financial year and will now assist the Administration of Norfolk Island to prepare its Annual Budget with certainty”.  This certainty no longer exists.


The Administration and the Norfolk Island Government prepared the 2014-2015 budget in good faith that there was certainty following this announcement and now we have been advised that there is no certainty that the funds will be provided.


Members, as the Minister for Finance I am at a loss as to what the Norfolk Island Government is to do.  We have sought and the Commonwealth has committed to the extension of taxation, social services, Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits to Norfolk Island but four years on going down the path of the Roadmap, the position is not any clearer and the Commonwealth still has not met its commitment given to you, Mr Speaker, when as Chief Minister you signed the Memorandum of Understanding and the NI Roadmap likewise, signed in good faith when the Norfolk Island Government sought assistance and the Commonwealth agreed to provide certain services.  It is unfortunate that the Commonwealth has not been able to meet its commitments.


Mr Speaker, the Norfolk Island Government has continued to seek an agreement from the Commonwealth to the model of governance so as to remove the uncertainty for the community as to what the future holds for them and in an attempt to attract new business investment.


Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister has received a letter last Friday from the Hon Jamie Briggs MP, Assistant Minster for Infrastructure and Regional Development, which sets out his expectations to be met by the Norfolk Island Government which underpin the requirements for the Commonwealth’s continued support.  This letter places further requirements (outside of the draft Funding Agreement) on the Norfolk Island Government and we are now required to have a 2.5% efficiency dividend each year “across the board” using the 2013-2014 financial year as the base year and applied perpetually across the out years.  This means that based upon the total budget for the 2013-14 year with a 2.5% efficiency dividend imposed on my estimates this would mean a reduction of $4.4m to balance the proposed budget in 2014-2015.  Honourable Members this simply cannot be achieved if we wish to continue to provide the services to this community that we currently provide and to improve our rundown infrastructure requirements.  This 2.5% efficiency dividend is to be based upon a period where there has been no additional monies available for capital purchases and infrastructure needs, which in turn means that future services will need to be reduced or removed to fund any requirements above recurrent expenditure.  It also has to be applied to expenditure across the board commencing in 2014-2015 of which could have serious effect on the ability for the Norfolk Island Government to fully fund its health, education, policing and social services obligations.  For example, a 2.5% efficiency dividend applied to the area of Education would see a reduction of $85,980 for the next financial year, which means that teachers numbers are reduced or the recurrent expenditure of $400,000 is reduced by this amount. 


Mr Speaker, the draft Funding Agreement also requires the Norfolk Island Government to raise a further $1m from increased fees and charges commencing in July 2015, such as motor vehicle registration, introduction of education fees etc. and the expectation is that these are to mirror the fees and charges collected by other States and Councils in Australia.  Members, until we have the results of the Household and Business Surveys yet to be conducted we do not know the community’s ability to pay such increases. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that this would be an unacceptable imposte on this community and is acknowledged in the ‘Update of the Financial Capacity of Norfolk Island 2011’ completed by the Commonwealths Grants Commission where as part of their findings they say  that ‘economic conditions on the Island have weakened, notably tourism – the main industry – has contracted.  This has weakened the capacity of the Island to raise revenue’.  Mr Speaker, it is also noted that the Norfolk Island Gross Revenue has reduced from $149m in 2009-2010 to $111m in 2012-2013, an approximate 25% reduction, with further falls expected this financial year, currently at $92m.  These two factors alone indicate a lesser ability for the Norfolk Island community to pay further taxes.


Mr Speaker, another factor that will delay the process of the budget is Assistant Minister Briggs’ requirement for the Norfolk Island Government budget to be formally agreed by the Australian Government, through officials from his department, including the Commonwealth Finance Officer located on Island, prior to the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly considering the budget in the House.


Therefore, Honourable Members I have no alternative but to seek to delay the introduction of an Appropriation Bill until later this month.  This will allow a period for consultation and negotiation of the proposed funding agreement and to consider Minister Briggs’ requirements so that the Australian Government, through the Administrator, may finally agree to recommend a 12 month Appropriation Bill to this House.  This is my preference.  If this is not achievable it may be necessary for a shorter term budget being presented to the House. It is envisaged that this House will meet again in two weeks time so that the necessary work can be completed and seek an agreement from the Australian Government and recommendation of the Administrator for the appropriation of public monies for the period ending 30 June 2015.


Mr Speaker, in the meantime, the Norfolk Island Government has written to Assistant Minister Briggs responding to his letter to the Chief Minster of 5 June 2014 which outlines his expectations from the Norfolk Island Government and raising the Norfolk Island Government’s concerns and ability to fulfil his requirements and to seek an urgent meeting with him to address both our governments’ commitments.”

 

Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

12 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

THE ISLE OF MAN ACKNOWLEDGES BOUNTY DAY



The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Hon David Buffett AM, on Anniversary (Bounty) Day again this year, acknowledged the special arrangements made under the Cultural Agreement, signed between the Isle of Man and Norfolk Island in 2011.


President of Tynwald, The Hon Clare Christian, provide the above photo showing the Norfolk Island flag flying outside the Isle of Man Chambers to mark their link with Norfolk Island.

Ms Christian also provided a message to Norfolk Island from the Isle of Man, which was read at the Anniversary (Bounty) Day Picnic on Monday, 9 June 2014.  The message accompanies this media release.


The community will recall that The Hon Clare Christian, accompanied with her sister, travelled to Norfolk Island for our Anniversary (Bounty) Day celebrations last year.


I look forward to acknowledging and providing good wishes to the Isle of Man for Tynwald Day on 5 July this year. 


David E. Buffett

Speaker

11 June 2014



Please 'contact us' for more information.

BERYL EVANS AWARDED AN OAM



On Monday 9 June the Governor-General announced that Mrs Beryl Evans was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to the community of Norfolk Island, and to the environment.


“It was a well deserved recognition of Beryl’s work over many years and complements her departed husband Owen’s award that he received many years ago,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


The citation for Beryl’s Award reads as follows:


Mrs Evans has been involved with the study, promotion and preservation of the natural history of the Norfolk Island environment for over 60 years. Her work, and that of her late husband, has been documented and used by natural historians and scientists to help with rare seabird and island conservation.


Inaugural and long-term Member, Flora and Fauna Society, since 1967.


Volunteer and Recorder, Seabird banding and recovery, Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 1966-1993.


Contributor, several environmental research projects, scientific books and papers on the seabirds of Phillip Island (a remote island in the Norfolk Island group), for many years.

With her late husband, Mrs Evans helped with the eradication of rabbits on Phillip Island, and the subsequent rejuvenation of the island's flora and fauna.


Norfolk Island Community

Inaugural and long-term Member, Australian Red Cross, over 60 years.

Committee Member and Judge, Agricultural and Horticultural Society, ongoing.

Current Member, Moveable Heritage Committee.

Inaugural and current long-term Member, Historical Society.

Current Voluntary Open Day Attendant, Government House, for many years.

Polling Clerk, Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island, for many years.


Awards/recognition include:

Australia Day Citizen of the Year, Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island, 2012.

Recipient (with her late husband), Certificate of Appreciation, for voluntary and valuable contribution to the Norfolk Island community, 1996.


Neil Pope, Administrator

11 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER


The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Hon David Buffett AM MLA, has advised that the following matters will be dealt with at the sitting of the Legislative Assembly to be held on Wednesday,
11 June 2014 at 10 am.

 

NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

NOTICE PAPER NUMBER 17

wednesday 11 JUNE 2014

 

NORF’K AILEN

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

NOETIS PIEPA NAMBA 17

WENSDI 11 JUUN 2014

 

 

NOTICES

 

1          INFRASTRUCTURE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

Mr Nobbs to move -

 

THAT this House agree that the fourth Quarterly Report of the Infrastructure and Business Development Committee tabled on 21 May 2014 be passed to the Norfolk Island Government for its progression. 

 

 

ORDER OF THE DAY

 

1          KINGSTON AND ARTHURS VALE HISTORIC AREA (KAVHA) – REVIEW

Resumption of debate (Mr Nobbs) from 19 February 2014 on the question – THAT the motion be agreed to – Detail stage amendments foreshadowed by Minister Adams

 

2          IMMIGRATION (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

IMAGRIESHAN (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

Resumption of debate (Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams) from 21 May 2014 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

 

 

 

 

Sharyn Quintal

Acting Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

Issued by the Office of the Clerk on 6 June 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXOTIC PEST ALERT: POTATO-TOMATO PSYLLID ERADICATION PLAN UPDATE 4


BACKGROUND

Tomato /Potato psyllids have been confirmed at five Norfolk Island localities in low numbers. As this pest and associated agricultural disease pose such a threat to our fresh produce supply and food security, an island wide Psyllid eradication project is being developed and possible project funding details are currently being worked through. The associated liberibacter bacteria have been identified at two locations.


This pest insect and the bacterial disease pose a massive threat to our food security, our capacity to produce healthy fresh produce, and poses a biosecurity risk to our regional neighbours not already affected by these pests.

NEXT STEPS

  • Since the emergence of this issue most growers and many others have indicated a strong support for an eradication effort. Eradication can only succeed with community support. The acceptance of government appointed officers or other external agents onto private land can be confronting for some people. The project will only be progressed if there is strong community support for it to do so.
  • Organisers would be taking every possible measure to minimise intrusion and disruption to landholders 
  • For an eradication project of this scale to be effective it is crucial that:

  1. There is community recognition of the problem and acceptance of the eradication effort.
  2. All possible measures are taken to minimise transportation of produce and related agricultural materials.
  3. That household waste containing vegetable material be properly disposed of to avoid contamination of farms and gardens.
  4. All gardens and likely host plants be thoroughly inspected by those who have the knowledge and reference materials to rely on.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Commercial farmers and home gardeners are requested to view the psyllids material held at the Quarantine office and regularly inspect their crops, particularly Tomato, Capsicum, Potato and sweet potato (Kumara). The psyllids (adults and young) can be difficult to find and identify, so please have your gardens checked by those who have the knowledge and reference materials to rely on.   Any concerns should be referred to Quarantine officer Mr Neil (Snowy) Tavener) in the first instance.


The Norfolk Island Quarantine Office continues to progress the survey field work and data collection to determine distribution of the psyllids and the bacteria. If suspected infestations are found it is better to refer the infestation for coordinated control rather than individuals taking a range of control measures that could limit success of island wide control effort. There is no cost to land holders for inspection or control works instigated by the Administration.


All queries regarding the psyllids and the risks they pose to local agricultural production should be directed to the Health and Quarantine Office on phone 22609 during their business hours.


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

INTERNAL REVIEW OF IMMIGRATION ACT 1980


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams, has sought an internal review of issues relating to the Immigration Act 1980 and unforeseen consequences of the Immigration (Amendment No. 2) Act 2012.

 

The Review Group has been requested to particularly address the lack of transitional provisions for those persons who held a General Entry Permit but were not either an Australian or New Zealand citizen at the time of the commencement of the Amendment Act and who are now affected by the provisions of section 33A which provides:


“A person who is not entitled to reside permanently in Australia must not claim, and the Minister cannot grant to such a person, residency under this Part.”


“The first report of the Review Group will be provided to me in June 2014 following which I will discuss their recommendations with the Members of the Legislative Assembly and if necessary, I will propose amendments to the Act.


“I take this opportunity to thank the Members of the Review Group for undertaking this complex task,” the Minister said.

 

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

and Community Services

 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

FUEL RATIONING HAS CEASED


The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, has advised that following the successful discharge of fuel from the fuel tanker on Thursday, 22 May, 2014, Executive Council met on Friday, 23 May 2014 to revoke the fuel emergency.


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the community, the service station proprietors, the fuel providers and distributors for their co-operation and patience during the period of rationing,” the Minister said.

 

 

Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXPOSURE DRAFT TABLED COMMUNITY TITLE BILL 2014


The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Ron Ward tabled the following documents in the Legislative Assembly on 21 May 2014:

  • Exposure Draft Community Title Bill 2014; and
  • Explanatory Memorandum relating to the Bill.

These documents represent a further step towards the introduction of community titles and strata titles into Norfolk Island.  


The community will recall that in 2012, during the term of the 13th Legislative Assembly, the University of New South Wales was retained to prepare a White Paper on the introduction of strata title in Norfolk Island.  


The White Paper was prepared by Professor Peter Butt and Senior Lecturer, Cathy Sherry, both of whom are highly regarded Australian property lawyers with a particular interest in strata title issues.   The White Paper was table in the House by the Hon Tim Sheridan in April 2012.


In September 2013 this Government issued a Position Paper in response to the numerous recommendations set out in the White Paper.   The Government’s position was broadly in agreement with most, if not all of the White Paper recommendations.


Subsequently the Exposure Draft Community Title Bill 2014 has been developed for public review and comment.   The Bill has been drafted using South Australian legislation as a model with modifications to reflect Norfolk Island’s circumstances as well as the recommendations set out in the White Paper.


The Explanatory Memorandum provides a fairly comprehensive outline of the operation of the Bill.   Also included is a comparison of White Paper recommendations, the Norfolk Island Government Position Paper responses and references and commentary as to the implementation of the recommendations within the Bill.


Mr Ward advised that ihe hopes to table at the June sitting of the Legislative Assembly, the Exposure Draft Community Title Regulations together with details of any consequential amendments that will likely be necessary to –

  • the Planning Act 2002;
  • the Norfolk Island Plan;
  • the Land Titles Act 1996;
  • and other related enactments.

The Exposure Community Title Bill 2014 and the supporting explanatory memorandum are lengthy documents, and they do as yet represent a concluded Norfolk Island Government position on the issues arising in relation to community title Public comment is now sought on any issues or concerns arising out of the Exposure Draft which can be accessed on line at www.info.gov.nf  under the headings Legislative Assembly/Exposure Drafts of Bills.


In the meantime, the Exposure Draft and explanatory memorandum will be provided to the Commonwealth for comment and the public service will continue its ongoing review of the legislation and necessary consequential amendments.  

 

 

 

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXOTIC PEST ALERT: POTATO-TOMATO PSYLLID


Update on the potato-tomato psyllids situation to keep the community of Norfolk Island informed.

BACKGROUND

  • Tomato /Potato psyllids have been confirmed at three Norfolk Island localities in low numbers.
  • The associated liberibacter bacteria have been identified at two locations.
  • Delimiting Survey and data collection processes have been established with the assistance of an Australian Government Department of Agriculture officer working with the Norfolk Island Quarantine Service. Delimiting commenced in known affected areas, and survey work is continuing in high risk areas.

NEXT STEPS

  • The Norfolk Island Quarantine Office is continuing to progress the survey field work and data collection to determine distribution of the psyllids and the bacteria.
  • The Psyllid working group comprising Mr Stephen Clay, A/Official Secretary, Dr Glynn Maynard of the Department of Agriculture, Mr Neil Tavener, Quarantine Officer and Mr Matt Biggs, community representative and myself met this week to consider options of control or eradication and to develop an urgent strategy to respond to this major threat to our agriculture, food supply and public health.  More information will be provided when details are confirmed.
  • Commercial farmers and home gardeners are requested to view the psyllids material held at the Quarantine office and regularly inspect their crops, particularly Tomato, Capsicum, Potato and sweet potato (Kumara). The psyllids (adults and young) can be difficult to find and identify, so please have your gardens checked by those who have the knowledge and reference materials to rely on.

Any concerns should be referred to Quarantine Officer Mr Neil (Snowy) Tavener) in the first instance.

  • Department of Agriculture officers and relevant specialists will be continuing their various Pest and Diseases Survey roles and will be on alert for the psyllids as they conduct their regular survey work.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • A poster which provides a ready reference on the psyllids. is available for viewing at the Quarantine office or on-line at:

                http://www.info.gov.nf/adminforms/health_Quarantine/Psyllid_Alert_Poster.jpg

  • The community is requested to contact the Quarantine Officer if suspected infestations are found to ensure there is a coordinated control rather than individuals taking a range of control measures that could limit success of island wide control effort.
  • There is no cost to the land holder for inspection or control works instigated by the Administration.
  • All queries regarding the psyllids and the risks they pose to local agricultural production should be directed to the Health and Quarantine Office on phone 22609 during their business hours.

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

FUEL STOCKS UPDATE


The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, has advised that the fuel tanker is expected into Norfolk Island on the evening of Saturday, 17 May 2014.

“I am pleased to advise that 43,000 litres of Jet fuel and 30,000 litres of petrol arrived on the Norfolk Guardian on Thursday, 15 May 2014 to ensure ongoing fuel supply to the Island until the tanker arrives and fuel can be discharged.

“Fuel rationing will continue until confirmation is received that the fuel has been discharged from the tanker,” Mr Sheridan said.

 

 


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER


The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Hon David Buffett AM MLA, has advised that the following matters will be dealt with at the sitting of the Legislative Assembly to be held on Wednesday,
21 May 2014 at 10 am.

 

NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

NOTICE PAPER NUMBER 14

wednesday 21 MAY 2014

 

NORF’K AILEN

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

NOETIS PIEPA NAMBA 14

WENSDI 21 MIEH 2014

 

NOTICES

 

1          NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ACT 1985

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams, to move -

            THAT this House, in accordance with section 12A of the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985, resolve that ¾

Kim Olesen, Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services

from the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

            be appointed by the Minister as a deputy to the representative member of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District on the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board for a term of 12 months commencing on the date of gazettal of this appointment.

 

2          CUSTOMS ACT 1913 - EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF CUSTOMS DUTY

Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan to move -

THAT, under subsection 2B(4) of the Customs Act 1913, this House recommends to the Administrator that the goods specified in column 1 of the Schedule imported by the person specified in column 2, and on the conditions mentioned in column 2 of the Schedule, be exempted from duty -

SCHEDULE

Column 1                                                                   Column 2

Goods                                                                        Importer/conditions

 

Goods purchased for Norfolk Island                     Norfolk Island Amateur Sports &

Commonwealth Games Team to give to               Commonwealth Games Association

fellow competitors                                                    Conditions: Nil

- amount of duty applicable $367.20

 

12 x 6 man outrigger canoes                                   Norfolk Island Wa’a Outrigger Club Inc

- amount of duty applicable $22,032.00                  Conditions: During the period of 3 years

after importation the canoes (a) may only

be used for the purposes of the Norfolk

Island Wa’a Outrigger Club Inc;

and (b) may not be re-exported from

Norfolk Island.

3          IMMIGRATION (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

IMAGRIESHAN (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams, to present a Bill for an Act to amend the Immigration Act 1980.

 

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

 

60        Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism -

            What comfort can be given to the community that the Commonwealth funded Cascade Pier project is not lost given that a condition for Minister Briggs agreeing to the project proceeding is the development of a progressive rates implementation strategy for the Island?

 

61        Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism -–

            Will the Chief Minister provide to the House a list of apprenticeships, traineeships and related youth programs which are currently funded by the Norfolk Island Government?

 

62        Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services –

            Will the Minister provide to the House the documented staff recruitment processes used by the management of the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise and include the process used by the ‘Panel’ in the recent recruitment of the Director?

 

63        Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

            Given that the Electricity Working Group Report has been received by the Government; will a restructured electricity pricing regime be implemented by July 1, 2014?

 

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

Issued by the Office of the Clerk on 21 May 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXOTIC PEST ALERT: POTATO-TOMATO PSYLLID UPDATE 2


This is an update on the potato-tomato psyllid situation to keep the community of Norfolk Island informed.

 

BACKGROUND

 

  • Tomato /Potato psyllids have been confirmed at two Norfolk Island localities in low numbers.
  • Delimiting survey and data collection processes have been established by an Australian Government Department of Agriculture officer working with the Norfolk Island Quarantine Service. Delimiting commenced in known affected areas, and has now extended to potential high risk areas. The Norfolk Island Quarantine Office is continuing to progress the survey work and reports no new infestations have been detected since the previous update.

 

NEXT STEPS

 

  • Island-wide surveys will continue to determine distribution of the psyllids.
  • The results of the surveys will inform decisions with regards to whether eradication is feasible or whether other measures need to be put in place.
  • Commercial farmers and home gardeners are requested to view the psyllids material held at the Quarantine office and regularly inspect their crops, particularly Tomato, Capsicum, Potato and sweet potato (Kumara). Any concerns should be referred to Quarantine Officer, Mr Neil (Snowy) Tavener), in the first instance.
  • Department of Agriculture officers and relevant seconded specialists will be continuing their Pest and Diseases Survey roles and will be on alert for the psyllids as they conduct their regular survey work.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

  • A poster which provides a ready reference on the psyllids is available for viewing at the Quarantine Office or on line at:

                http://www.info.gov.nf/adminforms/health_Quarantine/Psyllid_Alert_Poster.jpg

  • The community is requested to contact the Quarantine Officer if suspected infestations are found to ensure there is a coordinated control rather than individuals taking a range of control measures that could limit success of the island wide control effort.
  • There is no cost to the land holder for inspection or control works instigated by the Administration.
  • All queries regarding the psyllids and the risks they pose to local agricultural production should be directed to the Health and Quarantine Office on phone 22609 during business hours.

 

 

 

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND AND THE FEDERAL BUDGET



On Tuesday evening 13 May the Federal budget was handed down and Norfolk Island is to receive in excess of $10 million in a variety of measures.


“This is a great result for Norfolk Island in a Federal budget that has been described as the toughest for a couple of decades,” said His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.

 

The Australian Government recognises the serious economic problems Norfolk Island is facing and the need for support and certainty.  At a time of significant restraint at the Commonwealth level, the Australian Government last night allocated in excess of $10 million to support activities on Norfolk Island. 

 

This funding will provide support for the continued delivery of essential services on Norfolk Island in the short term; the Australian Government will continue to work with the Norfolk Island Government to enhance Norfolk Island’s economic sustainability.

 

The package of support for Norfolk Island in 2014-15 includes:

 

  • Up to $7.5 million for emergency funding support to ensure the Norfolk Island Government can meet its budget deficit and is in a position to deliver essential services.  The provision of these funds will be tied to reform milestones, which the Australian Government will negotiate with the Norfolk Island Government in the coming months;
    • Underwriting of airline services.  This will provide certainty to the tourism industry and provide support to the Norfolk Island economy through ensuring the continuation of a reliable and regular air service between the mainland and Norfolk.  Norfolk Island is reliant on air transport links which, based on current demand, are commercially unviable without some degree of government support.  Without this support, the frequency of commercial air services to and from Norfolk Island is likely to reduce significantly, with a severe flow-on effect to the local economy and the ability of the Norfolk Island Government to provide essential services.

 

  • Funding (up to $2m) has also been provided to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to progress a range of governance and economic reforms.  Immediate priorities for this funding include work to implement the recommendations made by the Australian National Audit Office to improve financial management, addressing the budget deficit and to continue the role of the Commonwealth Financial Officer, who provides oversight and advice to the Norfolk Island Government on its budget and expenditure. 

 

  • This funding is in addition to the ongoing support provided by the Australian Government for the management and care of the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area, and the significant capital works funding that has been committed for critical infrastructure on the island.

 

 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

AUSTRALIAN BUDGET PROVIDES FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


The Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell, is pleased to advise that following the release of the Australian Federal Budget for the 2014-2015 financial year, advice has been received from the Administrator that the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has been provided the following funds for Norfolk Island:


  • $7.5 million for financial assistance to fund the projected budget deficit;
  • $2 million for ongoing governance reforms; and
  • funds to underwrite the air services to Norfolk Island.  The amount provided to underwrite the air services is not for publication as negotiations with the service provider are commercial-in confidence.

The provision of these funds will enable the Norfolk Island Government to continue to fund essential services in the 2014/2015 financial year and will now assist the Administration of Norfolk Island to prepare its Annual Budget with certainty.


“The Norfolk Island Government has written to the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, to express its sincere thanks to him, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and the Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope for their efforts in assisting Norfolk Island to secure this vital funding that will help to meet the costs of next financial year’s forecast budget deficit of $7.4 million.


“There will be a Funding Agreement to outline the milestones to be met to receive the essential service funding and I have requested that the Norfolk Island Government and Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI) receive an advance copy of the Agreement so that due consideration can be given as to whether we have the resources to meet the milestone timeframes and to enable appropriate negotiation in this respect,” the Chief Minister said.


Further details in relation to the Federal Budget for Norfolk Island are contained within the Media Release issued by the Administrator of Norfolk Island.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ASSESSMENT OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ENTERPRISES CONTINUES


The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance has provided the following update on the assessment of the Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) which commenced in October 2013.


“Representatives of Deloitte Access Economics (Deloittes) returned to the Island this week to continue the review of the Government’s Business Enterprises (GBEs).


“In October 2013, Deloittes came to the Island to develop a framework for assessing the merits of alternate management and service delivery options for the GBEs,” the Minister said.

The process has now evolved to the next stage where the framework will be applied to 19 identified GBEs. In considering the best operational structure for each GBE the assessment process will have regard to the over-arching objectives and goals of each entity and an assessment of the current performance, key drivers and its outlook for the next 3-5 years.


The framework does not focus solely on privatisation rather it will be used to consider all opportunities for adjustment to ensure that the GBEs operate effectively and are sustainable while delivering essential services and provide a return to Norfolk Island.  It is anticipated that the final report will be provided to the Government in late June 2014 and will recommend practical and implementable outcomes.


The Administration of Norfolk Island will be providing extensive legal, financial and structural information to Deloittes and has asked that all managers and staff actively participate in the process as necessary.


“The Government looks forward to the outcome of this significant undertaking and the release of the report and recommendations,” Mr Sheridan said.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXOTIC PEST ALERT: POTATO-TOMATO PSYLLID UPDATE 1


This is an update on the potato-tomato psyllid situation to keep the community of Norfolk Island informed.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED?

 

  • Survey design has been decided and materials have been acquired
  • An Australian Government Department of Agriculture officer has arrived to assist with the implementation of the delimiting survey and will be working with officers of the Administration of Norfolk Island over the weekend.
  • The delimiting survey has commenced in known affected areas to delimit infestation with a particular concentration around two areas where the psyllids have been found.

 

NEXT STEPS

  • Over the next week or so there will be the implementation of broader Island-wide surveys to determine distribution of the psyllid.
  • The results of the surveys will inform decisions with regards to whether eradication is feasible or whether other measures need to be put in place.
  • Norfolk Island Quarantine Survey officers will be returning Norfolk Island to continue routine survey activities, however they will also be involved in the potato-tomato psyllid efforts where needed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

  • A poster is available for viewing at the Quarantine office which provides a quick reference with regards to the psyllid.

 

  • All queries regarding the psyllid and the risks it poses to local agricultural production should be directed to the Health and Quarantine Office on phone 22609 during their normal business hours.

 

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

1 May 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PETROL STOCKS TO BE RATIONED


The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance, has confirmed his radio advice that there is a need to ration petrol stocks and that Jet fuel is also affected until the fuel tanker returns, expected to be mid-May 2014.

 

 “It is important to make it clear to the community that diesel fuel is not being rationed, only petrol.  The decision to introduce rationing at 9:00 a.m., on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, was a necessary measure to ensure petrol is available to all users until supplies are replenished,” the Minister said.

 

The shortage has arisen due to a problem with the unloading of the fuel tanker last week and to inclement sea conditions. The tanker has returned to its base port and is currently scheduled to return in mid-May.

 

To understand the need to institute rationing, the Minister advised that on Tuesday, 22 April 2014, based on normal usage it was estimated that there was 3.6 weeks of petrol in stock.  There was evidence of panic-buying on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and if this had been allowed to continue the available petrol stocks would have been exhausted within two weeks.

 

A voucher system is now in place which allows a weekly ration of $50 for each registered vehicle and $20 for each registered motor bike.  A new voucher will be available each Wednesday until rationing ceases.

 

Vouchers can be collected from:

 

  • Telecom between 9am and 6pm on business days; and
  • Visitors Information Centre between 8.30am and 3pm on weekends.

 

A voucher can only be used once.  The voucher is to be given in exchange for the fuel you purchase and will be retained by the service station operator.

 

Service Stations also have the authority to provide fuel to:

 

  • hire cars so that visitors may fill the car within 24 hours of their departure, as required in their contract for hire; and
  • businesses who use fuel in the direct generation of income and are registered for GST for that purpose, such as registered fishing/tour charters and lawn-mowing contractors.

 

Mr Sheridan said, “If you do not need the petrol I urge you to please not fill-up to ensure there is sufficient supplies until the return of the tanker.”

 

In relation to the low stocks of Jet fuel, every effort is being made to maintain passenger numbers on each flight. The requirement for aircraft to carry additional fuel may result in reduced freight capacity when passenger numbers are high.  

 

“I am pleased to advise that 10,000 litres of Jet fuel was flown in on Wednesday evening by Air New Zealand, to be used to refuel their aircraft in the coming days. This procedure may be repeated if required.

 

“86 drums of Jet fuel are on the Norfolk Guardian due to arrive Thursday, 1 May 2014 and plans are also underway for a second shipment of Jet fuel and petrol in mid-May. Although the tanker is due to return in mid-May the Jet fuel is not available until after certification which can take up to ten days.

 

“I take this opportunity to convey my thanks and appreciation to all those who have worked proactively to minimise the impact of this problem on Norfolk Island.  I particularly wish to thank the owners and the employees of ExxonMobil, Natjola, Air New Zealand, Burnt Pine Fuel, the Service Stations and the Administration for their co-operative efforts over the past week.

 

“I also wish to thank the majority of the public for their understanding and co-operation at this time.  Staff issuing vouchers or supplying petrol at service stations are doing a splendid job under difficult circumstances,” the Minister said.

 

 

 

Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

24 April 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EXOTIC PEST ALERT: POTATO-TOMATO PSYLLID


The Island-wide Norfolk Island Quarantine Survey has recently trapped a new potentially serious exotic plant pest, the Potato Tomato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) on a single property in the Middlegate/Shortridge area.


WHAT IS IT?

The potato-tomato psyllid (pronounced 'sillid') is about 2-3 millimetres long, with clear wings and a yellow-blackish body with white markings. They jump when disturbed, so the first sign of their presence may be small, waxy white beads on affected plants. Eggs are yellow, oval and stand on stalks, usually on the edges of leaves.


WHICH PLANTS DOES IT ATTACK?

Potato-tomato psyllid attacks tomato, potato, sweet potato, kumera, capsicum and chilli plants. 


WHAT DOES IT DO?

Potato-tomato psyllids affect plants directly and by spreading a bacterial disease. Both can cause serious damage to home and commercial production.


Feeding by the insects reduces crop yields and the quality of fruit or vegetables. 


Psyllids are also vectors for a bacterium called Candidatus solanacearum, which causes 'zebra chip' in potatoes and 'psyllid yellows' in tomatoes. Zebra chip stunts potato, sweet potato and kumera plants and kills them prematurely; tubers are small and distorted, with discoloured flesh. Psyllids yellows causes leaves to yellow and then die; tomato and capsicum fruit are smaller and may be misshapen.


It's important to note that these diseases have NOT been found on Norfolk Island, but in every other part of the world where this psyllid has appeared, the disease has appeared shortly thereafter.


WHERE IS IT, AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

To date potato-tomato psyllid has only been found at one location in the Middlegate area. Arrangements have been put in place to minimise risk of inadvertent relocation to other areas, and to determine the extent of its presence.


The pest is native to Central America but has spread to many countries. It has not been recorded on mainland Australia but is established in New Zealand. It's possible that it has made its way to Norfolk on infested fruit or plant material from NZ.


This insect pest and its associated diseases would severely impact local production of tomatoes, potatoes, kumera, capsicums and chillies and would impact potential export markets of local produce.


WHAT'S BEING DONE ABOUT IT?

The Norfolk Island Government is asking all commercial and individual growers across the island to monitor their gardens and crops for any signs of the psyllid, tomato yellows and zebra chip and to report any suspicious finds to the quarantine office on phone 22609.  

Growers in the Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Shortridge, Middlegate areas through to Cascade are particularly asked to check all current and recently rested farm or garden areas for signs of the psyllid, and to make these areas available for expert monitoring. Growers are also urged to minimise the transfer of plant material between areas - for example to burn or compost vegetation on site rather than disposing elsewhere. As well as taking care to disinfest clothing prior to leaving infested areas.


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The Australian and Norfolk Island governments are co-ordinating a joint monitoring effort to determine the extent and intensity of the incursion: this will inform decisions about control or eradication.


Psyllids are less active in cooler weather and do not lay their eggs until spring, so there is a valuable window of opportunity to control or eradicate the pest before it becomes widely established.


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

24 April 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NEW HIGH SPEED INTERNET NETWORK FOR NORFOLK


The Minister for Finance and Minister with responsibility for Norfolk Telecom, the Hon Tim Sheridan, MLA, is pleased to announce that the Norfolk Island Government has secured a new telecommunications internet carrier to bring high speed broadband to Norfolk Island.

 

“The new carrier is O3b Networks.  O3b is a new kind of satellite system.  It is a constellation of smaller satellites that orbit the earth at 8,000km so the roundtrip delay is just a quarter that of a traditional satellite. Because these satellites are smaller and lighter, they are less expensive to build and launch and the cost of the services are more affordable.

‘Norfolk Island’s remote location means that communication either has to come from satellite or fibre cable.

“As Minister with responsibility for telecommunications I am looking forward to a positive partnership with O3b moving forward.  The O3b network will offer residents and visitors a new experience in the way business is conducted on Norfolk Island.  Improved telecommunications will also create excellent conditions for economic development.  I thank the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development for allowing Norfolk Island to finalise an agreement with O3b,” the Minister said.

Mr Sheridan advised that, “Currently all of the Island’s telephone and data traffic are routed to New Zealand by geo-stationary satellite. Because these traditional satellites orbit at 36,000km above the earth, there is an inherent delay for the signal to go up to the satellite and back down to the ground which results in slow response for the users.  Traditional satellites are also very large and expensive to launch so the cost of the satellite services are very high, even for a small amount of bandwidth.  The telecommunication services currently being provided by Telecom New Zealand International will continue until the O3b network is operational.”

When asked for his comment on the new carrier, the Manager of Norfolk Telecom, Kim Davies, said “We are delighted with the agreement.  The migration to O3b for our internet traffic will allow Norfolk Telecom to significantly increase its bandwidth thus improving our data rates, and internet speed and reduce internet delay times to its customers.


 “For the technically minded, test results show that the satellite latency will improve from the current 750m/secs down to 110 m/secs. This coupled with an increase in bandwidth in the first year from 20 to 50 Meg will allow closer to real time applications to be used for the first time, such as e-commerce, internet gaming, video on demand and e-learning.  O3b will revolutionise the internet for the people of Norfolk Island especially in the business community and in particular will allow our students to enjoy high speed access to e-learning for education.”


As a matter of interest, the Cook Islands recently launched O3b services.  With the new service, Cook Islanders experienced a 10 fold increase in capacity and much faster download speeds.  Jules Maher, CEO of Telecom Cook Islands said “Our customers are not only experiencing faster internet speeds but now also have an endless choice of multi-media telecommunications services at their fingertips.  I have already had reports from those experiencing instantaneous downloads, smooth YouTube clips, streaming live sport, movies, clear and crisp video calling and ultra-fast fast browsing for the first time ever. The fibre-like speed has been mind-blowing. O3b’s ‘fibre from the sky’ is a reality for us here in the Cook Islands.”

Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

INQUIRY INTO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON NORFOLK ISLAND



As announced last week by the Administrator
, the Honourable Neil Pope,
the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, The Hon Jamie Briggs MP, asked the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories (JSCNCET) to inquire into and report on the opportunities for economic development on Norfolk Island.

The Committee invites interested persons and organisations to make submissions addressing the Terms of Reference by 17 April 2014. Submissions can be sent to jscncet@aph.gov.au.

Terms of Reference

The Norfolk Island Roadmap has as one of its aspirational goals under Economic Development:

  • Positive action to encourage diversification and broaden the Island’s economic base.

The Committee will inquire into and report on:

  • redressing barriers to tourism, with particular regard to air services, facilities for cruise ships, roads and other infrastructure;
  • complements to tourism, such as agriculture, other industry or small-medium enterprises; and
  • proposals and opportunities for niche industries.

Information on preparing a submission is available at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=ncet/norfolk2014/index.htm

Neil Pope

Administrator

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HEALTHCARE REBATES TO ALIGN WITH MEDICARE SCHEDULE FEE


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams, has advised that the Legislative Assembly recently passed an amendment to the Healthcare Act 1989 limiting the refund of overseas medical costs to the maximum prescribed benefit payable under the Medicare Benefits Schedule of the Commonwealth for the particular medical service received.

Notification of the commencement of the changes to the Healthcare Act 1989 will be published in the Norfolk Island Government GazetteAll overseas treatment after that date will be paid at the Medicare Schedule Fee.

“The result of this change means:

  • Healthcare members opting to receive overseas treatment outside the New South Wales Public system could be required to pay more towards the cost of their treatment; and
  • There will be equity in how members of the Healthcare scheme are treated.  Norfolk Island social service recipients already only receive the medicare schedule fee for services provided.

“Charges for medical services incurred prior to the commencement date will not be affected by this change,” the Minister said.

For any further information on this or any other Healthcare matters please contact the Healthcare Manager Gary Dowling on 24272 or call in to the Healthcare Office in New Cascade Road.

 

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HEALTH SERVICES UPDATE


Assistant Minister, the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, recently wrote to the Minister with responsibility for health in the Norfolk Island Government (NIG), Ms Robin Adams, advising that there is no longer a necessity to have a Commonwealth representative on the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) Advisory Board whilst confirming “that the Australian Government remains committed to working to improve health services on Norfolk Island and to ensure that those services reflect the needs of the community.”


“I am heartened”, Minister Adams said, “That the Commonwealth acknowledges that health services should reflect the needs of the community.


“For the Norfolk Island Government to reform the delivery of health services in a sustainable way, commitment from the community is not simply required, it is essential.”


Minister Adams in responding to Minister Briggs, acknowledged that both the Australian Government and the Norfolk Island Government are aware of the complexity of the challenges being faced in the provision of viable health services on Norfolk Island and that to progress recommendations from the reviews, including transition to a new model, the Norfolk Island Government holds the strong view that a thorough community engagement process is required.  The draft Health Services Plan prepared by Nexus Consulting, by their own admission, does not purport to be a detailed services plan; as they had significant resourcing and timing constraints that precluded a more comprehensive consultation process with the Norfolk Island community.


“I have sought the agreement of Minister Briggs to engage an independent and appropriately qualified facilitator to undertake the required comprehensive consultation with the community to identify its health needs, now and into the future.  Following this community engagement the Interim Report by Dr Tim Smyth in relation to health and related legislation can be finalised,” the Minister said.

 

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHIEF MINISTER'S UPDATE


Audit Report Tabled in Federal Parliament

 

On Thursday, 27 March 2014, the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development tabled the Australian National Audit Office audit of the financial statements of the Norfolk Island Administration.  When tabling the audit report the Minister made a Statement on Norfolk Island.  Minister Brigg’s statement can be viewed online at:

http://www.info.gov.nf/news/misc_docs/270314-Ministerial%20Statement-Norfolk%20Island.pdf

Minister Briggs stated that he was impressed with the level of responses he has received to date from his letter to residents seeking views on how best to deliver essential services and the best governance model for the future.  Mr Briggs said that the responses would help frame the Commonwealth Government’s policy direction.  “I urge those in the community who have made representations/submissions to Minister Briggs to provide copies to the Norfolk Island Government.  It is important that we are aware of the comments and views being submitted to Minister Briggs so that when the options are presented by the Commonwealth Government for consultation with the Norfolk Island Government, the Government can ensure your views are reflected in those negotiations,” the Chief Minister said.

New Inquiry into economic development on Norfolk Island

The Norfolk Island Government has received advice that on 25 March 2014 the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, The Hon Jamie Briggs MP, asked the Joint Standing Committee to inquire into and report on the opportunities for economic development on Norfolk Island.

“I welcome this inquiry and the Norfolk Island Government encourages the community to take full advantage of this opportunity to submit ideas to the Committee and have input. This is a valuable opportunity to have discussions with the Committee on the recommendations contained in the March 2012 Commonwealth Funded “Norfolk Island Economic Development Report” by Acil Tasman,” .the Chief Minister said.

The Committee invites interested persons and organisations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference by 17 April 2014.   The Terms of Reference and details as to how to prepare a submission can be found online at:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=ncet/index.htm

Members of the Committee to visit Norfolk Island 28-30 April 2014 are:

Mr Simpkins MP (Chair),

Senator Brown (Deputy Chair)

Senator Back,

Senator Lundy,

Ms Brodtmann MP

Mr Vasta, MP

Ms Griggs MP

Mr Scott MP.

They will be accompanied by the Committee Secretary, Dr Alison Clegg, and Inquiry Secretary.

The Program for the visit is being prepared by the Office of the Administrator.

Funding Agreement

The Administration of Norfolk Island has been advised that the Commonwealth will make a part-payment of $525,000 for the second quarter under the June 2013 Funding Agreement.  The Administration continues to work with the Government to meet the deliverables under the Agreement.

Some of the second quarter funding has been retained by the Department as a result of the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise not meeting ANAO requirements and the Administration has been requested to assist the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise to meet those requirements.

The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams, who has responsibility for the Hospital, has advised that the new Hospital Director will be tasked to ensure that Commonwealth requirements are met.

The Chief Minister calls for a united, co-operative approach

“Despite our ongoing financial difficulties we still have services to provide, and projects to manage.

 “The Chief Executive Officer of the Administration of Norfolk Island, Jon Gibbons, has only been in office for five months but I am pleased to say he ‘hit the ground running’.  Mr Gibbons has been tasked to work with the Government on key organisational reforms for the Administration, including but not limited to the following.  All these tasks have equal importance to the organisation and to the community ,” the Chief Minister said.

“Mr Gibbons is to ensure compliance with all statutory requirements and Funding Agreement milestones to improve the short and long term financial position of the Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI).  A first step has been the establishment of an audit committee to assist and establish processes to address Australian National Audit Office recommendations.

“In terms of management of the ANI, the first goal is to review the current organisational structure and develop a structure that will establish clear reporting relationships across the organisation.  Better reporting will improve service delivery within the organisation and to the community through improved team work established through co-operative workplace relations based on consultation and communication and fostering trust where the contributions of all staff and feedback is constructively provided and welcomed.  I am pleased to advise that the CEO has already issued four internal staff newsletters keeping the organisation fully informed across the broad range of issues,” the Chief Minister said.

A review of the employment terms and conditions of all employees including overtime, airfare entitlements and ongoing or fixed term employment arrangements is being undertaken and consideration is to be given to the consolidation and centralisation of all similar functional areas across the board to reduce costs and increase efficiencies and effectiveness.  There will also be a review of the Administration’s vehicle fleet and usage with a view to identifying savings.

Key infrastructure projects including RDAF3 (high temperature incinerator) and RDAF4(Cascade pier extension) now known as Community Development Grants are to be progressed having regard to timeframes for completion. 

Other key items relate to the importance of establishing good, co-operative and consultative  communications with the Cabinet, Members of the Legislative Assembly, and the Office of the Administrator to build strong workable relationships to help achieve the business of the Government and just as importantly strong communications with the wider community and the Commonwealth Government.

“These are all significant goals especially at a time when both human and financial resources are limited, revenue is down and expenditure increasing.  Success will depend on a recognition of these limitations and will depend greatly on team work and good co-operative partnerships being developed.

“The CEO has the full support of the Norfolk Island Government and we acknowledge the significant volume of work already undertaken by him and the entire public service in these challenging times.  I urge all members of staff, Members of the Legislative Assembly and the community to work closely with Mr Gibbons to help achieve the best outcomes for Norfolk Island,” the Chief Minister said.

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE TO VISIT NORFOLK ISLAND



His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope has announced that the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories (JSCNCET) will be visiting Norfolk Island on the 28 to 30 April.

 

Following a reference from Minister Briggs the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories will conduct an inquiry into economic development on Norfolk Island.


The Norfolk Island Roadmap has as one of its aspirational goals under Economic Development:

  • Positive action to encourage diversification and broaden the Island’s economic base.

The Committee will inquire into and report on:

  • redressing barriers to tourism, with particular regard to air services, facilities for cruise ships, roads and other infrastructure;
  • complements to tourism, such as agriculture, other industry or small-medium enterprises; and
  • proposals and opportunities for niche industries.

Committee Chair Luke Simpkins said, “The economic situation on Norfolk Island is well-documented. The Committee does not wish to replicate the work of prior reviews or complementary processes like the Norfolk Island Roadmap. We are interested in exploring innovative ideas for tourism and opportunities to establish or grow other industries with a promising future.”


The Committee looks forward to inspecting existing businesses and infrastructure, and meeting with residents to learn more about the economic challenges and opportunities.

The Administrator said that there will be a reception at Government House on Monday evening 28 April in order for the JSCNCET to meet many of the residents.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY THE ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, THE HON JAMIE BRIGGS MP STATEMENT ON NORFOLK ISLAND


Today I table the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAOs) audit of the financial statements of the Norfolk Island Administration. 


The results of the audit are troubling and clearly show the scale of the challenges facing the Norfolk Island community. 


Like any remote community, maintaining infrastructure and generating job opportunities has its challenges. 


However, these challenges on Norfolk Island are exemplified by a unique set of governance arrangements laid out in the Norfolk Island Act 1979


Norfolk Island is Australia’s only self-governing external territory, and the only place in Australia where residents do not participate in the Australian taxation system, and do not receive social security benefits. 


In fact, there is almost a complete absence of social services and a basic safety net which could protect the most vulnerable. 


Over the last four decades, there has been a plethora of reviews and reports looking at these arrangements, including:

  • A Royal Commission conducted in 1976;
  •  12 separate Parliamentary inquiries; and
  • The commissioning of more than 20 reports from experts in various fields, including former Administrators

All of these reviews, reports and audits have been unanimous in recommending significant changes and reforms. 


In spite of this, as the ANAO findings I table today show, there has been very little progress in addressing the fundamental issues facing Norfolk Island. 


In fact, the situation has deteriorated and the challenges are increasingly more difficult. 

The ANAO has now forecast unfunded budget deficits for the Norfolk Island Government in future years of between $7.4 million and $7.8 million. 


The ANAO has also found there is a lack of proper financial controls and poor financial management practices in the Norfolk Island Administration, and has concluded that without further Commonwealth support, the Administration is not a ‘going concern’. 

These issues identified by the ANAO are longstanding, and I am not the first Minister to stand in this Chamber and talk about the problems facing Norfolk Island, but they are becoming more critical as deficits increase and essential infrastructure on the Island further deteriorates. 


I recently visited Norfolk Island, where I was able to spend some time with the Norfolk Island Government, the legislative assembly and community leaders. 


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Administrator of Norfolk Island, the Hon Neil Pope, for his generous hospitality during my visit. 


I would also like to thank him for his work over the last two years as the Administrator. 

Unfortunately, he has decided not to stay on as the Administrator and will return home to Victoria at the end of June. 


He will be a huge loss to the Island, and I wish him and his wife, Jen, all the best for the future. 


The visit was an opportunity to hear first-hand about the significant and ongoing challenges the Island faces. 


I was also able to see the Island’s infrastructure. 


Simply, it is dated, run down and fragile. 


There has been no significant infrastructure investment since the 1970s, and the Norfolk Island Government has not had the capacity to maintain much of what was built then, or earlier.


The Island’s Hospital is outdated. 


The roads are deteriorating. 


Broadband services are poor. 


And the Island’s electricity network is extremely fragile and at risk of collapse. 

Electricity costs on the Island are very high. 


But the money raised through utility charges is not invested in the network, rather it is used to cross-subsidise other activities of the Norfolk Island Government.


Previous attempts by the Norfolk Island Government to reduce reliance on imported diesel, by promoting solar, have achieved a high take-up of solar panels. 


But the surplus electricity now produced places the ageing network at risk of overload, exacerbating existing technical problems, and increasing the risk of system failure.  


While many communities across Australia have infrastructure needs, the inability of Norfolk Island to access funding programmes such as Roads to Recovery, equalisation payments, and local government Financial Assistance Grants, have made the infrastructure backlog much more severe than comparable remote communities across Australia. 


If something is not done, the Norfolk Island community will be increasingly at the mercy of events, with the chance that a future crisis or even simple neglect could push essential infrastructure past breaking point. 


This could have very severe consequences for the Norfolk Island community, leading to the point where the welfare of residents and even the ongoing viability of the Norfolk Island economy are placed at risk.  


It is clear that the problems facing Norfolk Island are getting worse, the financial position of the Island is deteriorating, and the population continues to decline. 


The lack of progress is disappointing, but it also shows the difficulty of achieving real improvements in this area, and the challenges of maintaining a sustainable model of self-government for a remote population of less than 2000 people. 


As disappointing as it is that long term reforms have not taken place, I acknowledge that previous Australian Governments have taken a number of steps to help the Norfolk Island Government and community, including:


-                      The provision of emergency financial assistance to the Norfolk Island Government on an annual basis; and


-                      Ensuring certainty for the tourism industry by underwriting the airline service to the Island.


The Australian Government has also been working with the Norfolk Island Government to introduce public sector and immigration reforms as well as land valuations ahead of the introduction of municipal rates on the Island. 


However, progress on even these modest reforms has been slow, and the Norfolk Island Government lacks the capability to address many of the key sustainability issues facing the Island.


The Australian Government has also made funds available to construct a waste management facility as well as to extend the Cascade Jetty on the Island. 


Extending the Cascade Jetty would be a significant investment that would reduce the freight costs and increase revenue opportunities for Norfolk Island, as additional tourists will be able to visit.


As important as these initiatives are, they will take time to pay dividends, and there is still important work that the Norfolk Island Government can and must do to help tackle some of the issues facing the Island. 


Members will be aware that the Australian Government has an election commitment to integrate Norfolk Island with the mainland taxation and social security systems. 

As a simple principle, the Australian Government believes Australians should be treated the same, no matter where they live.


This is why the Australian Government remains determined to implement our election commitment. 


But let me make this clear. 


We will not be introducing Australian welfare benefits without the obligations of the Australian taxation system. 


The Prime Minister has asked me to develop a discussion paper on possible reform options, including governance reform and plans to extend the mainland taxation and social security systems. 


In the coming weeks, I will be talking to my ministerial colleagues and the wider community about the best way to take this forward.


To help frame our policy direction, I have written to all residents on the Island seeking their views on how best to deliver essential services and the best governance model for the future. 


I must say that I am impressed with the level of responses I have received to date. 


I can say unambiguously that the correspondence reflects a strong mood for reform. 


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have already written to me. 


This feedback is very important and will assist in forming government policy going forward. 


I am pleased that while I was on Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Government has indicated its commitment to reform as well. 


This shared commitment will be important, as there is no doubt that this reform process will be complex and challenging for the Norfolk Island community, particularly in the adjustment to mainland taxation and social security systems. 


Businesses and individuals on Norfolk Island will need to adopt new record keeping practices, comply with various legislative and regulatory requirements and disclose personal information such as income and assets to a government, all for the first time.


As challenging as these reforms will be, they are important for the future of the Norfolk Island community. 


While the costs of addressing the problems facing Norfolk Island may seem significant; the costs of not acting are even greater. 


If a single parent on Norfolk Island needs family tax benefit payments to make ends meet, or if a person with a disability needs to receive the disability support pension, or if an elderly person needs to buy medicines that are unaffordable without the PBS, they must currently leave their support networks and community and move to the mainland, often at great personal expense. 


Australian citizens living on Norfolk Island are not eligible for Medicare, and Australians visiting Norfolk Island cannot use their Medicare card if they need to access medical services. 

In fact, Australians on Norfolk Island have to pay much more for public health services than on the mainland. 


And the health fund operated by the Norfolk Island Government is based on a flat levy, which hits low income earners especially hard.


For instance, a recent report on child and family services on Norfolk Island found that a family of four needs to spend almost $4,000 each year before the Island’s health insurance scheme starts to assist them, and even then the scheme does not cover the full costs of some treatment. 


And the Norfolk Island Government recently announced an increase of more than 50 per cent to its health levy, which will drive up this expense even further.


While the Commonwealth is assisting the Hospital to gain accreditation against the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards, several recent reviews have highlighted a fundamental disconnect between the services currently being delivered and the needs of the community. 

Issues with Broadband access have also limited the opportunity to consult with mainland specialists in the event of an emergency.


Extending the social security system will support Australians on Norfolk Island and allow them to continue to live and reside in their community throughout major life events.


While integration with the mainland taxation and social security systems will assist and support the most vulnerable in the Norfolk Island community, it will not of itself guarantee the sustainability of the Norfolk Island Government, or fix all the service delivery issues on the Island. 


The fact is that no other remote community of less than 2000 people has to deliver complex national level services including customs, immigration and quarantine. 


Therefore, as part of the reform work, I will also be considering and looking at changes to the governance arrangements for Norfolk Island. 


I appreciate the fact that many Norfolk Islanders have a strong connection to their history and their culture, as do many Australians, but the reality is that they are Australians, and must be treated as such. 


While I am fully aware that the problems outlined here are not new, and many promises to introduce reforms have been made in the past, I would like to assure Norfolk Island residents that this Government intends to put Norfolk Island on a more sustainable footing.


Despite the challenges, I am optimistic about the future of this special place of Australia. 


I have seen first-hand its natural beauty and experienced the warmth and hospitality of its people. 


It is etched in Australian settlement history and remains integral to our country. 


If we can take the time to get the policy settings right, then I think the Island will have a bright and prosperous future. 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NEW INQUIRY INTO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON NORFOLK ISLAND


The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories has announced a new inquiry into economic development on Norfolk Island.


The Norfolk Island Roadmap has as one of its aspirational goals under Economic Development:
• Positive action to encourage diversification and broaden the Island’s economic base.
The Committee will inquire into and report on:
• redressing barriers to tourism, with particular regard to air services, facilities for cruise ships, roads and other
infrastructure;
• complements to tourism, such as agriculture, other industry or small-medium enterprises; and
• proposals and opportunities for niche industries.

Committee chair Luke Simpkins said, “the economic situation on Norfolk Island is well- documented. The Committee does not wish to replicate the work of prior reviews or complementary processes like the Norfolk Island Roadmap. We are interested in exploring innovative ideas for tourism and opportunities to establish or grow other industries with a promising future.”

The committee intends visiting Norfolk Island in late April 2014 and looks forward to inspecting existing businesses and infrastructure, and meeting with residents to learn more about the economic challenges and opportunities.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ENTERPRISE UPDATE ON ACCREDITATION PROCESS


The Minister with responsibility for the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise, Robin Adams, has advised that, “The Norfolk Island Hospital welcomed this past week Sandy Thomson, Dr. Jock Murray and Janine Holland, our ACHS (Australian Council on Healthcare Standards) accreditation survey team. The surveyors conducted an organisation wide survey and assessment of the Norfolk Island Hospital, its structures, systems, governance, practice and patient care in all areas.  The survey assessment commenced on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 and was conducted over a full 3 days.


“Achieving accreditation will open up opportunities for the Norfolk Island Hospital to improve health services on the island for our community as well as allow the Norfolk Island Hospital to participate in the wider Australian health systems and support networks. It is now mandatory for all Australian Hospitals to go through and achieve accreditation.  Accreditation is an extensive and rigorous process with very specific and prescriptive standards to meet.


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the QI Co-ordinator, Maria Christian and all the staff at the hospital for their efforts over the last 12 months to meet these standards, but there is still a lot of work to do and a set timeframe in which to do it. The community may see many changes and alterations to services at the Norfolk Island Hospital, particularly in the next few months, as progress towards achieving accreditation continues,” the Minister said.

 

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

 

21 March 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CASCADE PIER PROJECT


The Minister for the Environment, Hon Ron Ward, at the sitting of Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly on 19 March 2013 tabled and read into Hansard a letter to the Hon Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development from the Chief Minister, Hon Lisle Snell and was in relation to the funding for the Cascade Pier Upgrade Project.

Minister Ward spoke to the letter, “This project has attracted mixed opinion in the community since its inception.  Many people have openly questioned whether this is the priority area in which to commence our port upgrade, others question the chosen design as to whether it will withstand extreme weather events.

“Mr Speaker, I am not a civil engineer and can not guarantee the design is adequate to every test, but there are times when we need to trust the skills of those who are qualified in such matters and ensure that all reasonable guarantees are built into the construction contract.

“The project had already been scoped and designed when this Assembly took office.  Projects of this scale are not on offer here every day.  If this project grant was of sufficient scale to substantially construct a west side port this would have been the priority from the outset.

“The project should be a lifeline for contractors, sub-contractors and those who secure employment on the project.  There should also be a moderate flow on through the island’s economy.

“When finished we have an improved jetty and potentially a greater percentage of successful shipping movements.  There will be consequential issues like should we sell off our interests in the GBEs to fund barges or a bigger crane, and how do we envisage supporting infrastructure to handle containerisation.”

The Minister also said that opportunities will still need to be sought to develop a west side port.

As this has been a highly debated topic in the community, the letter to Minister Briggs is reproduced below.

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment




Please 'contact us' for more information.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE ESTABLISHES HISTORIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GARDEN



Government House is establishing a fruit and vegetable garden in the former farm area adjacent to the golf course.


The Administrator Neil Pope and his wife Jen have been keen to establish a garden exhibiting all the old fruit and vegetables so well known to the Island’s history.


However it has taken some time to gain approval from heritage architects, as the old dairy complex constructed in the 1840’s and the piggery and cattle stalls constructed in 1834 need to be protected.


In seeking approval Neil and Jen put forward the following proposal:

“Restoration of heritage garden beds to showcase Government House as it has been used in the past. The development of this area to be a further offering for tourists to view at the Government House Open Days. This will raise additional money for local charities on the island. The produce from these gardens will be donated to those in the community who are in need of assistance, i.e. the hospital, Foodcare, Service Clubs and Churches for distribution accordingly. These gardens will further enhance the KAVHA and golf course areas and aesthetically to this historic area.

 

The fruit and vegetables that are or will seasonally be planted include: plun (bananas), kale, tomatoes, corn, sweet tatie (kumera), tarla (taro), pumpkins, maize, cabbages, broccoli and other varieties.


“We could not have realised our long held desire to cultivate this area to showcase the produce without the fantastic work of our two gardeners Jane Rutledge and Jamie Ryves who have shown such commitment to the project,” said His Honour Neil Pope


Neil Pope

Administrator

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND CULTURAL STRATEGIC PLAN 2014-2018


The Minister with portfolio responsibility for cultural heritage in the Norfolk Island Government, Robin Adams, tabled the Norfolk Island Cultural Strategic Plan 2014-2018 which has been endorsed by and formally presented to Minister Adams by the Council of Elders on 18 March 2014 and moved –


“THAT, having noted the Cultural Vision, the Critical Success Factors and the Action Plan contained within the Norfolk Island Cultural Strategic Plan 2014 - 2018 prepared for and endorsed by the Norfolk Island Council of Elders and tabled by the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services (the Minister), this House supports the Minister engaging with the Commonwealth, the Council of Elders and other key community stakeholders re progression of this overarching cultural strategy for Norfolk Island.”   Minister Adams adjourned debate on the motion to give all Members the opportunity to gain an in depth understanding of the aims and aspirations contained in the Strategic Plan.


In speaking to the motion Minister Adams said, “Norfolk Island comprises a wonderful tapestry of people; a global community made up of people who have left their homelands around the globe to make Norfolk Island their home.  They have come from Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Europe, the UK, Canada, America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other places too many to name here today. And then of course there are the people born and raised here, also making Norfolk Island their homeland. Many have stayed for the long haul, in some cases for nearly all their lives; others have come, stayed short letl and departed.  And Norfolk Island has welcomed them all.”


Minister Adams went on to say, “However, the fact remains that Norfolk Island is first and foremost the homeland of the descendants of the settlers from Pitcairn Island who in 1856 were moved as a community by the authority of Queen Victoria from Pitcairn Island to Norfolk Island; they came as a fully self governing ethnic community with its own laws, language, culture and traditions.

“I am confident that each and every member around this table agrees that the special relationship of the said descendants with Norfolk Island, and their desire to preserve their traditions and culture, should be recognised.”


Minister Adams said that the tabling of this historic document is a first and valuable step in achieving the recognition of the special relationship of the said descendants with Norfolk, and their desire to preserve their traditions and culture; that the plan gives credibility and recognition of Norfolk Island’s culture; gives stakeholders a cultural perspective from which to make decisions; and will crystallise the thinking of people about what is Norfolk’s culture and what we need to protect.

The Cultural Strategic Plan contains the following Cultural Vision:


“The Norfolk Island community is enriched by having a unique culture.  Our vision is a future picture of Norfolk Island where residents are connected to their history, their culture and share and protect their cultural identity, experiences and stories”


Minister Adams tabled correspondence exchanged between former Federal Minister Simon Crean and the Council of Elders in 2012 wherein Minister Crean confirmed “The Australian Government…continues to support objectives that are consistent with the council’s aims of preserving, protecting and promoting Norfolk Island’s heritage.  The Government recognises the importance of such groups such as yours in maintaining the Island’s important heritage for future generations.”


Further Minister Crean advised “I have asked my Department to consult with the Norfolk Island Government regarding your proposal of a cultural officer for the island.  I also acknowledge your determination that future agreements between both governments should continue our joint commitment to the preservation of the island’s traditions and cultural heritage.”


Minister Adams paid tribute to the group of people who, with a common desire of ensuring the ongoing robustness of Norf’k culture and language, came together regularly over many months to produce the Norfolk Island Cultural Strategic Plan for the Council of Elders as well as for the Norfolk Island Community and future generations.  They are Louise Tavener, Patricia Magri, Terence Grube, Mary Christian-Bailey, Archie Bigg, Andre Nobbs, Donald Christian-Reynolds and Albert Buffett – who were assisted with input from the Council of Elders, the Pitcairn Descendants, the Community Arts Society, CDANI, Norfolk Island Museums, Norfolk Island Administration, Norfolk Island Tourism, KAVHA, Norfolk Island Central School and many other Norfolk Island individuals.


Minister Adams acknowledged that the Strategic Plan is too lengthy to try and do it full justice at the sitting and undertook to make it available electronically in the near future and for it to be published over a period of weeks in the Norfolk Islander and Norfolk Online.


Debate on the motion will resume on 16 April 2014.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

 

20 March 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HOSPITAL DIRECTOR APPOINTED


The Minister with responsibility for the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985, Robin Adams, has advised that following a recruitment process she has received a recommendation from the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board recommending that Mr David McCowan be appointed as the Hospital Director.


The Minister has accepted the recommendation of the Advisory Board and advised that it is intended that Mr McCowan will commence at the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise on 31 March 2014.  In the meantime, Mr Rees Walden has been appointed Acting Director during the absence of the Deputy Director.


 “I welcome the recommendation.  The community will be aware that Mr McCowan has previously held the position of Hospital Director and was, together with the previous Minister, Hon Tim Sheridan, instrumental in commencing the accreditation process for the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) and securing the Memorandum of Understanding between the NIHE and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.


“I take this opportunity to thank the Deputy Director, Mrs Helen Dowling and Mr Walden for assisting pending completion of the recruitment process,” the Minister said.


The primary purpose of the Director’s position is to ensure delivery of an integrated, contemporary and effective health service to residents and visitors of Norfolk Island by providing strong leadership and senior management to the workforce and Advisory Board while overseeing the day to day operations of the NIHE.


The essential criteria, amongst other things, requires the Director to have broad clinical and operational hospital administration management experience at a senior level within a remote community or a similar healthcare environment, including extensive knowledge of surgical, medical and patient management processes, nursing, medical and allied health workforce management practices.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

 

20 March 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PREFERRED MODEL OF SELF GOVERNMENT



Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHIEF MINISTERS UPDATE


The Chief Minister, Hon Lisle Snell, today provided an update on a number of matters and the
following is provided as an overview.

Funding Agreement Milestones
“We have been advised that we are to receive $250,000 being the first instalment of the $1 million quarter one (July-September 2013) milestone payment, the Norfolk Island Administration continues to work on the outstanding milestones to ensure that the full payment will be achieved later in the financial year. It is important that the Norfolk Island Government and Administration continue to work in close partnership with the Commonwealth to achieve the milestones outlined in the June 2013
Funding Agreement. It is recognised that the milestones are lengthy and complex and it is important that the funds are received as they contribute to funding essential services.

The Norfolk Island Government is committed to meaningful reform and whilst it has been difficult to complete the milestones in the given time period, for a number of reasons which have all been expressed to the Commonwealth, work continues to achieve all milestones. We have experienced some difficulty with milestone requirements changing from the original document and discussions have been held with the Commonwealth to rectify this. The Administrator plays an important role in the funding agreement process and we look forward to working with him to achieve the outstanding milestones. The importance of a more structured and targeted approach for the next funding agreement has been identified with the Commonwealth, to hopefully identify fewer, more measureable milestones to be included. This takes into consideration the island’s resources and will allow the quality of each deliverable to be at a higher standard, which is important in times of reform”, the Chief
Minister said.

Communication protocol with the Commonwealth
“In light of recent experience where an important letter from Hon Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister, for Infrastructure and Regional Development had a lengthy delay in delivery to me, I have written to the Minister providing a recommended change in the suggested communication protocol previously agreed in December of last year. In essence, a simple addition to ensure that advance copies of letters between our two governments are emailed prior to the original being despatched by air mail. I have also written to the Administrator and thanked him for providing me with a copy of the delayed letter when he was able”, the Chief Minister said. 

Forecasted Additional Budget Deficit of $1.6 million
“As part of the budget review process, Minister Sheridan has asked the Administration of Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise, Norfolk Island Police Force, Norfolk Island Central School and the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau to review budgets including expenditure and revenue forecasts to 30 June 2014 and identify savings and opportunities as soon as possible. The review is continuing at this stage and we will advise more details in due course,” the Chief Minister said.

RDAF 3 – High Temperature Incinerator
“I offer thanks to the Administration staff involved in successfully completing the first milestone in the RDAF3 project. The original RDAF3 project included the purchase of both a High Temperature Incinerator and a briquette press, a variation to the funding agreement will be sought to exclude the briquette press from the project due to the detailed and independently prepared cost estimates having identified significant increases in incinerator costs due to foreign exchange rates, freight increases and manufacturing costs. The next significant dates for this project are 30 June 2014, where all development and planning approvals need to be in place, followed by ensuring that a request for tender process is completed to ensure that the incinerator is delivered by 2 November 2014”, the Chief
Minister advised.

New Chief Executive Officer at South East Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD)
“We have been advised that after foreshadowing his retirement, Mr Terry Clout has now resigned and Mr Gerry Marr is the new Chief Executive Officer at SESLHD. We thank Mr Clout for his contribution to Norfolk Island, especially for the work he did to ensure that the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise has a successful Memorandum of Understanding with SESLHD and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network to create clear medical pathways for referred patients. We wish him well in his retirement. Whilst Minister Adams is in Sydney she will be meeting with Mr Marr”, the Chief Minister said.

Administration of Norfolk Island Accounts
“Accounts issued by the Administration of Norfolk Island can be paid by instalments for any account holder that is experiencing financial difficulty. This arrangement was created to provide a period of grace for the account holder before the debt recovery process is initiated. To organise an Instalment Payment Agreement you can contact the Accounts Branch in Kingston in person or telephone 23701. The Instalment Payment Agreements are over a three month period and payments can be made in three equal monthly payments, five equal fortnightly payments or ten equal weekly payments. Similar arrangements are available for Telecom Accounts by contacting their office in New Cascade Road or by telephoning 0100,” the Chief Minister advised.


Lisle Snell
Chief Minister
7 March, 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HEALTHCARE LEVY


Please 'contact us' for more information.

HEALTHCARE LEVY


Please 'contact us' for more information.

FUNDING AGREEMENT MILESTONES NOT MET



The Norfolk Island Administration has been informed by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development that due to significant non compliance with the milestones in the funding agreement, they will only receive a part payment of $250,000 of the $1 million for the September 2013 quarter.

The non compliance was in the main due to not adopting recommendations of the Australian National Audit Office. Any further payment might be made once additional milestones are met or progressed.

Neil Pope

Administrator

Please 'contact us' for more information.

LOCAL ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



On Friday 28 February the wife of the Administrator Jen Pope opened a small art gallery at Government House showcasing the work of local artists and photographers.

The development of the gallery was the initiative of Jen who used the visit of the Governor General late last year as an opportunity to exhibit local work.

At the opening Jen paid tribute to all who had contributed.

“Thanks to the assistance of KAVHA employees Dave Magri, Smudgie and Mick the walls of the hallway were set up for a perfect palette with which to work. Tracey Yager and Sue Draper helped select appropriate art work and the positioning of them,” said Jen.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Eve Semple who provided assistance and all the artists/photographers which included Alison Ryves, Louise Donald, Rob Nesbit, Emily Ryves, Dale Howe, Zach Sanders, Taina Hall, Sue Pearson, Christina McRitchie and of course Tracey and Sue.”

Jen went on to say that she hoped successive Administrators and their partners would continue to purchase art acquisitions for Government House and support the local art industry on the Island. Already tourists who visit Government House on Open Days have been impressed with the gallery and the work on display.

Neil Pope

Administrator

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHIEF MINISTER'S UPDATE


The Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell, advised that he has received a letter from the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP responding to numerous correspondence from the Norfolk Island Government dated back to November 2013.  Despite the letter being dated 12 February 2014 it was not forwarded to the Chief Minister until Tuesday, 25 February 2014 by the Administrator.


The Chief Minister advised that neither he nor his ministerial colleagues mentioned in the letter received it.


The Chief Minister said, “The delay in receiving Minister Briggs’ letter is disappointing and I will be writing to Minister Briggs to seek to improve the communication protocol”.

 

 “As the letter from Minister Briggs contains such important issues for Norfolk Island, I have requested The Norfolk Islander and Norfolk Online to publish the letter and the attachment”, the Chief Minister said.


Lisle D. Snell
Chief Minister







Please 'contact us' for more information.

STATEMENT - VISIT OF HON JAMIE BRIGGS, MP ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT - CHIEF MINISTER


Thank you Mr Speaker.   I’d like to make a brief statement arising from the recent visit to Norfolk Island of the Honourable Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.


Minister Briggs arrived on Friday 14 February 2014 and departed on Saturday 15 February 2014.   Minister Briggs was accompanied by Mr Nick Maher, Chief of Staff, Mr David Colmer, Adviser and Ms Robyn Fleming, Executive Director, Local Government and Territories Division, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.


On Friday afternoon the Minister met with members of the Norfolk Island Government at a meeting held in the Office of the Administrator. The Norfolk Island Government had previously provided Minister Briggs with its Position Paper detailing critical issues that the Norfolk Island Government sees as requiring immediate resolution.   I table a copy of that Position Paper now Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker to clarify a misunderstanding in the community, it was initially proposed that this meeting be a working dinner, however it was considered more practical and appropriate to have the meeting in an office setting as the matters for discussion are of critical importance.  The meeting was therefore changed to an afternoon meeting in the Office of the Administrator; no further dinner invitation was extended.


Mr Speaker, the discussions with the Minister at that meeting were wide-ranging, useful and cordial.


At a reception at Government House that evening the Minister had the opportunity to meet with members of the Norfolk Island community.


Minister Briggs met with all 9 members of the Legislative Assembly on the morning of Saturday, 15 February 2014 and I believe the discussions were well received by Members.

Mr Speaker, the following are a number of outcomes from the Minister’s visit–

  1. The Minister will be submitting an options paper to the Prime Minister and subsequently for Federal Cabinet approval regarding the future governance and fiscal arrangements for Norfolk Island.   The Minister confirmed that he would be consulting with the Norfolk Island Government and the Norfolk Island community on the options.   This is heartening news and I will be writing to the Minister to reiterate our readiness to engage, at the earliest opportunity, in the consultation process.   The Minister is already aware of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly’s preference to continue with a model of self-governance.
  2. The Minister understood the vital importance of strengthening the Norfolk Island economy and recognised great opportunity for growth in our tourism industry.   In writing to the Minister I will stress that we, the people and Government of Norfolk Island, obviously welcome any assistance and advice that the Federal Government might be able to provide to stimulate and grow the Norfolk Island economy and the tourism industry. 

As outlined in our Position Paper to the Minister, we will be providing an options paper to present to the Commonwealth in the near future to seek support to establish an Economic Development function on Norfolk Island.

The Minister undertook to provide assistance to hopefully provide Norfolk Island with access to Commonwealth infrastructure grants for which it is currently ineligible, including road funding grants.

  1. The Minister indicated that considerable administrative and other work remained to be undertaken by both the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Governments to facilitate the introduction of the Commonwealth taxation and social welfare benefits systems.   We understand that a report of the Australian National Audit Office has been prepared to identify the systems and legislative changes, if any, in this regard.   The report is still to be tabled in the Federal Parliament, and we are yet to receive a copy. In writing to the Minister I will reiterate Norfolk Island’s readiness to engage in this process as soon as the report is received.  Minister Briggs advised that entry into the Commonwealth taxation and social service systems would not be possible within the next 12 months and as such the current Funding Agreement arrangements will continue for the next financial year.

Mr Speaker, as you know, this path of reform has been protracted, many in the community are disappointed with the lack of progress and the continuing uncertainty.  I urge the community to stay strong as we work towards rebuilding our economy and providing a suitable safety net for those suffering hardship.  My Government is committed to building a strong Norfolk Island and working in a co-operative partnership with the Commonwealth Government, and in this regard we look forward to the promised consultation with the Commonwealth.


Mr Speaker, as I have already stated publicly, I thank Minister Briggs for taking the time out of his busy schedule to familiarise himself firsthand with Norfolk Island and the needs of our community. I thank him for his commitment to Norfolk Island and the Norfolk Island Government looks forward to working with him to achieve the best outcomes for Norfolk Island.


Thank you Mr Speaker.


19 February 2014

Lisle D. Snell

Chief Minister

Please 'contact us' for more information.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY REINSTATES NORFOLK ISLAND LANGUAGE IN THE TITLES TO LEGISLATION


The Minister with responsibility for cultural heritage in the Norfolk Island Government, Robin Adams, on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 introduced two Bills into the Legislative Assembly, both of which had the long and short title written in both English and Norf’k.  Minister Adams said “I compliment Assembly Members for having taken the decision to re-instate this earlier practice which recognises the importance of protecting the Norfolk Island language”.


The Bills introduced on 19 February 2014 are - the Child Welfare (Amendment) Bill 2014 – Luken Aut fe Letl Salan (Chienjen) Bil 2014 – which is a Bill for an Act to amend the Child Welfare Act 2009 – Wan Bil fe Wan Aekt fe chaienj aa Luken Aut Fe Letl Salan Aekt 2009; and the Healthcare (Amendment) Bill 2014 – Helthkeya (Chienjen) Bil 2014 – A Bill for an Act to amend the Healthcare Act 1989 - Wan Bil fe wan Aekt fe chaienj aa Helthkeya Aekt 1989.


“I particularly compliment the Infrastructure and Business Development Committee of this Assembly which in its Third Quarterly Report tabled in the Assembly yesterday recommended that the Government develop a specific policy related to the protection, preservation and dissemination of the Island’s culture” Minister Adams said.  The Committee Chair, Mr Ron Nobbs MLA, read from the report “Cultural identity is an essential component of the Norfolk Island community and is of particular value to tourism.  Any programs or facilities which aid in the promotion, teaching and display of the island culture should be encouraged.” 


“The Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Governments in the Introduction to the Norfolk Island Road Map (March 2011) recognises the special relationship of the descendants of the original 1856 settlers with Norfolk Island and their desire to preserve their traditions and culture. This reflects part of the Preamble to the Norfolk Island Act 1979”, the Minister added.


“Whilst maintaining and promoting our culture, heritage and traditions has always been a significant concern of most Governments, there appears that no specific policy has been adopted although draft policies have, in the past, been developed. I was very pleased to advise that at the March sitting I will be tabling the Norfolk Island Cultural Strategic Plan 2014 to 2018 prepared for and endorsed by the Norfolk Island Council of Elders”

 

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NO SUPPORT FOR NORFOLK ISLAND COMMERCIAL FISHING INDUSTRY


The Hon Ron Ward, Minister for the Environment has advised that he has received a letter from Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture advising that there is no support for Norfolk Island to establish a local commercial fishing industry.  The letter from Senator Colbeck was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 19 February 2014.


“At the meeting I had with the Hon Greg Hunt, MP, Minister for the Environment in October 2013, I raised the desire of Norfolk Island to foster new industries to reduce reliance on tourism and to increase the Island’s revenue base and the desire of the Norfolk Island Fishing Association to develop a Norfolk Island Commercial Fishing Industry”, the Minister said.


As a result of those discussions, Minister Hunt referred the matter to Senator Colbeck.  Senator Colbeck has advised that “the AFMA Commission decided against the development of a commercial inshore Norfolk Island fishery, due to cost and sustainability concerns.”  In addition, he advised that AFMA sought advice from the then Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and Regional Australia, and “there were concerns about the sustainability of the target species, red throat emperor (locally called trumpeter)” based on research showing a decline in catch rates of this species.


Other concerns raised to support the decision not to allow the establishment of a local commercial fishing industry in Norfolk Island include the management costs of a commercial fishery being high compared to the likely gross value of production; the costs involved in the accreditation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 would be high compared to the likely gross value of production and that there is limited infrastructure necessary to support a commercial fishery and the cost of building the infrastructure (harbour facilities) would be high.  In addition, the compliance and regulation of such a commercial fishery would be difficult given the geographic isolation of Norfolk Island.


The response from Senator Colbeck’s has been copied to the Norfolk Island Fishing Association as it has been a long standing desire by some members of the Norfolk Island Fishing Association to establish a commercial fishing industry for Norfolk Island.


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

INCREASE IN HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL EVACUATION LEVY PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO HEALTHCARE LEGISLATION


On Wednesday, 19 February 2014, the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams, as Minister with responsibility for health moved a motion to increase the healthcare and medical evacuation levies; introduced the Healthcare (Amendment) Bill 2014 and sought leave to move a motion to commence the process to further amend the Healthcare Act 1989 and the Healthcare Levy Act 1990.


The healthcare levy will be increased to $220 and the medical evacuation levy to $80 commencing 1 March 2014.  The Minister said when moving this motion “I am not a believer of imposing taxes on a hurting community.  I know that this community is hurting.  However on the other hand responsible government is about protecting the community and ensuring that the Healthcare Scheme can provide the necessary services to the Norfolk Island community.”


Following the passage of this motion, the Minister presented the Healthcare (Amendment) Bill 2013. The Bill is intended to ensure that reimbursement of medical expenses not exceed the maximum prescribed benefit payable under the Medicare Benefits Schedule of the Commonwealth for that particular service.  While this limitation does not apply to services provided by the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise, it does apply to all other services whether provided in Norfolk Island or in the Commonwealth or other place outside Norfolk Island and whether provided as a referral by the hospital medical staff or as a self-referral.


The Minister advised that “this amendment will not extend to claims for charges for medical services incurred prior to the commencement of the amendment or for claims for charges for medical services referred for treatment off shore from Norfolk Island where those medical services have commenced and are being received and the eligible person is continuing to receive those referred medical services at the commencement of the amendment.  The limitation made by the amendment will, however apply, for example, to persons who have subsequently completed a course of treatment but a condition reappears and a new referral is made.”


In addition, the Minister sought leave of the Legislative Assembly to move the following Motion to further amend the Healthcare Act 1989 and the Healthcare Levy Act 1990:

“THAT this House requests the responsible Minister to:

1.         present as soon as practicable and preferably no later than the May 2014 sitting of the House a Bill to amend the Healthcare Act 1989 and the Healthcare Levy Act 1990 to address the following issues:

(a.)  equity issues arising from the regressive nature of the healthcare levy and it providing a disproportionate burden on lower income households;

(b.) improvement of current processes for assessing applications for exemption from liability to pay the levy, including if appropriate powers of compelling production of relevant information by third parties;

(c.)  improvement of current collection processes for the levy, including if appropriate mandatory imposition of interest charges on outstanding levies;

(d.) insert a definition of “respite care” to make it clear that a person accommodated in the hospital for the purpose of respite care is not entitled to medical benefits in respect of that accommodation and care  but will be entitled to reimbursement of other medical services

(e.)  include “respite care” in the list of services that are excluded from the meaning of “free medical services”;

(f.)  expand the definition of ‘evacuation costs’ in the Definitions Schedule of the Healthcare Act 1989 so that a member can be evacuated for urgent medical treatment not available on Norfolk Island and/or whose life is at risk if not so evacuated;

(g.)  amend Section 19A of the Healthcare Act 1989 in relation to hospitalisation costs for long term care patients

(h)  amend the Healthcare Levy Act 1990 to exclude persons from cover who have not applied to become members of the Healthcare Scheme

2.         actively pursue the possibility of reintroducing reinsurance for the Healthcare Scheme; and

3.         follow up recommendations of the Milliman Inc. Review of the Healthcare Scheme and the Workers Compensation Scheme for the Administration of Norfolk Island.


“I invite comment and submissions from the community in relation to the above issues to enable me to meet the timeframes imposed by the Motion for the introduction of the amending Bill”, the Minister said.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND RATED IN TOP TEN SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDS


The Hon. Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, was pleased to share the good news this week that Norfolk Island was included in TripAdvisor’s 10 top islands in the South Pacific.


“TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards ranks the island’s based on the reviews and opinions that are uploaded on the popular travel website.  We are honoured to have been recognised in this list by the visitors that have come to our island home”, the Chief Minister said.


“It’s the diversity in nature, history and activities on Norfolk Island that makes it so unique”, said Glen Buffett, General Manager of Norfolk Island Tourism. “As a Pacific Island destination, we’re constantly surprising visitors with the myriad of options available to them – from spectacular beaches, World Heritage historic areas to explore, nature walks and pristine golf course, to seasonal, island grown fresh food from our many restaurants and cafes. There’s so much more to Norfolk Island and it’s great to see travellers sharing their positive experiences online”.


“This financial year to date has seen a growth of 9% on visitor numbers to Norfolk Island from last year, and I continue to encourage all tourism stakeholders to continue to work together to obtain further growth”,  Mr Snell said.


Lisle D. Snell
Chief Minister

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL SERVICES PROVIDED BY SOUTH EASTERN SYDNEY LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams, has been advised that there may be some in the community who are not aware that an arrangement is in place with the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District to enable Norfolk Island residents to access hospital and ancillary health services in New South Wales.  The charge for these services is as per the New South Wales Health Schedule of Fees and Charges as it applies to Norfolk Island residents.


The Minister advised that “the Memorandum of Understanding between the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise and the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD), has resulted in a much smoother passage for Norfolk Island residents seeking overseas medical treatment to obtain such services through the SESLHD.  It has also provided a much better line of communication between Norfolk Island Health Administrators and the SESLHD which takes unnecessary worry away from the patient.”


SESLHD covers urban and suburban communities including Norfolk Island and manages eight public hospitals, one public nursing home, 28 Child and Family Centres, 12 Community Centres, 9 Oral Health Clinics, providing prevention, early intervention, community-based treatment, palliative care and rehabilitation services.


“I have discussed with the Medical Superintendent of the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise the need for all medical practitioners to be aware of the services provided by the SESLHD to ensure that patients are referred to the facilities which will reduce the costs not only to healthcare but also to the individual”, Ms Adams said.


Further information can be obtained from the Healthcare Manager, Mr Gary Dowling on telephone 24271 or by email gdowling@admin.gov.nf,


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ADMINISTRATOR’S TERM EXTENDED


The Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell, today advised that he has received formal notification that the Governor-General of Australia has extended the appointment of the Hon Neil Pope as Administrator of Norfolk Island until 30 June 2014.


“I am sure members of the community will join the Norfolk Island Government in welcoming this good news and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administrator and the Commonwealth Government to achieve the best outcome for Norfolk Island under the Roadmap.”


“I am aware that many community groups will be pleased with this extension having regard to the contribution being made in the community by Mrs Jen Pope and the funds raised through their preparedness to allow access by visitors to Government House”, Mr Snell said.


Chief Minister

Lisle Snell

Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMMUNITY LAW AND ORDER SURVEY SUMMARY RELEASED


The Chief Minister, Hon Lisle Snell, again thanks for the community members who completed the Law and Order Survey during the period 9 – 18 December 2013.


A brief summary of some results was released on 10 January 2014.  “I would like to advise the community that the summary of responses to the survey questions has been compiled and the report is available on www.info.gov.nf under the heading of Police” the Chief Minister said.


“The review into Policing and related matters on Norfolk Island continues and I look forward to providing details in due course” Mr Snell said.


Hard copies of the summary can be obtained from the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly.


Lisle Snell                                                                  

Chief Minister 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER



Please 'contact us' for more information.

SMALL GRANTS FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES



The Administrator, the Honourable Neil Pope would like to draw to the attention of not-for-profit community based organisations on the Island the possibility of receiving grants up to $5000.


The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is calling for applications for Round 25 of the Small Grants for Rural Communities grant program.  The closing date for applications is 28 March 2014.


“The program will offer at least $400,000 in grants up to $5,000 for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities, with populations of 10,000 or less, living in small rural and remote locations in Australia, contributing to their social and community welfare, economic, environmental, health, education or cultural areas,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Norfolk Island groups have been successful in receiving this grant in previous funding rounds.

To be eligible for a grant, projects must be for a charitable purpose (address a need in the community).  Information on previously funded projects is available on FRRR’s website - www.frrr.org.au.


Also available on the website are the program guidelines and application form.  Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the grant funding opportunity on 22152.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ADMINISTRATOR WELCOMES VISIT BY FEDERAL MINISTER



The Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope, is extremely pleased that the Minister responsible for Territories, the Hon Jamie Briggs MP, will be on Norfolk Island 14-15 February.

“Whilst on Island I’m very keen to ensure that the Minister has the opportunity to meet with representatives of all sectors of the community.  Accordingly, Jen and myself will be holding a reception at Government House,” said His Honour Neil Pope.

The Federal Minister will be having discussions with the Norfolk Island Government and will have the opportunity of seeing various aspects of the Island, including Cascade Pier and the Waste Management Centre.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

INCREASE IN NORFOLK ISLAND HEALTH SERVICE CHARGES


The Hon Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, advised today that the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) will need to increase its health service charges commencing 1 February 2014. This decision has been taken in consultation with the NIHE Advisory Board


“I indicated on radio last week, Tuesday, 7 January 2014 that the Norfolk Island Government has no alternative but to increase the health service charges at the Norfolk Island Hospital”, the Minister said.


Under the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985 health services provided by the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise are to be provided at the true economic cost of the services.  There has been some reluctance to increase the fees having regard to the economic circumstances of the community and an increase in the fees and charges has been deferred for some three years, the last increase being in May 2011.


Ms Adams advised that “In order for the Norfolk Island Hospital to continue to provide the services the community now expects, an increase in the fees is necessary.  I am pleased, however, to advise that the incentive discounts for early payment for services will remain, that is,

  • 8% for payment in full at time of service; or
  • 5% for payment in full by those who pay monthly on statement.”

The fees will increase by 3.5% across the board for all services and the Instrument and Schedule specifying the fees is published in the Norfolk Island Government Gazette of 17 January 2014.


“On 12 November 2013 I wrote a joint letter to the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development and the Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton, MP and followed this up again on 3 January 2014 through the Office of the Administrator seeking an urgent meeting to discuss, amongst other things, the undertaking by the Commonwealth in the September 2011 Funding Agreement in relation to the ‘implementation plan for access to Commonwealth benefits schemes, including Social Security and Medicare by the Commonwealth’ and access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. I am yet to receive a response but I will continue to press the Commonwealth Government, through the Office of the Administrator, for a positive response”, the Minister said.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

15 January 2014

Please 'contact us' for more information.

LAW AND ORDER SURVEY –– ANALYSIS


The Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell, has advised that an analysis of the Law and Order Survey has been undertaken and has provided the following summary of some of the results.  More information will be provided when available.

“I take this opportunity to thank the members of the community who took this opportunity to have a say by completing the Survey and to Ron Nobbs, MLA for having carriage of the Survey and particularly, Sarlu LeCren for her painstaking work in preparing the Survey and collating and uploading the responses to be analysed using the web based SurveyMonkey”, Mr Snell said. 

There were 396 responses to the survey.  92% of those who responded have lived on Norfolk Island for more than 5 years, 50% were older than 55 years, 51% were females, 65% were in the category of married/partner and 74% do not have children in their care who are 18 years of age or younger.

On questions related to community safety, 93% stated they feel physically safe, 85% consider their house and other personal property are safe whilst 68% advised the islands crime rate was not of concern to them.

In relation to co-operation etc with Police, 52% felt the community adequately co-operates with Police, 57% responded they had previously assisted Police, 86% advised they were prepared to assist or co-operate with Police, 68% felt there were areas or issues which needed addressing  whilst 54% stated the community should have a greater input into Policing issues.

71% of respondents felt it important for Norfolk Island to have its own Police Force, 77% favoured continued sourcing of fully trained officers from offshore, 78% agreed appropriately trained local “special” police should be employed, 53% agreed local “specials” be employed fulltime, 78% felt police were adequately equipped and 62% favour local “specials” undertaking primarily a role of community liaison, public education etc..

In relation to firearms 82% felt the mandatory requirement for police to wear firearms at all times is inappropriate whilst 63% felt that permitting the Officer in Charge of Police to decide when firearms should be worn as more appropriate.

The question in relation to the community having more say in policing the island was supported by 60% of respondents; 63% agreed to the need for a distinct and specific policy on policing; 65% supported the creation of an independent body to investigate complaints against Police;73% believe the composition of the Police Force should be seconded fulltime offshore officers plus local part trained “special” officers.

Chief Minister
Lisle Snell

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MINISTER FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE AND COMMUNITY SERVICES PORTFOLIO UPDATE


The Hon Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, advised today that over the coming weeks and months she will be providing the community with an update on current issues within her portfolios both in the written media and on radio.


“I look forward to working with the community over the next twelve months and take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to you all for a successful 2014”, the Minister said.


Minister Adams advised “I will be working to achieve a number of goals in my areas of responsibility. My immediate focus areas include -:


  1. continuing to seek through the Office of the Administrator, an opportunity to meet with relevant Commonwealth Ministers to progress with the Commonwealth Government the agreement to extend the Australian Medicare system and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to Norfolk Island;

  1. continuing to seek through the Office of the Administrator to progress with the relevant Commonwealth Ministers the review of the governance arrangements for the World Heritage listed Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area;

  1. finalising the education review undertaken by the working group chaired by Mrs Ward, MLA and enter into discussion with the NSW Department of Education and Communities on a new Memorandum of Understanding with that Department on staffing of the Norfolk Island Central School going forward into the future;

  1. undertaking a review of immigration legislation as a result of the amendments made in May 2013 which have had unintended consequences;

  1. continuing to consult with the community and the new Hospital Director, when appointed, on the provision of hospital and allied health services in Norfolk Island; and

  1. working with the Norfolk Island Council of Elders on how best we can preserve and promote Norfolk Island’s Culture, Heritage and Traditions into the future”.

“I have written to Commonwealth Ministers who have portfolio responsibility for Medicare, PBS and KAVHA and have sought assistance from The Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope, to facilitate meetings with the responsible Ministers to progress undertakings by the Commonwealth set out under the Road Map and subsequent Funding Agreements in relation to these issues”, the Minister added.


The Minister concluded by saying “I urge members of the community to contact me if they wish to discuss any issues within my areas of responsibility and I look forward to being able to provide the community with positive updates as they occur”.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ELECTRICITY WORKING GROUP UPDATE


Hon. Tim Sheridan, the Minister for Finance and Minister with responsibility for Electricity, provided the following update of the Electricity Working Group (EWG) today.


“As I have previously advised, I have extended the timeframe for feedback on Norfolk Island Electricity matters to 13 January 2014.  Two focus groups are scheduled for Friday, 10 January and Monday, 13 January 2014, both commencing at 8.45am.  I thank the community members who have already put their names forward to participate in these groups, and for those still wanting to participate please contact the EWG to register”, the Minister said.


“The EWG continues to process the feedback received to date and looks forward to providing different models to the upcoming focus groups.  After 13 January 2014 all feedback received will be reviewed, analysed and reported upon.  Once this has been completed, the information will be available to the Norfolk Island community”, Mr Sheridan said.


The Minister advised, “It is intended to move towards a long term goal of less reliance on diesel generated power and more reliance on renewable energy options including smart meters and battery storage for excess electricity.  It is important that all consumers of electricity contribute towards the cost of generation, infrastructure and maintenance of the power grid. The aim of the community consultation process is to enable the Administration to make recommendations to me to progress a workable resolution for the current problems faced by excess photovoltaic generated power and achieve the long term goals”.


The EWG can be contacted via ewg@admin.gov.nf.  The EWG information to date is available on www.info.gov.nf under the heading “Community Consultation”.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHRISTMAS CAROLS AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



On Monday night last week, Neil and Jen Pope hosted Christmas Carols at Government House which was extremely well attended.


“Our thanks go to all the various singers, but a very special thanks to Peter Randall for organising the night with Jen. Also we were blessed to have Dan Widdowson as the compere for the evening. Norfolk Island will dearly miss Dan’s contribution to this Island and his fantastic sense of humour.”


Santa made an appearance, but the Administrator once again missed out on seeing him for the second year in a row.  

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CASCADE LANDING FACILITY UPGRADE


The Hon Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism acknowledged and welcomed advice from the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Warren Truss, MP and the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, that the funding approved under RDAF4 for Norfolk Island Port Facilities Upgrade – Stage 2 project will be funded from the Coalition Government’s new Community Developments Grants programme and the Commonwealth Government will provide up to $13 million for the project.


Minister Truss advised that “The funding will be subject to confirmation that the project can continue according to the scope and other arrangements agreed prior to the election.  A signed Funding Agreement will be required prior to the provision of funding and subject to the agreement being completed within six months.”


In addition, Assistant Minister Briggs letter advised that “eligibility and selection criteria specified in the Community Development Grants Guidelines” must be satisfied including “confirmation of the scope and costs of the project, that these represent value for money and that the project can be completed within the allocated timeframes.”


In his letter Assistant Minister Briggs advised, amongst other things, that funding for this project is conditional on the Norfolk Island Government reaffirming commitment to engaging constructively on the reform agenda and commitment to implement the measures intended to increase the Norfolk Island Government’s revenue base and specifically, Minister Briggs said “that consistent with the funding agreement, the Government implement appropriate land tax and municipal rates regimes from 1 July 2014.”


As requested I have again reaffirmed the Norfolk Island Government’s commitment to the reform process and I have sought clarification from Minister Briggs that there is not a  requirement to impose both land tax and municipal rates. 


“Completion of this project would be a significant step in improving Norfolk Island’s landing facility infrastructure and hopefully will facilitate economic growth through future introduction of better cargo handling facilities and increased cruise ship tourism,” the Chief Minister said.


Mr Snell advised, “I have written to both Minister Truss and Minister Briggs thanking them for their government’s intention to proceed with funding this project and have advised that the Norfolk Island Administration will commence work to confirm the scope of the project and relevant requirements.”


Chief Minister

Lisle Snell

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ELECTRICITY WORKING GROUP Community Consultation Extended


The Minister for Finance and Minister with responsibility for Norfolk Island Electricity, the Hon Tim Sheridan, MLA, advised today that “Community consultation regarding electricity pricing has commenced and I am pleased that so many have contacted the Electricity Working Group (EWG) to provide feedback, either at the stall in the Norfolk Mall last Friday, via email or by paper submission.”

 

As a result of the community consultation and the responses received to date “I have decided to extend the timeframe for feedback to Monday, 13 January 2014 and to allow more focus groups to be held in the New Year.  In the meantime, the EWG are considering the responses already received,” the Minister said.

 

Representatives of the EWG also gave a presentation to Members of the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday this week which demonstrated that this is a complex issue with no easy solutions.


Mr Sheridan said, “I urge all interested members of the community to participate constructively in this process and I take this opportunity to thank those who have already contributed.”


If you wish to participate in a focus group, or require any further information please contact ewg@admin.gov.nf.  More information will be made available progressively on line at info.gov.nf

 

Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMMUNITY LAW AND ORDER SURVEY


The Hon Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister with responsibility for policing and justice advised, “I would like to update the community on the Law and Order Survey and I take this opportunity to again urge everyone in the community to complete a survey form either online or in hard copy”.


Mr Snell said, “I understand that some people have experienced difficulty accessing the survey online and were uncertain where additional hard copies can be obtained”.


“The survey is on the Norfolk Island Government site www.info.gov.nf under the heading ‘Police’ and hard copies have been placed in each post box.  Additional hard copies can be obtained from the collection points at the Post Office and Foodland”, Mr Snell said.


Completed surveys will be accepted up to and including Wednesday, 18 December 2013 at three collection points – Post Office, Foodland or the School Library.


Mr Snell advised that “survey forms are being completed and collected, however, a cursory look at the surveys received to date indicate that those in the 18-36 age bracket are not particularly well represented.  I urge those in the community in this age bracket to have their input”.


I also take this opportunity to reassure those in the community who think that the results will be ignored, that this is not the case.  This survey has been initiated by government with the aim to gain community input and your views are important.  This is the community’s chance to contribute to the review currently being undertaken”.


Please note that the survey period will not be extended beyond Wednesday, 18 December 2013.


Chief Minister

Lisle Snell

Please 'contact us' for more information.

LIVE AND INVEST IN NORFOLK ISLAND


The Hon Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, advised today that a web page has been created which will assist potential new residents and investors to access relevant information about Norfolk Island as a place to live and invest.

“This new web presence will be a useful resource for people to access information to help them understand the recent changes to the Immigration Act 1980”, the Minister said.


“The web page can be viewed at www.norfolkisland.com.au/about-norfolk/live-and-invest and the promotional material on the site can be downloaded.  


I encourage all local businesses to ‘spread the word’ by creating a link to the new web page on their business websites”, Ms Adams said.


An advertisement will be appearing in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph and Brisbane Sunday Mail this weekend and new advertisements will be published in these papers on 12 January and 16 February 2014..


“The Norfolk Island Government and Administration continue to work on a promotion strategy to attract new residents and investors to the island in line with the Norfolk Island Government ‘Sustainable Growth Strategy’. On behalf of the Norfolk Island Government I extend appreciation to the Commonwealth Government for the significant financial contribution provided towards this promotion strategy” the Minister said.


Any enquiries can be directed to investmentenquiries@admin.gov.nf or by telephone 22001 ext 4.

 

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage

 and Community Services

13 December 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND’S TELEVISION SERVICES SWITCHED FROM ANALOGUE TO VAST DIGITAL


The Minister for Finance with responsibility for telecommunications and broadcasting, the Hon Tim Sheridan, MLA, made a statement in the formal sitting of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 relating to the upgrade of Norfolk Island’s television services.


The Minister said “Yesterday (10 December 2013) the VAST (Viewer Access Satellite Television) service was provided to the community of Norfolk Island.  The analogue signal has been switched off and the digital service platform of VAST has taken over all of the services”.


The switch from analogue to digital will provide a big improvement in the television reception and clarity.  There are now 16 free to air television channels and 12 radio channels to choose from.


“I have been informed that the switchover went without any major problems and that by now the community should be able to access this new VAST platform.  I would like to thank the crew from Norfolk Telecom and Gary Summerscales for the work that they have done over the past month to ensure that TV services would continue without interruption”, Mr Sheridan said.


Mr Sheridan advised that “four of the original digital settings, ABC1, Channel 7, SBS1 and ABC3 will continue to be broadcast to enable those persons who have not yet converted their equipment to still have access to some television services.  This has been done as a lot of businesses are awaiting receipt of set-top boxes to enable conversion to the VAST platform.  The old analogue TV service has now been completely discontinued”.


If any members of the public are having difficulties in accessing this new service, advice can be obtained from their service provider or by contacting Norfolk Telecom who are only to willing to provide advice and assistance if necessary.


In concluding his statement, the Minister said, “I trust that the community enjoys the early Christmas present provided by Norfolk Telecom and Gary Summerscales”.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ELECTRICITY WORKING GROUP COMMUNITY CONSULTATION


Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance and Minister with responsibility for Norfolk Island Electricity, advised today that “following a great deal of work done by the Electricity Working Group (EWG) they are now at a point where broader community consultation can be effectively carried out. I know the community is interested in this process and constructive engagement from the community is welcome”.


The EWG has been working through the complexities of the increasing costs of fuel; the lack of funds for infrastructure replacement; the need for storage solutions for excess PV and a considered approach to identifying the various elements of service delivered to consumers. This has been followed by some complex modelling; resolving issues and concerns and ensuring that a variety of scenarios are considered. “This has proven to be a challenge and I thank the working group for their commitment and dedication for what is a large task”, the Minister said.


Seven key groups of stakeholders have been identified:

  • All Members of the Legislative Assembly.
  • Organisations representing business owners who have an interest in the financial viability of their members.
  • Organisations and community members with an interest in environmental matters, green power, alternative energy options, etc.
  • Electrical contractors, fuel suppliers and others involved in the electricity supply chain.
  • Electricity consumers who have PV panels installed and who are benefiting from the KwH they make.
  • Electricity consumers who do not have PV panels installed.
  • Government and Administration and others involved in ensuring the ongoing financial viability of Norfolk Island Electricity and the Norfolk Island Administration.

The planned format for community consultation includes the following:

  • Issue of information pack to Members of the Legislative Assembly, Wednesday 11 December 2013.
  • Several small focus groups, Thursday 12 December 2013.
  • A public stall at the Norfolk Mall, Friday,13 December 2013 from 9 am to 12 noon.
  • Additional focus groups in the week commencing 16 December 2013.
  • A formal submission template for completion and return to the EWG. Copies of the information pack will be available at the public stall to take away.
  • Copies of the information pack and submission template will be available on line at info.gov.nf from Thursday 12 December 2013 or by emailing ewg@admin.gov.nf.

“I urge community members to provide input into this important issue and to read the information pack and complete a submission.  Submissions should be returned to the EWG by 29 December 2013. The outcome of the consultations will be considered in the EWG’s final recommendations to me”, the Minister said.


If you wish to participate in a focus group, or require any further information please contact ewg@admin.gov.nf.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

REMINDER - ANALOGUE SWITCHOVER TO DIGITAL ON 10 DECEMBER 2013


The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance reminds all residents that the digital television conversion will take place on 10 December 2013.


“Norfolk Island residents will be able to access 16 free-to-air digital television channels from the switchover date but this change will mean that the analogue television transmission will be turned off” said Minister Sheridan.


“All members of the community need to be aware that they will require a set top box or digital TV.  A more expensive VAST satellite decoder box and dish is only required if their place of residence is in a signal black spot on the Island” said Minister Sheridan.


Minister Sheridan said “funds totalling $16,000 have been approved to enable the new digital signals to be broadcast locally following the switch-off of the analogue signals”.


All residents will need to rescan their TVs and set top boxes on 10 December and ensure that the country of origin is set to Australia in the menu.  If a password is required a simple default 0000 should suffice.  Some loss of picture may occur in the days leading up to the conversion as our technical people make adjustments ready for the big switchover, so we do apologise in advance.


Residents can test the compatibility of their new or existing televisions or set-top boxes by performing a scan of the channels and a test channel will appear on digital-ready items.


“Residents should note however, that to get the digital signal on switch-over day, they will also need to perform a re-scan on 10 December” said Mr Sheridan.


The new VAST programs will only be 1/2 hour later during Australian daylight saving time in the eastern states including Central 7 and Imparja.


Minister Sheridan reminds all residents “to get ready to make the switch on 10 December”.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Mr Kim Davies, Manager Norfolk Telecom on telephone 22244, mobile 50600 or email to info@telecom.gov.nf.

 

Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER




Please 'contact us' for more information.

LAW AND ORDER SURVEY –– SOME FACTS


It has been suggested that the Law and Order Survey should be accompanied by supporting information to enable the community to respond to the survey based on facts.


The following facts are provided to assist completion of the survey form, not to influence the outcome of the survey.


The Survey questions have been grouped and if seen as appropriate, some facts provided. If you have any further questions please contact me on 22003 or Allen Bataille on 22001 ext 112 or email ikey@admin.gov.nf.


Questions 1 to 5 – This information is extremely important. It does not identify you.


Questions 6 to 14 –We would like your personal rating on - how safe is our island?


Questions 15 and 16 – These questions relate to costs of policing to the community.  It is necessary therefore to provide actual costs. The Norfolk Island Police Force (NIPF) maintain a 24 hour per day response capability and the cost plus backup for this service should be considered in the total cost which includes salaries, allowances, operational and equipment. The total cost is funded on the basis of 30% contribution by the Commonwealth to cover its responsibilities under Australian laws extended to the island and Commonwealth property whilst the remaining 70% is paid by Norfolk Island.


The following costs are from the Norfolk Island Government financial statements for 2012/13 and budget 2013/14:

NIPF (70% of total cost)        2012/13 - $744,832           $2013/14 - $832.900

 

Question 17 – Neighbourhood Watch is a successful community based crime prevention program aimed at protecting property and personal safety. It is not aimed at establishing vigilante groups but is simply an organised reporting mechanism utilising those who live in a neighbourhood and who are likely to be more aware of unusual activities in their area.


Question 18 to 20 – It should be noted, Courts are independent and thus the questions are aimed at the process not individual cases.  We ask for your personal opinion on the process which is established by laws set by the community through the Legislative Assembly.


Questions 21 to 33 – The Government is currently undertaking a review of policing on Norfolk Island. The review is not looking at individual issues or persons but is looking at such things as policing administration, processes and procedures, staffing structure and current costs. Primarily it is looking at the existing policing policy and what is required in the future.

The current staffing structure of the NIPF provides an establishment of three seconded from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) being a Sergeant and two constables and three locally appointed members (“Specials”); one full time and two part time positions.


The entity is called the NIPF but the recruitment procedures, remuneration and employment arrangements currently vary.  AFP seconded officers are appointed by the AFP Commissioner; their remuneration and allowances are set by the AFP in Canberra and they are responsible to and report to the AFP.  The “Specials” are recruited by the Norfolk Island Administration (the Administration), their remuneration, with limited allowance, is established under Administration processes and they are appointed by the Administrator.  Both the AFP officers and “Specials” are sworn in by a local Justice of the Peace and they are responsible and report to the AFP Officer in Charge of Police on island.


The Norfolk Island Police Act 1931 (the Act) provides for the Police Force of the Territory of Norfolk Island and the need to review the Act and policing services generally has resulted in the need for the Law and Order Survey. The Act provides that the Commonwealth Minister may from time to time appoint such constables, sergeants and officers of police as he thinks necessary, in a manner he determines, and on such terms and conditions as to remuneration and otherwise as he thinks proper.  The Act provides that the Administrator may, “at any time and on such terms and conditions as he thinks fit, appoint, or authorise the appointment of, such special constables as are in his opinion necessary or expedient to be appointed”. There is no reference in the Act to the Norfolk Island Administration, Norfolk Island Government or the Norfolk Island Minister with responsibility for policing. 


There is also a Memorandum of Understanding 1993 (MoU), between the Admininistration and the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth), concerning the provision of services to the Administration of Norfolk Island by the Australian Federal Police.  The MoU states the AFP shall provide a Principal Police Officer and 2 others members of the AFP but such deployment is to be preceded by consultation between the AFP Commissioner and the Norfolk Island Minister with responsibility for policing.  Under the MoU, the Commonwealth retains control over employment conditions and salary levels of AFP members. There is no reference to employment of “Specials” or the Norfolk Island Police Act 1931 in the MoU.


The MoU requires Norfolk Island to fund 70% of the total cost of the NIPF for each financial year and that the total cost of the Services is to be agreed between the Norfolk Island Minister and the Commissioner by 30 June each year.  The MoU also provides that an annual review be undertaken by the Commissioner and the Norfolk Island Minister and at such other times by the Commonwealth Minister responsible for the AFP, the Administrator, and the Norfolk Island Minister. The Commonwealth Minister, the Administrator and the Norfolk Island Minister are responsible for resolution of disputes.   It appears from a search of the Administration’s records that there has not been a review previously undertaken.

 

Question 34 to 43 – These questions refer to a possible Policy on ‘Policing Norfolk Island’. There is currently no such distinct Policy. It appears that a number of “policies” and “orders” have been adopted over the years including the AFP Commissioner’s Orders.

Please do not hesitate to seek clarification of any of the above.

1)    This is your opportunity to have a say;

2)    We need your participation; and

3)    Your comments will be taken into account.

Chief Minister


Lisle Snell

5 December  2013 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMMUNITY GROUPS TRAINING


The Office of the Administrator is pleased to inform the community of the following two–day training opportunity to be delivered by Patrick Moriarty of Our Community.  Many in the community will remember Patrick Moriarty from the grants training program held on Norfolk Island in September 2012.


Persons interested in participating in the training should contact Ginny Maidment, Community Liaison Officer at the Office of the Administrator, by email at ginny.maidment@infrastructure.gov.au or by phone on 22152.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY GROUPS TRAINING

Wednesday, 4 and Thursday, 5 December 2013

Facilitator – Patrick Moriarty of Our Community

Community groups are an integral part of community life.  Here on Norfolk Island there are some 70 groups providing a wide range of support and services for the benefit of the community.

Governance and strategic planning are at the core of group activities.

Your management team is responsible for building, maintaining and driving your group.  Ultimately, how it performs will be the single most important factor in determining the success of your group.

One of the most important roles of a management team is strategic planning, or mapping your group’s future.  A group that doesn’t know where it is going can never expect to achieve its mission or purpose.

Would you like to know more about the secrets of successful management teams and strategic planning?  If so, you are invited to come along to the upcoming effective community groups training.  In practical, interactive sessions, anchored by Patrick Moriarty, governance and grants guru of Our Community Melbourne, you will cover:

  • Understanding your legal and practical responsibilities as a management team member, and how you can create a more harmonious, more productive and more effective working group.

  • Why your group should be thinking about strategic planning.  What is it and what are the elements of a good strategic plan?

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PROPOSED LAW AND ORDER SURVEY – THE REASONS AND PROCESS


A community survey into Law and Order, is due to commence on Monday, 9 December 2013.  The survey is seeking further input into the Norfolk Island Government’s review of policing services and related issues.


The survey is confidential and anonymous with a deadline for completion by Wednesday, 18 December 2013. It would be appreciated if only one survey form per person is completed.


To facilitate the process, the survey can be completed online at www.info.gov.nf or alternatively survey forms will be placed in every mail box, and will be available from the public library, school library, Norfolk Telecom, Post Office and the Legislative Assembly.  If you require assistance to complete the survey please contact Mr Allen Bataille either by email on ikey@admin.gov.nf or telephone 22001 ext 112 or 23691.


Completed survey forms can be placed in collection bins which will be at the Post Office, the school and at Foodland. The collection bins will be cleared daily between 9 and 18 December 2013.


The Community Law and Order Survey is to provide all community members, over 13 years of age, with an opportunity to participate in the review of Norfolk Island policing and related matters by answering a number of simple questions and to make meaningful comment.


Policing is a very important component of life in Norfolk Island.  As a consequence it is essential that we provide the best service possible and therefore a review is being undertaken particularly of the Police Act 1931 and the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Administration of Norfolk Island relating to the provision of police services by the Australian Federal Police, which although provides for periodic reviews such reviews have not occurred.


The proposed Law and Order Survey provides an opportunity for members of the community to have a say and provide input to guide the decision makers when finalising the review and determining future law and order services for Norfolk Island.


Please take this survey seriously your input is important.


Chief Minister

Lisle Snell

29 November  2013 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMMUNITY GROUP TRAINING



The Office of the Administrator is pleased to inform the community of the following two–day training opportunity to be delivered by Patrick Moriarty of Our Community.  Many in the community will remember Patrick Moriarty from the grants training program held on Norfolk Island in September 2012.

Persons interested in participating in the training should contact Ginny Maidment, Community Liaison Officer at the Office of the Administrator, by email at ginny.maidment@infrastructure.gov.au or by phone on 22152.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY GROUPS TRAINING

4 and-5 December 2013

Facilitator – Patrick Moriarty of Our Community

Community groups are an integral part of community life.  Here on Norfolk Island there are some 70 groups providing a wide range of support and services for the benefit of the community.


Governance and strategic planning are at the core of group activities.

Your management team is responsible for building, maintaining and driving your group.  Ultimately, how it performs will be the single most important factor in determining the success of your group.

One of the most important roles of a management team is strategic planning, or mapping your group’s future.  A group that doesn’t know where it is going can never expect to achieve its mission or purpose.


Would you like to know more about the secrets of successful management teams and strategic planning?  If so, you are invited to come along to the upcoming effective community groups training.  In practical, interactive sessions, anchored by Patrick Moriarty, governance and grants guru of Our Community Melbourne, you will cover:

  • Understanding your legal and practical responsibilities as a management team member, and how you can create a more harmonious, more productive and more effective working group.

  • Why your group should be thinking about strategic planning.  What is it and what are the elements of a good strategic plan?

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS TRAINING




In September last year Patrick Moriarty from the organisation Our Community ran a training program on how to write a successful application for grants. The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope has invited Patrick back to Norfolk Island to run a training program to assist representatives of organisations on how to plan for the future and improve the effectiveness of their organisations.


“From the feedback we received the training last year was greatly appreciated by those who attended and has assisted Norfolk Island in gaining a number of valuable grants”, said His Honour.


“Following that training a number of representatives from organisations on the Island raised with myself, or staff within my office, the prospect of further training for community organisations.  The issue raised by a number of representatives was the desire to have a greater understanding of strategic planning for an organisation.”


“Accordingly I have arranged for Patrick to return to the Island to run a two day program to cover the issue of planning or mapping an organisation’s future. The program will be run on 4 and 5 December.”


Interested parties should contact Ginny Maidment in the Office of the Administrator on 22152.


 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

GOVERNOR GENERAL HAS DESSERT FROM PROMISING CHEF



During the Governor-General’s visit to Norfolk Island Her Excellency was able to taste a dessert by one of our own budding chefs. Thirteen year old Jack Solely was requested by the Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope and his wife Jen to prepare a dessert for the Governor-General.


“At the private dinner with Her Excellency on Wednesday 13 November at Government House Jack prepared and served a lemon meringue condensed milk pie with toffee strands,” said Jen Pope.


“The empty dessert plate some short time after said it all, the Governor General thought it was delicious, and had been so gracious when we raised the prospect of Jack preparing and serving a dessert.”


Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

DRAFT HEALTH SERVICES PLAN FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, the Hon Robin Adams, tabled at the sitting of the House on 13 November 2013 the Draft Health Services Plan for Norfolk Island prepared by Nexus Management Consulting, a firm engaged by the Director of the Norfolk Island Hospital, Ms Julie Morrison, in collaboration with the Chief Executive of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. 


The Health Services Plan prepared by Nexus Management Consulting was funded by the Commonwealth Government under a funding agreement between the Commonwealth and the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise signed earlier this year. The Draft Plan may be accessed on www.info.gov.nf under the heading of Hospital.  Copies can be made available electronically by contacting the Secretary to the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise on sbuffett@hospital.gov.nf.


In tabling the report Minister Adams called on the community to read the Draft Health Services Plan which summarises, in the Consultant’s view, the key issues with health services provision on the island; sets out a plan for a new health service model; discusses implementation and governance arrangements for the health service plan and lists the Consultant’s recommendations on this health services plan. 


In urging the community on Wednesday to read the Draft Health Services Plan, Minister Adams made it quite clear that the decision as to whether or not the suggestion in the Plan that “the health service on the Island needs to be radically recast … by formally closing beds and shifting the focus to primary care and aged care” is a decision that should be taken with meaningful consultation with the Norfolk Island community as the Plan needs to be a community endorsed Health Services Plan.


Minister Adams has consistently expressed the view that the Commonwealth funded Review of Existing Child & Family Support Services on Norfolk Island undertaken by Gillian Calvert and Marie Connolly and the Review of Norfolk Island Health Legislation provided by Dr Tim Smyth provided earlier this year should not be considered until the Health Services Plan for Norfolk Island was received.  “With these three reviews now completed, consultation with the community can commence.  I see this as an important step in the process as the community are key stakeholders”, Minister Adams said.


“I plan to hold a community consultation process in the near future and will advise details in due course”, the Minister said.


To start the consultation process Minister Adams said she looks to SWAG (the Social Welfare Action Group) and the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board, who will consult with hospital staff, to take a proactive role in providing to the Norfolk Island Government their views on the Draft Health Services Plan in the first instance.


Robin Adams                                                             

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S VISIT TO NORFOLK ISLAND



The Governor-General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, had a very full and successful visit to the Island on Wednesday and Thursday this week following on from an invitation from His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.


“Whilst on the Island the Governor-General met many of the Island’s residents at a reception at Government House.  Her Excellency also met many residents at the RSL Club and the School. The Governor-General was extremely pleased to have a tour of KAVHA by David Buffett and was extremely complimentary about the Sirius museum presentation,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


More than 450 guests attended the reception at Government House hosted by His Honour and Mrs. Pope.


The highlight of the reception was the investiture of bravery awards to Darren Bates and Dean Burrell.


His Honour made the following remarks on behalf of the community.


“Your Excellency, Chief Minister the Honourable Lisle Snell, Speaker the Honourable David Buffett, Ministers and Members of the Assembly, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.


It is indeed an honour to have Her Excellency visit Norfolk Island. On Wednesday 21 March 2012 following the swearing in ceremony of myself at Government House in Canberra Her Excellency recalled to Jen and myself the 2009 aborted attempt to land on Norfolk due to extremely high winds.


Her Excellency made a commitment to me last March that she would visit prior to the end of Her Excellency’s term as Governor-General. I do remember, Your Excellency, that you also extended an invitation to our two children Sam and Jacinta and that Jen and I should ensure that they also be in attendance. Unfortunately they have not been able to join us.

 

Your Excellency in the 19 months that Jen and I have lived on this Island we have been amazed at the community spirit and generosity of the people of Norfolk Island.


Also the children are an absolute delight and all very engaging, which I am sure you will witness tomorrow when you visit the school.


It may be a small Island but it has a huge heart.

 

Your Excellency we are so pleased that you have already been able to see firsthand the beauty of this Island and over the next 24 hours we trust that you will also observe the fantastic community spirit that exists here on Norfolk.


On behalf of the community thank you for honouring that commitment of March 2012 and on behalf of Jen and myself we would like you to take back to Yarralumla this small gift which may always remind you of this beautiful Island.”

 

 

 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

BRAVERY AWARDS PRESENTATION



On Wednesday 13 November 2013, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, presented a Commendation for Brave Conduct to both Mr Darren Bates and Mr Dean Burrell for their efforts in assisting the safe passage of the yacht, Beau Geste in June 2012.


The investiture took place at a reception hosted by His Honour and Jen Pope at Government House, as part of the Governor-General’s wider visit program.

The following is the citation for both recipients: Mr Darren Bates and Mr Dean Burrell


On 5 June 2012, Messrs Bates and Burrell assisted a stricken yacht to safely reach Norfolk Island.


Amid severe weather the previous day, Norfolk Island police received a distress call from the yacht, ‘Beau Geste’, which was some 95 nautical miles offshore.


A crewman advised that the yacht had suffered major structural damage and needed assistance, and that there were 18 people on board.  After being briefed by the police, Mr Bates and Mr Burrell volunteered to undertake the rescue of the yacht’s crew.


Just after midnight on 5 June they set off towards the Beau Geste, encountering 40-50 knot winds and five metre wave swells on the way.


Some two and a half hours later, Mr Bates and Mr Burrell located the stricken yacht about 45 nautical miles from Norfolk Island.  With weather conditions gradually easing, they escorted the Beau Geste to the island.


Despite fears that the yacht might break up due to the structural stresses caused by the strong head winds, it remained intact.  The crew were transferred to the safety of the boat piloted by Mr Bates and Mr Burrell.


For their actions, Mr Bates and Mr Burrell are commended for their brave conduct.


Neil Pope

Administrator

Please 'contact us' for more information.

STATEMENT- PUBLIC SECTOR REMUNERATION TRIBUNAL ACT 1992


Mr Speaker, in accordance with subsection 4(2) of the Public Sector Remuneration Tribunal Act 1992 I table the Public Sector Remuneration Tribunal Determination No. 1 of 2012 and the Reasons for Determination by the Public Sector Remuneration Tribunal, The Hon Kevin Edmund Lindgren Am, QC.


This Determination is the result of an Application by the Norfolk Island Public Service Association made on 9 November 2012 and amended on 15 July 2013 for a general wage adjustment to the wages payable to certain classes of public sector employees.


In addition, Mr Speaker, in accordance with subsection 4(1) of the Act 1992 I have established that the Chief Executive Officer of the Administration of Norfolk Island, as the employer affected by the Determination, has received a copy and I am advised that the Determination is now available online.


The Determination provides under paragraphs 8(1)(a) and (b) of the Act that a general adjustment is to be made to the wages payable to public sector employees up to and including “Executive Officers Level 1” in respect of the period from the beginning of the first pay period which commenced on or after 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2015 in an amount equal to 7.0% of the base salary wage for each salary classification level covered by the Determination.  In addition, Mr Speaker, the Remuneration Tribunal determined that each party, that is, the Public Service Association of Norfolk Island and The Administration of Norfolk Island has liberty to apply to the Tribunal in relation to the implementation of the Determination if any difficulty should arise.


In addressing the matters to be taken into account set out in section 9 of the Act, and in particular the “economic conditions in the Norfolk Island community”, the Remuneration Tribunal said, and I quote


“I accept that there has been a significant increase in the cost of living on Norfolk Island since the last Determination of the Tribunal took effect in 2008. The evidence establishing this was referred to earlier.  In ordinary circumstances, this would give rise to a general increase in the remuneration payable to public sector employees.  The increased cost of living is the most important factor in the case pointing to such an increase.”


Further, the Remuneration Tribunal found that “While the funding of an increase will deprive the Administration of Norfolk Island of funds that might have gone to serve other ends, it cannot be safely concluded that the net effect on the Island’s economy will be bad.  At least the benefits of increased local consumer spending must be weighed against the loss of funds to the Administration of Norfolk Island.”


In reaching his conclusion the Remuneration Tribunal found, amongst other things and I quote “… taking into account the increased cost of living since the last Determination in 2008, the Administration of Norfolk Island’s diminished capacity to pay, and the unacceptable burden that would be imposed on the Administration of Norfolk Island if an increase were to be granted for the full period between the effective date of the last Determination in 2008 and the date of the lodgement of the present one on 9 November 2012, I think that there should be an increase of 7.0% in respect of the period from the beginning of the first pay period which commenced on or after 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2015.  Very broadly this has the public sector employees sharing equally with the Administration of Norfolk Island the burden of the Island’s financial misfortunes.”


Mr Speaker, the amount of 7% is considerably lower than the amount sought in the application by the Public Service Association which was 5% each year over a five-year period from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2013.  The percentage increase amounts to approximately $11,385 payable per fortnight.


Members have discussed the effect of this Determination and the likely impact on the budget for the balance of this financial year and the Chief Executive Officer was tasked to advise the Government on the budget impacts.


Mr Speaker, I am pleased to advise that the increase can be funded from savings identified in the salary allocation in the budget for the financial year 2013/2014 and from postponing the filling of vacant positions such as the Principal Advisor to Government; Manager, Land Use and Environment and Legal Counsel.


Mr Speaker, under the Act the Determination is a disallowable instrument and a motion to disallow must be put before the house before the expiration of 65 days.


Mr Speaker, last night at 10.30pm a letter was received from the Federal Minister The Hon Jamie Briggs by email from his Department.  I table a copy of that letter.  I quote the relevant section of that letter now “The Norfolk Island Administrator had previously made appropriation for a wage increase of 3% plus $10 per week for the financial year, 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014.  In light of current budgetary conditions, any further wage increases should not be agreed to”. 


Mr Speaker, the CEO consulted the Commonwealth Finance Officer and she has advised in writing, and I quote: “I have had a discussion with the Department, and we agree that FA General Condition clause 6 won’t apply in this case, as you are not “entering into a new arrangement”.  The Department was always aware of the pending determination and the 2013/14 budget made a provision for an outcome, even though the final outcome was more than the budgeted amount.  General condition clause 11 – “contain staff budgets to current numbers and funding”, will apply as the Determination increases salary expenses over the 13/14 budget.  To satisfy this condition, it would be appreciated if you could prepare a memorandum to explain how the Administration will fund the salary increase without having an impact on the overall forecast year end result”.


I understand that the CEO has provided the CFO with the information she has sought.


Mr Speaker under the Act I am required to table the determination and it can be disallowed within the 65 days mentioned above.  Therefore based on the advice from the CFO the NIA is working towards meeting the determination in the next pay period commencing 21 November 2013.


Mr Speaker, in light of the letter from the Federal Minister I will be working closely with the CEO and the Commonwealth to resolve any issue that the Federal Minister may have.


 

Thank you

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister

 

13 November 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND GIVES TO THE MAINLAND



Whilst Norfolk Island has been going through some tough economic times in recent years as tourist numbers are not at a sustainable level, it has not dampened their generosity in giving to those in need on the mainland.


The Administrator of the Island the Honourable Neil Pope and his wife Jen are continually amazed at the community spirit and generosity on the Island.


“The volunteerism, the caring for others in the community who may be struggling financially or health wise is extraordinary. For example, the Red Cross in the last ten years not only has it looked after the Norfolk Island community, the organisation has donated approximately $50,000 to Red Cross on the mainland,” said Neil Pope.


This week His Honour and Mrs. Pope opened up Government House at the suggestion of local residents to raise money for the New South Wales Bushfire Appeal, earlier this year an open day was held for the Tasmanian, Victorian and New South Wales which raised $3000.

The Open day at Government House on Wednesday 6 November raised $2766 and the historical society sold $300 worth of booklets and they have donated this money to the bushfire appeal.


“It is typical of this community that they would want to assist those in need even though they are struggling themselves. For the Open day at Government House for the bushfire victims thirteen residents volunteered to be sitters, as they do every fortnight when we raise money for various charities,” said Mrs. Pope.


The local Lions and Rotary clubs are always making donations to various charities and again this week $500 was donated to the Bushfire Appeal by the Norfolk Island Lions Club.


The Administrator Neil Pope and his wife Jen said they were very much looking forward to the Governor General visiting the Island next week in order that Her Excellency can observe firsthand the community spirit that exists on Norfolk Island.


Please 'contact us' for more information.

GOVERNOR GENERAL’S VISIT TO NORFOLK ISLAND



The Governor General, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce will be on Island on Wednesday and Thursday of this coming week following on from an invitation from His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.


Whilst on the Island the Governor General will be meeting many of the Island’s residents at a reception at Government House. Other activities arranged include the RSL, the School, afternoon tea with the year 12 students and a tour of the island. Her Excellency will also be viewing the Cyclorama.


In 2009 the Governor General had scheduled a visit to Norfolk Island but unfortunately the plane was unable to land due to unfavourable weather conditions.


“When being sworn in as Administrator by the Governor General, Her Excellency promised Jen and I that she would visit Norfolk Island during her term, and so we are so pleased that she is honouring that commitment,” said His Honour.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER



Please 'contact us' for more information.

POSITIVE OUTCOMES FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



The Hon Ron Ward, Minister for the Environment and the Hon Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, met on Thursday, 24 October 2013 with the Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt on a number of cross-portfolio matters including:

 

Waste Management;

Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Norfolk Island);

Forestry Zone; and

Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).

 

Ministers Ward and Adams said “The meeting was very productive and we were very grateful to Minister Hunt for meeting with us so early in his term as Minister for the Environment and for his readiness to assist Norfolk Island to resolve a number of issues”.

 

Minister Hunt promised to seek advice from his department on these issues. He also noted that a senior Parks Australia officer is on Norfolk Island this week to look at Marine and National Park management issues and would report to him on options for future management of these matters.

 

In respect to the World Heritage listed KAVHA, Minister Adams outlined a number of actions that will directly support achieving the governance and management reforms for the site included in the Norfolk Island Roadmap (2011) which were reaffirmed in a statement in the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly on 10 April 2013.

 

Minister Hunt offered to speak to his colleague, the Hon Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, about environment and heritage issues on Norfolk Island.  In this respect, Minister Adams was able to advise that the Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope, has recently raised issues relating to KAVHA with Minister Briggs.


At the conclusion of the meeting an invitation was extended on behalf of the Norfolk Island Government for Minister Hunt and his advisers to visit Norfolk Island again, as the Norfolk Island Government would welcome the opportunity to return the courtesy and respect shown by Minister Hunt.


The Norfolk Island Government takes this opportunity to extend its appreciation for  the funding to be provided by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development of $485,000 for capital projects for KAVHA announced by the Administrator on 24 October 2013.


Ron Ward                                                                          Robin Adams

Minister for the Environment                                  Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

5   November 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ASSESSMENT OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ENTERPRISES



The Australian Government committed $0.3 million in the 2012-13 Budget to assist the Norfolk Island Government in assessing options for operation of the Government Business Enterprises (GBEs).  This proposal addresses one of the recommendations of the Norfolk Island Economic Development Report by ACIL Tasman commissioned by the Department.

Deloitte Access Economics (Deloittes) has been engaged by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to develop a framework for assessing the merits of alternate management and service delivery options for Norfolk Island’s GBEs.


The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, MLA, today advised that representatives of Deloitte Access Economics arrived in Norfolk Island on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 to have initial discussions with the Office of the Administrator, the Administration and the Norfolk Island Government Ministers and to conduct site visits and meet with GBE Managers to get a better understanding of the scope and scale of the various GBEs.


Deloittes have prepared and presented a draft GBE Analysis Framework to enable consideration by the parties before it is finalised.  Once the framework is finalised, it will enable the Norfolk Island Government to enter in information about each of its GBEs in order to get a better understanding of how each is performing. From this process, business improvements may be identified, service delivery levels can be established, and necessary levels of investment will be identified that will sustain and improve the GBE.


Minister Sheridan said “the Government sees the framework as being part of a standard business improvement process. It will allow the Government to gain an improved understanding of the GBEs and which of these can be considered as fully functioning GBEs, which are true government operations and which are very small scale or have inbuilt community service obligations. Many of these GBEs have been built up over time using the resourcefulness that Norfolk Islanders are known for and provide essential and meaningful services to our community. Assessing how each is performing is the object of the framework. This is just good business sense”.


”The framework has been designed by Deloittes and we need to ensure that it is sensible, workable and practical to enable the evaluation of alternative options for the delivery and operations of the GBEs. The final approach adopted will depend on factors such as size, scope and composition of the GBEs as well as the specific commercial, financial, regulatory, social and policy considerations of each. I look forward to being able to report to the community on future outcomes of the GBE process in the near future”, the Minister said.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MIGRATION FROM ANALOGUE TO DIGITAL TELEVISION


The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance is pleased to announce that the digital television conversion will take place on 10 December 2013 for all Norfolk Island residents.


Minister Sheridan said, ”As a result of problems experienced in obtaining the necessary parts from the UK to enable the transmission of the four missing ABC channels and in light of the change from the current analogue Aurora television transmission services to VAST digital services on 10 December, 2013, funds totalling $16,000 have been approved to rectify both issues at once.”


This will mean that residents will be able to access the full range of free-to-air television with the availability of 16 channels from 10 December this year. This change will mean that the analogue television transmission will no longer be able to be broadcast from Mt Pitt after 10 December.


The new channels will be digital transmissions and will require a set top box or digital TV. Once residents receive the new digital signals, they will see channel numbering in the same format as in Australia for example Seven as 7 and ABC news 24 as 24. The electronic program guide should work with 90% of TVs and set top boxes, and is very useful for setting up a recorder to record programs.


Minister Sheridan said “The new VAST programs will only be ½ hour later during the summer daylight saving time in the eastern states including Central 7 and Imparja and our visitors will be able to watch the same programs as they increasingly expect when on holiday.”


“With the changes that we are undertaking to the transmission site on Mt Pitt, the viewing public won’t need to purchase an expensive VAST satellite decoder box and dish as they may have seen advertised on TV, costing between $1000 and $1500. This will only be required if their place of residence is in a signal black spot on the Island. Otherwise a simple set top box or a digital television is all that will be needed. We are hopeful that many residents already have these in their homes or businesses.”


“Members of the community need to be aware that they will need a set top box or a digital television to receive the signals when the analogue service is turned off on 10 December. Some people may not be ready for the conversion, but  we are hoping that by getting this message out into the community early, residents will have time to ensure that problems are minimised.”

 

Minister Sheridan commented that “We need to move forward with digital TV and really from a cost advantage the sooner the better. We are currently in a good position to capitalise on the price and technical advances of modern VAST compliant transmission equipment. Unfortunately, some of the TVs or set top boxes may not show a picture because the picture streams are in MPEG4 and not the older MPEG2 format. But the majority of people will only need to rescan their TV’s and set top boxes on 10 December and ensure that the country of origin is set to Australia in the menu. If a password is required a simple default 0000 should suffice.”


“Some loss of picture may occur in the days leading up to the conversion as our technical people make adjustments ready for the big switchover so we do apologise in advance”


“With digital television, most people will appreciate the better picture quality and programming” said Minister Sheridan.


Further information can be obtained by contacting Mr Kim Davies, Manager, Norfolk Telecom on telephone 22244 or mobile 50600 or email to info@telecom.gov.nf.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance


Please 'contact us' for more information.

LIQUOR BOND DISCOUNT POLICY


The Hon. Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance, is pleased to announce that the Liquor Bond Discount Policy has been reviewed.


In the past, a discount by way of a mark-up of only 20%, was offered on the import of bulk wine with an invoice value in excess of $20,000 for a single shipment.  The change to the current policy, which is now effective, has reduced the invoice value to now be in excess of $5,000 for a single shipment.


“By reducing the required invoice value from $20,000 to $5,000 for a single shipment we hope to not only encourage new investment in the island in this area, but also assist current businesses in these difficult times” the Minister said.


Most readers will be aware of the longstanding traveller discount for purchases upon the production of a valid air ticket, where a traveller is entitled to a one-off purchase of a maximum of three litres of imported spirits or liqueurs at the Liquor Bond at a discount of 30% of the retail price. 


“The traveller discount is still in place and remains unchanged, it encourages travellers to purchase their liquor requirements on island, rather than at duty free stores at other destinations” the Minister said.


The final discount component of the policy is still being reviewed and stands unchanged at this time.  Therefore, the discount of 7% of the retail price given on a single purchase over $1,000 from the Liquor Bond (a few products do not attract the discount), is still in place.

For more details, the Liquor Bond Discount Policy can be downloaded at www.info.gov.nf under the heading of “Liquor”.


Tim Sheridan                                                                       

Minister for Finance

25 October 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ROAD SAFETY FORUM


On behalf of the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Ron Ward, the Chief Minister, Hon. Lisle Snell opened the Road Safety Forum on Wednesday evening.  The forum was held to outline some of the aims and objectives of the Road Safety Committee.


The Australian Government, through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, has provided $25,000 for a Norfolk Island road safety strategy.  The strategy is funded under the Norfolk Island Community Initiative, a one-off measure which provided $200,000 in July 2013 for some 19 projects offering clear public benefit for the community, in the areas of family and community wellbeing, economic initiatives, environment, health, education, culture and history.


“The Road Safety Committee are co-ordinating the formation of a road safety strategy and the public forum was an opportunity for community members to contribute their ideas, concerns and views to be included in the strategy” the Chief Minister said.


“At the forum I undertook to provide the 2013-2014 budgeted figure for Roads, in response to questions and suggestions raised on the condition of our roads here on Norfolk Island.  The budgeted allocation for 2013-2014 is $497,000.  Included within this amount is the provision for wages of $170,000.  It should be recognised that staff employed in the Roads Department are also deployed in other areas as required, for example, when the ship is unloading.  The remaining $325,000 is recurrent expenditure in the roads maintenance programme.  The road works programme is partly funded from the .20c per litre fuel levy, expected to raise $330,000 this financial year”, the Chief Minister said.


 “Many people have contributed to the road safety project so far, unfortunately too numerous to mention all.  However the Norfolk Island Government would like to thank and acknowledge everyone for their contribution and extend appreciation to the Commonwealth for the funding received for this important project, with thanks to His Honour the Administrator and Ginny Maidment for their support.  Thanks is also extended to Mr Ian Faulks, a qualified individual with a Norfolk connection, who has assisted immensely with a strategic overview of the campaign. Thanks also to the OIC of Police and the St. John’s Ambulance, especially Peter Davidson for his commitment to this project.  Our appreciation also to George Smith at the radio station for recording the proceedings and to Helen Pedel and Jason Ellem for their excellent role as impartial facilitators of the forum” the Chief Minister said.


An information sheet and questionnaire are available at the Police Station, Post Office and Registry for those persons who would like to obtain further details of the road safety initiative and who would like to provide written comment.  Further enquiries can be made to the Officer in Charge of Police on phone 22222 or the Registrar, Allen Bataille, on phone 23691.  More information will be provided by the Road Safety Committee as the project progresses.

 

 

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

 

25 October 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ADMINISTRATOR ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR KAVHA



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope has announced a substantial Australian Government funding package for the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).


“The funding of $485,000 for capital projects for KAVHA is being provided by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.  I appreciate the guidance given by Dave Magri, Anita French and the KAVHA team in identifying initiatives that offer clear public benefit for tourism and the enhancement of the KAVHA site,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“The following are some of the initiatives to be funded,” said Mr. Pope.

  • Parking and turning area upgrades at Bloody Bridge, Golf Club, Lone Pine and the lime kiln.
  • Rebuild of the water channel where it has eroded.
  • Replacement of underground copper wiring.
  • Development of a new KAVHA website, including an app that can be downloaded.
  • Development of a guidebook, maps and brochures for the entire KAVHA site.
  • Development of the KAVHA Polynesian site.
  • REO building refit.
  • Disability access to Government House.

 

“The funding will provide an economic stimulus for the Island.  The proposed projects will enhance the world heritage listed site and contribute to improving tourism opportunities,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“The various projects will be commence as soon as possible.”


Neil Pope

Administrator

24 October 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

POLICING IN NORFOLK ISLAND – REMINDER TO HAVE YOUR SAY


The Chief Minister, Lisle Snell, today advised that “we have extended the period for input from the community into policing services in Norfolk Island until 8 November 2013 as there seems to be some confusion in the community with the Road Safety Forum to be held on 23 October 2013.  This Forum is separate to the Police Review”.


Mr Snell reiterated that it is intended that the future police services will be structured to meet Norfolk Island’s needs, and there is agreement that community input is vital.  It is very important for the community to have its say in the Police Review at the outset and whilst costed options are the ultimate aim of the review prior to a final decision being made, “I urge members of the community to be proactive and have input into the review by contacting either Ron Nobbs or me.  There is no intention to attempt to seek a specific outcome as the Norfolk Island Government is keen to provide policing arrangements which are both acceptable and workable within the community”, the Chief Minister said.


Submissions can be made in writing to Hon Lisle Snell, MLA, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Government of Norfolk Island email: achiefofstaff@assembly.gov.nf or Ron Nobbs, or ron@assembly.gov.nf.  If you wish to remain anonymous letters can be posted to Lisle Snell or Ron Nobbs at the Legislative Assembly, Old Military Barracks, Kingston.  Alternatively, if any individual or community groups wish to meet confidentially with Ron Nobbs he can be contacted on the email above or by telephone 22003 or 50153.


Following community consultation it is the intention of the Norfolk Island Government to seek expressions of interest for the provision of police services in Norfolk Island to meet the Island’s needs as required by the Commonwealth Minister’s Financial Orders to ensure policing services meet the ‘value for money’ test.


Chief Minister

Lisle Snell  

Please 'contact us' for more information.

EDUCATION REVIEW


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services and Minister with responsibility for Education, the Hon Robin Adams, in responding to questions on notice and through a Statement in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 advised that she has established a working group to enquire into, report and make recommendations in relation to the provision of Education in Norfolk Island.


Terms of Reference for the Education Review have been prepared and the Minister extended her appreciation to the Members of the Group who have willingly agreed to participate in the Review.

The Working Group appointed by Minister Adams is:

Mrs Melissa Ward, MLA            Nominee of the Minister, Chair & Executive Officer of the Working Group

Mrs Michelle Nicholson-           Principal and NSW Department of Education and Communities representative

Mrs Rowan Evans                        Parent representative on the P&C executive

Ms Wendy Morrice                     Director, Banyan Park Play Centre

Mrs Dominique Kelly                        Home schooling

Mrs Cristina McRitchie            Director of “Minischool”

Mrs Sarah Bedford                      Member of executive of NIESEDU

Ms Trish Magri                              Former Librarian/Information Technology (VET) teacher NICS

Mrs Judith Davidson                   Former Head Teacher Secondary NICS

Ms Suzanne Hardy                      Staff federation representative NICS


The review process will adopt a staged approach and take into account contemporary community needs and expectations, available resources and the Norfolk Island Road Map (2 March 2011) which was developed in partnership between the Norfolk Island and Commonwealth Governments.  The Road Map provides a framework for the two governments to work together to strengthen:


  • The Island’s economic diversity to provide a sustainable and growing economy
  • The Island’s social cohesion and resilience
  • The Island’s unique heritage and environment

The Road Map at clause 4 details an aspirational goal for a sustainable population with access to health, social welfare and education services comparable with the broader Australian community.


To achieve this goal in respect of education services, both governments agreed to work together in 2011-2012 to:

  • Consider ways to provide facilities and opportunities to provide excellent education outcomes on the island for future employment; and
  • Investigate the expansion of educational opportunities for tertiary and vocational education.

Under the June 2013 Funding Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the Norfolk Island Administration (the Administration) there is a requirement at Schedule 2 - Specified Improvements – at Clause 3, General Condition’s page 19 at Item 12b that -


“The Education budget will be benchmarked against equivalent services in New South Wales to identify appropriate service levels, against specific staffing levels, to ensure benchmarks are not eroded or where greater than NSW standards, appropriate savings measures can be applied. A suitable benchmark community i.e. a small rural based community of similar size and population, will be identified and agreed between the parties”


Education is a Schedule 3 matter in accordance with the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cth) and therefore any new or amending legislation relating to Education must be referred to the Commonwealth Minister with responsibility under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 for instructions before the Administrator can assent to the legislation.


The Norfolk Island Government provides and funds the Norfolk Island Central School and engages teachers through a Memorandum of Understanding with the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities.  The Administration purchases a package from the NSW Department of School Education for K-12 which includes the curriculum and Board of Studies examinations.


The Education Act 1931 (Norfolk Island), the Education Regulations, the 1988 Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth Government and Norfolk Island Government and the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the NSW Department of Education and Training (now known as the NSW Department of Education and Communities) and the Norfolk Island Government re staffing of the Norfolk Island Central School (NICS) are outdated and a comprehensive review is necessary.

Stage 1 of the review will concentrate on the following:

  1. Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth Government and Norfolk Island Government dated April 1988

  1. Memorandum of Understanding between the NSW Department of Education and Training (now known as the NSW Department of Education and Communities)and the Norfolk Island Government on Teacher Staffing of Norfolk Island Central School dated May 2008

  1. Education Act 1931; including the leaving age for school children

  1. Education Regulations; including  provisions relating to Bursaries and Scholarships

  1. Facilitate an audit of existing local student services for children on the Preschool to Year 12 continuum.  Identify comparable student services as available to Preschool and school aged children in NSW e.g. pediatric services, counseling services, child protection legislation in regards to employment and volunteers in childcare and school facilities

  1. Identification of professional development framework/methodology for staff working in Preschool to Year 12 facilities

  1. The role of the Administration in the process for engagement of casual employees both teaching and ancillary, Information Technology support, pay roll management for support/ancillary staff and other support services provided to the Norfolk Island Central School.

In preparing its report and making recommendations, the Working Group may consider the following:

  • Any plan of management, strategies and policies in place for educational improvement at NICS
  • Review of Existing Child and Family Services on Norfolk Island dated September 2012
  • Administration Annual Reports.

The Working Group may, through the Chief Executive Officer of the Administration call for relevant documents; and/or personnel to provide information in relation to the provision of services to NICS.  Members may discuss matters with external parties, subject to any overriding legal obligations on confidentiality.


The Working Group members are required to act as representatives and consult in an open and transparent manner.   Consultation will include past and present teachers, the Student Representative Council, NICS Youth Council, the Parents & Citizens Association, educators and the broader community.


The Working Group is to limit its deliberations to the items defined under Stage 1 and report to the Minister by the end of Term 4 of the School Year 2013.”


It is the intention, Minister Adams said, that stage 2 of the review investigate the expansion of educational opportunities for tertiary and vocational education including apprenticeships; and that stage 3 of the review benchmark the education budget against equivalent services in New South Wales as required under the June 2013 Funding Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Norfolk Island Administration.


The Working Group can be contacted by email on education@review.gov.nf, by mail addressed to Education Review c/- The Legislative Assembly, Old Military Barracks Kingston Norfolk Island, or by contacting one of the Members of the Working Group.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND ACHIEVES ANOTHER CENTENARY


In the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 16 October 2013, the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, the Hon Robin Adams, announced that 1 July 2014 Norfolk Island will have reached another Centenary.  The Centenary of Norfolk Island being placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia.

 

The Minister’s Statement in the House is published below:

“By an Order in Council dated the 30th day of March, 1914, His Majesty King George V, after reciting that the Parliament had passed an Act No. 15 of 1913, entitled “An Act to provide for the acceptance of Norfolk Island as a territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, and for the government thereof” and that it was expedient that the said Order in Council of 18th of October, 1900, should be revoked and that Norfolk Island should be placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia, was pleased to revoke the said Order in Council of 18th of October, 1900, and to order that Norfolk Island be placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia”

            

“the said Order in Council was published in the Gazette on 17 June 1914, and took effect from 1 July 1914, being the date of commencement of the Norfolk Island Act 1913

            

Under that Act Norfolk Island was declared to be accepted as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia

            

Honourable Members 1 July 2014 will mark the Centenary of the commencement of the Norfolk Island Act 1913 and the Centenary of Norfolk Island being accepted as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia.  At the very least in my view this significant milestone warrants recognition by the Commonwealth of Australia Government, the British Government which handed Norfolk Island over to the Commonwealth of Australia, the New South Wales Government and the Norfolk Island Government; and the Norfolk Island Government needs to enter into dialogue with the Commonwealth of Australia as a matter of some urgency as to how this prestigious Centenary should be acknowledged in a truly meaningful way.

            

As Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services including health, social welfare, education, immigration and KAVHA to mention but a few of my portfolio responsibilities, I support the commencement of this dialogue as quickly as possible on Norfolk Island at both government and community level and suggest the first question we need to ask ourselves is this. What does this Centenary mean to us on Norfolk Island?   Can it be the milestone from which Norfolk Island is launched into a future that is financially, economically, environmentally, politically and socially sustainable – Australia’s showpiece to the world, its hub in the Pacific ; its bridge to the Pacific and its Jewel in the Crown.

            

If our answer to this question is yes, then there is much to be done in the next 8 months and it cannot be achieved in isolation of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

            

In the press release on 5 September 2013 the then Coalition spokesman on Norfolk Island the Hon Michael Keenan MP advised that an Abbott Government would revive the stalled negotiations on the future of the island to provide certainty to the Island population within 18 months of the election of a new government.

            

When making this statement it is more than probable that the Centenary which cemented Norfolk Island’s relationship with the Commonwealth of Australia in 1914 was not high on the Coalition’s radar and neither was it high on ours. In fact it is thanks to Mr Kerry Tilson, Publications Consultant Philatelic-Retail Services of Australia Post writing on 2 October 2013 to our Philatelic Bureau inquiring whether Norfolk Island planned a stamp issue to celebrate the Centenary that commemoration of the Centenary has come under discussion.

Members of the Assembly this week have agreed that commemorating the Centenary is important and that to commence the process the Chief Minister should initiate prompt discussion with the Commonwealth of Australia on what celebrations they are planning and at the same time seek input from members of the community as to how they see this significant milestone can be commemorated”.


“The Speaker, the Chief Minister and I had a preliminary discussion with the Administrator today and he has indicated a willingness to raise the proposed commemoration of the Centenary in his Report to the Commonwealth Minister”, the Minister said.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND TOURISM STRATEGIC PLAN


A plan to guide direction, rebuild success and establish sustainability

in the Norfolk Island tourism industry


The Hon Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, was pleased to present and table the Norfolk Island Tourism Strategic Plan 2013 – 2023 at the formal sitting of the House on 16 October 2013.


“The development of this document has occurred over the past 18 months and has included many opportunities for community input and comment and it is now finalised” the Chief Minister said.


The document not only provides 10 year strategic elements with guiding principles, strategic themes and direction for growth, development and investment it also provides a two year schedule of actions and goals.  The two year schedule includes action plans for the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau.  It also highlights other organisations, departments and bodies that play major roles in the success of the tourism industry, encouraging them to submit their own two year action plans over the life of the document.

The strategic section of the plan will be reviewed every two years in January.  The Action Schedule will be reviewed and updated every year in March.


“The Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau Advisory Board will play a major leadership role in both the communication and evaluation of the Strategic Plan.  I thank the Board for the work they have done to date and its ongoing commitment to the Plan” Mr Snell said.

“This Strategic Plan forms the commitment of the Norfolk Island Government to Tourism.  It is now for all other stakeholders to include their own commitment to the Plan and actions as this will ensure a true Government/Industry partnership where we are all working together, understanding our responsibilities and monitoring our outcomes”.  


“I would like to sincerely thank the General Manager of the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau, for his hard work and dedication in preparing this document.  I would also like to acknowledge the work the previous Minister for Tourism, Mr Andre’ Nobbs, undertook” the Minister said.


The Norfolk Island Tourism Strategic Plan 2013 – 2023 can be downloaded at www.ni.net.nf or a hard copy can be obtained from the Secretary of the Legislative Assembly by calling 22003 or visiting the Old Military Barracks.


Lisle Snell                                                                   

Chief Minister 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS


The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance tabled the Economic Indicators at the Legislative Assembly meeting on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 and these are printed separately.


The Minister said, “Gross Island Revenue is an indicative measure of the Norfolk Island Economy and is based on the total of the Gross Revenue declared by Norfolk Business Number (NBN) Holders in their monthly GST returns but is not an absolute measure because of a number of factors such as:

  • Values can be recorded by more than one NBN Holder if a product is sold a number of times before being purchased by the final customer;
  • Delays in submitting GST returns
  • Changes to the method of reporting Gross Revenue by NBN Holders; and
  • Where a single NBN Holder conducts more than one business the dominant activity is used as a basis of classification”.

The categories used in Gross Island Revenue reporting are consistent with those reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Mr Sheridan advised that “there is a time-lag in producing statistics based on Gross Revenue as returns are submitted one month after the end of the month, therefore the July-September 2013 Report will not be available until the end of October 2013”.


In addition, the Minister tabled Inbound Visitor Statistics for the September 2013 quarter; details of the Benefit Adjustment Factor for the years 1996 to 2013 and a schedule of NBN Business Activity showing details of businesses created and closed during the quarter.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance



Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER


The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Hon David E. Buffett MLA, has advised that the following  matters will be dealt with at the sitting of the Legislative Assembly to be held on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 at 10 am.

 

 

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

 

24        Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Service –

Given that the education memorandum of understanding extended tenure positions have been ‘frozen’ and are subject to review; will the Minister answer the following?

  1. Under whose authority was the memorandum frozen;
  2. What is the timeframe for a review; and,
  3. What community consultation will take place as part of the review process?

 

31        Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

            Will the Minster inform the House how much the Norfolk Island Government contributes to local charities, services and sporting clubs in any given year by way of duty exemptions tabled in this House?

 

32        Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Service –

            Will the Minister answer the following questions in relation to immigration?

  1. Is it not a fact that a recent change in the way an application fee is applied at an administrative level when making an application for a declaration of residency under the Immigration Act 1980, which includes a spouse and/dependent children, has increased from $125.00 irrespective of the number of persons included in the application, to $125.00 per person included in the application; and if so,
  2. Is it not a fact that the change has resulted in an increase to the fees payable and therefore the Minister’s advice to the House on the 16th of September that there has “been no changes to the fees” was misleading; and,
  3. Is it not a fact that such an increase conflicts with the General conditions, point 9 of the 2013-14 funding agreement which says “Norfolk Island will not develop policies or procedures that will disadvantage or impede Australian citizens wishing to reside on Norfolk Island?

33        Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Service –

Will the Minister advice the House in detail of the factors which were taken into account when determining that a new interpretation and application of the immigration law was necessary for residency applications and explain how this change has been applied without amendment of the empowering Regulations?

 

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

Issued by the Office of the Clerk on 11 October 2013   

Please 'contact us' for more information.

HON JAMIE BRIGGS, MP MINISTER WITH RESPONSIBILITY FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


The Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Hon Lisle Snell, today advised that following a teleconference between officers of the Administration of Norfolk Island, Office of the Administrator and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, he was advised that the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development will be the Minister responsible for Norfolk Island.


The Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope, has previously announced the appointment of Minister Briggs and met with him on his recent visit to Australia.  The Administrator kindly hand delivered a letter of congratulations from the Norfolk Island Government containing a request to meet with him as soon as possible to discuss the Coalitions Policy Statement on Norfolk Island and to progress the reform process.


The Departmental officers also advised that Minister Briggs is hoping to visit Norfolk Island with two of his ministerial colleagues following the Commonwealth Parliamentary Sitting in December 2013.


The Chief Minister said “I welcome this news and look forward to meeting with the Minister”.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister

and Minister for Tourism

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ADMINISTRATOR MEETS NEW MINISTER


Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT WELCOMES NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF NORFOLK ISLAND



The Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Hon Lisle Snell, today advised that following passage of the Motion by the Legislative Assembly on 18 September 2013 Mr Jonathon Gibbons has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Administration of Norfolk Island and will commence in the position on Wednesday, 9 October 2013.


Mr Gibbons’ most recent appointment was that of Deputy Chief Executive Officer/Director Corporate for the Whitsunday Regional Council.  Mr Gibbons has worked in local government across Australia for 26 years and is highly qualified to undertake the role of Chief Executive Officer.  Mr Gibbons holds a Master of Business Administration, Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning, Graduate Diploma of Local Government Manager, Bachelor Applied Science (Environmental Health), Graduate of the Mt Eliza Senior Leadership Program, and a Diploma of Project Management.


The Chief Minister said, “Mr Gibbons brings to Norfolk Island significant experience in many areas, including corporate governance, corporate and operational planning, financial management, policy formulation, long term planning, implementation and evaluation including the areas of finance, records management, and procurement.  Mr Gibbons’ experience will help Norfolk Island continue the process of reform and the Norfolk Island Government looks forward to working with him”.


“I take this opportunity on behalf of the Norfolk Island Government to thank Mr Wayne Richards, who was appointed to act as Chief Executive Officer.  Wayne stepped into the role at extremely short notice and in demanding circumstances. Wayne has provided the Norfolk Island Government with carefully considered and professionally competent policy advice and options on matters across the full spectrum of Norfolk Island governance”.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister

and Minister for Tourism

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NATIONAL POLICE REMEMBRANCE DAY ADMINISTRATOR’S ADDRESS


Chief Minister, Members of the Legislative Assembly, Members of the Norfolk Island Police Force, Ladies and Gentlemen.


National Police Remembrance Day is a significant day of commemoration on which people can reflect on each individual police force and remember those officers killed on duty. It provides an opportunity to honour all police who have given their lives serving the Australian and Southwest Pacific communities.


National Police Remembrance Day was instigated in April 1989 during the Conference of Commissioners of Police of Australasia and the South West Pacific Region. It was unanimously agreed that the service would be held each year on 29 September, the feast day of Saint Michael (the Archangel) Patron Saint of Police unless that day fell on a weekend, hence today’s service.


Services are being held across Australia and other countries throughout the South West Pacific, commemorating those officers killed on duty, who have given their lives in the service of the community, and giving thanks for those that continue to serve.

All Saints Church here in Kingston provides a poignant setting for our own service of remembrance. 


It does take courage, it is unpredictable work and it can be dangerous.   Too often, the loss of an officer will leave behind a grieving family, or children who will never grow up to feel the warmth and love of a parent taken from them, because of their job.

 

But the officers involved go about their work, keeping the community safe in the knowledge that their profession brings real and inherent dangers.


The Police are an integral and vital part of the Australian community and culture and have been throughout our history. The first police officer in Australia was a free settler named John Smith, appointed in 1788.  Later, the mounted police, immortalized in Waltzing Matilda, became an important force in maintaining law and order. With the gold rush era the police faced formidable challenges and many lost their lives in confrontations with bushrangers.

In the 2oth century the police faced challenges such as the razor gangs of Sydney in the 1920’s, undertook internal security roles during WW2, formed the first police rescue squad, and engaged in the first of several deployments as United Nations peacekeepers.

The police also played vital roles in many of the events that are etched on our own memories, such as Cyclone Tracey, the Granville train disaster, the Hilton hotel bombings in Sydney and, more recently, in the wake of the Bali Bombing.


In so many ways, the police are there for their communities, protecting life and property and the very liberties and values that we almost take for granted. But all too often, the price they pay is the ultimate sacrifice.


To acknowledge and honour this sacrifice the National Police Memorial, was dedicated in Canberra in 2006. On this memorial the names of fallen officers are inscribed on a wall of brass touch stones.


The touchstones include the officer's rank, name, jurisdiction and place and date of death.  The names of officers killed in the preceding year are added at each National Police Remembrance Day Service.


Tragically there are a further 4 officers in 2013 to add to the list of 754 officers named on the National Police Memorial since that of Constable Joseph Luker of Sydney, who became the first recorded police death on duty in Australia on 26 August 1803.


Today we pause to remember them with their fellow officers from all states, territories and the other nations who also remember their fallen officers.

 

Here on Norfolk Island, The Norfolk Island Police Force, and that of its parent organisation the Australian Federal Police and its predecessors, have faithfully served this community for the past 82 years.

 

The Norfolk Island Police Force was established on the 14 October 1931 through the (Norfolk Island) Police Act 1931.  NIPF is the principle law enforcement agency for Norfolk Island, and operates on behalf of the people and government of Norfolk Island and the Commonwealth of Australia. 

 

Their role is articulated in their mission statement which is to keep the community safe and secure in partnership with government and the wider community.  This will be achieved through the maintenance of law and order and the provision of quality policing services, undertaking emergency management and coordination and by meeting its statutory & regulatory obligations.

 

Police continue to rely on the community for assistance and support at all levels of policing services in the cooperative spirit for which the island is famous.  The names of Bounty and Pitcairn descendents dominate the records of police officers that have policed this island for the almost eighty-two years and for a hundred years before that.

 

It must be remembered that they are part of the community and they are part of us.

To the serving and past members, their families, thank you on behalf of the Norfolk Island community.

As we gather here today to commemorate those of our police forces who have given their lives in the line of duty we should also reflect on the contribution that the police force has made to our community and to each of us individually by providing for our safety and security.


Thank you

Please 'contact us' for more information.

POLICING IN NORFOLK ISLAND – HAVE YOUR SAY


In April this year, Mr Ron Nobbs, MLA moved the following Motion in the Legislative Assembly


     “THAT this House resolves that the Minister responsible for the Norfolk Island Police undertake a review of the Norfolk Island Police Act 1931 and attendant arrangements between the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island governments in relation to policing on Norfolk Island, including a review of the Memorandum of Understanding, and report to the House within 60 days.”

 

This Motion was passed unanimously and despite the timeframe for the review not being met considerable progress has been made.


The Chief Minister, Lisle Snell, today advised that “we have again this week welcomed to Norfolk Island, Superintendent Chris Cooper who visited Norfolk Island in July this year with Assistant Commissioner Mandy Newton.  Superintendent Cooper is accompanied by Judith Kendrick, Consultant to the Australian Federal Police”.


“Superintendent Chris Cooper and Judith Kendrick have been visiting the Island to progress the review of the Norfolk Island Police Act 1931 and the Memorandum of Understanding relating to provision of police services to Norfolk Island by the Australian Federal Police.  Their visit to the Island to meet with the Norfolk Island Government, members of the Administration of Norfolk Island, Office of the Administrator and current police personnel in Norfolk Island and some community groups continues the consultation on this extremely important matter”, Mr Snell said.


Have your say - the Norfolk Island Government seeks your input into what you as members of the community want from police services in Norfolk Island.  This is the first step by the Government to consult the community but it is intended that the consultation will be an ongoing process through the development of new arrangements and agreements relating to police services.  “I urge the community to be proactive and to have input into this review”, the Chief Minister said.


Submissions can be made in writing to Hon Lisle Snell, MLA, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Government of Norfolk Island email: achiefofstaff@assembly.gov.nf or Mr Ron Nobbs, MLA or ron@assembly.gov.nf.  If you wish to remain anonymous letters can be posted to the Chief Minister or Mr Nobbs at the Legislative Assembly, Old Military Barracks, Kingston.  Alternatively, if any individual or community groups wish to meet confidentially with Mr Nobbs he can be contacted on the email above or by telephone 22003 or 50153.

It is intended that the future police services will be structured to meet Norfolk Island’s needs, and there is agreement that community input is vital.


Chief Minister

Lisle Snell  

Please 'contact us' for more information.

GOVERNOR GENERAL NOW VISITING NORFOLK IN NOVEMBER



The Administrator, the Honourable Neil Pope has announced that Her Excellency the

Governor General Quentin Bryce will now be visiting Norfolk Island on the 13th and

14th of November.


Unfortunately with a new Federal Government the Governor General, due to constitutional commitments, is unable to visit Norfolk during our Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show as originally planned.


His Honour Neil Pope and his wife Jen will be inviting local residents to a garden reception in honour of the Governor General on Wednesday evening 13 November.


Neil Pope

Administrator

25 September 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

W.COMM OPPORTUNITY FOR A YOUNG NORFOLK ISLAND WOMAN


The Hon Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, today advised of an excellent opportunity available for young Norfolk Island women interested in parliamentary careers and other leadership roles.


W.comm is a youth forum to be held in Sydney on 24 and 25 November 2013.  This is the second forum to be hosted by the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).  The first w.comm forum was held in 2011 in Canberra and Suzanna Wright represented Norfolk Island.


“I urge any interested Norfolk Island women aged between 18 and 25 to nominate for a place at this forum.  The two day forum aims to find ways to encourage more women to engage with democratic processes, build careers in the political sphere and learn about the Commonwealth.  The forum is also designed to allow participants to network with female politicians and leaders and to discuss ideas that they would like to see on the political agenda” Minister Adams advised.


Ten participants will be chosen, one from each Australian state, territory, Norfolk Island and a federal representative.  The selected forum participants will have their accommodation, travel and most meals paid for during the forum by CWP.


Nominations close on 11 October 2013.  To learn more about the forum and how to nominate visit wcomm.org or www.facebook.com/w.commAU or on Twitter at @WcommAus.


Robin E. Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

FUEL INCREASE


The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance and Minister with responsibility for Norfolk Energy, advised today that “the landed cost of fuel to the Administration has remained unchanged for the last 18 months, since the last increase in wholesale price in March 2012.  However, the landed price for September 2013 has increased across all fuel types. The increase is due to changes in the US dollar exchange rate. The purchase price in US Dollars has fallen slightly since the April shipment; however the exchange rate has deteriorated by over 10%, causing an increase of 9% on petrol and 7% on diesel costs”.


Norfolk Energy is not able to absorb any price increases and therefore there will be an increase in fuel costs commencing Monday, 23 September 2013 as follows:


Fuel type

Increase

New Wholesale Price

Petrol

$0.13/litre

$2.17/litre

Diesel

$0.14/litre

$2.17/litre

Jet-A1

$0.17/litre

$1.68/litre


Impact on Electricity Pricing

“The Electricity Working Group (EWG) that I formed in May 2013 has been tasked with both reviewing possible solutions to excess daytime PV generation and restoring equity to the cost of supplying power. A progress review is scheduled for November, 2013. Whilst an increase in the cost of diesel will increase the cost of producing electricity, the Government has decided to defer electricity price increases, pending the results the EWG’s review into a new electricity pricing structure”, the Minister said.


The work being done in modelling pricing is complex but is likely to see an increase in reticulation and other fixed costs with a corresponding reduction in supply costs. A formula to easily apply fuel or other input cost increases will be part of the modelling.


Community Consultation will take place once the modelling is complete but it is expected that the revised pricing structure, when announced, will take into account full cost recovery with a more equitable split of costs and allowance for infrastructure replacement.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST WISHES TO YEAR 12 STUDENTS


The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services and Minister with responsibility for Education, the Hon Robin Adams, today expressed regret that she could not personally attend the final Assembly for Year 12 students, however the following message to the students was delivered on her behalf.


“This week we see 24 of our youth, all of whom have high aspirations for their future, completing their schooling at the Norfolk Island Central School. 


These students will be Norfolk’s ambassadors in the wider world, and I know that you will all make us very proud.


It is my hope that one day you will eventually bring the skills that you will obtain in the years ahead back here - back home - to Norfolk Island.


I wish you well in your exams.


I wish you well in your future endeavours.


I ask that no matter where life takes you in your future, that Norfolk Island will always hold a special place in your hearts.


I wish each one of you all the very best”.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CODE OF CONDUCT – JET SKI OPERATORS


In response to a question without notice asked in the Legislative Assembly on 18 September 2013, the Hon Ron Ward, Minister for the Environment, agreed to remind the public and owners of Jet Skis of the Code of Conduct relating to the operation of Jet Skis in Emily and Slaughter Bays.

The Minister said “Now that we are enjoying warmer weather and summer is fast approaching the use of the Bays by members of the community and visitors to Norfolk Island will steadily increase and it is timely that this question was asked”.

The Marine Safety Act 2013 governs the operation of personal water craft and recreational vessels and will govern the operation of jet skis.  When the Marine Safety Regulations are made the Code of Conduct which appears below will be superseded but in the meantime it remains as the agreed manner in which Jet skis are to be used.

Access to these areas will have to be reviewed unless there are serious attempts by the riders of the jet skis to comply with the Code of Conduct, which was developed and agreed by owners and operators to self-regulate the manner in which Jet Skis are used.


 “I urge all owners and operators, especially those who have not been previously aware of the Code of Conduct to be mindful of the protocols for operation of Jet Skis in the Bays.  Emily and Slaughter Bays are significant areas for recreation in Norfolk Island and it is essential that all users are tolerant of each other to ensure that the amenity is enjoyed by all”, Mr Ward said.

“JET SKI 'S CODE OF CONDUCT

1          All craft give way to swimmers, divers etc.

2          In busy times, no craft allowed between the pontoon and the beach.

3          In busy times after launching, no jet skis to operate inside the reef.

4          In busy times, jet skis to move in and out of bay at idling speed.

5          Whenever possible, sail boarders to maintain a consistent route between two points.

6          No jet ski-ing in vicinity of swimmers (and other users), including outside the reef.

7          Sailing boats to keep one mast length from swimmers, divers etc.

8          All divers should display flags/marker buoys above their dive.

9          In non-busy times, jet skis and windsurfers to check for swimmers at slow speed before operating inside the bays.

10        Common sense to prevail at all times”.

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND ATTRACTS NEW RESIDENTS AND INVESTORS


The Hon Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services with responsibility for Immigration, today advised that as a result of the Immigration Promotion and Investment Promotion Strategy, “I am pleased to advise that Norfolk Island not only welcomes its visitors but its new residents and business investors – Norfolk Island is ‘Open for Business’”, the Minister said.


I am delighted to be able to report that the three-pronged approach “Visit, Live and Invest” adopted by the Norfolk Island Government in its Immigration and Investment Promotion Strategy has resulted in one such family choosing to move to Norfolk Island to make the Island their home and to operate their newly registered business in conjunction with their off-island business interests.


Today, Mrs Kathy Graham a Director of SEIT, Norfolk Island explained their decision to move to Norfolk Island.


“A family friend, a former police officer in Norfolk Island, kept telling us how wonderful Norfolk Island is; how good life was; how good the kids were; and how much they loved living in Norfolk Island.  As a result we eventually decided to come and visit and arrived for a ten day holiday at the beginning of this year”.


Kathy said, “our holiday was meant to be relaxing but there was so much to do, we didn’t get a chance to relax.  In addition, our son, aged 16, felt so welcome by the Island children who had said the school was good and life fun, that he negotiated with us, that if we moved to Norfolk Island he would continue his education to year 12 rather than pursue an apprenticeship!”


“The Norfolk Island people were so welcoming and Norfolk Island is so interesting - there is so much more to offer than anyone tells you. Norfolk Island is awesome!”

The Graham family looked at what business opportunities there are on the Island, spoke to other business people, returned again for a business oriented visit with their parents and moved here to live in March 2013.


“We are a tourism business operating as SEIT, Outback Australia, and the core business is general tourism; tour operator and school groups with a focus on an indigenous immersion programme.  As a result SEIT, Norfolk Island has been a natural progression and the company is now incorporated in Norfolk Island”, Kathy said.


In fact, as a direct result of SEIT, Outback Australia, the Norfolk Island Central School Year 6 students are currently visiting Uluru and will participate in an indigenous immersion programme.


When asked why they decided to invest in Norfolk Island, Kathy went on to say “we were looking for somewhere which does not have high rise buildings everywhere; and not highly commercialised; somewhere where we could relax as a family but still conduct a successful business.  In short, a lifestyle change with business opportunities”.


“There are many similarities between Outback Australia and Norfolk Island so it has been an easy transition.  The importance of culture and heritage is evident in both communities.  We see our role as being to help develop communities and teach rather than change”.


“We have found it very easy to assimilate into the community, and my husband, Brett is already involved in the driver training programme at the Norfolk Island Central School.


There are good opportunities for Norfolk Island.  It is our intention to utilise what is already here and what Norfolk Islanders have to offer.  There is a community spirit which will assist to make events succeed.  SEIT is about bringing meetings and incentive groups to Norfolk Island – to develop conference oriented visitation and will work in conjunction with existing business and individuals”.


SEIT Norfolk Island opened its office in The Village next door to Wild Hihi last week and Kathy advised that it is their intention to have a formal launch of SEIT in Norfolk Island in October.


“We are an International Destination Management Company and will market and promote in Europe and America.  We will be also launching our Conference Management company in Sydney; PACE in New Zealand in November and AIME in Melbourne in February.  We are working with Norfolk Tourism and all operators to bring conferences to Norfolk Island”.

SEIT for yourselves at www.seitnorfolkisland.com.au

“The Norfolk Island Government welcomes SEIT, Norfolk Island and wishes you every success and indeed, we welcome any other individuals, firms and/or corporations seeking to secure private enterprise investment in Norfolk Island”, the Minister said.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

13 September 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PUBLIC FORUM – ROAD SAFETY


A public forum will be held on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 at Rawson Hall between 5.00 and 6.30pm to discuss road safety issues on the island and to seek community input as to what measures, if any, are considered necessary to adopt or legislative for, to make our roads safer for all road users.


The Hon Ron Ward, Minister for the Environment advised in announcing the intention to hold a public forum that, “I am pleased that this initiative has been put forward by the Road Safety Committee for a community based forum to actively seek input from the public.  I am confident that there will be positive contribution from the community in respect to road safety issues and I urge as many people as possible to attend.  The views of the community are critical to the success of any road safety program”.


Matters to be addressed at the meeting will include the provision of a driver education program at the school, review of the current restrictions of the ‘L’ and ‘P’ plate driver’s licences; drink driving issues, enforcement of road rules and motor vehicle registration and licensing.


This forum is an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues and work through them to find solutions that are acceptable and workable in the Norfolk Island context.  The forum will present input from medical officers, ambulance, police and rescue services and actively seeks input from all who have road safety concerns or ideas they wish to be considered.

Questions of a constructive nature or those wishing to have a particular issue discussed can lodge them with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, Mr Allen Bataille, at the Administration Offices, Kingston or by email on ikey@admin.gov.nf by close of business Friday, 18 October 2013.


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER



Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES COALITION PARTY POLICY STATEMENT FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


The Chief Minister and Ministers of the Norfolk Island Government are pleased that the Coalition Spokesman for Norfolk Island, Mr Michael Keenan, MP, released a positive policy statement for Norfolk Island, “A better way for Norfolk Island”.


The Norfolk Island Government immediately contacted Mr Michael Keenan, MP, the Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection as the Coalition spokesman for Norfolk Island to acknowledge and thank him for the positive statements made and to confirm that “The Norfolk Island Government looks forward to working in partnership with the Coalition Government to return Norfolk Island to economic sustainability and progressing the reform process on the basis that there will be a net benefit for Norfolk Island and its community and there is appropriate consideration of local circumstances.


The Chief Minister today, also advised that he has written letters of congratulations to Mr Abbott, Prime Minister-elect and to other members of the newly elected Coalition to extend the Norfolk Island Government’s congratulations and to seek a meeting at the earliest opportunity with counterpart Ministers.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

9 September 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND RESIDENTS CONGRATULATED


The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister with responsibility for Emergency Services and Sport, today extended congratulations to residents of Norfolk Island who have been awarded.


“On behalf of the Norfolk Island Government and the community of Norfolk Island, I am pleased to congratulate Mr Dean Burrell, Mr Darren Bates and Miss Brianna Stevens” the Minister said.


Brianna Stevens, who is only 18, was awarded a bronze medal in the open women’s hammer throw at the 9th Pacific Mini Games being held in Wallis and Futuna Islands.  Brianna has been training for only 8 months to hammer throw and congratulations must also be extended to her coach, Mr Brentt Jones, a former medal winner.


Mr Sheridan advised that “Brianna, being the only representative of Norfolk Island, carried the Norfolk Island flag at the opening ceremony at which representatives from 22 Pacific Island nations were present.  Brianna has proved to be a wonderful Ambassador for Norfolk Island, not only at these Mini Games but also when she participated at the Oceania Regional Athletics held in Cairns last year in which she competed successfully in Discus, Shot Put and High Jump as well as in Tahiti earlier this year”.

Dean and Darren have been awarded Commendations for Brave Conduct as a result of their rescue of eighteen members of the crew of the yacht Beau Geste in June 2012. 


The yacht which was approximately 95 nautical miles from Norfolk Island was in danger of breaking up as a result of major structural damage and despite the inclement weather and gruelling sea conditions Dean and Darren undertook the rescue at night.


“I am advised that the commendations are yet to be officially awarded to these two local seamen, but I am sure this community joins me in congratulating them”, Mr Sheridan said.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

 

5 September 2013

 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

AUSTRALIAN BRAVERY DECORATIONS FOR NORFOLK ISLANDERS



The Governor General on Sunday 1 September announced Australian Bravery Decorations for Darren Bates and Dean Burrell for their actions on the 5th June 2012 in assisting in the successful rescue of the yacht Beau Geste and its 18 crew.


“I had great pleasure in recommending Australian Bravery Decorations for Darren and Dean, and even greater pleasure on being notified that they were successful,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


On the night of 4 June the police on Norfolk Island were notified that the yacht Beau Geste had suffered a large crack throughout the superstructure and around the keel tower. All eighteen persons on board had been ordered up on deck, with life rafts ready to abandon ship and were at that time 176 kilometres from Norfolk Island.


Darren and Dean left Norfolk in Darren’s charter fishing vessel Advance 2 just after midnight and commenced to travel in the direction of Beau Geste.


In 50 knot winds and 5 metre swells they travelled 83 kilometres to meet with and escort the yacht back to Norfolk arriving off Kingston pier at 9.30am on 5 June.


“I will be requesting the Governor General’s office to present the decorations to both Darren and Dean when Her Excellency is on Island on Monday 14 October,” said Neil Pope.


Neil Pope

Administrator

2 September 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MARINE SAFETY LEGISLATION


The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Ron Ward, advised that following the assent of the Marine Safety Act 2012 (the Act), the Regulations to prescribe certain matters within the Act are now being developed.


“The Act provides a legislative foundation for the management and control of marine safety issue arising in the course of maritime activity in the waters of Norfolk Island”, the Minister said.


Mr Ward provided the following summary of some of the provisions of the Act:

“In seeking to prescribe safety issues, to protect the public and discourage unsafe practises the Act requires registration of local boats, prohibits operating vessels while under the influence of liquor or drugs, and authorises the direction of local and visiting vessels to positions at sea that do not endanger lives, coastline or property.


The Regulations will set out the requirement, amongst other things, for boat owners to carry safety equipment and (in a manner similar to that for a motor vehicle) local craft will be required to be passed as seaworthy through checks prior to the issue of a licence.


The Act establishes the Norfolk Island Marine and Harbour Authority and a Harbour Master.  It also provides for the appointment of authorised persons with powers to act in certain circumstances.


Proposed penalties for breaches of the proposed Act will be similar in extent to those currently provided under the Traffic Act 2010.


It is intended that there be no licence fees in the first year of operation and that the Act will be subject to review after 12 months of operation”.


A copy of the legislation can be accessed on www.info.gov.nf or from the Legal Clerk, Administration of Norfolk Island.


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

Please 'contact us' for more information.

2013 FEDERAL ELECTION



The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the Norfolk Island community of voting arrangements for the federal election to be held on 7 September 2013.


Electors can vote at the Office of the Administrator, New Military Barracks, Kingston from 4-7 September as follows:


Early voting

(4-6 September 2013)

Wednesday

8.30 am-5.30 pm

Thursday

8.30 am-6.00 pm

Friday

8.30 am-6.00 pm

Election day

(7 September 2013)

Saturday

8.00 am-6.00 pm

Interstate Voting

(7 September 2013)

Saturday

8.00 am-6.00 pm

Electors unable to attend a polling place on polling day are able to have an early vote, either by attending the pre-polling voting centre at the Office of the Administrator from Wednesday before polling day, or by applying for a postal vote.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/election/pva/.


To ensure receipt of postal voting packs, electors should apply as soon as possible.  If electors have applied for a postal vote, but do not receive their voting pack in time, they are still able to attend a polling place to vote.


Electors who will be overseas can vote at one of the international polling places.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/ways_to_vote/.


Electors who are in Australia before polling day can vote in an early voting centre.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/ways_to_vote/.


Electors who are in Australia on polling day and will be in the state of their enrolled division, can vote in any polling place in that state (eg, if you are enrolled in Solomon then you can vote in any polling place in the Northern Territory).


Further information about the federal election is available at http://www.aec.gov.au.   Federal election queries can also be directed to Office of the Administrator staff, Keith Young and Ginny Maidment, on 22152.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CHIEF MINISTERS UPDATE


The Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell, has today provided an update of a number of issues which may be of interest to the community.


ABC Radio - Interview

“In response to the interview between Mark Colvin, ABC Radio and Mr Robert Macklin, Author of “Dark Paradise’’, I was invited to be interviewed by Mark Colvin and this interview was aired on Thursday, 22 August 2013” Mr Snell said.


The invitation was as a result of the ABC Radio PM’s programme receiving “some angry emails from Norfolk Islanders about the interview”.  The interview can be heard and/or read on www.abc.net.au/pm

Tourist Accommodation (Amendment No. 2) Act 2013

The Office of the Administrator formally advised on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 that her Excellency Governor-General the Hon Quentin Bryce AC, CVO had assented to the Tourist Accommodation (Amendment No. 2) Act 2013.  On Gazettal of this notice the Act will commence and be operational.


“I have formally advised the President of the Accommodation and Tourism Association Inc. of the assent to the Act”, Mr Snell advised.


What does commencement of the Act mean?  As part of the Funding Agreements between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Norfolk Island Administration, the Norfolk Island Government agreed to remove any barriers to business investment in Norfolk Island.

Clause 6(b)(ii) of Schedule 2 to the June 2012 Funding Agreement provides:

“(b) Norfolk Island Government remove impediments to new business development opportunities including:

          (ii) Land owners are free to build new accommodation, and convert existing dwellings to/from tourist accommodation, complaint with the required planning controls that currently exist on the island.”

Now that the Act has commenced new tourist accommodation can be built and operated in Norfolk Island subject to being registered and compliance with planning laws.


Commonwealth Funding

“I am pleased to advise that the Norfolk Island Administration has received a further one million dollars from the Commonwealth Government  for the month of June in accordance with the December 2012 Funding Agreement”, the Chief Minister said.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

23 August 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

2013 FEDERAL ELECTION



The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the Norfolk Island community of voting arrangements for the federal election to be held on 7 September 2013.


Electors can vote at the Office of the Administrator, New Military Barracks, Kingston from 4-7 September as follows:

Early voting

(4-6 September 2013)

Wednesday

8.30 am-5.30 pm

Thursday

8.30 am-6.00 pm

Friday

8.30 am-6.00 pm

Election day

(7 September 2013)

Saturday

8.00 am-6.00 pm

Interstate Voting

(7 September 2013)

Saturday

8.00 am-6.00 pm

Electors unable to attend a polling place on polling day are able to have an early vote, either by attending the pre-polling voting centre at the Office of the Administrator from Wednesday before polling day, or by applying for a postal vote.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/election/pva/.


To ensure receipt of postal voting packs, electors should apply as soon as possible.  If electors have applied for a postal vote, but do not receive their voting pack in time, they are still able to attend a polling place to vote.


Electors who will be overseas can vote at one of the international polling places.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/ways_to_vote/.


Electors who are in Australia before polling day can vote in an early voting centre.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/ways_to_vote/.


Electors who are in Australia on polling day and will be in the state of their enrolled division, can vote in any polling place in that state (eg, if you are enrolled in Solomon then you can vote in any polling place in the Northern Territory).


Further information about the federal election is available at http://www.aec.gov.au.   Federal election queries can also be directed to Office of the Administrator staff, Keith Young and Ginny Maidment, on 22152.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MINUTES FROM THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY




Please 'contact us' for more information.

ANMM GRANTS



Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) – Grants and Internships

The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the community of the availability of Australian National Maritime Museum grants to regional museums and organisations to help them preserve Australia’s rich maritime heritage.


The MMAPSS is jointly funded by the museum and the Australian Government.

The scheme gives grants up to $10,000 for projects that fall into one of these categories:

  • Collection management (registration, documentation and storage);
  • Conservation (preservation, vessel restoration, conservation work/treatments and professional assessments);
  • Presentation (research, development of exhibitions, establishing interpretative displays and workshops);
  • Development of relevant education or public programs which make collections more accessible to audiences; and
  • Museological training for paid or unpaid workers of not-for-profit organisations caring for Australia’s maritime collections.

Funding of up to $3,000 is also available for internships to develop museological skills and knowledge to increase standards of practice in caring for and managing maritime collections.


All non-profit maritime museums and other organisations are encouraged to apply.  Joint applications from two or more eligible institutions are welcome.


The closing date for applications is 31 August 2013.


Further information, including guidelines and application forms, are available at http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1515.  The MMAPSS Coordinator can be contacted on 61 2 9298 3743 or mmapss@anmm.gov.au.  Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the initiative on 22152.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE PAPER


Please 'contact us' for more information.

SMALL GRANTS FOR SMALL RURAL COMMUNITIES




The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope would like to draw to the attention of not-for-profit community based organisations on the Island the possibility of receiving grants up to $5000.


The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal is calling for applications for Round 24 of the Small Grants for Small Communities program.  The closing date for applications is 27 September 2013.


“The program will offer up to $400,000 in grants up to $5000 for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities, with populations of 10,000 or less, living in small rural and remote locations in Australia, contributing to their social and community welfare, economic, environmental, health, education or cultural development,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Norfolk Island groups have been successful in receiving this grant in previous funding rounds.


To be eligible for a grant, projects must be for a charitable purpose (address a need in the community).  Information on previously funded projects is available on FRRR’s website - www.frrr.org.au.


Also available on the website are the program guidelines and application form.  Ginny Maidment in my office can also be contacted about the grant funding opportunity on 22152.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS ON NORFOLK ISLAND GET FUNDS AT A RECEPTION FOR GOVERNMENT HOUSE OPEN DAY SITTERS



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope and his wife Jen held a reception for Government House Open Day sitters and community groups on Wednesday this week.


An amount of $1,550.82 was presented to each of the 18 organisations that had an open day at Government House in the past year.


A further open day was held for the Australian bushfire victims, so in excess of $28,000 was raised this last twelve months.


“Without the dedication of our permanent sitters this would not be possible and having this reception for them is a very small way of saying thank you,” said Jen Pope.


Mrs. Pope also paid tribute to the Government House staff of Julia, Di, Kel and Di for the way they take such pride in keeping the house and gardens looking so immaculate.


Mrs. Pope also made special mention of Awa and her magnificent floral arrangements, and the great assistance she receives from Maurge Jowett who is presently off Island. Jen also thanked Barb Quintal in the Office of the Administrator.  

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PUBLIC MEETING OUTCOME


The Chief Minister on behalf of his Ministerial colleagues in the Norfolk Island Government extended thanks today to the members of the community who submitted questions in advance for the public meeting which was held on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at Rawson Hall and to all those who attended and asked questions and made comment following presentation of the prepared responses.


“Despite the inclement weather and other community activities the attendance at the public meeting was pleasing and clearly shows this government that this community is interested and concerned about Norfolk Island’s current financial circumstances, the reform processes and Norfolk Island’s future governance”, the Chief Minister said.


If anyone was unable to attend the meeting or indeed anyone would like to receive a copy of the questions and the answers, this document can be obtained by contacting the Acting Senior Policy Adviser, Ms Sharyn Quintal, on telephone 22003 or email actsnrpolad@assembly.gov.nf.


The Chief Minister said that, “the purpose of the public meeting was to provide a positive forum for the community to come together as part of this government’s consultation process and to give an update on issues of continuing uncertainty and details on topics of concern or interest to the community raised in the questions.”


In closing the meeting, the Chief Minister thanked the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Richards, for being the facilitator and reiterated that the government would continue to ensure public consultation on significant issues as they arise.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

27 July 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE WITH ANSWERS FOR PUBLIC MEETING


CHIEF MINISTER

 

1.         Australian and NZ Citizens are not governed by Tourism Accommodation Act.

The Immigration Act permits any Australian or NZ citizen arriving on Norfolk Island to stay in any accommodation, irrespective of their intended length of stay, and without restrictions.  This includes:

Accommodation properties that are unregistered in terms of the Tourism Accommodation Act.  This appears to be contradictory to the requirement in the Tourism Accommodation Act.  The definition of a visitor within the Accommodation Act (Amendment No.2) Bill (still to be assented to) is a person who does not intend to stay more than 21 days. A visitor in terms of the Accommodation Act is required to stay in registered tourist accommodation.

What is the Government's position with respect to tourists staying in unregistered accommodation?

As soon as the Tourist Accommodation (Amendment No. 2) Bill 2012, which was, passed by the Legislative Assembly in December 2012, receives assent by the Governor-General of Australia,  it will be an offence under the Act to provide paid accommodation for visitors intending to stay less than 21 days unless the tourist accommodation house is registered under the Act.

  1. Could all written submissions to the NI Remuneration Tribunal be made public on the NI Government website?  The same goes for the Tribunal's decision when made.

The written submissions to the NI Remuneration Tribunal can be viewed by the public by appointment at the Administrations Registry Office, they will not be published on line.  The Tribunal’s decision, if not ordered by the Tribunal to be restricted in access, will be published on the government website www.info.gov.nf when the determination has been made.

  1. What parts of the Road Map has been agreed to, in principle, by Federal Cabinet?

None that we are aware of.  We were led to believe that a submission was to be taken to Cabinet by Minister Crean but this did not occur prior to his resignation.  I can confirm that I wrote to Minister King on 10 July 2013 respectfully asking that she use her best endeavours to ensure that a submission is delivered to Cabinet on the model of government as soon as possible.

4.         Has the NIG complied with all of the conditions of the Funding Agreement for 2012-13? 

Have all monies under the Funding Agreement for 2012-13 been paid by the Commonwealth?

If all monies have not been paid, how much money is outstanding, and why have they not been paid?

           

The Funding Agreement referred to is the Funding Agreement signed in December 2012 that provided funding to June 2013, payable in monthly instalments.  The NIG and NIA have complied with the majority of the conditions contained in the FA and to date have received $2.5m of the $4.5m.  The amount involved with respect to June is $1,000,000.   There are no deliverables associated with that payment.  I expect that payment is imminent and this will be clarified with the Officers from the Commonwealth Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport who are on Island this week.

The Department Officers have recently (by email received Thursday 18 July 2013) raised concerns that the Administration has not met certain milestones for May 2013 in the December 2012 Funding Agreement.  The Departments concerns are primarily around promotion of immigration and new business investment and the development of CEO Directions in place of the Public Service HR Policy.

The Commonwealth concerns are currently being reviewed.   The amount involved with respect to the May milestones is $1,000,000.   It is open to the Department to withhold a proportion of this until they are satisfied all the deliverables have been met.   As indicated above compliance and payment are currently under discussion.  I would like to add here that we will be doing everything we can to be compliant to ensure we receive that $1,000,000 payment.

5.         Which Minister is driving the Road Map process to ensure early entry into the Australian fiscal system and what is the current situation?

This is a joint responsibility between myself as Chief Minister with responsibility for intergovernmental relations and the Minister for Finance, Tim Sheridan.  As to the current situation of entry into the Australian fiscal system I provide this quote from Minister King “I remain committed to the continuing on a reform path to secure the future prosperity of Norfolk Island”.  The Norfolk Island Government continues to work with the Department and the Minister directly seeking entry into the Australian fiscal system to achieve a net benefit for the Norfolk Island community and also taking local circumstances into account. 

  1. “In the Chief Minister’s radio interview of 9 July he said “when we look at sustainable growth strategy for Norfolk and attracting new businesses to the Island we are monitoring progress, we are working towards getting Norfolk Island up and self sustainable”.

Part One: How is the Government attracting new businesses?  Are they advertising offshore?

Part Two: Besides opening up Immigration what else is the Government working towards to get Norfolk Island “up and sustainable”?

           

Part one:

The Funding Agreement and the Norfolk Island Governments Sustainable Growth Strategy provides that the NIG will promote and attract investors to the island.  Newsletters have been sent out and will continue to be sent to the Tourist Bureau’s database and the Government and Public Service are working together with the Immigration Development Working Group, on further promotion material.  

In the absence of sufficient funding it is proposed that bartercard trade dollars, retained from the operation of Norfolk Air, will be utilised to advertise offshore to attract business investment.

In addition, it is proposed to publish a free article in “The Parliamentarian” the publication of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the CPA.  Which has the wide distribution to parliamentarians and their staff in 54 Commonwealth Countries.

In addition, a local Real Estate Agent has advised visitors to its website of the lifting of Immigration restrictions. 

           

The new Immigration website is up and running, we are in the process of putting a link to this website on all other Admin websites.  We are also request that the Australian Dept of Immigration and Citizenship update their websites. 

            Part two:

Which was, “Besides opening up Immigration what else is the Government working towards to get Norfolk Island “up and sustainable”?”

The Government is looking into possible GST reform to promote investment in capital items whilst also looking at removing GST on basic food items and primary producers having some form of GST relief which will have positive flow on effects for the community.  These proposed changes are in their infancy, however are being actively pursued right now by the Minister for Finance.

The Tourist Bureau continues to retain and build on existing markets, also introduce new family and conference markets, exploring new online sales partnerships, building on social media resources, addressing marketing perception through media famil programs and building on market awareness through destination advertising with the goal to see growth in visitor numbers and yield. 

We continue to seek the Federal Minister’s support to transition Norfolk Island into the Federal GST Transfer Payment Scheme.  And we have sought the support of the Federal Minister to put forward a cabinet submission for the preferred model of self-government to provide certainty to our local community, but also further certainty to business investors.

The work of the Infrastructure and Business Development Committee is continuing, and one of it’s stated goals is to investigate and report on “the means by which the current Norfolk Island economy may be strengthened and expanded”

An e-book will shortly be published to provide information to, and hopefully attract, investors to Norfolk Island.


MINISTER SHERIDAN

 

1.         Whilst the Roadmap seeks to include Norfolk Island into the Australian Taxation system and many see this as a positive thing because of our inclusion and access to the Welfare system in Australia!

I have never been involved in the Australian Taxation system, having lived on Island all my life, my question and concern is, what will be the real impacts (positive & negative) to each and every resident on Island, Business, Tourism & the  cost of living?

This is one of the uncertainties still to be clarified with the Commonwealth Government.  The impacts of the extension of the Australian taxation system and the benefits that will flow are different for each individual and family depending on their circumstances.  What I can say is that participation in the taxation system, opens the door to the Australian Social Services System which has greater capacity than that on Norfolk Island; access to Medicare and PBS, access to transfer payments in regard to education, health, GST, etc, access for businesses to claim back depreciation on investments plus other rebates.  The Norfolk Island Government has sought that any reform will have a net benefit for Norfolk Island.  The impact on the cost of living is yet to be determined.

 

  1. Are there any short term stimulus measures on the horizon that are being pushed for by our government to help out the private sector?

 The Norfolk Island Government is regrettably not financially able to provide any direct ongoing stimulus to the private sector.  It should be noted that there will be stimulus to the economy flowing from the Commonwealth Regional Development Grants particularly for Cascade jetty and the 2013-14 Norfolk Island Budget includes approximately $160,000 for capital works to be tendered to the private sector.  The 14 June 2013 Funding Agreement provides that a Business Income and Expenditure survey be developed and implemented as a specific output to be achieved in 2013-2014 which will build the basis of further analysis of taxation revenue and expenditure reform options. 

In the meantime, as advised previously, the Government is looking into possible GST reform to promote investment in capital items and help stimulate the private sector. 

3.         The target figure of $1 million per annum for land rates, means (from 1579 portions) of land on NI, the annual average charge will be $633.00 per title per year.  Does the NIG consider this an affordable amount for the majority of NI residents?  How confident is the NIG that municipal rates will not raise rents, the price of doing business, the price of living, the cost of tourist accommodation and increase what is already the highest rate of inflation in Australia?  GST increased from 9 to 12%.  Customs duty has gone from 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, to 18%.  Is it feasible, land rates once introduced, will follow these trends, and eventually price Norfolk Islanders off their own land?  What steps is the NIG taking to mitigate this?

It is a requirement under the Funding Agreement dated 14 June 2013 that a Household Income and Expenditure survey and a Business Income and Expenditure survey will be developed and implemented and this will provide details as to the capacity or otherwise for the community to meet increased taxes and levies and information to the Government as to what exemptions or relief can be provided.

  1. Simon Crean was quoted as saying the federal taxation system was not a salami.  NI could not just slice off the pieces it wanted.  The ACIL-Tasman recommended DIRECT funding of NI infrastructure by the Department.  How can the ACIL-Tasman Report be actioned, eg, GBE divestment, without this direct funding?  Surely the ACIL-Tasman Report is not a salami?

This was one of the suggested actions to promote infrastructure investment in Norfolk Island.  The ACIL – Tasman Report recommended the NIG allocate at least 75% of net GBE privatization revenue to infrastructure investment.

The previous funding agreement provided that assistance would be provided by the Commonwealth Government to undertake an assessment of the Government Business Enterprises to determine a divestment strategy.  The Norfolk Island Government and Administration will assist and support any consultants engaged by the Commonwealth Department to undertake the divestment strategy.

5.         Given that the Road Map and its Funding Agreements indicators are pointing to the Introduction of (i) a system of rates and land taxes for property owners:

Is the NI Government confident that property owners (many of whom own large tracts of heritage lands), will have the financial means to regularly pay what will be substantial sums of money for such taxes on their lands? lf so, on what basis is that confidence founded or is it just a matter of the Governments saying - you will just have to find the money or run the risk of losing your land!

Has the NI Government considered the impact on owners of commercial properties and the businesses conducted from those properties, where those owners will have to find substantial sums to pay land taxes either from their own owner operated businesses or from their tenants knowing that businesses on Norfolk cannot simply pass on those taxes and remain competitive let alone survive.

 

A Property Tax Working Group has been established within the Public Service to consider taxing models for Norfolk Island that will have regard to specific Norfolk Island circumstances.  A paper is expected to be delivered by this group for presentation to the 14th Legislative Assembly, and when this is received it is our intention to have meaningful public consultation on the matter.

I understand that some members in the community have concerns about the introduction of a property based tax/municipal rates system especially on the communities and businesses ability to pay.  As such the Government, and this is outlined in the recent Funding Agreement, is to conduct a Household and Business Income and Expenditure Survey, this survey is expected to provide evidence on the community’s ability to pay municipal rates.  This evidence will be used to finalise the Governments implementation strategy of property based tax/municipal rates system.  And as previously said earlier it will also assist the Government as to what exemptions or relief can be provided.


MINISTER WARD

1.         Can the government advise of the progress and what stage the tender process etc is up to on the cascade pier extensions?

           

    • Although the funding for this project has been formally announced by the Australian government, to date, a signed project funding agreement is yet to be signed.
    • The Australian Government requires that a signed Funding Agreement be in place before any of the RDAF grant is paid. The Agreement will set out the terms and conditions on which grant funding is provided.
    • It is inappropriate to enter into any binding financial commitments before the Funding Agreement is fully executed.
    • The Commonwealth can not and will not sign the agreement once they commit to an election and go in to caretaker mode.
    • There remains a chance, if a new Australian Government is elected, they could choose not to commit to the project, or they could choose to delay it until they can review the merits of the project.
    • The design work is completed and project ready.

2.         With works supposed to be commencing on cascade pier in December 2013 can the Government advise where the massive amount of rock required to do the work will be sourced from in such a short time frame?

  • There are a number of options that will be open to the project manager.
  • There is a large quantity of material remaining in the adjacent Cascade cliff face that can be extracted using identified low impact techniques.
  •  There is stockpiled at portion 44a, located adjacent to the school grounds, significant raw rock material that is suitable for some parts of the construction. This includes rock suited for crushing into concrete grade material which will be needed in the construction.
  • I have requested that the Administration compile and lodge a Development Application for removal of the stockpile material so this does not become an impediment to the project and EPBC approval has been sought by the Administration.

3.         The community has been misled to believe that the cascade pier extension will greatly improve cruise ship passenger movements.  Can the government tell us how it will explain to the disappointed community and Commonwealth that when the cascade pier extension is complete after spending 13+ million dollars and the cruise ship unloading situation is no better than before because they should have put a kick or elbow in the jetty in order to create calm water along side instead of pushing the problem 20 metres further straight out?

 

  • A business case was developed by the Administration that included the anticipated benefits to cruise ship passenger movements.
  • The Cascade Jetty upgrade alone will not significantly improve the passenger movements, but, combined with larger stable transfer craft – the proposed barges - will improve the reliability of passenger transfers and make the process safer and more comfortable.
  • This government does not need to explain that there is little that can be done about the exposure of ships to adverse sea conditions, until a West-side landing can be developed. A west side landing will give operators the ability to select shelter in the lee side of the island relative to prevailing wind and sea conditions.  This issue is widely recognized and was a subject of focus by most candidates in the March Assembly elections.
  • The Cascade Jetty upgrade does not entirely fix our shipping access problem; it has never been promoted as capable of doing so, but is a welcome step in the right direction.
  • As for the suggested elbow in the design of the jetty, while I personally urged the coordinator of the planning work  to take heed of the advice offered by local boat operators, the task of arriving at a design that everyone agrees with is likely to be impossible to achieve. An elbow in the design would force boats closer to submerged rocks north of the jetty. There would also be issues for the existing towed lighters if there was a significant elbow built into the jetty.
  • A long breakwater would clearly be of benefit, but we have to work within the budget and resources we have available, but this does not limit future additions should funding become available. I do not believe we should reject this grant because it wouldn’t cover the ultimate design but make the most of what we have to work with as it is no doubt an improvement.

  1. Is Jacobs rock still being considered and supported by the government for an alternative landing site should funds or a grant become available?

 

  • Jacob’s Rock is one of the possible West-side landing points that could be developed.
  • Many will be aware that Mr. Pete Woodward as a private individual has invested considerable time and money into investigating the feasibility of Jacob’s Rock. I have seen some of the material produced for Pete and take this opportunity to thank him for his dedication to improving the port situation.
  • For Jacob’s to be viable, there are issues to work through, significant costs to access the rock ledge and stabilize the resulting engineered cliff.  There would need to be Commonwealth Government agreement to accessing through Selwyn Reserve, EPBC environmental approvals and so on.
  • These issues are not insurmountable or presented as a reason to not consider Jacob’s, which will be considered along with other potential western access points.

5.         Given that there is contamination in the KAVHA water catchment area and that immigration controls have been relaxed allowing potential for greater population, what measures are in place to restore the Island's ground water to acceptable standards?

Environmental consultants URS Pty. Ltd were engaged to review background information and data including microbiological testing of surface and groundwater.

  • URS have provided a range of measures mostly involving improving the monitoring and data collection processes and a range of on ground measures such as an audit of septic tank systems in the KAVHA catchment, excluding cattle from accessing the creeks and marshy areas, introduce controlled grazing rotation system and modified dredging of the creek system to deal with problem areas yet maintain filtration where possible.
  • To minimize the impact of urban development and agriculture, both existing and future it is intended that existing domestic and commercial septic systems across the Island, starting in and around the KAVHA catchment will be surveyed and records updated. This will enable informed decisions as to what areas could be connected to the existing sewer system, or to what areas the system could be extended to over the next few years.
  • It is intended to exclude cattle from directly accessing the creeks systems flowing through KAVHA, bacterial levels in the creeks will be monitored to assess the impact of these exclusions.

 Monitoring will continue and if resources allow it will be expanded to help to get a better picture of the impact of humans, our animals and our agricultural activities on the environment of Norfolk Island. 


MINISTER ADAMS

 

1.         As NI is being ‘encouraged’ to ‘sell off the farm’  through the funding agreement conditions, real estate is being sold to Australian and New Zealanders, outside investment is being encouraged,  residency is being handed out like upsizing at McDonalds,  how will Norfolk Island remain first and foremost the home of Norfolk Islanders?  What is to prevent it becoming the holiday home destination of Australians, a ghost town bar 4 weeks of the year?  Will any of these measures truly aid the Island’s economic recovery?   Would not the energy, labour and finances involved be better expended on tourism marketing?

I hear the very real concerns of the member of the community who has asked this question; it is a concern that is regularly expressed to me. I have given an undertaking publicly to keep a watchful eye on how our new immigration regime not only moves us forward to economic recovery but does so without the displacement of our community.

As previously mentioned the 14th Assembly on taking office was bound to continue to meet the contractual obligations entered into by the 13th Assembly under the December 2012 Funding Agreement.  A Sustainable Growth Strategy has been prepared, published on government websites, tabled in our parliament and discussed on local radio.  The Strategy which has been adopted by the Norfolk Island Government deals with medium term and long term growth.  Medium term growth is over a 3 to 5 year period where we will be working to building our population back to what it was in 2001. The strategy outlines how that might be achieved.   The long term strategy requires us to have serious regard to environmental sustainability, an examination of the Island groundwater recourses; assessment of the island’s ecosystem and biodiversity and the requirements for ecological sustainability.  The policy requires the long term strategy be undertaken with the assistance of the Commonwealth.

I stated in all of my election policies that I believe it is beholden on me, as an Australian citizen and as a Norfolk Islander, as it is on all of us, to ensure that the road which Norfolk is currently being asked to travel in no way displaces the descendants of the Pitcairners, an ethnically distinct people who moved here in 1856 - and who regard Norfolk Island as their homeland. It is equally beholden on us to ensure that their culture, heritage and traditions are in no way diminished through the Road Map, the Funding Agreements and the actions of our Parliament.

The March 2011 Roadmap for change similarly recognizes the special relationship of the original 1856 settlers with Norfolk Island and their desire to preserve their traditions and culture and goes on to describe the reforms needed amongst other things to strengthen the Island’[s unique heritage and environment.   This is recognized by the Commonwealth Parliament in the Preamble to the Norfolk Island Act where that Parliament recognizes the special relationship of the said descendants with Norfolk Island and their desire to preserve their traditions and culture. 

I believe that money, time and effort needs to be spent on both expanding our tourism markets and rebuilding our population levels back to a sustainable level.

 

  1. How does the Norfolk Island Government propose to transition between the current Norfolk lsland Pension entitlement scheme which is income tested but not asset tested and the Australian Pension entitlement system which is both asset tested and means tested without affecting existing Pension entitlements?

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in late 2010 by the Commonwealth Government and the then Norfolk Island Government and in the MOU it was acknowledged “that the Norfolk Island Government had agreed in broad terms to participate in the Australian taxation and social security systems on the basis that there will be a net benefit for Norfolk Island and its community and there is appropriate consideration of local circumstances”. 

Shortly after my election, in order to assess “whether there will be a net benefit for Norfolk Island and its community” with our participation in the Commonwealth social security systems I established in April 2013 a committee to undertake a review of the comparison of entitlements under the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Social Services Schemes.  This review is still underway.

Indicators from the work of the committee to date leads me to the view that if the Australian Social Service Scheme is extended to NI there will need to be transitional arrangements in many areas to ensure that Norfolk Island residents are not disadvantaged and lose entitlements that they currently enjoy under Norfolk Island legislation. 

The first step is identifying the problem areas and the review committee is tasked to do that.  The second step is to ensure that in negotiations with the Commonwealth going forward on social service issues, and I again quote, that in the transition from one system to the other that there ia “a net benefit for Norfolk Island and its community and there is appropriate consideration of local circumstances”.

  1. It is widely regarded that immigration promotion will be far more effective if it was properly promoted off island. Why doesn't the Government use Barter dollars to promote the immigration changes in NZ and Australia?

Why couldn't the Government have cut budget in areas such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in order to provide funding for immigration promotion.

How will the NIG measure success or failure of this immigration promotion strategy which it stated is the trigger for requesting financial assistance for immigration promotion from the Commonwealth Government.

The Administration has recently made enquiries of the Bartercard Manager for Norfolk Island who is in the process of looking at advertising, social media, PR and marketing consultants as ways of using Bartercard Trade Dollars to promote the immigration changes in New Zealand and Australia.

The question asks whether there could have been budget cuts in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association vote in order to provide funding for immigration promotion. 

The CPA is the one organisation within the Commonwealth of Nations that acknowledges our independence and sovereignty as a parliament. Through the CPA Norfolk Island has access to contacts, information and support not readily available elsewhere.  This is invaluable.

An article is to be published in the next issue of The Parliamentarian, a quarterly publication of the CPA in which Norfolk Island features quite regularly, which will highlight that Norfolk Island welcomes new residents and encourages business investment.

  1. This question was addressed to both the Chief Minister and Minister for Community Services and Cultural Heritage.  Minister Adams will answer the question as Immigration falls in her portfolio.  In March the Chief Minister’s campaign statement included "I do not support open immigration" and the current Minister for Immigration voted against changes to immigration in the last assembly.

What has changed since March for you both to do the opposite of what was said and done before March?

Following our election to the 14th Legislative Assembly it was made abundantly clear that the Funding Agreement was a contractual agreement with the Commonwealth if we were to secure the ongoing funding for this community to maintain essential services and the timeframes within that document relating to relaxing Immigration controls were to be implemented.  Our endeavours to seek detail and refinement of the purpose and reforms of the Roadmap were not successful however the Sustainable Growth Strategy released by this Norfolk Island Government has set a medium-term population objective to return the island’s ordinarily resident population levels of around 2100 people over the medium three-five year period.  Up to this level the Government is confident that the island’s existing social and environmental character can be assured.

  1. PUBLIC BENEFITS FOR NZ UNRESTRICTED ENTRY PERMIT HOLDERS RETURNING TO AUSTRALIA

It would appear that NZ citizens wishing to avail themselves of social service benefits in Australia with less than 2 years residency in Australia have found a loophole in gaining Norfolk Island Residency and returning to the Australian mainland to be eligible for benefits. How does the NIG intend to deal with these short term immigrants of convenience, who are circumventing the Australian social security restrictions on NZ citizens living in Australia?

A grant of an Unrestricted Entry Permit (UEP) to an Australian or New Zealand citizen on arrival on Norfolk Island lapses once the permit holder leaves Norfolk Island.

Whilst I understand that a New Zealand citizen having Norfolk Island Resident status may be entitled to certain benefits immediately on arriving in Australia, the question of entitlement in Australia to Australian welfare benefits is obviously an issue directly controlled by the Commonwealth Government and not the Norfolk Island Government.

We welcome new residents to our Island, and our Government’s medium term goal is to return to population levels to 2100.

  1. Given the Department is continuing to fight against the release of the 2006 CIE Report, (through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner), what steps is the NIG taking to seek access to this Report, which is so important to the economic future of this Island?

The Norfolk Island Government of the 12th Legislative Assembly accessed the CIE Report through a Freedom of Information request but the majority of the report was redacted. 

In October 2011 I moved a Motion which included a request for the Legislative Assembly to encourage the Commonwealth Government to engage the Centre for International Economics to simultaneously update its 2006 study of the impact of extending Commonwealth laws to Norfolk Island.  This motion was passed and the request forwarded to the Federal Minister.    The response from the then Federal Minister, through the Office of the Administrator on 25 November 2011, was that the Minister, and I quote,  “does not intend to engage the Centre for International Economics as considerable changes have been made to Commonwealth and Norfolk Island legislation in the intervening period.  The 2006 report was based on modeling undertaken prior to the implementation of the Norfolk Island GST and used assumptions that the Norfolk Island Government would raise on-island taxes to fund works identified in the Asset Management Plan …”.

I hope that is helpful.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ADMINISTRATOR ANNOUNCES NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNITY INITIATIVE



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope has announced funding for a community initiative for Norfolk Island.


“The Norfolk Island Community Initiative is  Australian Government one-off measure providing funding for initiatives that offer clear public benefit for the Norfolk Island community in the following areas – family and community wellbeing, economic initiatives, environment, health, education, and culture and history,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“There is $200,000 in funding for the community and following recommendations to the Department of Regional Australia and sign off by Minister Catherine King the following are the recipients and/or initiatives to be funded,” said Mr. Pope.


Care Norfolk –  Increased delivery of home and community care services to the community of Norfolk Island.  $30,000

FoodCare – Ongoing delivery of food vouchers to those in need.  $15,000

Lion’s Club of Norfolk – Men’s health checks.  $5,000

Sunshine Club – Assistance to the aged and persons travelling to the mainland for medical attention.  $9,500

Army Cadets – Ongoing operating costs and cadets’ participation in mainland promotion courses..  $5,000

Lions Club of Arthur’s Vale – Women’s health initiative.  $5,000

Rotary Club – Immunisations for children.  $2,000

Volunteer Rescue Squad – Essential equipment.  $5,000

Blue Light Foundation – Equipment and youth development activities. $11,000

Norfolk Assists Those In Need – Assistance provided to persons receiving medical evacuations to the mainland.  $9,500

Emergency management Norfolk Island – Essential equipment. $8,000

Mental Health Support Group – Delivery of Mental Health Week activities in October.  $5,000

St John Ambulance – Essential equipment.  $10,000

Daa side f’ ucklan Youth Center – Equipment and outdoor works.  $10,000

Landcare – Rehabilitation of Cascade Reserve. $10,000

Rotary Club – Delivery of public reserve signage.  $5,000

Norf’k CIRCA – Operating premises and enhanced functions.  $15,000

A road safety education program.  $25,000

Refurbishment of the Mawson Units.  $15,000


“There are some very obvious needs in the community and I would like to thank the various community organisations on the Island that have assisted my office in pulling this together so quickly.


“The need for assistance to the community is now and as such funds will be made available almost immediately,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Neil Pope

Administrator

25 July 2013

Please 'contact us' for more information.

PUBLIC MEETING REMINDER


The Chief Minister, Hon Lisle Snell, reminds the community of the Public Meeting to be held at 5.15pm on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at Rawson Hall.


“I thank the members of the community who have sent questions to be answered at the public meeting, a response to those questions will be compiled and addressed.  In addition this public meeting will allow a limited time for members of the community to pose additional questions directly to the Government” Mr Snell said.


“I look forward to receiving the views and any concerns the community may have regarding the reform process now established with the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Governments.  The reform process does involve change, being able to hear the communities concerns directly and face to face will be of benefit and will contribute to the Government’s policy and decision making” the Chief Minister said.


Lisle Snell                                                                  

Chief Minister 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTE


The Infrastructure and Business Development Committee Chairman Mr. Ron Nobbs MLA presented the Committee's  first quarterly report at the July meeting of the NI Legislative Assembly   

 

In his address Mr. Nobbs congratulated and thanked members of the community for their input and time in making presentations to the committee.

 

He said that the process now requires each recommendation to be subject to an implementation program, however the actual timing will depend on a number of issues not the least being the extent and complexity of the recommendation and consultation both with the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Governments.  

 

Mr. Nobbs went on to say that the first hurdle is to receive the “approval to proceed”, however the Committee recognises that recommendations of the matters submitted is essential for the future of Norfolk Island to revitalize its economy and progress should commence with the utmost haste.   

 

Debate on the Report has been adjourned until the 14th August Sitting of the House. Members of the community are encouraged to read the Report and its Recommendations and advise Members of their views.


Infrastructure and Business Development Committee

Quarterly  Report tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 17 July 2013


Introduction

The Infrastructure and Business Development Committee was established by Motion of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly dated 10 April 2013. Terms of Reference require the Committee to investigate and report on:-

a)           The means by which the current Norfolk Island economy may be strengthened and expanded and

b)           Norfolk Island’s current and future infrastructure needs based on current, proposed or potential business development requirements and

c)           Such other relevant matters as the Chief Minister and/or Committee deem relevant

At the committee meeting of 2 May, an initial program was agreed which encompassed the following points:-

          1 Advise the community of the committees existence, contact points etc and seek submissions from those who have proposals considered appropriate in the quest to strengthen and expand the current Norfolk Island economy

          2 Investigate and document the island’s current infrastructure, its strengths and weaknesses and plans for the future.

          3 Investigate those proposals submitted by the community in relation to strengthening and expanding the economy.

4 Identify areas in which the Norfolk Island Government may directly or with assistance from others, assist projects identified by the committee.

Meetings of the Committee

The committee first met on 29 April and attended to preliminary arrangements such as the election of a chairman. Confidentiality was considered a prime issue for consideration in all committee deliberations.

Subsequently, the committee has formally met on 10 occasions during the reporting period. The committee is required to report quarterly.  Additional data/advice was also gained from informal meetings and discussions.


The number of persons who formally appeared before the committee totalled 13 and the committee also commenced seeking advice on the islands actual existing infrastructure initially requesting the Administration to provide details of its infrastructure and particularly comment on its strength and weakness.

Witnesses to date have sought meetings with the committee and the topics of their evidence has been wide ranging, as well as, being extremely helpful to the committee. Topics at formal meetings included land title, telecommunications, electricity generation, port facilities, existing business with potential to expand, the island as a research, development and demonstration facility, other initiatives relevant to the committee including tax breaks, investment from sources outside Australia and New Zealand, provision of support to business in relation to training etc as well as promotion of the island as a business investment opportunity. The committee is still working through a number of these issues.


Issues of Concern

The committee was established with a view to providing advice to the Legislative Assembly, the Norfolk Island Government and where practical facilitate new investment in the form of business development.


There were a number of issues of concern which are relevant to the committee’s role. Not the least of these concerns is the limited preparatory investigation which has been undertaken prior to establishing the concept of a Roadmap. This issue is particularly relevant in relation to the essential issue of revitalising and expanding the economy by attracting investment in new business ventures.


The concept within some Funding Agreements to simply open up Norfolk Island immigration will not alone achieve the response expected in relation to expanding the economy. It appears that a major driving force of the immigration change was to create an enhanced market for local business through sale of things such as that currently stocked in shops, provision of services or by sale of residential accommodation and such. This is a different concept to that of encouraging new investment in business to expand the local economy.


In other places where new investment is sought there are usually available certain incentives which may be offered to investors/developers such as tax breaks, land/buildings where development may be sited, appropriate services readily available, with such incentives normally under a government led structure. A depressed economy may not necessarily be a deterrent, in some cases it will act as a positive.


Norfolk Island has no such system of incentives it may offer significant new business proposals, in fact, with the uncertainty over issues of future taxation and regulatory arrangements, coupled with infrastructure concerns and limitations on some services, it is abundantly clear major disincentives do exist.


However, the committee does not see these disincentives as a major stumbling block and in its recommendations offers some simple procedures which, if implemented, would allay some fears and support the encouragement of potential investors.


Recommendations

1             The difficulties as to the future status of the island, particularly in relation to business related taxation, suggests some stability is required into the immediate future. To gain some stability for potential investors on Norfolk Island, it is recommended that the proposed Australian taxation regime be not introduced for significant new business ventures until at least 1 July 2021. In other words, in conjunction with the Commonwealth a scheme be introduced which permits proposed business ventures by locals or off shore investors, of significant value to the whole community, be offered a tax break from whenever the Australian taxation regime is introduced to at least 1 July 2021.


2             The issues related to health services for those new residents associated with business developments or potential customers visiting the island could be assisted greatly by small changes to Australian legislation and at virtually no cost to Australian taxpayers, which would permit on Norfolk Island

a)                 Commonwealth Medicare card holders to utilise their cards in the same way as returned servicemen, resident on Norfolk Island, utilise their Gold cards and

b)                Access to private health care by those Medicare card holders who contribute to private healthcare funds

3             To overcome the identified issue of “the lack of incentives related to land and buildings” two proposals which could be implemented immediately are recommended for potential use in significant new business developments which can be demonstrated as having a major direct financial benefit, not just to individuals or groups but to the island community as a whole-

a)                                   Reserve current vacant crown land on Norfolk Island for possible use in such projects. Such land would be retained under leasehold title; and


b)                                   Identify Government owned buildings and ruins which are readily or potentially available for use by interested developers. A perfect example is KAVHA where an appropriate tender process could be established for the lease and use of existing buildings or the reconstruction and use of other former convict buildings not considered habitable.

4             There is a long held belief that Norfolk Island should be utilised as a research, development and demonstration area for technologies and practices, which could be relatively easily utilised on other islands throughout the South Pacific to improve their lifestyle and well-being. This proposal is supported and should be progressed with relevant researchers, teaching institutions, other island governments and particularly with the Australian, New Zealand and French Governments.

5             The Norfolk Island Government, as a direct result of the open door immigration regime, should provide more comprehensive controls for the construction and service industries. Currently, trades and service personnel etc are well known to consumers and whilst not suggesting a raft of controls, there is now a need for at least basic consumer protection initiatives.


6             The introduction of Strata Title, was considered by the committee as a potential means of providing an alternate title option which should not impact negatively on the environment or the tourism potential of the island. Consideration of the issue occurred without the benefit of relevant Norfolk Island legislation. Being a new form of land title for Norfolk Island the committee stresses that, based on earlier subdivision experiences, the introduction of this new title carries with it significant issues which require to be addressed. Not the least of these issues being potential environmental concerns but the committee also stresses the importance of community education and acceptance. As a consequence the committee whilst supporting introduction of Strata Title, recommends a bridled approach as follows:-

a)           Norfolk Island legislation applicable to introduction of Strata Title be developed and

b)           A potential area for its introduction and for a specific purpose where the title would be initially demonstrated, be identified and

c)           Following provision of points 6a) and 6b) a thorough process of community education and consultation be undertaken and general agreement ascertained prior to initiating a demonstration as per 6b) and

d)           Further extension of Strata Title be considered following 6c) on the basis of consideration of any identified issues from the initial demonstration and community acceptance of the new land title

7 A more commercial approach be introduced in key areas of Administration infrastructure as certain areas are falling behind in the provision of services, due primarily to current governance arrangements. It is imperative such failings are addressed by introducing commercial practices as this infrastructure is critical to the islands ability to provide for business development.

7             The I & B D Committee be retained in its present form but the establishment of a small Territory Authority, to operate outside but responsible to the Norfolk Island Government, as a Norfolk Island Development Authority, be investigated.


Please 'contact us' for more information.

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY


The Office of the Clerk has advised that the following matters were dealt with at the sitting of the Fourteenth Legislative Assembly held on Wednesday 17 July 2013 at 10 am:

 

NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

WEDNESDAY 17 JULY 2013

 

NORF’K AILEN

DIISEM MENETS LARNEN WATHING HAEPN

INAA

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

WEDNESDAY 17 JULY 2013

 

1          The Legislative Assembly met at 10.02 am, the Speaker, Hon David Buffett AM MLA, took the Chair and read Prayers

 

2          CONDOLENCES

            Mr Evans recorded the passing of –

 

Eileen Gloria Quintal

Stephen Enoch Nobbs

 

As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased all Members stood in silence

 

3          QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE (10.09-10.11 AM)

 

4          ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

            Responses were provided to:

 

10         Mr Evans asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Will the Minister please advise:

  1. What is the formal process for Residents by Citizenship granted under section 28A, who literally within days, weeks or months after applying decide to depart the island with no clear intention to “reside ordinarily in Norfolk Island”?
  2. Norfolk Island residents are provided with an authority endorsed in their passports showing they have the authority to reside indefinitely on Norfolk Island.  If residency is ceased, what happens with this authority in their passport which has no validity date on it?
  3. The process a person undertakes to obtain a PRNIV (Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island Visa) when entering Australia and the purpose of this Visa?

Paper tabled: Immigration Fact Sheet No 59

 

11         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

In May this year the Joint Standing Committee (External Territories) visited the island and recommended that the commitment of both Governments to reform should be documented in a joint statement and timetable and that this timetable should be predicated on the Norfolk Island Government introducing its own revenue streams, immigration reforms and divestiture of local Government Business Enterprises; would the Chief Minister advise the community of the outcomes of his recent communications with the Federal Minister on this matter?

Papers tabled: JSC Report of visit to NI April 2013; Ltr to Hon Catherine King MP; and Ltr Senator Louise Pratt JSC

 

12         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Is it a fact that the Norfolk Island Government has committed to the introduction of property tax (municipal rates) for the island; and if so, would the Chief Minister outline the government’s policy position in relation to the development of a rating model and the introduction of a taxing bill and explain how he and his government arrived at this position?

 

13         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Is it a fact that the Norfolk Island Government has committed to developing an open economy that embraces competition, productivity improvements and micro-economic reform; and if so, would the Chief Minister outline his vision, his prioritized implementation plan and corresponding legislative program for the next three years?

 

14         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Would the Chief Minister explain who specifically is going to carry out the following funding agreement requirements:

  1. Design of household and business income and expenditure surveys;
  2. Updates on the Sustainable Growth Strategy;
  3. Position paper regarding the introduction of Community Title legislation; and
  4. An options paper and strategies on future airline underwriting?

 

15         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Would the Chief Minister provide the House with a list of everything that the Commonwealth has done to assist and support Norfolk Island since both Governments signed the Road Map in March 2011, and attach a dollar value to that support?

 

16         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Would the Chief Minister update the House on what action he has taken to ensure that the Commonwealth honours its obligations under the Road Map namely, the recruitment of personnel to carry out a Government Business Divestment assessment program and giving assent to the Land Valuation Bill 2012, the Tourist Accommodation (Amendment and Amendment No.2) Bill 2012 and the Public Service Bill 2013?

 

17         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Given that the Immigration Policy and Guidelines state that the Minister will have regard to an applicant's intention to reside "ordinarily" in Norfolk Island; would the Minister explain why the brand new immigration website states that if Australian and New Zealand citizens intend to reside “permanently” in Norfolk Island they can apply for residency under Section 28A.

 

18         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Is the Norfolk Island Immigration Office authorized to refuse to accept or process an application form under Section 28A – Residency by citizenship?

 

19         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Would the Minister explain why an Australian and/or New Zealand citizen, who is not the holder of a permanent resident Norfolk Island visa, is required to hold a return ticket when entering Norfolk Island?

 

20         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Finance -

Would the Minister table and make available to the public the 2013-14 line item budget papers?

 

5          PRESENTATION OF PAPERS

            The following papers were presented:

 

1)         Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism – Criminal Code Regulations 2013

2)         Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Employment (Amendment) Regulations 2013

3)         Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Virements

4)         Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – GST Quarterly Report April-June 2013

 

6          STATEMENTS OF AN OFFICIAL NATURE

The following statements were made –

 

1)      Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell – NIGTB Tourism Strategy 2013

2)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Queensland Health

Paper tabled: Ltr to Terry Clout re Queensland Health

3)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Review of Healthcare and Medivacs

4)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Policy and Legislative Change

5)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Immigration Update

6)      Minister for the Environment – Road Safety Committee

 

7          MESSAGES FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR

            Message No. 5 On 27 June 2013, acting pursuant to section 21 of the Norfolk Island Act 1979, I declared my assent to the following proposed laws passed by the Legislative Assembly: Appropriation Act 2013-2014 (Act No 11 of 2013) and this Message from the Office of the Administrator is dated the 27th June 2013 and signed Keith Young, Deputy Administrator.

 

8          REPORTS OF STANDING AND SELECT COMMITTEES

INFRASTRUCTURE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE – TABLING OF QUARTERLY REPORT DATED 17 JULY 2013

Mr Nobbs as Committee Chairman tabled on behalf of the Infrastructure and Business Development Committee, the first Quarterly Report dated 17 July 2013. The Committee had investigated and reported on –

a)     The means by which the current Norfolk Island economy may be strengthened and expanded;

b)    Norfolk Island’s current and future infrastructure needs based on current, proposed or potential business development requirements; and

c)     Such other relevant matters as the Chief Minister and/or Committee deem relevant.

Mr Nobbs gave a summary of the Committee’s deliberations and eight recommendations were presented to the House

Ms Adams moved –

 

THAT the Report be noted

 

Debate ensued

            Debate adjourned (Ms Adams) and the resumption of debate made an Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

           

            NOTICES

9          MOTION BY LEAVE

            LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ACT 1979 - APPOINTMENT OF PERSON TO ACT AS CLERK

            Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, sought leave to move foreshadowed motion

 

            Question – THAT leave be granted – put and agreed on the voices

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, moved  -

 

THAT pursuant to the provision of section 48 of the Legislative Assembly Act 1979, this House recommends to the Speaker that:  

 

  1. Sharyn Louise Quintal be appointed as a person to act as Clerk to the Legislative Assembly;
  2. This appointment be upon the same terms and conditions of appointment, which apply to the Clerk to the Legislative Assembly; and
  3. The period during which she may from time to time be called upon to act as Clerk, be from 11 July 2013 to 2 January 2014

 

            Debate ensued

            Question put and agreed to on the voices


 

10         MARINE SAFETY (AMENDMENT NO 2) BILL 2013

Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward, pursuant to notice, presented the Marine Safety (Amendment No 2) Bill 2013 and moved –

 

                                                   THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

 

Paper:  Mr Ward tabled the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill

            Debate ensued

            Debate adjourned (Mr Ward) and the resumption of debate made an Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

 

11         CUSTOMS (AMENDMENT) BILL 2013

            Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan, pursuant to notice, presented the Customs (Amendment) Bill 2013  and moved –

                                                  

THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

 

Paper:  Mr Sheridan tabled the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill

            Debate ensued

            Debate adjourned (Mr Sheridan) and the resumption of debate made an Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

 

12         FIXING OF NEXT SITTING DAY

            Mr Porter moved –

 

            THAT the House at its rising adjourn until Wednesday 14 August 2013 at 10 am

 

            Question put and agreed to on the voices

 

13         ADJOURNMENT

            Mr Nobbs moved –

 

THAT the House do now adjourn

 

Question put and agreed to on the voices

AND THEN the House at 12.22 pm adjourned until Wednesday 14 August 2013 at 10.00 am

 

 

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: All Members were present

 

To read the Notice Paper, Programme, Minutes of Proceedings and legislation tabled in the House go to www.info.gov.nf. Issued from the Office of the Clerk, 17 July 2013

 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY


The Office of the Clerk has advised that the following matters were dealt with at the sitting of the Fourteenth Legislative Assembly held on Wednesday 17 July 2013 at 10 am:

 

NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

WEDNESDAY 17 JULY 2013

 

NORF’K AILEN

DIISEM MENETS LARNEN WATHING HAEPN

INAA

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

WEDNESDAY 17 JULY 2013

 

1          The Legislative Assembly met at 10.02 am, the Speaker, Hon David Buffett AM MLA, took the Chair and read Prayers

 

2          CONDOLENCES

            Mr Evans recorded the passing of –

 

Eileen Gloria Quintal

Stephen Enoch Nobbs

 

As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased all Members stood in silence

 

3          QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE (10.09-10.11 AM)

 

4          ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

            Responses were provided to:

 

10         Mr Evans asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Will the Minister please advise:

  1. What is the formal process for Residents by Citizenship granted under section 28A, who literally within days, weeks or months after applying decide to depart the island with no clear intention to “reside ordinarily in Norfolk Island”?
  2. Norfolk Island residents are provided with an authority endorsed in their passports showing they have the authority to reside indefinitely on Norfolk Island.  If residency is ceased, what happens with this authority in their passport which has no validity date on it?
  3. The process a person undertakes to obtain a PRNIV (Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island Visa) when entering Australia and the purpose of this Visa?

Paper tabled: Immigration Fact Sheet No 59

 

11         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

In May this year the Joint Standing Committee (External Territories) visited the island and recommended that the commitment of both Governments to reform should be documented in a joint statement and timetable and that this timetable should be predicated on the Norfolk Island Government introducing its own revenue streams, immigration reforms and divestiture of local Government Business Enterprises; would the Chief Minister advise the community of the outcomes of his recent communications with the Federal Minister on this matter?

Papers tabled: JSC Report of visit to NI April 2013; Ltr to Hon Catherine King MP; and Ltr Senator Louise Pratt JSC

 

12         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Is it a fact that the Norfolk Island Government has committed to the introduction of property tax (municipal rates) for the island; and if so, would the Chief Minister outline the government’s policy position in relation to the development of a rating model and the introduction of a taxing bill and explain how he and his government arrived at this position?

 

13         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Is it a fact that the Norfolk Island Government has committed to developing an open economy that embraces competition, productivity improvements and micro-economic reform; and if so, would the Chief Minister outline his vision, his prioritized implementation plan and corresponding legislative program for the next three years?

 

14         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Would the Chief Minister explain who specifically is going to carry out the following funding agreement requirements:

  1. Design of household and business income and expenditure surveys;
  2. Updates on the Sustainable Growth Strategy;
  3. Position paper regarding the introduction of Community Title legislation; and
  4. An options paper and strategies on future airline underwriting?

 

15         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Would the Chief Minister provide the House with a list of everything that the Commonwealth has done to assist and support Norfolk Island since both Governments signed the Road Map in March 2011, and attach a dollar value to that support?

 

16         Mrs Ward asked the Chief Minister -

Would the Chief Minister update the House on what action he has taken to ensure that the Commonwealth honours its obligations under the Road Map namely, the recruitment of personnel to carry out a Government Business Divestment assessment program and giving assent to the Land Valuation Bill 2012, the Tourist Accommodation (Amendment and Amendment No.2) Bill 2012 and the Public Service Bill 2013?

 

17         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Given that the Immigration Policy and Guidelines state that the Minister will have regard to an applicant's intention to reside "ordinarily" in Norfolk Island; would the Minister explain why the brand new immigration website states that if Australian and New Zealand citizens intend to reside “permanently” in Norfolk Island they can apply for residency under Section 28A.

 

18         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Is the Norfolk Island Immigration Office authorized to refuse to accept or process an application form under Section 28A – Residency by citizenship?

 

19         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services -

Would the Minister explain why an Australian and/or New Zealand citizen, who is not the holder of a permanent resident Norfolk Island visa, is required to hold a return ticket when entering Norfolk Island?

 

20         Mrs Ward asked the Minister for Finance -

Would the Minister table and make available to the public the 2013-14 line item budget papers?

 

5          PRESENTATION OF PAPERS

            The following papers were presented:

 

1)         Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism – Criminal Code Regulations 2013

2)         Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Employment (Amendment) Regulations 2013

3)         Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – Virements

4)         Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan – GST Quarterly Report April-June 2013

 

6          STATEMENTS OF AN OFFICIAL NATURE

The following statements were made –

 

1)      Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell – NIGTB Tourism Strategy 2013

2)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Queensland Health

Paper tabled: Ltr to Terry Clout re Queensland Health

3)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Review of Healthcare and Medivacs

4)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Policy and Legislative Change

5)      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams – Immigration Update

6)      Minister for the Environment – Road Safety Committee

 

7          MESSAGES FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR

            Message No. 5 On 27 June 2013, acting pursuant to section 21 of the Norfolk Island Act 1979, I declared my assent to the following proposed laws passed by the Legislative Assembly: Appropriation Act 2013-2014 (Act No 11 of 2013) and this Message from the Office of the Administrator is dated the 27th June 2013 and signed Keith Young, Deputy Administrator.

 

8          REPORTS OF STANDING AND SELECT COMMITTEES

INFRASTRUCTURE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE – TABLING OF QUARTERLY REPORT DATED 17 JULY 2013

Mr Nobbs as Committee Chairman tabled on behalf of the Infrastructure and Business Development Committee, the first Quarterly Report dated 17 July 2013. The Committee had investigated and reported on –

a)     The means by which the current Norfolk Island economy may be strengthened and expanded;

b)    Norfolk Island’s current and future infrastructure needs based on current, proposed or potential business development requirements; and

c)     Such other relevant matters as the Chief Minister and/or Committee deem relevant.

Mr Nobbs gave a summary of the Committee’s deliberations and eight recommendations were presented to the House

Ms Adams moved –

 

THAT the Report be noted

 

Debate ensued

            Debate adjourned (Ms Adams) and the resumption of debate made an Order of the Day for a subsequent day of sitting

           

            NOTICES

9          MOTION BY LEAVE