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REMONSTRANCE MOTION



This week the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly on 20 May 2015 passed a REMONSTRANCE motion which petitions the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia to re-examine the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.

Accordingly, I have written to the Prime Minister the Hon Tony Abbott MP requesting that the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 not be presented to the Governor General for assent prior to the House of Representatives and Senate considering the remonstrance motion passed by the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly.

The Speaker the Hon David Buffett will be travelling to Canberra next week to present the remonstrance motion to both the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Senate on behalf of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly.

The petition reaffirms the wishes of the Norfolk Island voters as expressed at referendum on 8 May 2015 to be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament.

This provides the Australian Parliament with the opportunity to at last recognise the rights of the people of Norfolk Island to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development.

The full Remonstrance Motion is a follows:


Ms Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

REMONSTRANCE – Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015


Mr Speaker

I seek leave of the House to move the foreshadowed motion regarding the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 without notice.

I move –

That this Assembly calls on the:

(a)       Chief Minister to write to the Prime Minister of Australia requesting that the Australian Government respect the view of the Assembly and initiate action to re-examine those aspects of  the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 that results in the removal of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly; and

(b)       Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to present to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth Parliament copies of a Remonstrance which will read as follows;

REMONSTRANCE

The Legislative Assembly for Norfolk Island respectfully addresses itself to –

The Honourable The President of the Senate and Members of the Senate,

The Honourable The Speaker of the House of Representatives and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled.


PREAMBLE

The passage, in the Commonwealth Parliament, of the Norfolk Island Act 1979 conferred on Norfolk Island a limited grant of self-governing powers with its own legislature (the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island) with a plenary grant of legislative powers to legislate for the peace, order, and good government of the Territory established, with its own body politic under the Crown with a wide grant of executive powers and with its own judicial system.


The Legislative Assembly for Norfolk Island is constituted of 9 representatives of the people of Norfolk Island; duly and democratically elected pursuant to the Legislative Assembly Act 1979.


The Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 passed by the Commonwealth Parliament in May 2015 removes the self government powers of Norfolk Island.  It has been passed without genuine consultation and negotiation with the Norfolk Island Government, the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island or the people of Norfolk Island.


The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights contained within the Explanatory Memorandum for the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 asserted that the proposal to remove  self government powers from Norfolk Island was the result of an extensive consultation process that found significant support for change within the Norfolk Island community.  


Norfolk Island voters in a referendum conducted on 8 May 2015 under the Referendum Act 1964 voted by a 68% majority that the people of Norfolk Island should have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament.


GRIEVANCES

 The Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island presents its grievances to the Commonwealth Parliament. These are that:

(1)       The people of Norfolk Island having been granted self governing powers, the duly elected representatives of the people of Norfolk Island are aggrieved that self government should be removed without genuine consultation and negotiation.

(2)      The removal of self government in Norfolk Island breaches one of the conventions of self government in the Westminster tradition that once self government is granted to a political entity, it should not thereafter be taken away except in the most extreme circumstances, for example, war or civil disturbance. See submission of the Commonwealth Attorney- General‟s Department to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Northern Territory, page 8 of Parliamentary Paper No.281 of 1974 where it also states that it would be politically unthinkable to take away such powers after they had been granted.


PETITION

 The Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island and its democratically elected Members respectfully request that the Commonwealth Parliament affirm the rights of the people of Norfolk Island to self-government by re-examining those aspects of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 that result in the removal of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and call on the Prime Minister to confer on the people of Norfolk Island the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament..


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

22 May 2015 

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TERRITORIES AIRLINE SERVICES TENDER



The Commonwealth is currently underwriting the provision of air services to Norfolk Island and the Indian Ocean Territories, contracted with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, respectively, until July 2016.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has advertised an open tender for airline services to Norfolk Island and the Indian Ocean Territories for services commencing 1 August 2016. 

The tender documents are available on the AusTender website, www.austender.gov.au.  The tender closes at 2pm (Canberra time) on Thursday 9 July 2015.

Further information in relation to the tender process can be obtained by emailing: territories_projects@infrastructure.gov.au

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A MODERN HEALTH SERVICES PLAN FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



I am pleased to announce the Australian Government has set in place another step towards providing modern and integrated health and aged-care services to the Norfolk Island community with the engagement of KPMG to complete a Health Services Plan for the Island.


There have been several reports produced and community consultations undertaken in recent years which highlight the need to reform and improve the range of health-related services provided to the Norfolk Island community, and way they are delivered.  The transition into Australia’s taxation system from 1 July 2016 now provides the opportunity for health and aged care services to be provided in the same integrated manner provided to every other Australian.


This plan will be prepared by some of Australia’s leading experts in healthcare planning and will fill in the remaining gaps in our knowledge of what it will take to establish a modern and affordable health service.  Our community should expect to receive a similar level of service to those which have been effectively implemented across more than 60 regional remote communities in NSW over the past 20 years.


The Australian Government’s reforms for Norfolk Island will open up opportunities for a much more proactive and coordinated approach to addressing the health and well-being of this community. We expect the new healthcare model will leverage the funding available through the Medicare, aged care and social security systems and direct this into new and innovative family and community health programmes. 


One of the things which most excites me about this whole reform process is knowing our older residents will have access to a wider range of financial benefits, health and aged care services. They deserve a more comfortable retirement after their lifetime of community service.


Representatives from KPMG will visit the Island towards the end of May to undertake targeted stakeholder consultations prior to developing a plan which addresses the Island’s future health and aged-care needs.


This body of work supports the findings of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, in its report on economic development of Norfolk Island, Same Country, Different World.


The Hon Gary Hardgrave

18 May 2015

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NOTICE PAPER 20th MAY 2015



NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

NOTICE PAPER NUMBER 26

wednesday 20 MAY 2015

 

NORF’K AILEN

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

NOETIS PIEPA NAMBA 26

WENSDI 20 MAY 2015

 

NOTICES

 

1          THE ABOLITION OF SELF-GOVERNMENT

            Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, to move ¾

 

This House resolves to note that –

 

  1. The Australian Parliament has passed legislation which abolishes the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island and the limited self-government granted to Norfolk Island in 1979
  2. In 1978 the then Commonwealth Minister, Mr Ellicott, announced that although Norfolk Island was part of Australia and would remain so, this did not require the Island to be regulated by the same laws as regulate other parts of Australia.  But in 2014 an Australian Parliamentary Committee recommended that self-government should be abolished. That recommendation was reflected in the title of the Committee’s report, “Same Country: Different World”. The logic of the report was that because Norfolk Island was part of the Commonwealth of Australia it should be governed in the same way as other parts of Australia.
  3. The shift from Mr Ellicott’s position to the Committee’s position is contestable, and contested.  The shift was driven by a great number of reports by Australian authorities since 1979 that have in general been critical of the governance of Norfolk Island. But they did not adequately take into account the real and concrete achievements of the Norfolk Island community under self-government.
  4. Those achievements include many infrastructure and social initiatives, for example the takeover of the airport; a new airport terminal; extension of the electricity reticulation network; the water assurance scheme; a replacement police station; the Bicentennial Centre; a new library and broadcasting station; a replacement works depot; a new waste management centre; a new telecommunications centre, satellite arrangement, internet and mobile phone service; the maintenance of Commonwealth assets such as the Cascade pier; and a new landing platform for cruise ships. Some initiatives were contributed to by the Commonwealth (such as the Kingston Arthur’s Vale Historic Area). The majority were not.
  5. Social issues addressed during self-government included a statutory social security system; no fault worker’s compensation; a healthcare scheme (originally instituted as an emergency response to the withdrawal without notice of Commonwealth legislation); modernisation of numerous laws, especially relating to criminal justice; the introduction of land planning; guaranteed land titles; and education to Year 12.
  6. The outcome of all of these measures – and many more – differed from Australian laws. But they vindicated Mr Ellicott’s expectation that the Island could develop an appropriate form of government involving its elected representatives.
  7. As well, they allowed room for recognition of the heritage of the Pitcairn descendants, in a way which cannot – and will not – operate in a system where Australian laws and practices are introduced wholesale.  The preamble to the Norfolk Island Act 1979 included Parliamentary recognition of the special relationship of the Pitcairn decedents with Norfolk Island, but we find from the explanatory memorandum to the Commonwealth's legislation that "the preamble no longer reflects the Parliament's intention".
  8. At the heart of the self-government experience was the recognition that Norfolk Island is different from Australia. The present intent of the commonwealth is to make it the same. The debate about whether Norfolk Island is “part of” the Commonwealth reflects that tension.  It is not an empty slogan, but the foundation of the nature of Norfolk Island as a polity.  And it is not the case that that debate has ended.  Many authoritative commentators, ranging in time from Sir Robert Garran to Professor James Crawford, have expressed the view that Norfolk Island is not part of the Commonwealth but a dependency of it. The High Court of Australia itself said in 2007 that “the answer to the question whether an external territory is ‘part of the commonwealth’ may depend upon the purpose for which the question is asked.  There are different senses in which a place, or a community, or a body politic, may be said to be, or not to be ‘a part of’ another place, or community, or body politic”. And until now the Commonwealth has itself recognised that, even if the Island is part of the Commonwealth, it should be treated in many respects as if it were not.  But it seems that that viewpoint is now to be abandoned.
  9. Why is this important? It is important because good government proceeds from lived experience of the nature of the polity concerned.  It is important because without that experience it is unlikely to operate satisfactorily: as is seen from Federal attempts to govern the Indian Ocean territories, and indeed the experience of Norfolk Island itself prior to self-government.  It is important because democracy not only confers legitimacy - it works.
  10. The Commonwealth’s proposals will not enhance democracy in Norfolk Island.  They will not preserve the right or opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or though freely chosen representatives. Instead, they will remove that right and deny that opportunity at the vital level of state-type functions, including the delivery of health services; education and many others.
  11. And self-government is not jut an expression of democracy, it is also feasible at a practical level. Contrary to uninformed opinion, small communities with small populations can and do exercise wide-ranging powers: St Helena (approximately 5,000 people); Montserrat (5,000); Falkland Islands (2,500); Niue (1,600); Tokelau (1,400). There are many other examples.
  12. Mr Ellicott in 1978 recognised the truth of this. His recommendation to the Australian cabinet was that a referendum of the Island’s electors should be held if it were proposed to integrate Norfolk Island into Australia. And last Friday, 8 May 2015, the electors overwhelmingly expressed their opinion that they should be consulted, by means of referendum or plebiscite, on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before the Australian Parliament proceeds further.
  13. The people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, and their economic, social and cultural development.
  14. For the peace, order and good government of Norfolk Island, that right should be pursued by all possible means.

 

2          PUBLIC SERVICE ACT 2014 – APPOINTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER

            Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, to move ¾

 

THAT this House, in accordance with section 15(1) of the Public Service Act 2014 (the Act), resolve that ¾

Michael Francis Moore

 

being a person who has qualification, skills, experience, knowledge, independence and aptitude as expected of a person holding a position such as described in Schedule 2 of the Act and who is not ordinarily resident in Norfolk Island and who is not a former employee of the Administration or an employee of a territory instrumentality be appointed by the Administrator as a Public Service Commissioner commencing on the date the notice of appointment is published in the Gazette.

 

3          MUSEUM TRUST ACT 1987 - RE-APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE MUSEUM TRUST

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams, to move ¾

THAT this House resolve for the purposes of subsections 5(1) and (2) of the Museums Trust Act 1987 that the Minister re-appoint the following as members of the Norfolk Island Museum Trust:

Albert Fletcher Buffett;

Jeanette Elizabeth Calder;

Peter Russell Horrocks;

Ronald Coane Nobbs; and

Jodie Therese Williams

 

            and appoint the following as members of the Norfolk Island Museum Trust:

 

Lisa Richards; and

Brian McGrath

                                            

         for the period 9 May 2015 to 8 May 2017.

 

4          IMMIGRATION ACT 1980 - APPLICATION FOR GENERAL ENTRY PERMIT

      Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams, to seek leave to move ¾

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

 

Rujirawan Hongsalerk

 

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

 

5          NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL (AMENDMENT) BILL 2015

DAA HOSPETL (CHIENJEN) BIL 2015

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams, to present a Bill for an Act to amend the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985.

 

6          TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT NO 2) BILL 2015

            TRAEFIK (CHIENJEN NAMBA 2) BIL 2015

            Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward, to present a Bill for an Act to amend the Traffic Act 2010.

 

7          CHILD WELFARE (FURTHER PROTECTION) AMENDMENT BILL 2015

LUKEN AUT FE LETL SALAN (SAMOR) CHIENJEN BIL 2015

Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan, to present a Bill for an Act to to make further provision for the welfare of children and young people, to provide minimum age of employment, to protect children from hazardous employment, to protect young children from prostitution and, to further those ends, to amend the Child Welfare Act 2009, the Criminal Code 2007, and the Employment Act 1988, and for matters connected therewith.

 

8          PROVIDENT ACCOUNT CLOSURE AND DISTRIBUTION BILL 2015

DISTREBYUSHASN DEN D SHETEN UDAA PROEWEDENT 'KAUNT BIL 2015

            Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, to present a Bill for an Act to provide for closure and distribution of the Provident Account and related purposes.

 

9          FIREARMS AND PROHIBITED WEAPONS (AMENDMENT) BILL 2015

            GAN EN’ TAEDA THING YU ENTFOH GAT (CHIENJEN) BIL 2015

            Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, to present a Bill for an Act to amend the Firearms and Prohibited Weapons Act 1997.

 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

 

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

            Resumption of debate (Mr Nobbs) from 25 June 2014 on the question – THAT the motion be agreed

 

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly       

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REFORM BILLS PASS THROUGH THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT



The Australian Parliament passed the Norfolk Island reform Bills through both the House of Representative and Senate this week.

The action of the Australian Parliament in doing so ignored the wishes of the Norfolk Island electors as expressed at referendum on May 8.

Now that the Australian Parliament has passed the reform Bills, the Norfolk Island Government, with what every time it has left as your democratically elected government, is committed to ensure the fairest and effective transition to the new system as possible.

While I will not be a member of the Interim Advisory Committee, I wish the members of the Interim Advisory Committee the very best in their discussions with the commonwealth.

I would also thank the Norfolk Island community for its support over the months as we attempted to put fairness and equity into the reform process.

I would extend my warmest thanks and appreciation to David Buffett, Andre Nobbs and Chelsea Evans who joined me in a delegation to Canberra last week in an effort to have the reform process referred to a Senate Select Committee. While we were not successful in achieving an Inquiry, I wish to commend David, Andre and Chelsea for their tireless effort in trying to achieve that outcome.

The future direction of Norfolk Island is challenging, but as a community we will all need to work together to ensure the best outcomes for Norfolk Island going forward into the future.

Lisle Snell
Chief Minister
15 May

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LETTER TO THE NORFOLK ISLAND RESIDENTS




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ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTIONS FROM THE INFORMATION SESSIONS










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LEGISLATION PASSED FOR NORFOLK ISLAND REFORMS




Today the Australian Parliament passed the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, ending decades of uncertainty for the residents of Norfolk Island.


Thanks to the hard work of the Norfolk Island community and with strong bipartisan support from the Australian Labor Party, The Greens and independent Senators, this Bill will help build a stronger and more prosperous future for all Island residents. 


For the first time Norfolk Island residents will have access to social security payments and quality health services that all Australians expect and deserve.


Norfolk Island will also enter our mainstream taxation system for the first time and gain access to a broad range of Australian Government programmes to help improve vital infrastructure and other community assets.


Parliament has been united in its support for these significant reforms which will deliver equity and economic stability, and ensure that Norfolk Island residents have the same rights and responsibilities as other Australians.


The passage of this Bill is the culmination of over two decades of hard work and dedication from many people.


I would like to acknowledge the Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon, the Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann, Senator for ACT Zed Seselja and the members of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and the External Territories, in particular committee Chair, the Member for Cowan Luke Simpkins, for their commitment to helping deliver these reforms.


I would also like to thank Norfolk Island Administrators past and present, including the previous Administrator the Hon Neil Pope AM and current Administrator the Hon Gary Hardgrave.


The Australian Government will continue to actively and regularly consult with the Norfolk Island community to ensure all residents have significant input into their governance including though the Norfolk Island Advisory Council.


Norfolk Island is and will always be a truly special part of Australia and I look forward to working with the residents of Norfolk Island to build a better and more prosperous future.


Contact: Andrew Ockenden            0429 877 721

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NORFOLK ISLAND SEEKS A SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY



The House of Representatives in voting today to support the change to the Norfolk Island Act 1979 to remove the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, has been mislead by Assistant Minister Briggs by his comment in the Explanatory Notes for those Bills, that the removal of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly has support by the majority of Norfolk Island residents.

The referendum result on 8 May 2015 on Norfolk Island clearly demonstrates that as not true, with 624 votes YES to 266 votes NO by the residents of Norfolk Island wanting a say through referendum, with regard to changes to governance arrangements - prior to those changes being voted on by the Australian Parliament.

The Senate should put a stop to this process through the establishment of a Senate Select Committee Inquiry as proposed by me in my correspondence to members of the Australian Parliament.

Assistant Minister Briggs has allowed the House of Representatives to vote on those Bills when it has been clearly mislead by him, and he needs to resign now.

Lisle Snell
Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

12 May 2015

CONTACT: CHIEF OF STAFF, NORFOLK ISLAND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, OLD MILITARY BARRACKS, KINGSTON, NORFOLK ISLAND 2899 SOUTH PACIFIC. TELEPHONE: (+6723) 22003 FACSIMILE: (+6723) 23378

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WASTE MANAGEMENT UPDATE



Waste Management Update
1. Norfolk Island’s waste management issues are not new and there are no quick fix options to be applied.

2. The increasingly diverse range and ever expanding volumes of toxic materials and products that are constantly being imported, all ultimately contribute to the waste stream somewhere along the line.

3. As with all developed countries of the world, these products and materials are used in abundance with no consideration of the impacts they inevitably bring. The physical constraints of a small island highlight what is actually a world-wide issue. For example houses built here a hundred years ago were mostly built of timber and iron – both being materials that ultimately break down naturally over time. Today there is asbestos sheeting, aluminium, tanalised woods and a multitude of plastics.

4. The proliferation of plastics and other synthetic materials such as packaging, personal effects, white-goods and vehicle componentry place further burden on waste management services.

5. The introduction of digital TV saw bulk quantities of functional TVs discarded. Changes to immigration and business activities have also added their pressures.

6. Successive governments have underestimated the waste issue which has in turn kept them from successfully dealing with the issue, despite the best of intentions.

7. The Commonwealth’s refusal to allow the Norfolk Island Government to install improved burning facilities at Headstone Reserve, the one suitable industrial activity node under the Norfolk Island Plan has also been a major impediment to progress, leaving the island dependent upon establishing and trusting an expensive high tech incinerator to filter outputs close to town.

8. The Norfolk Island Government has been systematically tackling the waste management problem and quickly assessed that the proposed RDAF 4 funded incinerator is inadequate for the island’s ongoing needs, a fact supported by the planning issues that have delayed the installation of the high temperature incinerator.

Although delaying progress, planning laws and the Administrative Review Tribunal (A.R.T) process are serving to ensure all measures taken are the best possible options rather than substandard “quick fix solutions”. While awaiting the outcome of the current A.R.T process the Government has been working through the logistics of using the Administration’s Air Curtain burner as an interim measure to improve incineration at Headstone.
A draft waste management strategy has been produced “in house”. This strategy is being reviewed and refined by waste management specialists in the near future. The document covers all aspects of waste – domestic, industrial, e-waste and green-waste. It addresses waste minimisation, recycling and export of hazardous materials and recyclables. The strategy also proposes interim measures for green-waste management until Argentine ants are controlled.

While increased funding would enable improvement, the Waste Management Centre conducts a massive, thankless and unenviable task that would be more readily recognised were it not functioning.

Ron Ward
Minister for the Environment
12 May 2015
CONTACT: CHIEF OF STAFF, NORFOLK ISLAND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, OLD MILITARY BARRACKS, KINGSTON, NORFOLK ISLAND 2899 SOUTH PACIFIC. TELEPHONE: (+6723) 22003 FACSIMILE: (+6723) 23378

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THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS BEING GRAVELY MISLED



The House of Representatives is scheduled to consider the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 on Tuesday 12 May. The Bill effectively abolishes the Norfolk Island Parliament and replaces it with a Regional Council model. Passing of this Bill which is premised on the fabrication that there has been adequate in depth community consultation would be an absolute denial of human rights and a grave travesty of justice.

A Report, with questionable statistics, by the Commonwealth’s representative in Norfolk Island, the Hon. Gary Hardgrave, the Administrator of Norfolk Island, has advised the responsible Federal Minister, the Hon. Jamie Briggs –

“That the overwhelming view of the community is the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly should be abolished and replaced …. by a local type body” (“Norfolk Island Community Report to Minister prepared by the Hon. Gary Hardgrave 20 December 2014”).

The Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories (the JSC), Mr Luke Simpkins, has reported in similar terms based on a few days on island and discouraging Norfolk Island witnesses to the Inquiry from discussing “governance issues”; requesting them instead to focus “on opportunities for growing economic activity on the island”.

Assistant Minister Briggs has continued to decline to hold a referendum, claiming that adequate consultation has taken place. The Norfolk Island Government refutes that claim.

The Norfolk Island electorate at referendum last Friday overwhelming voted in favour of their being “…consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament” - YES votes 624 NO votes 266 Informal votes 22.
This result clearly exposes the lie that the overwhelming view of the community is that the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and self-government should be abolished.

The Australian Government has ignored the petition of in excess of 800 members of the community to the Federal Parliament last October requesting that the community be consulted at referendum or plebiscite and having a democratic say on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before any proposed changes are voted on.

The Norfolk Island community has now clearly spoken at referendum.

The Abbott Government and the Australian Parliament need to listen, and not ignore the voice of the Norfolk Island electorate expressed at referendum. To do otherwise, will be a day of shame for Australia, and the Australian Parliament will go down in history as the first Parliament since Federation – and possibly the first in the British Commonwealth – to remove a democratically elected parliament even though it has been clearly demonstrated that the Australian parliament has been misled.

Robin Adams
Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services
11 May 2015
CONTACT: CHIEF OF STAFF, NORFOLK ISLAND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, OLD MILITARY BARRACKS, KINGSTON, NORFOLK ISLAND 2899 SOUTH PACIFIC. TELEPHONE: (+6723) 22003 FACSIMILE: (+6723) 23378

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NORFOLK ISLANDERS AGREE GOVERNANCE CHANGE IS A CONSTITUTIONAL MATTER



“In voting 624 in favour and 266 against at referendum on 8 May 2015 Norfolk Islanders clearly expressed their position that any change to the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cth) to change the future model of governance for Norfolk Island is a matter on which they expect to have a direct say at referendum”, the Hon. Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community services said.

“This is a clear rejection of the assertion of the Administrator, the Hon. Gary Hardgrave, that a referendum on Norfolk Island governance was not a constitutional matter” Minister Adams said.

“As I have said previously, Norfolk Island was accepted by Australia as a Territory under the Authority of Australia in 1914. Well after the Australian Constitution was put in place in 1901. Therefore, Norfolk Island is not mentioned in the Australian Constitution, so the closest thing to a constitution for Norfolk Island is the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cth). The Norfolk Island Act should therefore be treated like the Australian Constitution – no changes should be made without a referendum” Minister Adams said.

“The Parliament is the voice of the people; therefore a referendum of the Norfolk Island community on governance change is essential. The Australian Government, as 21st Century legislators in a democratic country, must pay attention to the 8 May 2015 referendum on Norfolk Island before they vote on legislation changes now before the House of Representatives to abolish the Legislative Assembly and self-government in the external territory of Norfolk Island. Anything less is undemocratic and a denial of human rights.” Minister Adams said.

Robin Adams
Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services
11 May 2015

CONTACT: CHIEF OF STAFF, NORFOLK ISLAND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, OLD MILITARY BARRACKS, KINGSTON, NORFOLK ISLAND 2899 SOUTH PACIFIC. TELEPHONE: (+6723) 22003 FACSIMILE: (+6723) 23378

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Norfolk Islanders vote YES at today’s Referendum for the right to have a democratic say at the ballot box on their future governance arrangements!



“Today the people of Norfolk Island have spoken loudly with an overwhelming YES vote on the question –


Should the people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament?”


the Hon Lisle Snell, Chief Minister of Norfolk Island said this evening.  The results of the voting were:


624 yes, 266 no and 22 informal


“The referendum outcome has blown a hole in the Commonwealth’s assertion that the reforms they have introduced into the Australian Parliament to abolish the Legislative Assembly and Norfolk Island Parliament were overwhelmingly supported by the people of Norfolk Island.  


“The referendum result clearly exposes that the Norfolk Island community has been misrepresented by the Norfolk Island Administrator to Assistant Minister Briggs.  The people of Norfolk Island today have clearly said that they want a say on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island, not just have a governance model imposed on them.  The justification of community support for these changes on which Assistant Minister Briggs progressed the Bills can now only be described as flawed”, Mr Snell said.


“I will be writing immediately to the Commonwealth Government, the Opposition, the Greens and Independent Members and Senators to ensure that the views of the people of Norfolk Island expressed at today’s referendum are respected.  That correspondence, and a community delegation which I will be leading from Norfolk Island to Canberra next week, will be seeking a process of consultation to ensure a more acceptable implementation of the Norfolk Island reform process is on the table.  This is NOT about delaying the reform, this is about getting such important reform right!  Our reform timeline ensures that the agreed reforms - taxation, social security and medicare - will still be extended on 1 July 2016 with appropriate transition provisions”, Mr Snell said.


 Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

 

8 May 2015

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COMMUNITY UPDATE - CASCADE PIER



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NORFOLK ISLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY


The Community would be aware an Administrator’s Business Advisory Group comprising local business people and individuals was created mid-2014 to provide community views on economic and business issues.  The main recommendation from the Business Advisory Group was the need for an independent Economic Development Strategy to be undertaken for the collective benefit of the entire community.


I am pleased to advise the Australian Government has engaged SGS Economics and Planning to undertake this very important task.  The Economic Development Strategy will provide a framework and advice to point the Norfolk Island economy in the right direction towards a more sustainable future including increasing its exposure to national and global markets. 


This will be achieved by identifying opportunities to stimulate the economy, revitalise local products with a view to promoting Norfolk Island and identifying niche markets that will encourage private sector investment and establish industry clusters.

 

SGS Economics and Planning will visit Norfolk Island shortly to undertake some targeted on-Island consultations with specific interest groups.  The Economic Development Strategy is scheduled for completion around the end of June 2015.  I expect it will be made public early in the new financial year.


The strategy supports the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and the External Territories, in its report on economic development of Norfolk Island, Same Country Different World.


I wish to pass on my thanks to my Business Advisory Group for its valuable contribution and commitment to developing options to improve the Norfolk Island business and economy that will ultimately flow onto the greater public good of the Norfolk Island community.

 

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

7 May 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND MOBILE PHONE NETWORK



The Australian Government’s commitment to addressing infrastructure challenges on Norfolk Island continues through its engagement of GQI Consulting Pty Ltd to provide advice and options for upgrading the mobile telephone network on Norfolk Island to 3G capable of delivering voice, text, data, multimedia messaging and video calling services.


As many in the community are well aware, the existing 2G mobile network on Norfolk Island is outdated and is only capable of providing voice calls and text messages.  Improving Norfolk Island's mobile phone network is critical for boosting tourism and promoting economic development on the Island as well as assisting business operations and e-commerce through providing improved digital capabilities which are required in marketing and distribution.


A 3G network will also provide residents and visitors on Norfolk Island with mobile network access to facebook, twitter and the internet, in addition to voice services, multimedia messaging and other data services, all of which people in many remote areas of Australia are able to currently access. 


While the body of work GQI Consulting is undertaking will not result in an immediate upgrade to a 3G network, it will provide valuable advice on how best to undertake an upgrade at a future point in time.


GQI Consulting will visit Norfolk Island in mid-May 2015 to undertake research and assess the existing mobile network infrastructure and its system limitations.  The final report, expected by the end of June 2015, will outline the scope of works which will be necessary to establish a 3G network on Norfolk Island.  The report will be made publicly available.


Engaging GQI Consulting to prepare this report supports the findings of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, in its report on economic development of Norfolk Island, Same Country, Different World.

 

 

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

6 May 2015

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GOVERNANCE CHANGE IS A CONSTITUTIONAL MATTER!



“I was extremely disappointed and astounded to hear the highest Commonwealth Representative on Norfolk Island, the Hon. Gary Hardgrave, say that a referendum on governance is not a constitutional matter”, Hon. Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community services said.

“For a person who holds a Vice-Regal position to say such a thing, along with a referendum being  a waste of time and money is appalling and is not in line with democracy in the 21st century”, Ms Adams said.

Norfolk Island was accepted by Australia as a Territory under the Authority of Australia in 1914.  Well after the Australian Constitution was in place in 1901.  Therefore, Norfolk Island is not mentioned in the Australian Constitution, so the closest thing to a constitution for Norfolk Island is the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cth).  The Norfolk Island Act should therefore be treated like the Australian Constitution – no changes should be made without a referendum. 

“As I have been saying for years in our Parliament, the Parliament is the voice of the people, therefore a referendum of the Norfolk Island community on governance change is essential.  The Australian Government, as 21st Century legislators in a democratic country, must pay attention to the 8 May 2015 referendum on Norfolk Island before they vote on the bill now before the House of Representatives, which proposes to abolish the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island.  Anything less is undemocratic.  This is consistent with the resolution of the Australian Region Management Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s letter dated 14 April 2015, in which they called upon Assistant Minister Briggs to not proceed with the legislation before the House of Representatives until, amongst other things, the result of the referendum on 8 May is known”, Ms Adams said.

RobRobin Adams

MinMinister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

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THE REFERENDUM



‘A number of recent public comments cannot go unanswered”, the Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today.

The first is the Administrator suggested the current referendum was not a constitutional matter and that the Government was acting like children in the process and concentrating on things about themselves rather than the community.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

“As I said on radio this week, if the Administrator and the Australian Government do not think that a question on a community’s political status does not go to the very heart of constitutional and democratic process they are clearly mistaken and wrong. Any change to the Norfolk Island Act 1979 that seeks to remove the Legislative Assembly is in our view clearly a constitutional matter, and therefore the right of the people through referendum to have a say in that process is paramount.

“We now also see through a Joint Press Release from the Liberal and Labor Parties on Norfolk Island in their support for a NO vote next Friday saying ’…calling for no further delay in making proper plans for economic revitalisation, the youth, the elderly and the most vulnerable in our community..’

“1 July 2016 is when those benefits will flow to the community, this won’t be delayed.  I have to say, that making such commentary suggests they have not taken the opportunity to inform themselves of the content and lack of detail contained in the proposed Bills before the Australian Parliament. For if they did, I am sure they would have the same concerns as me about the lack of detail, and in some areas discrimination particularly in relation to transition in the areas of taxation and pensions.

“While we should have robust discussion around the referendum I would urge that be on the basis of fact and not statements directed to scare. On that I have to put the record right, a vote either way on the referendum will not delay the flow to the community of the benefits to the Australian systems from 1 July 2016.

“We are going to hold a public meeting next Wednesday at 5.30pm in Rawson Hall to enable all parties and the community to express their views in an open and respectful manner and I would encourage all community members to attend.” Mr Snell said.

Lisle D. Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism                                                            1 May 2015

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CONTRACTOR ENGAGED FOR NORFOLK ISLAND ROADS STRATEGY


The Australian Government is getting on with addressing the infrastructure and economic challenges on Norfolk Island by engaging WorleyParsons Services Limited to develop a Norfolk Island Roads Strategy.

After years of uncertainty, action is being taken to build better infrastructure on Norfolk Island so local residents can take advantage of more economic opportunities into the future.

The Strategy will consider the current condition of the roads on Norfolk Island, assess them against appropriate design, building and engineering standards and develop a maintenance and development plan.

The Strategy will prioritise road infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, including indicative costs, that will deliver significant long-term improvements to Norfolk Island's road system.

Improving Norfolk Island's road network is critical for community safety as well as economic and tourism development. It also complements our investment to upgrade the Cascade Jetty.

Representatives from WorleyParsons will travel to Norfolk Island on Friday 1 May 2015 to undertake initial research.

The final draft of the Roads Strategy is expected by the end of June 2015.

The Strategy supports the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and the External Territories, in its report on economic development of Norfolk Island, Same Country, Different World.

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FREIGHT FLIGHT TO NORFOLK ISLAND 7TH MAY 2015



While it has been welcome news that an increased number of people have been travelling to Norfolk Island in recent months, the full or near-capacity passenger flights have decreased Air New Zealand’s freight carrying capacity, which has resulted in air freight building up in both Brisbane and Sydney. 


Following community concerns raised with me about the resultant backlog in air freight to Norfolk Island, I am pleased to advise the Department has chartered Aergo International to provide a freight specific flight for 7 May 2015.


The flight will travel from Brisbane, via Sydney, to Norfolk Island on the following schedule:

BNE

7:30

SYD

9:55

SYD

10:55

NLK

14:15

NLK

15:15

BNE

15:50

We have arranged this schedule in order to clear the backlog in both Brisbane and Sydney.  There may be capacity for additional freight so if you wish to use this service please contact your usual freight forwarder.  Freight charges will be the same as those charged by Air New Zealand.


I thank Bart Murray of Burnt Pine Travel who has kindly offered to coordinate freight forwarders in Brisbane and Sydney to consolidate backlogged freight to ensure the flight can be used to its maximum capacity. 


The Hon Gary Hardgrave
1 May 2015

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A MEDICINAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


“In my press release of 27 March 2015 I advised the community that an application under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1927 was expected from AusCann Group Holdings Pty Ltd for a licence to import, export, plant, cultivate, tend or harvest and sell cannabis for the purpose of establishing a medicinal cannabis industry on Norfolk Island for export purposes”, Minister Adams said.

“I am pleased to advise that an application has been received and a rigorous assessment undertaken to ensure that all the concerns identified by the Administrator, Mr Gary Hardgrave, with an earlier application from another company, have been addressed by the current applicants” the Minister said. “That assessment is now complete”.

The application was lodged by AusCann representatives in person during their recent visit to the Island and the community was given the opportunity to meet with AusCann representatives during their visit.  During that meeting AusCann reported on their positive meeting with the Administrator to whom they provided a copy of the application and support document provided to Minister Adams.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

24 April 2015

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ANZAC Day Commemoration



The Hon. Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism and the Hon. David Buffett, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, shared components of ANZAC day commemorations.


‘We acknowledge ANZAC Day each year on Norfolk Island.  This year marks 100 years since the landing of Gallipoli, a special year indeed, and we were pleased to hold a special Ceremonial Sitting of the Legislative Assembly to recognise this.  The Ceremonial Sitting this afternoon commenced at 3pm, Chaplain, Rev. David Fell read prayers, the Chief Minister, Honourable Members and Captain Andrew Fysh OAM RAN were all invited to address the Legislative Assembly.  This was followed by a commemorative period of silence.  We were honoured to have Captain Fysh OAM RAN and Gr Captain Catherine Wallis RAAF, members of the Norfolk Island RSL Sub-Branch and other distinguished guests present for the sitting’ Mr Buffett said.


‘Norfolk Island sent more men per capita to the first and second world wars than other place, a significant contribution from our small island.  We will attend the dawn Service tomorrow at 5.40am at Emily Bay and the mid-morning Service at 10.40am at the Kingston Cenotaph.  We thank all those involved for organising the events and also warmly welcome the visitors who have travelled to Norfolk to honour ANZAC Day this year’ Mr Snell said.


Lisle D. Snell                                                                                      David E. Buffett

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism                                                 Speaker

24 April 2015

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AUSTRALIAN REGION MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE OF THE COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION (THE CPA) MEETS TO DISCUSS NORFOLK ISLAND ISSUES



The Australian Region Management Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (the- CPA) convened an extra-ordinary meeting of the Management Committee on 10 April 2015 at the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne. The meeting was convened to consider a Media Release sent out in March by Minister Robin Adams to all CPA Branches in the Commonwealth of Nations.  The media release advised that democracy was at risk on Norfolk Island with the move by the Australian Government to abolish the Norfolk Island Parliament and to abolish self-government without appropriate prior consultation of the Norfolk Island community at the ballot box.


Minister Adams, Speaker David Buffett AM (in his role of Norfolk Island CPA Branch President and Regional Representative for the Australian Region) and the CPA Branch Secretary Mrs Gaye Evans attended the meeting. The meeting, which afforded the Norfolk Island delegation the opportunity to personally discuss the intentions of the Australian Government, was represented by all of the Australian States and Territories CPA Branches, either in person or by teleconference.

The Management Committee wrote to Assistant Minister Briggs noting that a petition signed by 834 citizens was presented to the Australian House of Representatives on 1 December 2014 and to the Australian Senate on 18 November 2014, and that on 18 March 2015 the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly resolved that a referendum of Norfolk Island residents was to be held on 8 May 2015 be undertaken.


In writing to Assistant Minister Briggs, the Management Committee called on the Minister “not to proceed with the legislation currently before the House of Representatives dealing with this matter until:

 

(a)             the result of the referendum to be conducted on 8 May 2015 is known; and

(b)             further consultation with the people of Norfolk Island on the proposed governance models for Norfolk Island has been undertaken by the Commonwealth Government.”


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

22 April 2015

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LEASE SIGNED FOR AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT SHOPFRONT



I was pleased to sign a lease agreement today for the Australian Government Shopfront on Norfolk Island, which will be located at 67A Taylors Road near the roundabout.


Over coming days I look forward to seeing signs going up and the commencement of construction using local tradespeople as the Australian Government continues to deliver on its commitment to Norfolk Island.


The signing of this lease follows the Government’s announcement detailing the Terms of Reference and formally calling for nominations for the five-person Norfolk Island Interim Advisory Council, to represent the local community and contribute to reform for Norfolk Island.


Nominations close May 22 and can be sent to my Office or NorfolkIslandReform@infrastructure.gov.au

 

 

 

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

24 April 2015

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LEST WE FORGET



It is 100 years since thousands of Australians as young as 14 came ashore to fight at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.  The bloodshed and the battle which raged were not expected. 

 

The men and boys of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp, the ANZACs, at Gallipoli fought bravely. They gave their tomorrows to secure our today.

 

From small and isolated towns all over Australia and New Zealand they had travelled to enlist. Young men from regional Australia, in places just like Norfolk Island, went in substantial numbers to the bigger cities to sign up for the big adventure of War.

 

Allen Fletcher Buffett from Norfolk Island was just one from this place who joined the Australian effort against the oppression of others.  He was there, at Gallipoli, on this day 100 years ago.  He served Australia and helped forge our nation.

 

As we gather today, millions of our fellow Australians are also gathering at city, suburban and town memorials as the dawn spreads across our nation and across the world.  Her Majesty is joining in commemorations in London and our Prime Minister is in Turkey.

 

ANZAC Day grew from a community acknowledgement of a battle which went wrong.  The community has now made it Australia’s national day.

 

On this day we reflect on service personnel or civilians, of every nation, who suffered or continue to suffer through war.  We reflect on our national character which has been so influenced by the ordinary Australian men and women who have stepped forward in the past 100 years to serve our country.

 

This is a day of thanks. It is a day to think of the complete bond between Australia and New Zealand.  It is a day to acknowledge how our Australian society has grown stronger in the past century through our cultural diversity which includes allies and former enemies who became long standing friends.

 

The leader of our enemies at Gallipoli 100 years ago became Turkey’s first president.  Mustafa Kemal Ataturk years later paid tribute to the ANZACs who died at Gallipoli.  Having lost their lives on Turkish soil, Ataturk attested these men had now become sons of Turkey as well.

 

ANZAC Day is an inclusive opportunity for us all, those who served and those they served.  It is a day to rededicate ourselves to peace and freedom through vigilance.

 

Today, we also honour the Australian Defence Forces, the Australian Federal Police and other peacekeepers, which continue to serve in our name on foreign shores.

 

Lest We Forget.

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NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR LOCAL ADVISORY COUNCIL


The Australian Government is calling for nominations for the five-person Norfolk Island Advisory Council, to represent the local community and contribute to reform for Norfolk Island.

The Council will play a vital role in driving the reform process by taking into account views from the community and providing advice on critical issues.

As a first priority, the Advisory Council will be asked to consider the best model for the future Norfolk Island Regional Council, to be elected in the first half of 2016, to ensure the highest quality of local services can be delivered to the community.

Today's announcement is one element of the Australian Government's commitment to provide strong local representation on Norfolk Island. From 1 July 2016, local residents will also be fully represented at the federal level through inclusion in a single electorate from within the Australian Capital Territory.

As a future Senate representative for Norfolk Island, Senator Seselja is currently visiting the island and meeting locals to discuss the reforms. Senator Seselja welcomed the opening of the nomination process and encouraged interested community members to be involved.

The five Council members, including a Chairperson, will be appointed for a period of up to 12 months, with members to represent the Norfolk Island community. Council members will be appointed on a part-time basis, and membership will require a regular time commitment. Members will receive remuneration for their time.

Individuals are invited to complete the nomination form and declaration of interests which can be downloaded from the Norfolk Island Reforms webpage. Nominations will be treated as confidential and should be sent to the Office of the Administrator, or to the Norfolk Island Reform email address, NorfolkIslandReform@infrastructure.gov.au, by 22 May 2015.

Those who have previously indicated an interest in being considered for a role on the Advisory Council are also asked to formalise their nomination through the same process.

Further information on the role of the Advisory Council and on making a nomination for membership can be found online at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/.

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VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY ON NORFOLK ISLAND


Norfolk Island residents who are on the Electoral Roll will be receiving the YES and NO cases for the upcoming referendum on 8th of May 2015.

The Speaker the Hon David Buffett on the floor of the Assembly on Wednesday this week when talking about the loss of democracy within the Commonwealth’s Regional Council Model eloquently outlined what this referendum is about.

 Accordingly I would encourage all residents on the Electoral Roll to vote on the referendum as it may be the last time you are able to exercise that right on Norfolk Island.

The people of Norfolk Island will express their view on the referendum question on May 8, but the other question is will the Commonwealth abide by that result.


That is the question that should be answered by the Commonwealth and answered NOW.

Lisle D. Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism                                                17 April 2015

Date 10 April 2015

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AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE DEPARTMENT ORDERS REWRITES OF REPORT


The Hon. Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism notes the article written by the Canberra Times on 15 April 2015 titled ‘APS department orders report to be rewritten 16 times’.

The Department referred to in the article is the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development - the same department that is responsible for Norfolk Island within the Commonwealth.

‘The accusations made in the article raises serious concerns regarding the many reports commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development on Norfolk Island.  How many times have we heard from the Commonwealth that they are relying on the numerous reports that they have commissioned to support their claim for the need to abolish self-government.  Were any of these reports changed until the Commonwealth Department were happy with the contents and were written in a manner that supported their views? This is a very disturbing article indeed and I am deeply concerned at the possibility that unreliable decisions have been made on the advice contained within any such reports affecting governance and other issues relating to Norfolk Island’, Mr Snell said.

A copy of the article is below.

Lisle D. Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism                                               17 April 2015

Date 10 April 2015




APS department orders report to be rewritten 16 times

Noel Towell
Published: April 15, 2015 - 11:54AM

A Commonwealth department has produced 17 versions of a consultant's report, amid accusations the document was redrafted until it told departmental bosses what they wanted to hear.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development hired the private contractors in May 2014 for a report on aged care on Christmas and Cocos Island after years of complaints from islanders and the territory's administrator about the lack of services.

But nearly a year after hiring Australian Healthcare Associates, for what seemed a straightforward job, the department admits there are now 17 drafts of the report in existence but refuses to make any of them public.

The department would not answer a series of questions on Tuesday but denied it demanded the report be shorn of bad news, saying the rewrites were to ensure the consultants complied with their brief.

Christmas Island Shire president Gordon Thomson and former administrator of the Indian Ocean Territories Jon Stanhope say they believe the department's bosses in Canberra have been sending the reports back to Australian Health Associates until its finding are in keeping with what the department wants.

Mr Thomson says the "questionable practice" has been going on for years.


Christmas Island Shire faces an aged-care crisis, with up to 110 of its ageing residents likely to need full-time care in coming years, but with only a basic version of home help available to elderly islanders.

The shire believes Canberra bureaucrats are determined not to provide the same level of care to elderly Australians living on Christmas and Cocos islands as their fellow citizens on the mainland enjoy.

After years of lobbying, the department agreed to hire the consultants in May 2014 with a report due by August that year, for a price of about $60,000.


But eight months after it was due, all 17 versions of the report are being kept under wraps and the department has demanded more than $4000 to consider releasing the document under freedom of information laws.


Former administrator of the territories Jon Stanhope, who lodged the FOI application, says he too believes the department sent back the report's drafts, demanding a rosier picture be painted of the services offered to the islanders.


"One is entitled to ask why," the former ACT chief minister said.

"What it is about aged care in the Indian Ocean Territories that the department and the minister are embarrassed to reveal is that there is none and that is what this report will reveal."

The consultant who wrote the review is on leave and was unavailable to be interviewed on Tuesday.

Mr Thomson said he and his fellow islanders were used to the department asking for reports to be changed when they did not suit the departmental agenda.

"The department often gets a report and then they they ask the consultant to change the report, which I think is a very strange practice but it is the practice," the shire president said.


"Its been going on for many years.

"Let us assume the department is asking the consultant to tailor the report for the benefit of the department.

"I don't think these 17 versions of the report are about correcting grammar, I think they are about insisting that the consultant gives the department what it wants.

"It's a questionable practice, they should provide an explanation of this practices.

"Why is it necessary that a paid consultant should be re-writing a report at the behest of a department?"

A departmental spokesman said the drafting process is to ensure that the agreed terms of reference have been fully addressed in the report".

This story was found at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/aps-department-orders-report-to-be-rewritten-16-times-20150415-1mki3m.html


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SELF-GOVERNMENT ON NORFOLK ISLAND



The Norfolk Island Government Ministers today reiterated the Norfolk Island Government’s position in relation to the legislation that is currently before the House of Representatives, that was introduced by Assistant Minister Briggs on 26 March 2015.


‘The Norfolk Island Government welcomes the introduction of the Australian Commonwealth social security and taxation systems including Medicare and PBS.  This has been a promise to the Norfolk Island community since 2010.  The Norfolk Island Government unreservedly rejects the proposal to remove self-government from the island and abolish the Legislative Assembly, the Norfolk Island community’s elected representative body’ the Hon. Lisle Snell, Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism said.


‘It must be acknowledged that whilst the Norfolk Island Government did agree to the extension of the Commonwealth’s social security and taxation systems on the island, it did so providing there was a net benefit to the Norfolk Island community and taking local circumstances into account.  The Australian Government needs to give more than just lip service to the fact that some Norfolk Islanders identify as being of Pitcairn-Norfolk descent and with that comes a distinct culture and traditions that must be respected and treasured’ the Hon. Robin Adams, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community services said.


‘In 2013 I requested a review to be undertaken by a working group to provide a comparison of the Norfolk Island social services benefits against those of the Commonwealth.  Awaiting, in good faith, for the time that the Norfolk Island and Commonwealth Governments would discuss and negotiate transition arrangements, regrettably that time has not come, despite repeated requests for this from Norfolk Island.  The working group aimed to ascertain where members of the Norfolk Island community may not be captured positively in the integration. Community members may find sections of this report helpful in formulating questions when meeting with Commonwealth Officers on island next week.  The basic report is available online and the most relevant information for individuals is on pages 5-9. 


http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf//reports/SS/’ Ms Adams said.


‘Norfolk Island deserves to maintain a level of self-government, they should be applauded on the efforts they have made to date which are significant for a jurisdiction of its size.  Our preferred model of self-government recognises that policy-makers in their own regions are the best positioned to understand the issues and needs of their own communities and are best placed to provide the most practical and appropriate solutions.  Our model acknowledges the need for reform while maintaining an appropriate input to policy. To appoint a handpicked, unelected interim Council that would shape the long term structure of island governance is absolutely unacceptable’ the Hon. Ron Ward, Minister for the Environment said.


‘It is extremely disappointing that the Commonwealth Government would not engage in any dialogue whatsoever with the Norfolk Island Government on its preferred model of self-government – a territory model of self-governance.  Under the Norfolk Island’s preferred model the Commonwealth systems of Medicare, PBS, social security and taxation would still be extended.  The key difference being that a meaningful governing body would still be representing the Norfolk Island community, not a Regional Council that will consider matters such as waste management, cats and dogs.  The lack of respect shown to the Norfolk Island Government, and by extension the Norfolk Island community, in this regard is extremely poor’ the Hon. Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance said. 


Lisle D. Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

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NOTICE PAPER 10TH APRIL 2015



NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

NOTICE PAPER NUMBER 25

wednesday 15 APRIL 2015

NORF’K AILEN

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

NOETIS PIEPA NAMBA 25

WENSDI 15 APRIL 2015

 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

 

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

         Resumption of debate (Mr Nobbs) from 25 June 2014 on the question – THAT the motion be agreed

 

2       REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEES

         Resumption of debate (Mr Buffett) from 18 March 2015 on the Report of the Impact of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee dated March 2015 in respect of its review of the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2014 (random breath testing and blood alcohol level to 0.05)

 

3       TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

TRAEFIK (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

Resumption of debate (Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward) from 17 December 2014 on the question – THAT the Bill be amended

 

4       STANDARD TIME BILL 2015

         STAENDAD TAIM BIL 2015

Resumption of debate (Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan) from 18 March 2015 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

 

Sharyn Quintal

Deputy Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

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HON JAMIE BRIGGS MP, MISLEADING AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT



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ARRANGEMENTS TO MEET WITH COMMONWEALTH OFFICIALS, APRIL 14 - 16



Staff from the Department of Human Services and the Australian Taxation Office will be available to assist Norfolk Island residents prepare for social security and taxation changes which will take effect on 1 July 2016.

Small group sessions will be held at the Paradise Hotel on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 April, as follows:

Tuesday 14 April                               Wednesday 15 April

9.30-10.30am              Individuals                                           Age pension & non-working age

11.00-12.30pm            Families & Child Support                    Families & Child Support

2.00-3.00pm                Age Pension & non-working age         Families & Child Support

3.30-4.30pm                Individuals                                           -

4.00-5.00pm                -                                                           Age Pension & non-working age

5.00-6.00pm                Families & Child Support                    -

5.30-6.30pm                -                                                           Business

6.30-7.30pm                Business                                             -

7.00-8.00pm                -                                                           Business

Further information on what will be covered in the sessions is available on the Norfolk Island Reforms webpage at http://www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/reforms/index.aspx

If you have further questions after attending the group sessions, individual sessions
(10 to 15 minutes) will be available for residents on Thursday 16 April between 8am and 6pm.

This is a registered event as places are limited.  Residents interested in speaking to staff should register by emailing their preferred session time and phone number to the Norfolk Island Taskforce team at NorfolkIslandReform@infrastructure.gov.au or by phoning the Office of the Administrator. One of the Taskforce team will call you to confirm a specific time for attending group or individual sessions.

Residents unable to meet with Commonwealth staff during this visit will be able to contact the agencies through dedicated call-back arrangements currently being finalised.  Access information will be available on the Norfolk Island Reforms website shortly.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

2 April 2015

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COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENT PROPOSES TO ABOLISH THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLYOF NORFOLK ISLAND



The Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, introduced the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 in the House of Representative, Australian Parliament on Thursday, 26 March 2015.

The Bill and Explanatory Memorandum can be accessed online at:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r5440

The Chief Minister, Hon Lisle Snell, MLA has expressed concern at the content of the Bill which will amend the Norfolk Island Act 1979 to remove the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island and replace it with an unelected five-member Advisory Council to transition Norfolk Island’s governance to a Regional Council which will not be elected until 2016.


“I wrote to Assistant Minister Briggs on 24 March 2015 urging him to withhold the introduction of the Bill into the Commonwealth Parliament; requesting that both our governments return to the negotiation table and advising him that a Referendum will be held to ascertain the views of the community.

On 26 March 2015, Minister Briggs introduced the amendment Bill into the Commonwealth Parliament without a referendum vote by Norfolk Islanders.

“Accordingly, I will be writing again to the Assistant Minister requesting him, amongst other things, to:

  1. Adjourn the debate on the Bill until the outcome of the Referendum;
  2. If the amendment Bill were to pass all levels of the Commonwealth Parliament and receive appropriate Royal Assent, urgently hold at that time an election for appointments to the interim Advisory Council so that the community has a democratic say in the persons who represent them on any such Advisory Council;
  3. Provide a breakdown of how the $136 million over four years will be expended and provide a commitment to produce all Treasury reports and analysis on the further funding to be required at the expiry of the 4 year period;
  4. Provide reassurance that assets of the Administration will remain in community ownership and will not be transferred to be assets of the Commonwealth leaving any Regional Council with only substantial liabilities or the previous Administration body politic at its commencement; and
  5. Provide a commitment in writing signed by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Federal Opposition of the Commonwealth that the Bill and the other legislative changes will NOT mean that Norfolk Island is no longer a Territory placed under the authority

of the Commonwealth by the Sovereign’s Order in Council of 1914 and will NOT be treated as though it is a part of New South Wales in breach of the Sovereign’s Order in Council which has not been revoked by the Sovereign of Australia.


“There are many issues still to be clarified with the Commonwealth.  This process will commence with the visit of the Commonwealth Officials next week,” the Chief Minister said.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

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POTENTIAL REMAINS FOR A MEDICINAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Robin Adams, is pleased to let the community know that she anticipates receiving an application next week under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1927 from AusCann Group Holdings Pty Ltd  for a licence to import, export, plant, cultivate, tend or harvest and sell cannabis for the purpose of establishing a medicinal cannabis industry on Norfolk Island for export purposes.


“We are advised,” Minister Adams said, “that the representatives arriving from AusCann on Tuesday 31st March through to Friday 3 April 2015 are the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Mal Washer; the Managing Director Mr Troy Langman and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for AusCann, Ms Elaine Darby.

“Dr Washer was a former liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1998 to 2013; is a past chair of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia; and was a general practitioner with degrees in medicine and surgery; Ms Darby, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry & Microbiology, and a Bachelor of Law, is currently project manager and investment director with Biological Ventures, an advisory firm in the bio-medical sector.

“Managing Director Mr Troy Langman needs no introduction to us on Norfolk and we look forward to welcoming him back,” the Minister said.

It is understood that the AusCann representatives are meeting with the Administrator, The Hon Gary Hardgrave to discuss their proposal.  This is seen as a very positive step forward in the process by the Norfolk Island Government with whom AusCann has also requested a meeting.  Minister Adams said, “I will be encouraging the AusCann team to talk to the community both in person and on radio if time allows during their visit.”

Readers will recall that the Legislative Assembly passed a motion at its September sitting last year acknowledging that there is potential for substantial and much needed economic benefits to accrue to the Norfolk Island community from the establishment of a medicinal cannabis industry on the Island and endorsed such consultation as is necessary to achieve this.  The House further acknowledged the health benefits attributed to medicinal cannabis in the treatment of many serious and debilitating diseases; recognised the overwhelming support expressed at the public meeting convened by the Norfolk Island Government on Thursday 21 August 2014 for the introduction of a medicinal cannabis industry on Norfolk Island; and acknowledged that Norfolk Island by its isolation provides a safe environment in which to establish a world's best practice model for the growing of medicinal cannabis which could then be replicated on  the mainland of Australia; including a local medicinal cannabis program on Norfolk Island with a view to export.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

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COMMONWEALTH CASCADE JETTY ANNOUNCEMENT



The Norfolk Island Government welcomes the renewed commitment to the upgrade of the Commonwealth owned Cascade Jetty.


These works relate to the former RDAF4 $13 million project announced by former Labor Minister Catherine King in 2013 and subsequently re-offered conditionally to Norfolk Island as Community Development Grant 010 by the current Australian Government.


The commitment to repair this port asset is welcomed as an initial step toward improving port infrastructure and opening up new commercial prospects.

 

The Norfolk Island Government welcomes that the Commonwealth has chosen to action  recommendation 3 of the Joint Standing Committee report Same Country Different World.

“The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government assume responsibility for the Cascade and Kingston Pier upgrades and that the Commonwealth Government expedite the works in line with Australian standards and occupational health and safety requirements, as soon as practicable.”


The Commonwealth have accepted that further design work is needed.  The proposed re-design will allow for consideration of the extreme weather and oceanic conditions witnessed in recent weeks and should allow local stakeholders opportunity to have input into the new design.


The initiative to engage Worley Parsons to undertake this work is welcomed as this firm has a long association with Norfolk Island engineering projects.


Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

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FUTURE GOVERNANCE MODEL FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



The uncertainty within our community surrounding the future governance model for Norfolk Island continues.

As indicated previously I wrote to Assistant Minister Briggs on 13 February 2015 offering a collective way forward and seeking clarity on the timing of the Commonwealth’s decision making process. I followed that up with a request for the Assistant Minister to call me on that correspondence and to date the only contact has been through his office to my office indicating the Commonwealth will reply in full early this year.

I also raised this matter with the Administrator on his return to Norfolk Island who indicated that he was not in a position to clarify that either as it was a matter for the Commonwealth Government.

As I said in my media release issued on the 13/02/2015, “Time for the Commonwealth to show honesty, transparency and respect to this community is now.”

The call for a more transparent process was also raised at the Community Meetings held by the Norfolk Island government on 5th and 6th February 2015.

Accordingly, I will move the following motion in the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly on Wednesday 18th March 2015.

“Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism to move –

THAT this House, pursuant to section 5 of the Referendum Act 1964:

  1. RESOLVES to ascertain the opinion of the electors on the following specified question relating to the peace, order and good government of Norfolk Island, namely:

Should the people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament?

            

YES                                  NO 

  1. REQUESTS the Speaker to direct a referendum on the above question”

While the Norfolk Island government does not oppose change it should only be introduced through the participation and endorsement of the people of Norfolk Island.

Lisle Snell                                                    

Chief Minister 

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GREEN LIGHT FOR CASCADE PIER ON NORFOLK ISLAND



The Australian Government is wasting no time in delivering the infrastructure Norfolk Island needs by today awarding the design contract for the Cascade Pier reconstruction to project delivery and consulting firm WorleyParsons Limited.


WorleyParsons has an intimate knowledge of Norfolk Island and will work with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to scope the necessary works for the Cascade Pier upgrade.


This work will include the completion of the design for construction works, testing the design for constructability, consulting locally with key stakeholders, developing a draft construction program and a peer review of the final design.


The reconstruction of the Cascade Pier is a vital infrastructure project which when complete will ensure Norfolk Island can take advantage of more economic opportunities.


Better access to the Cascade Pier by cruise ships will be a central part of rebuilding the Norfolk Island tourism industry and the local economy.


It is estimated that improving Norfolk Island’s port infrastructure, including purchasing barges, could increase visitor numbers by up to 100,000 per year. This would generate around $8 million in revenue for the local economy.


Cascade Pier has been in existence since the 1850s and was a vital piece of infrastructure during the whaling days. Today it represents an important link for goods and services from the mainland and other destinations.


The Australian Government has committed $13 million to complete the upgrade of the Cascade Pier in the shortest possible time to ensure we create jobs and grow the Norfolk Island economy. 

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MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE



The Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly met on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 to consider a Matter of Public Importance in relation to the announcement made by the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development by letter dated 19 March 2015, and in particular the advice that the Australian Government will amend the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cth) to transition the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly to a Norfolk Island Regional Council.

 

All Members spoke to the Matter of Public Importance.  Members’ statements will be available as soon as the Hansard of the meeting is published, and can be accessed on the website at http://norfolkisland.gov.nf/la/Hansard/


The Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell, wrote on 24 March 2015 to the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development advising him of Tuesday’s meeting of the Legislative Assembly and urging him to withhold the introduction into the Commonwealth Parliament of the Bill to amend the Norfolk Island Act 1979 to abolish the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island.  The Chief Minister has again requested that the Norfolk Island Government and Commonwealth Government return to the negotiation table as a matter of urgency.


In writing to Assistant Minister Briggs, the Chief Minister has again pointed out that the Norfolk Island Government has embraced the need for reform but there has never been any suggestion that that reform required the abolition of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly which is the democratically elected representative body of the Norfolk Island community.


The Chief Minister advised, “In my letter to Assistant Minister Briggs I reminded him that during his one and only visit to Norfolk Island he undertook to consult with Norfolk Island on the options for governance before providing a submission to the Federal Cabinet.

“I have drawn Minister Briggs’ attention to the March 2011 Norfolk Island Roadmap between the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island Government which set out the reform processes including governance reform leading to a modified self-government model. The Norfolk Island Government continues to await the courtesy of a response to its preferred model for territory self-governance.


“I have again urged the Commonwealth Government through Assistant Minister Briggs, to consider and adopt the Norfolk Island Government’s preferred model for territory self-governance and retain the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island as the most appropriate body to transition the Island into the Australian taxation and social welfare systems as agreed in 2010.  Such transition to the Australian taxation and social security systems to be 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 said.


During the formal sitting of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 18 March 2015, the Legislative Assembly passed the following Motion requesting the Speaker to conduct a Referendum:

“That this House, pursuant to section 5 of the Referendum Act 1964:

  1. RESOLVES to ascertain the opinion of the electors on the following specified question relation to the peace, order and good government of Norfolk Island, namely:

Should the people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament.     YES/NO.

      2.   REQUESTS the Speaker to direct a referendum on the above question.”

The date for the conduct of the Referendum is yet to be advised.

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

25 March 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND FUEL PRICE REDUCED



The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, has advised that wholesale fuel prices will be reduced.

 

“As I advised in my Media Release on 27 February 2015, fuel prices have been re-assessed following receipt of all costs associated with the fuel received on 26 February.


“I am pleased to announce that, commencing with deliveries made from 20 March, 2015 the following wholesale bulk prices will apply:-

Petrol: $2.03 a reduction of $0.14 compared to the previous bulk price.

Diesel: $2.07 a reduction of $0.10 compared to the previous bulk price.

Jet-A1: $1.69 a reduction of $0.05 compared to the previous bulk price.


“The following factors influenced this reduction in wholesale pricing:-

  1. The purchase price of fuel in US Dollars was at an average of 14% below the purchase price of the previous shipment.
  2. The reduced purchase price was partially offset by a 12% reduction in the purchasing power of the Australian Dollar over the same period.
  3. As advised in the media release of 27 February, the additional cost of drummed fuel would be spread across the fuel from the tanker as well as the drummed fuel. This cost has added $0.06 to the wholesale price of each litre of fuel.

 

“As two previous tankers were unsuccessful in discharging fuel due to inclement sea conditions, considerable demurrage charges were incurred.


“On behalf of the Norfolk Island Government and community, I wish to express my most sincere thanks to the supplier, Exxonmobil, who absorbed some $329,000 in demurrage charges. As these charges equate to $0.18 per litre, without ExxonMobil’s generosity the wholesale price would have increased, rather than decreased.”


Electricity Tariff:

The $0.10 per litre reduction in wholesale diesel price is equivalent to a 3 cent per kWh reduction in costs.


The current Electricity Tariff of $0.71 per kWh, will be reduced to $0.68 per kWh for electricity consumed after 1 April, 2015.


Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance 

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COMMONWEALTH ANNOUNCES THE ABOLITION OF SELF GOVERNANCE ON NORFOLK ISLAND



Assistant Minister Briggs announced this week that the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and Self Governance are to be abolished and to be replaced by a Regional Council model.

It was disappointing the Commonwealth has chosen not to embrace our preferred model of Territory Self Governance when the costing of that model was identified as less cost to the Australian taxpayer than the Regional Council model.

However, this announcement clears the uncertainty around the timing on the introduction of the Australian Health, Welfare and Taxation systems to Norfolk Island.

There are a number of issues that are still to be clarified in relation to the transitional Advisory Council; transition to the Australian Health, Welfare, Taxation systems and other matters that need to be addressed with the Commonwealth.

Accordingly, today the Norfolk Island Government met with the Administrator to raise a number of questions on the transitional processes and requested the Terms of Reference for the transitional Advisory Council, which would enable all members of the Norfolk Island community considering participation on that Council to fully understand the Council’s role in the transitional process.

The Legislative Assembly will meet on Tuesday of next week to discuss these issues and other relevant matters.

Lisle Snell                                                    

Chief Minister 

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LETTERS TO NORFOLK ISLAND RESIDENTS




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DELIVERING A STRONGER AND MORE PROSPEROUS NORFOLK ISLAND



The Australian Government is delivering on its election commitment to introduce taxation, social security and healthcare arrangements on Norfolk Island effective from 1 July 2016. 

These significant reforms will help deliver equity and economic stability to Norfolk Island and ensure residents have access to essential services that all Australians deserve.


Unlike any other community of its size, Norfolk Island has been required to deliver local, state and federal services since 1979. Asking a community of around 1800 people to deliver federal functions such as immigration, quarantine and customs, social services and taxation; and state and local government services, is neither appropriate nor sustainable.


The reality is, infrastructure on Norfolk Island is run down, the health system not up to standard and many laws are out of date with all other Australian jurisdictions.


For decades governments have failed to address these issues with numerous investigations including a Royal Commission, twelve Parliamentary enquiries and twenty commissioned expert reports all calling for significant change and reform to Norfolk Island’s governance.

This is why we are putting in place the necessary structural reforms to improve service delivery and boost economic growth, whilst preserving the island’s culture and local representation.


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

Our first priority is to assist the most vulnerable members of the Norfolk Island community who have been struggling for years.


As Australian citizens, residents on Norfolk Island deserve equal access to government services and entitlements as those residing on the mainland and other external territories.

They will be required to pay taxes, including all personal and business taxes, but not the GST at this time. However, they will also be entitled to access social security payments, Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which they are currently denied.

Norfolk Island Reform will require the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cth) to be amended to transition the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly to a Norfolk Island Regional Council, with elections to be held in the first half of 2016. 


In the interim, a five member community Advisory Council will be established to represent the local community.  I have invited the Chief Minister, the Hon Lisle Snell MLA, and the Speaker, the Hon David Buffett AM, MLA, to be members of this new Council, and we will be seeking nominations from the community for Council membership.

Extensive consultations with Norfolk Island residents revealed overwhelming support for reform.


Bringing Norfolk Island in line with mainland Australia was an election commitment to improve the quality of life and social equity for all local residents.  I look forward to working with the Norfolk Island community to progress these important reforms.


I have written to all Norfolk Island residents encouraging their continued participation in this process as the success of these reforms will rely on their valuable input.


Further information is available at - http://www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/

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MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF VANUATU



The Chief Minister has today written to the Vanuatu Prime Minister Mr Joe Natuman offering the Norfolk Island Government’s condolences and support to the people of Vanuatu on behalf of the people of Norfolk Island.


The stress and grief being suffered by the people of Vanuatu by Cyclone Pam must be indescribable and the people of Vanuatu are in the minds and hearts of their South Pacific brothers and sisters on Norfolk Island.


Residents on Norfolk Island who have family or friends on Vanuatu and have concerns about their welfare should first attempt to contact them directly. If they are unable to contact them they should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 24- hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or within Australia on 1300 555 135

 

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister 

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225YR ANNIVERSARY OF THE WRECKING OF HIS MAJESTY'S SHIP SIRIUS OFF NORFOLK ISLAND



Next Thursday, 19 March 2015, marks the 225th anniversary of the wrecking of the HMS Sirius at Sydney Bay Norfolk Island. As a result many additional visitors are on Norfolk Island. The Sirius was at the heart of Australia’s history as the flagship of the First Fleet. The wreck on the reef at Kingston, Norfolk Island is of significant heritage value to our nation.
Within six weeks of establishing the settlement at Port Jackson, New South Wales on 26 January 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip assigned his Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King the task of establishing what is now Australia’s second oldest settlement on Norfolk Island. They officially arrived 6 March 1788 on what we just commemorated as Foundation Day on the Australian Territory of Norfolk Island. HMS Sirius was one of only two First Fleet ships which remained to service the fledging Australian colonies following the establishment of these settlements. The Sirius was the Colony's naval defence, as well as its primary supply line and communication link with the outside world. On 19 March 1790 HMS Sirius was wrecked on the reef on the southern coast of Norfolk Island. The Sirius was on a supply mission which included a planned journey to southern China.

The wreck is across what most now call Slaughter Bay - just off shore from the World Heritage Listed Australian Convict Site at Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA). To mark the 225th anniversary of the wrecking of HMS Sirius, a public commemorative ceremony will be held at the Kingston foreshore Thursday, 19 March from 8.30 - 8.50am. All members of the community and visitors are invited to attend. This event is an opportunity to acknowledge this important part of our nation's history. Those who came before us shaped the modern nation Australia has become today.

It is important to also acknowledge the vital role played by the Heritage and Museum teams within the Kingston Arthur’s Vale Heritage Area. These caring professionals have ensured today’s generation of Australians understand the long standing and close ties between the Territory of Norfolk island and Australia’s broader national history. Their role in preserving and interpreting this First Fleet pioneer history is greatly appreciated. Australians have made a strong contribution to furthering the discipline of maritime archaeology. NOTE: In further support of this important commemoration, Government House Charity Open Day will have extended hours on Wednesday 18 March - 12.00 noon to 3.30pm.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave 13 March 2015
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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NOTICE PAPER 13 MARCH



NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

NOTICE PAPER NUMBER 23

wednesday 18 MARCH 2015

 

NORF’K AILEN

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

NOETIS PIEPA NAMBA 23

WENSDI 18 MAACH 2015

 

NOTICES       

 

1       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

 

Emergency Locator Beacons                                  Norfolk Island Fishing Association

-   amount of duty applicable $1,404.30                   Conditions: Nil

Life Vests                                                                   Lions Club of Norfolk Island

- amount of duty applicable $916.20                       Conditions: Community Use – Norfolk Island Wa’a Outrigger Club Inc

Christmas Cakes                                                       Lions Club of Norfolk Island

-  amount of duty applicable $215.56                      Conditions:  Nil

Coffee Machines                                                       Lions Club of Norfolk Island

-                                                                                                                                        - amount of duty applicable $544.00                       Conditions:  Nil

2       NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ACT 1985

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, Ms Adams, to move ¾

THAT this House, in accordance with sections 12 and 13 of the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985, resolve that ¾

Brett John Sanderson

who is not the Director, an Employee of the Enterprise or a Minister, be appointed by the Minister as a member of the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board for a term of 12 months commencing on the date of gazettal of his appointment.

3       IMMIGRATION ACT 1980

AUTHORISATION OF APPLICATION FOR GENERAL ENTRY PERMIT

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

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

                                                            Deirdre Margaret Cristofaro; and

                                                            Lynne Catherine Duncanson

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

 

4       NORFOLK ISLAND BROADCASTING ACT 2001

Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan, to move -

 

THAT in accordance with the provisions of subsection 10(6) of the Norfolk Island Broadcasting Act 2001, I give notice of my intention to issue a broadcasting licence as follows―

 

The proposed licensee is Seventh-day Adventist Church (Greater Sydney Conference) Ltd.  The reason for issuing the licence is to permit the licensee to conduct a Television Broadcasting facility called TVNI from premises at New Cascade Road.  The proposed licence will present a service providing, inter alia, documentary programs, public benefit advertising and movies to residents of, and visitors to, Norfolk Island as well as making available to audiences in Norfolk Island television programs offering entertainment, education and information in accordance with the objects of the Act.  The terms and conditions of the licence in addition to the statutory conditions applicable to all licensees will include a requirement that the broadcast be confined to the immediate Norfolk Island community at a strength sufficient for reception only by residents of Norfolk Island and that it must not interfere with the reception of any radio or television or telecommunications signals from other sources;

and –

THAT the Legislative Assembly resolve to approve the issue by the Minister for Finance of a broadcasting licence to Seventh-day Adventist Church (Greater Sydney Conference) Ltd for the purpose of conducting a television broadcasting station under the description TVNI station for the benefit of residents of, and visitors to, Norfolk Island; and subject to the conditions that the broadcast be only within the specified VHF Channel 10 broadcast frequency of 212.5 MHz at a strength sufficient for reception only within the territorial boundaries of Norfolk Island and that it must not interfere with the reception of any radio or television or telecommunication signals from other sources.

 

 

5       REFERENDUM ACT 1964 – REQUEST TO SPEAKER TO DIRECT A REFERENDUM

         Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Mr Snell, to move –

 

         THAT this House, pursuant to section 5 of the Referendum Act 1964:

 

  1. RESOLVES to ascertain the opinion of the electors on the following specified question relating to the peace, order and good government of Norfolk Island, namely:

 

Should the people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament?

 

              

YES                                         NO 

 

2.   REQUESTS the Speaker to direct a referendum on the above question

 

 

6       STANDARD TIME BILL 2015

         STAENDAD TAIM BIL 2015

Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan, to present a Bill for an Act to change standard time for Norfolk Island

 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

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

         Resumption of debate (Mr Nobbs) from 25 June 2014 on the question – THAT the motion be agreed

 

 

 

 

2       TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

TRAEFIK (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

Resumption of debate (Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward) from 15 October 2014 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

 

3       COMMUNITY TITLE BILL 2015

         KOMYUUNETI TAITL BIL 2015

Resumption of debate (Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward) from 11 February 2015 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

         Mr Ward to move detail stage amendments dated 13 March 2015                  

 

4       COMMUNITY TITLE (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2015

         KOMYUUNETI TAITL (KONSEKWENCHL CHIENJ) BIL 2015

         Resumption of debate (Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward) from 11 February 2015 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle                                                                                                                                                               

5       MUNICIPAL RATES BILL 2015

         MYUUNESIPL RIET BIL 2015

Resumption of debate (Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward) from 11 February 2015 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

       

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

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

         Did the Norfolk Island Government make submission to the draft R&S Muller Health Services Survey Report and Response to the Draft Health Services Plan Report and if not why, and; when will the final R&S Muller reports be released to the Norfolk Island Government?

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

         Will the Minister provide a definitive timeframe in relation to the development of a five year health services plan for the Norfolk Island community and; will the Minister confirm that both the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise Advisory Board and Director have provided written advice in response to the draft Nexus and R&S Muller reports?

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

         Will the Minister explain how the five year health services plan fits into the Norfolk Island Government’s Preferred Territory model of Government; which health services have been identified by the Norfolk Island Government as essential; how will these services be delivered and how will they be funded?

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

         Given that the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise operating theatre has been closed because it does not meet Australian Council on Health Standards (ACHS) standards for elective surgery; what is the Norfolk Island Government’s policy position in relation to the ongoing provision of elective surgical procedures at the local hospital and  if the policy is to re-open the theatre; how will the policy be funded?  

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

         Will the Chief Minister table in tabular form the number of visitors who come to the Island annually as a result of marketing and promotion from the following areas:

  1. The annual Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau funding grant;
  2. Sporting clubs;
  3. Music events;
  4. Art and craft events; and
  5. Other areas not listed above?

65     Mr Nobbs to ask the Minister for Finance  

Is “NORFOLK POST” or the Norfolk Island Post Office a body for which the Administration of Norfolk Island is responsible for, and -

  1. If it is, why is it necessary for Postal Charges to New Zealand to “change in accordance with changes made by Australia Post” when Australia Post plays no part in the receipt or despatch of Norfolk Island’s mail to New Zealand?

  1. If “NORFOLK POST” or the Norfolk Island Post Office is a body for which the Administration of Norfolk Island is no longer responsible, and it is now simply an outpost of Australia Post, can the residents of Norfolk Island soon expect the local or on-Island rate to also be brought into line with that of Australia Post, which is soon expected to rise to $1.00?

  1. Are we also to expect the cessation of issues of Norfolk Island stamps?

  1. If the Administration of Norfolk Island still retains responsibility for “NORFOLK POST” or the Norfolk Island Post Office, is Norfolk Island’s Postal Service still part of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), or has this ‘linkage’ been removed? and

  1. If “NORFOLK POST” or the Norfolk Island Post Office is no longer ‘linked’, on what basis then is the differentiation payments for the imbalance of inward to outward mail arranged with Australia Post?

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

Given that in February 2014 the Infrastructure and Business Development Committee provided 24 recommendations to the Norfolk Island Government supporting economic development and equality; will the Chief Minister list which recommendations have been actioned by his Government and provide a brief progress report on each item? 

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

Given that the Norfolk Island Government Fact Sheets dated January 2015, state that the Norfolk Island community could be exempt from all GST and customs duty; will the Chief Minister explain how this will affect the delivery and funding of National and State level services including who will be responsible for funding and delivery of these services?

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

What has the Chief Minister done to ensure that a roll-out of the taxation and social security system will be handled in a way that takes into account the damage that has already occurred to the economy and the concerns of the community?

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

Given that the Australian Government made an election commitment in 2013 to integrate Norfolk Island into the mainland taxation and social security system and given that ongoing uncertainty is causing distress within the community; what is the Chief Minister doing to ensure that the Australia Government keeps its election promise?

70     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for the Environment -

Will the Minister table the ‘Dawson the Dog’ customs and quarantine project plan including all additional infrastructure plans and funding requirements, and where the expenditure of funds is allocated?

71     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for the Environment -

In relation to the recent public health incident at the Waste Management Centre; will the Minister outline exactly what “particular things” were overlooked, how they were dealt with and what measures have been put in place to ensure that they will not occur again?


72     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for the Environment -

Is it a fact that reduced staffing at the Waste Management Centre is the cause of the recent public health incident, and if so; what has the Minister done to ensure that the Administration has adequate funds to manage the Centre efficiently and effectively? 

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

Will the Minister explain who the Norfolk Island Central School Principal is ultimately responsible to here on the Island and within the NSW Department of Education and Communities?

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

Is it a fact that NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) teachers employed at the Norfolk Island Central School are not allowed to engage directly with the responsible Norfolk Island Government Minister in relation to their seconded role, and if so; will the Minister explain the reasoning behind the policy?

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

Will the Minister table the formal complaint procedure available to both NSW DEC seconded teachers and locally recruited teachers who wish to make a complaint in relation to the conduct of either the Principal or another member of the teaching staff?

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

Will the Minister outline the complaint process that can be used by parents of students at the Norfolk Island Central School in relation to the conduct and performance of teachers?

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

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HARMONY DAY - SATURDAY 21 MARCH



We live in one of the most prosperous and harmonious nations in the world. In this regard, the various cultural traditions at the heart of Norfolk Island are also part of Australia’s broader cultural diversity. The strength of each of our individual backgrounds is important to the Australian nation.

Australia’s cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths, an integral part of our nation’s history and character. It is at the heart of who we are, no matter where we live.

Norfolk Island’s culturally diverse society strengthens Australia’s national interest. Across our nation, cultural diversity delivers productive outcomes. Our Australian society promotes fairness and inclusion by enhancing respect and support for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.

Harmony Day is the annual celebration of our diversity. Harmony Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Since its launch in 1999, Harmony Day has become a significant day for all Australians to embrace cultural diversity and to share what we have in common. In the past fifteen years, it has engaged Australians of all backgrounds and cultures with more than 60 000 Harmony Day events staged in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across our nation.

The central message for Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’, reinforcing the importance of inclusiveness to all Australians of all backgrounds. Harmony Day aims to engage us all to understand the cohesive and inclusive nature of Australia and recognise the benefits and opportunity of our cultural diversity.

Australia is a nation built by migration. Since 1945, 7.2 million people have chosen to live in Australia and today around 45 per cent of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas.

Australia wide, we speak hundreds of languages including the Norf’k language. Four million of us speak a language other than English at home. Yet what we have in common; the English language, the Rule of Law and our democratic freedom, unites us.

Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day. Australians are encouraged to wear something orange this Saturday, 21 March, to show their support for our cultural diversity and a united, inclusive nation.

The Hon.Gary Hardgrave
13 March 2015

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FUTURE GOVERNANCE MODEL FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



The uncertainty within our community surrounding the future governance model for Norfolk Island continues.

As indicated previously I wrote to Assistant Minister Briggs on 13 February 2015 offering a collective way forward and seeking clarity on the timing of the Commonwealth’s decision making process. I followed that up with a request for the Assistant Minister to call me on that correspondence and to date the only contact has been through his office to my office indicating the Commonwealth will reply in full early this year.

I also raised this matter with the Administrator on his return to Norfolk Island who indicated that he was not in a position to clarify that either as it was a matter for the Commonwealth Government.

As I said in my media release issued on the 13/02/2015, “Time for the Commonwealth to show honesty, transparency and respect to this community is now.”

The call for a more transparent process was also raised at the Community Meetings held by the Norfolk Island government on 5th and 6th February 2015.

Accordingly, I will move the following motion in the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly on Wednesday 18th March 2015.

“Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism to move –

THAT this House, pursuant to section 5 of the Referendum Act 1964:

  1. RESOLVES to ascertain the opinion of the electors on the following specified question relating to the peace, order and good government of Norfolk Island, namely:

Should the people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament?

            

YES                                  NO 

  1. REQUESTS the Speaker to direct a referendum on the above question”

While the Norfolk Island government does not oppose change it should only be introduced through the participation and endorsement of the people of Norfolk Island.

Lisle Snell                                                    

Chief Minister

Date 13/03/2015

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OBSERVANCE OF COMMONWEALTH DAY



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JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR AND CHIEF MINISTER



Judicial Appointments for Norfolk Island

We are pleased to welcome the appointments of the Honourable Justice Anthony Besanko as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island and the Honourable Justice John Gilmour as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island.

The Honourable Justice Anthony Besanko has been a member of the Federal Court of Australia since 2006. He has been an Additional Judge of the Supreme Court of Australia Capital Territory since 2007 and was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island in 2013. Prior to that, he was a Judge in the Supreme Court of South Australia since 2001. He undertook appellate work and was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 1994. He was President of the South Australian Bar Association from 2000 to 2001.

The Honourable Justice John Gilmour has been a member of the Federal Court of Australia since 2006. He was born in Scotland and studied at the University of Dundee. He settled in Australia in 1976 and was admitted to the Western Australian Bar in that year (Queen’s Counsel since 1994).

We are indeed fortunate to have such highly qualified and distinguished Judges appointed to these important positions and look forward to welcoming them to Norfolk Island.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave                                           The Hon Lisle Snell
Administrator                                                           Chief Minister

10 March 2015

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COMMONWEALTH DAY 2015



Her Majesty has approved “A Young Commonwealth” as the theme for Commonwealth Day 9 March 2015,

“A Young Commonwealth” recognises the capacity, contribution and potential of young people, particularly given those aged 29 or under account for the majority of the Commonwealth’s population, and play a vital role at the heart of sustainable development and democracy.

As a key part of the Commonwealth family, Australia is one of the dynamic countries at the forefront of innovation, growth and contributing global value. As a diverse and increasingly connected global network, Commonwealth Nations like Australia bring fresh perspectives and new ideas. This ensures the Commonwealth remains a contemporary and “young” group of countries.

We are grateful for the inspiring sense of lifelong service shown by Her Majesty the Queen. As Queen of Australia and Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty represents a defining figure for one third of the world’s population located in over fifty countries.

The Commonwealth of Nations is based on adherence to the rule of law and democracy.
Australia is the sixth oldest continuous democracy in the world. It is the influence of British Westminster traditions which has underpinned our way of life.

Just like the other old democracies, Australia has evolved into a nation of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. There is a real strength through our diversity just as there is across the Commonwealth.

Across Australia hundreds of languages and cultures are practised and celebrated by individuals. What we have in common unites us. Regardless of who we are and where we come from we are governed by the same laws and communicate through the common English language.

As defined by the ANZAC Spirit, Australia’s values, democracy, freedom and way of life have been secured by those who have had the courage to defend us in our name.

These values are firmly identified by the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of Australia and also within the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
6 March 2015

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INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY 2015



International Women’s Day is held annually on 8 March to celebrate the economic,
political and social achievements of women. On this day we reflect on the present
success and past failure of efforts to ensure women and girls are valued in not just our
society, but all societies around the world.

While we have reason to be proud of Australia’s record, there continues to be much to
do in many other parts of the world where women and girls are still commodities of
men.

Yet in those societies where women are not only encouraged and protected but
resourced through education and equality of opportunity, the economic dividend is
enormous.

The natural instinct of women and girls to be nurturers and sustainers of life, coupled with their determination to protect those they care for is powerful.

Sadly though, there are too many societies and cultures where women are used, abused and denied opportunity. We must all stand against this.

The Australian of the Year 2015 Rosie Batty is leading a substantial national debate about domestic violence. While it is not gender exclusive, women and their children are the ones most likely to be hurt by men.

We can no longer hide such things from public view and we do need strong laws to express society’s disgust for those who mistreat women and children.

Locally, this Monday 9 March, a breakfast to celebrate International Women’s Day and the many impressive women of Norfolk Island will be held at Bounty Lodge. This net working event will be a perfect opportunity to hear two impressive local women,Sergeant Catherine Tye and Ms Michelle Ruka.

Lorraine and I look forward to hearing their presentations. We would encourage all Norfolk Islanders to participate in celebrating this most important event.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
6 March 2015

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FOUNDATION DAY 2015


The commemoration of Foundation Day is an important reminder of the long held and close bonds between the Australian mainland and the Territory of Norfolk Island.

Like Australia Day, ANZAC Day and Bounty Day, Foundation Day is another opportunity to pay tribute to those who came before us. So today, we celebrate some of the history which made us who we are.

Today Norfolk Island can boast the ancient heritage of Polynesian settlements, the modern foundations established by the British 227 years ago and the character of many cultures and traditions brought since the third settlement began in 1856.

The arrival of the First Fleet to Norfolk Island under the command of Lt Phillip Gidley King in March 1788 is a story told in Australian primary schools. King raised the flag at Sydney Bay on 6 March 1788 after stepping ashore a few days earlier and travelling across Island from the north coast near Anson Bay.

Over the next three decades a resilient farming settlement was built. The population grew to be similar to today’s permanent population of 1360. Norfolk Island provided for the food needs of the growing Sydney Cove settlement on the mainland.

In very short time, land on Norfolk Island was allocated to the farming first families. As free settlers they won arable land from the native vegetation and much of their hard work is still at the heart of farming activities on Norfolk Island today.

The road now called Middlegate has been a thoroughfare since it was established by the hard work of the first families in the time of King. In the 1790s it was known as the Sydney-Phillipsburgh Road connecting the settlement at Sydney, what we now call Kingston, with the equally historic Phillipsburgh settlement near Cascade.

The history of this first European settlement is important to Australia’s history and is at the heart of why so many come from the mainland to visit Norfolk Island 227 years after King arrived.

The dozens of first families’ names should never be forgotten. They were pioneers of Australia here on Norfolk Island. Many modern day residents of Norfolk Island proudly boast their direct family connection with these pioneers.
.
The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
6 March 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND TO ADJUST TIME ZONE.



During the November 2014 sitting of the House the Minister for Finance indicated that he was going to bring to the House a Bill to adjust the time on Norfolk Island from +11:30 hours from Greenwich Mean Time to that of +11:00 hours. 


The intent of this change is that it would mean that the time on Norfolk Island will be approx. 3 minutes of its true solar time zone instead of being out by approx. 27 minutes, as it is now.


Representations have been made for the Government to adjust the time zone for Norfolk Island due to the difficulties that are experienced to end users of communications equipment, household and electronic devices that are reliant on time zone programming.  This adjustment will alleviate this problem.


The Minister has advised that at the 18 March 2015 sitting of the House, a Bill will be introduced to achieve this. 


This change will have some significant positives, in that Norfolk Island will be on the same standard time as New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, and will be only 60 minutes ahead of the Australian east coast states. 


However, during the daylight saving periods in the Australian states (except Queensland) the time on Norfolk Island will be the same.  This has great benefits for businesses who do business with Australia, as it brings the two closer together. 


This will also mean that for 6 months of the year the time on Norfolk Island will actually reflect that of the eastern states, therefore television times will be that of Australia and not have to be adjusted.


It is intended that the change will commence on the 5th April 2015 (when Australian ceases day-light saving), if it is possible to gain the assent to the Bill from the Governor General prior to this period, if not then it will be a future date yet to be agreed upon.


The Minister looks forward to comment from the community on this time zone change and believes that there will be no negative impacts with the intended change.  Comments can be provided to ministers@assembly.gov.nf


Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance

2 March 2015 

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NORFOLK ISLAND FUEL SHORTAGE



The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan has advised that he has revoked all prior directions under section 5 of the Fuel Emergency Act 2005, so the rationing ceased at 8.30am Thursday 26th February.


The Tanker Heracles discharged 560,000 litres of ULP, 500,000 litres of diesel and 190,000 litres of Jet A-1 fuel into the Ball Bay storage facility.  This will provide for the Islands requirements over the next 4 months.


The Minister spoke on Norfolk Island radio on Thursday morning to advise of the revocation, and in doing so thanked the personnel of Norfolk Energy and the Captain and crew of the Heracles for undertaking the discharge of fuel in conditions that may not have been ideal. 

The Minister understands that the discharge did have some problems but the expertise of the Captain and crew and that of the persons from Norfolk Energy averted any danger that could have arisen.


The Minister also thanked the community for their patience since the 28th January, when the rationing of fuel commenced, and the Administration personnel who had the responsibilities to obtain additional fuel supplies to ensure that the community had access to fuel. 


As advised the additional fuel costs for the imported drums of fuel will be spread evenly across the 125,000 litres of drummed fuel plus the 560,000 litres of fuel discharged from the tanker, this is necessary to enable the increase to be kept to a minimum.  The fuel prices will be re-assessed when the final cost of the tanker fuel is received.


The Minister has indicated that a report will be prepared by the Administration and that this report will be tabled in the House when received.


Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance

27 February 2015

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A FAIR GO FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


In a statement in last week’s local press I advised that as Minister with responsibility for cultural heritage and community services I had written on 7 February 2015 to the Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia.  A press release about the letter sent to the mainland press has generated offshore radio and print media attention, including in the UK. The letter to the Prime Minister reads:

7 February 2015

The Hon Tony Abbott MP

Prime Minister

Parliament House

Canberra

My dear Prime Minister,

 “A Fair Go” for Norfolk Island

This week we record the passing of a resident of Norfolk Island Dr Colleen McCullough Robinson AO whose funeral on Norfolk Island was attended by Senator Zed Seselja on behalf of the Australian Government.

 

“Our National Treasure”, the late Dr Colleen McCullough Robinson AO in her book “Life without the Boring Bits” included a story entitled “Portrait of a Colonial Overlord” in which Dr. McCullough Robinson describes Norfolk Island as a tiny place – “A mote in the vastness of the Pacific’s eye”. Dr McCullough Robinson writes of the removal by authority of Queen Victoria of the Pitcairn Islanders from Pitcairn Island to Norfolk Island in 1856.

Dr McCullough Robinson writes - “Norfolk Island became a homeland.  It was a place with a natural settlement of genetically unique people”, a people who “developed a language peculiarly their own, and two astonishing modern laws: the first, that all women were entitled to vote on an equal footing with men; and the second, that all children must be schooled”. They came, all 194, a self-governing community with their own language, laws, traditions and culture.

Dr McCullough Robinson further writes - “In 1993 the Norfolk Islanders of Pitcairn stock declared themselves indigenous to Norfolk Island as a homeland, and were accepted into the indigenous community at Geneva”. Subsequently, UNESCO recognised the official Norfolk Island language (Norf’k) as a full and distinct language in its own right, including it in the UNESCO Atlas of the Word’s Languages in Danger in 2008

Prime Minister, I am moved to write to you in my capacity of Minister with responsibility for culture and heritage in the Norfolk Island Government to express a deep disappointment at the apparent lack of understanding and acknowledgement by the Australian Government in their current deliberations on the future governance of Norfolk Island that this tiny ”mote in the vastness of the Pacific’s eye” continues today to be the homeland of the descendants of the original settlers who relocated to Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island in June 1856.
  

The apparent lack of respect being shown to the people of Norfolk Island of Pitcairn descent is distressing to many here on the island who have voiced their deep concerns to me that yet again they are being threatened with the loss of self-government (as happened to the Pitcairn community on Norfolk Island in 1896) and a lack of a codified recognition of them as a people going forward. Under proposals now put forward by your government, they once again face the loss of self-government together with abolition of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, democratic institutions which were hard-won in 1979.

I feel confident Prime Minister that you will understand the distress being experienced today, thirty five years later, when yet again there are moves being made to remove self government from the descendants of the settlers from Pitcairn Island and to replace the Island’s Parliament with a “local Government type body, such as a Norfolk Island Regional Council” (Refer Fact Sheet 2 December 2014 from the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development); with the consequent transfer of a considerable amount of power to the Administrator and Canberra Departmental staff, all unelected representatives, to govern important aspects of Norfolk Island.  It is understood that the Norfolk Island Government’s preferred territory model of self governance is not being considered in the reform process.

Prime Minister, it needs to be understood that Norfolk Island has a unique cultural heritage, which underlies the strength of our community resilience, our economy and, amongst others, is a major part of our tourism appeal. Any economic development strategy that disempowers our community heritage is a high risk gamble. To decide on our governance model therefore, without reference to an agreed economic development strategy, is fraught with danger of economic collapse.

Prime Minister, the Commonwealth took away our fishing rights some years ago and now seems unwilling to allow us to develop a medical cannabis industry on the Island as the basis of reinvigorating our economic base. What economic strategies does your government propose to replace this loss of sovereignty?

One relatively straightforward option would be to allow Norfolk Island to establish its own export fishing industry within a defined coastal zone equivalent to a limited Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). I note that the viability of the Falkland Islands has been greatly improved since it was allowed fishing access to its own EEZ. Prime Minister, I strongly believe that artificial restrictions such as the denial of an export fishing zone to Norfolk Island are the main hurdle to us achieving economic sustainability, not any failings of self governance. Since your government has a welcome focus on reducing red tape and unnecessary regulation, the greatest contribution you could make to our future viability would be to remove the barriers to innovation, free trade and investment which limit our ability to diversify and strengthen our economy.

Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Norfolk Island Parliament and the Chief Minister of the Norfolk Island Government last October delivered to the Australian Federal Parliament a petition from in excess of 700 residents and descendants of the original settlers of Pitcairn Island requesting that before any change to governance arrangements for Norfolk Island, established by the Norfolk Island Act 1979 of the Commonwealth, that the residents of Norfolk Island have the right to be provided the facts and consulted by referendum or plebiscite and have a democratic say on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before any proposed changes are voted on by the Federal Parliament. This message is consistent with the unanimous decision taken by the Norfolk Island Parliament on 20 August 2014 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. 

Any referendum/plebiscite should have independent oversight to ensure an unbiased outcome and that an appropriate institution outside of Australia and Norfolk Island provide that independence to ensure that the culture, traditions, language and rights of the Pitcairn descendants on Norfolk Island are fully acknowledged and protected. I understand that this procedure was followed in Cocos Island, and to be consistent it should also apply to Norfolk Island.

Prime Minister, it would be highly regrettable if your government was to become the first since federation - and probably the first in the British Commonwealth - to abolish a democratically elected parliament, not because of failures of governance but instead because of a perceived need to strengthen the Norfolk Island economy. There is no logical or practical connection between economic sustainability and the removal of democracy.

Prime Minister we have reached an impasse in negotiations between the Commonwealth Government and the Norfolk Island Government and the way needs to be found as a matter of urgency to bring our two governments back to the negotiating table. In this regard I invite you to read the attached article “Norfolk Island and the Commonwealth of Australia: Bridging the Divide” published some months back in The Parliamentarian of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. 

I urge you Prime Minister to bring the foregoing concerns from the Norfolk Island community and in particular from the descendants of the original settlers from Pitcairn Island, to the attention of your Cabinet so that Norfolk Islanders can be assured of a “Fair Go for Norfolk Island”.

Please do not simply refer this letter to your Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development as has been done by you and other Members of the Australian Government when we have written on issues of concern because the Norfolk Island Government does not receive the courtesy of a substantive reply to its concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

The Hon Warren Truss MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Parliament House

Canberra

The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Leader of the Opposition

Parliament House

Canberra   ACT  2601

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NORFOLK ISLAND DESERVES AND EXPECTS MORE THAN A LOCAL COUNCIL GOVERNANCE MODEL



Norfolk Island deserves and expects more than a local council governance model

 

Gai Brodtmann the Federal Member for Canberra in an article published in the Canberra Times on 17/2/2015 applauded the recent recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee.  In which she supports the removal of self-governance and also made comments not based on facts, including that she was the Federal Representative for Norfolk Island.  In response I forward the following reply to the Canberra Times.

 

Gai Brodtmann, the Federal Member for Canberra on 17th February 2015 alluded to a

number of matters that lead to her ill-informed comments.


The total number of Norfolk Island’s population including visitors for the week ending 12/02/2015 was 2312 as against the total numbers of 1600 she was referring to.

Norfolk Island does have a current operating deficit like nearly all mainland government’s including the Commonwealth and ACT government in which Ms Brodtmann resides.

If having a deficit was the criteria for the removal of self-government, then why is she not arguing for all mainland governments running a deficit to be placed into the hands of an Administrator?


The Norfolk Island Government has on numerous times attempted to introduce diversity and new industries into the Norfolk Island’s economy, but has been frustrated by the Commonwealth at every turn. An example of this was the recent issuing of a licence by the Norfolk Island Minister for Culture Heritage and Community Services for the production of medicinal cannabis on Norfolk Island, which was overturned by a flick of the fingers by the Commonwealth.


Ms Brodtmann also suggests that there are no unemployment or healthcare benefits etc on Norfolk Island. This displays a total ignorance of the true facts in that pensions and benefits are afforded to the residents of Norfolk Island by the Norfolk Island Government. One would have thought that in her stated 10 visits to Norfolk Island she would have informed herself better about those matters.


She also overlooks the fact, that in 2010, Norfolk Island agreed to the extension of the Australian taxation and welfare systems into Norfolk Island, but to date despite constant efforts by the Norfolk Island Government, there has been no consultation on the transition process by the Commonwealth. 


Ms Brodtmann being a member of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories would have known that in recommending the removal of the Legislative Assembly in line with former Administrator Neil Pope’s submission that her Committee was operating outside of its terms of reference, and that her Committee did not allow the question of governance to be put by the Norfolk Island Government during the committee’s visit to Norfolk Island. However, her Committee allowed Neil Pope to do so during their last public hearing processes in Canberra and then refused a request from the Norfolk Island Government to make a public hearing submission in reply to Pope’s comments.


While some of the Island’s residents are enrolled in Ms Brodtman’s Federal Electorate it is not the only electorate in which Norfolk Islanders can vote in Federal elections. If she considers herself to be our federal representative she should not be supporting the outcomes of the Joint Standing Committee which was operating in such a biased manner and clearly outside of its terms of reference.


There is a need for change but the removal of the Legislative Assembly is not the answer.

The answer lies with the Commonwealth Government working jointly with the people of Norfolk Island and the Norfolk Island Government to reach an agreement on the way forward, before legislative change is introduced into the Federal Parliament.


The Norfolk Island Government is and continues to be committed to a joint process with the Commonwealth on that path.


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister 

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PETROL SUPPLIES UPDATE



The Minister for Finance has provided a further update on fuel supplies to Norfolk Island.


The Norfolk Guardian arrived at Norfolk Island in the evening of Wednesday 18th February carrying 24,800 litres of fuel. 


Once this fuel is unloaded from the Norfolk Guardian, fuel restrictions will remain in place.  All vouchers will only provide for $30 of fuel until the fuel being carried by the Southern Tiare (100,000 litres), which is due to depart Auckland Friday 20th February is discharged whereby $50 vouchers will be available. 


To facilitate vehicles for visitors who commence to arrive from Friday 20th February, hire vehicles are being supplied with limited fuel from Administration sources to enhance their visitation until the arrival of the Southern Tiare.


The projected time frame for the arrival of the next fuel tanker is 22-23 February and it will depend on sea conditions as to whether this fuel can be discharged.


It is anticipated that the additional cost (above the current wholesale price of $2.17 per litre) of the drummed fuel will be approx. $134,000 and it is intended that the recovery of this additional cost will be spread across the petrol on the fuel tanker.  It is anticipated based on current fuel costs that the increase will be approx. $0.20 per litre.


Rationing will continue until the fuel from the tanker is discharged and cleared for distribution.


Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance

20 February 2015 

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PERSONAL STATEMENT



Lorraine and I are delighted to be returning to Norfolk Island on the scheduled Air New Zealand flight from Brisbane this Saturday 21 February.

Following my medical leave, doctors have now cleared me for on-Island duty.

During the past two months, I have maintained a strong connection to Norfolk Island issues via technology. Now we can engage again in person.

We are most grateful for the good wishes from so many. Their support encourages us to look forward to the future for Norfolk Island. I am committed to continuing to work for and with the Norfolk Island community throughout the rest of 2015 and beyond.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave 20 February 2015
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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FRAMEWORK FOR THE FUTURE



The Norfolk Island Government has developed a draft Strategic Vision “Framework for the Future” that builds upon the extensive work of the government over the past two years.


“The Framework for the Future” identifies our core vision, values and principles that we as a government are committed to applying in all our deliberations and decisions.


The document has been developed to provide vision to whatever the model of governance is decided upon.


We are seeking community feedback over the next two weeks on the document.


A copy is available at the Post Office, Library, Telecom, Banks, Administration Finance Branch and on our government web site at:


http://norfolkisland.gov.nf/la/Media%20Releases/2015/2015_02_12_DRAFT_Norfolk_Island_Government_Strategic_Vision_Framework_for_the_Future.pdf


 I would encourage community comment through the feedback sheet available at the above locations by placing in the box provided or by email to chiefofstaff@assembly.gov.nf or post to the Chief of Staff, Government of Norfolk Island, Kingston.


To facilitate further discussion, government members will also be available at Rawson Hall (Super Room) Saturday 21 February 9am to 11am


Lisle Snell

Chief Minister 

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MOVING FORWARD



Recently the Norfolk Island Government conducted Community Meetings to discuss the matters of governance on Norfolk Island, economic develop for Norfolk Island, the GBEs and transition to the Australian Taxation, Medicare and Social Welfare systems.

Those meetings attended by over 220 residents overwhelmingly identified the necessity for more information to be provided to the Norfolk Island community.

To that extent I have written to Assistant Minister Briggs this week identifying that I plan to establish a taskforce to work in conjunction with him and departmental officers to reach a mutually agreed outcome on governance matters.

This would then enable both governments jointly to present those outcomes to the residents of Norfolk Island as a positive and united way of moving forward, and that we would make ourselves available to meet with him to peruse those matters as a priority.

The uncertainty surrounding the future governance of Norfolk Island by the Commonwealth’s lack of clarity on governance reform timing and details is detrimental to both business confidence and the Norfolk Island Government’s ability in knowing the ongoing status of any Legislation it may be considering to pass within the funding agreement requirements.

I also indicated to Assistance Minister Briggs if that offer is unable to be taken up by him, that the Commonwealth Government determines its position on the Norfolk Island governance model as a matter of priority and the timing of that process is made available to the Norfolk Island Government and community as soon as possible.

The uncertainty within our community is the product of the Commonwealth and this Government will not allow it to continue.

Time for the Commonwealth to show honesty, transparency and respect to this community is now.

Finally I would thank those members of the community, who were able to attend the recent community meetings.

Lisle Snell                                                     

Chief Minister

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SOLUTION FOR SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC OVERSUPPLY PROGRESS



The Minister for Finance, the Hon. Tim Sheridan has today announced the successful parties to be invited to take part in stage 2 of the electricity solution for solar PV oversupply. Stage 2 is a limited tender in which the successful parties will be required to submit more detailed solutions, pricing models, funding options and metering. This stage will be advertised in coming weeks.


Minister Sheridan advises that “The four parties successfully shortlisted are Hydro-Tasmania, Harelec Services, juwi ABB and ET Solar Australia.


These parties all offer vast and practical experiences and I thank them along with the unsuccessful parties for taking the time and effort to respond to the expression of interest and for their interest in assisting Norfolk Island to overcome the issues created by the oversupply of electricity from photovoltaic cells.”


“Stages 1 and 2 will continue to build on the outcomes of the very useful submissions, information and ideas generated during the community consultation and focus group phases.

I appreciate that there is no immediate answer, but as a Government we are certainly heading in the right direction and the tender phase is the next part of this process. To this end I would like to thank the community for their patience and the staff in the Public Service and Norfolk Island Electricity for their commitment and support to this project” said Minister Sheridan.


The Norfolk Island Administration received 12 submissions during the expression of interest phase which was undertaken by LocalBuy in Queensland to ensure relevant independent, technical and probity oversight.


The limited tender phase will commence in coming weeks with an announcement of preferred tenderer to occur in April. LocalBuy will continue to assist during this phase.


Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance 

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PETROL SUPPLIES



The Minister for Finance has provided a further update on fuel supplies.


Due to tankers not being able to discharge, and a rush on petrol supplies, service stations are now out of petrol.


As advised in the Assembly meeting yesterday, Norfolk Energy has secured space for one week’s supply of drummed petrol to be shipped on the Norfolk Guardian which departs from Auckland on 13th February and is due at Norfolk Island 17-18th February.


 A further 3-4 weeks supply has been booked on the Southern Tiare which departs Auckland 18th February.


The next bulk tanker is scheduled to arrive at Norfolk Island 25-28 February, 2015.


Rationing will continue from the arrival of the petrol from the Norfolk Guardian until the next bulk tanker discharges.


Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance 

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YOUR PARLIAMENT YOUR VOICE



My thanks to Mr. Rob Nisbet for regularly screening on TVNI the sitting of the Legislative Assembly held on 18 August 2004 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the inauguration of the Legislative Assembly in 1979.  This “walk down memory lane” is being well received.  This week we publish the Speech given by the Hon R.J. (Bob) Ellicott QC at the 25th Anniversary Sitting.


“The Hon Bob Ellicott QC


Mr. Speaker, Mr. Administrator, Chief Minister and my fellow guests Minister, Honourable Members and guests.  Thank you very much for inviting Colleen and myself back to Norfolk Island. I can only say that we feel very much at home. We were delighted to come and we just want to say a very sincere thank you to all of you.  I would also like to thank our friends, David and Margaret Buffett for the way they’ve cared for us and looked after us since we set foot on Norfolk Island a few days ago. 


People often ask me why did you leave politics or more particularly, what do you enjoy about politics, what did you get out of it?  I may have been a bit hyper active, I’m not sure but I got a tremendous amount out of politics. There were lots of things that happened whilst I was a Minister in various roles. I was Minister for Sport and I had the privilege of setting up the Australian Institute of Sport and as I listen to the Olympics I get great joy out of that.

Coming here to Norfolk Island and seeing what has happened has brought a similar feeling of pride in what you’ve been doing. It is absolutely clear that self Government has been a great success both the spirit of the island and the prosperity of the island are testimony to that fact, so congratulations on what you’ve done in the last twenty-five years. The process by which self Government came about was not overly big. It occupied several visits on my part to the island, but I had a group of people who were committed to it. You might remember Bill McCasker, the Senior Officer who came with me who was committed to the task of self Government.  He is now deceased. But we had that wonderful Administrator Des O’Leary.


Now he may have been one of Australia’s major spy’s at the time, but actually he was a wonderful person in himself. He had a great sense of humour but more than that he understood people but he had the capacity to handle a group of men as they were at that time and with a certain degree of seriousness, but at the same time humour, we set about the task and after those few visits we set the course for self Government in Norfolk Island.  It took discussion, deliberation, drafts and re-drafts.  We had Mr. Ewens the former Parliamentary Counsel helping us with the task; we drew heavily on the self Government of the Northern Territory. If you would like to compare the two Acts you will find a degree of similarity in relation to the establishment of a Westminster system in this place and in the end we came up with a solution that we thought was very suitable to the island.


I think it’s as well to mention the people who were concerned. Some of them are no longer with us but some of them are. Bill Blucher, you Mr. Speaker, Greg Quintal, Bruce Mackenzie, who is now deceased, Lisle Snell, Duncan McIntyre, Geoff Bennett and Brian Nunn who I understand is now deceased.  They were all people who were committed and it was immensely important the contribution they made.


I thought it might be a moment to reflect on the basic principles of self Government to as it were go back to the beginning and set down what those basic tenets were because they are pretty important.  At the very threshold was this proposition that under the Commonwealth Constitution the Commonwealth Parliament has plenary power for the Government of this Territory and that means not only that it regards this Territory as part of Australia but it has not only the power but it has the responsibility of the welfare of Norfolk Island.  


If there was some massive cyclone that descended on this island you would find the Australian Government and the rest of the Australian people here.  That is a basic proposition in self Government. The second one has already been mentioned and that is that the Pitcairners and their descendents have a very special relationship with this island. Now that special relationship with the land of Australia is shared by only a minor number of Australians.  The Aboriginal people, the Torres Straight Islanders, the people of Cocos Island, they all have special relationships with the land where they live. That is not so of all Australians. On the 24th June 1856 this place was set aside as a separate and distinct settlement and the laws and customs of the Pitcairners were to be preserved and maintained in this place and that’s basic to an understanding of self Government on Norfolk Island and your Chief Minister has just mentioned it. 


A third proposition that lay behind it was that over a long period successive Governments had allowed other people to come and live on this island and treat it as their home and they not only came from Australia but they came from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and other parts and they were allowed to stay here, invest here and live here and bring up their families here. That was an important part of self Government and they shared the island with those of Pitcairn descent.  The next principle that I think you readily recognize is that the Pitcairn heritage and culture has to be preserved. It is part of this island’s history, it is part of you and its obviously being done but it’s a basic plank of self Government. I went the other day to see cyclorama. It was an amazing experience to go back to the beginning and go through it and see what had happened.  I come onto another principle which is a little bit controversial I suspect and that is that all the people of responsible age who are committed to reside here whether of Pitcairn descent or not, they be entitled to vote and be elected to the Legislative Assembly. The Minister won’t mind me mentioning what is a jarring note but I think we have to acknowledge it. 


I have to say that was a basic plank of self Government in 1979. The recently applied Australian citizen requirements for voting and election to this Legislative Assembly are antipathetic to the fundamentals of Norfolk Island’s self Government. I can’t call something what it isn’t what it is or vice versa!  That seems to me to be clear.  It may have been that in Roman times Quis Romanus sum, or I am a Roman citizen, was a complete solution to being a free person in the Roman empire because the only alternative seemed to be slavery but Quis Australianus sum is not a complete answer to Norfolk Island’s self Government and there is a jarring note and we need to recognize it.  


I think that that’s enough said but I wanted to make the point and I couldn’t adequately describe all those things without referring to that. Something very important I wanted to mention is that you would notice that when self Government came you had proportional voting and the purpose of that was to underlie one fact and that was that this island can only operate by consensus.  Now I understand Mr Brown Chief Minister, calls himself the leader of the Opposition and there’s a sense of humour in that I’m sure because he probably knows and you probably know that at the end of the day you have to reach agreement around this table and I suspect that’s the basis upon which you all face the task. There can be no room for personal animosities or attitudes that are diverse except in so far as they relate to the best interest Norfolk Island. Unless they do well they have no part in what a small number of people are trying to do for a relatively small number of constituents out there and so far as that’s concerned whatever electoral system you choose, whether it’s first past the post or the present system you’ve got that comes from Illinois or where-ever it came from or whether you choose the Hare Clark system from Tasmania I say to you it doesn’t matter which, at the end of the day whoever sits around this table has to get to a decision by consensus and that was a basic platform of self Government. It’s also true to say that self Government was a process and the Chief Minister  has described that and it’s a great testimony to the willingness of the Australian parliament to evince confidence in the people of Norfolk Island  and in this Legislative Assembly. 


They are very constant and great enquirers into what people do. There are many Members and many senators who are interested in what is happening around the country and that includes Norfolk Island and they subjected you to considerable scrutiny. You will not always agree with them. They too think they are acting in the interests of Norfolk Island but they have in their wisdom in my view, increased your power and that power has been very significant. One thing that you might have thought was a right or a privilege, certainly you didn’t want it, we’ve got it, the Minister  and I have it, we have to live with it and that’s Commonwealth taxation. 


You’ve not been subjected to it and nor have you been subjected, if you see it as a subjection, nor have you the rights to social service or the requirements of deductions of superannuation and all the rest of it which are either shared or inflicted on other Australians but that came at a price and that price was to recognize something out of the Pitcairn heritage and that is that you would look after anybody in need and that was basic to self Government.  It wasn’t just a throw away line with a sense of emotion but that anybody who was in need in this place you would look after them.  Not in some patronizing sort of way but through some system would enable people to come with dignity and obtain benefits if they fell into need and that was an essential part of it.  We sang the Pitcairn anthem this morning and I’ve no need to read to you that centre verse, I was enhungered and you gave me meat, but it lies at the basis of that plank and it is one of the most important.  Mr. Speaker, thank you for inviting us. Thank you for allowing us to share this moment. It’s a great moment for Norfolk Island. It’s a great moment for me and I’m sure it’s a great moment for the Minister”


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

13 February 2015

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UPDATE ON KAVHA MANAGEMENT PLAN


Statement by Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services Robin Adams at the sitting of the Legislative Assembly on 11 February 2015


Update on KAVHA Management Plan


“The Draft Plan, that will replace the 2008 KAVHA CMP, has now commenced its Public Exhibition phase.


“Professor Richard Mackay is back on island this week to facilitate the exhibition and conduct several workshops with principle stakeholder groups. An open community and separate tourism industry workshop are to be held later today at Governors Lodge.  Anyone interested in either of these forums is most welcome and encouraged to attend.


“I understand Richard spoke on the radio yesterday about this process and how people can make use of the opportunity to be part of the on island engagement this week.


“Hard copies of the Draft Plan are available to read at the Visitors Information Centre, Post Office, Public Library and KAVHA Office as well as online at www.kavha.gov.nf


“A survey has been uploaded to the KAVHA webpage to assist with the feedback process. Hard copies of the forms can be provided for those without computer access by calling the KAVHA Office on 23101.


“I urge everyone, especially visitors, to make use of this opportunity to contribute to this final stage of fine tuning the new heritage management plan. If you are happy with the Draft Plan please log onto the webpage and say that too.


“Mr Speaker I conclude by extending my sincere gratitude and compliments to Professor Mackay and his team for their outstanding work in delivering a professional and contemporary plan for the Norfolk Island and Australian governments, which has been a long and at times challenging exercise which has been undertaken with the utmost respect for the Norfolk Island community who have a long and passionate association with the place in multiple capacities and long may it be so.


“I also thank the KAVHA Management Board, Project Manager Anita French and the Project Review Group consisting of Jodie Quintal, Liz McCoy, Fred Howe, Kane Anderson, Brett Sanderson and Ron Nobbs for their extensive contribution to support the consultants deliver an excellent Draft Plan.”

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A FAIR GO FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


Statement by Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services Robin Adams at the sitting of the Legislative Assembly on 11 February 2015


“A Fair Go for Norfolk Island”


“Mr Speaker today the House acknowledged the passing last week of Dr Colleen McCullough Robinson AO and I wish to take the opportunity to record my personal thanks to Dr Col for her passion and drive to tell the story of the Pitcairn descendants to whom Norfolk Island today is their homeland.


“Dr Col’s passing is the catalyst for me as Minister with responsibility for cultural heritage in the Norfolk Island Government to write to Prime Minister Abbott this week bringing to his attention the urgent need for our two governments to bridge the current divide between us and to return to the negotiating table in order that there be “a fair go for Norfolk Island”. The letter has been copied to Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss (and the Cabinet Minister responsible for Infrastructure and Regional Development) and the Leader of the Opposition the Hon Bill Shorten


“Whilst the letter to Prime Minister Abbot will be published fully and more widely in due course, for the record today I will read in part from the letter including the first four paragraphs.  The letter is headed “A Fair Go for Norfolk Island”.


“The letter commences -

‘This week we record the passing of a resident of Norfolk Island Dr Colleen McCullough Robinson AO whose funeral on Norfolk Island was attended by Senator Zed Seselja on behalf of the Australian Government.

 

‘Our National Treasure”, the late Dr Colleen McCullough Robinson AO in her book “Life without the Boring Bits” included a story entitled “Portrait of a Colonial Overlord” in which Dr. McCullough Robinson describes Norfolk Island as a tiny place – “A mote in the vastness of the Pacific’s eye”. Dr McCullough Robinson writes of the removal by authority of Queen Victoria of the Pitcairn Islanders from Pitcairn Island to Norfolk Island in 1856.

‘Dr McCullough Robinson writes - “Norfolk Island became a homeland.  It was a place with a natural settlement of genetically unique people”, a people who “developed a language peculiarly their own, and two astonishing modern laws: the first, that all women were entitled to vote on an equal footing with men; and the second, that all children must be schooled”. They came, all 194, a self-governing community with their own language, laws, traditions and culture.


‘Dr McCullough Robinson further writes - “In 1993 the Norfolk Islanders of Pitcairn stock declared themselves indigenous to Norfolk Island as a homeland, and were accepted into the indigenous community at Geneva”. Subsequently, UNESCO recognised the official Norfolk Island language (Norf’k) as a full and distinct language in its own right, including it in the UNESCO Atlas of the Word’s Languages in Danger in 2008.’.”

Mr Speaker the letter goes on to encourage the Prime Minister to understand that Norfolk Island has a unique cultural heritage, which underlies the strength of our community resilience, our economy and, amongst others, is a major part of our tourism appeal; that any economic development strategy that disempowers our community heritage is a high risk gamble; and that to decide on our governance model without reference to an agreed economic development strategy, is fraught with danger of economic collapse.

The letter in its concluding paragraphs Mr Speaker draws to the Prime Minister’s attention that it would be most regrettable if his government was to become the first since federation - and probably the first in the British Commonwealth - to abolish a democratically elected parliament, not because of failures of governance but instead because of a perceived need to strengthen the Norfolk Island economy as there is no logical or practical connection between economic sustainability and the removal of democracy.”

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NOTICE PAPER



NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

NOTICE PAPER NUMBER 22

wednesday 11 FEBRUARY 2015

 

NORF’K AILEN

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

NOETIS PIEPA NAMBA 22

WENSDI 11 FEBRI 2015

 

NOTICES       

 

1       NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ACT 1985

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

 

THAT this House, in accordance with sections 12(1) and 13 of the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985, resolve that ¾

 

Candice Anne Snell

 

not being the Director, an employee of the Enterprise or a Minister be re-appointed by the Minister as a member of the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board for a term of 3 years commencing on the date the notice of appointment is published in the Gazette.

 

2       NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ACT 1985

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services (Ms Adams) to move ¾

 

THAT this House, in accordance with section 12(1) of the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985, resolve that ¾

 

Rhonda Evelyn Griffiths

 

not being the Director, an employee of the Enterprise or a Minister be appointed by the Minister as a member of the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board for a term of 12 months commencing on the date the notice of appointment is published in the Gazette.

 

3       NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ACT 1985

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services (Ms Adams) to move ¾

 

THAT this House, in accordance with section 12(1) of the Norfolk Island Hospital Act 1985, resolve that ¾

 

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

 

not being the Director, an employee of the Enterprise or a Minister be appointed by the Minister as a member of the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board for a term of 12 months commencing on the date the notice of appointment is published in the Gazette.

 

4       IMMIGRATION ACT 1980 - APPLICATION FOR GENERAL ENTRY PERMIT

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

 

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

 

Charlene Abria

 

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

 

 

5       IMMIGRATION (AMENDMENT NO 2) BILL 2014

         IMEGRIESHAN (CHIENJEN 2) BIL 2014

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

                                                                                                                       Debate adjourned

6       COMMUNITY TITLE BILL 2015

         KOMYUUNETI TAITL BIL 2015

         Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward to present a Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment, registration and administration of community title schemes, and for other purposes.

                                                                                                                       Debate adjourned

 

7       COMMUNITY TITLE (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2015

         KOMYUUNETI TAITL (KONSEKWENCHL CHIENJ) BIL 2015

         Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward to present a Bill for an Act consequential upon the making of the Community Title Act 2015, and for related purposes

                                                                                                                       Debate adjourned

 

ORDER OF THE DAY

 

2       LAND RATES BILL 2014

RIET FE LAEN BIL 2014

Resumption of debate (Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan) from 15 October 2014 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle. Mr Sheridan to seek leave to withdraw the Bill

 

NOTICES CONTINUED

 

8       MUNICIPAL RATES BILL 2015

         MYUUNESIPL RIET BIL 2015

Minister for Finance, Mr Sheridan, to present a Bill for an Act to provide for the levy of rates and charges on land and for related purposes.

                                                                                                                       Debate adjourned

ORDERS OF THE DAY

 

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

         Resumption of debate (Mr Nobbs) from 25 June 2014 on the question – THAT the motion be agreed

 

3       TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

TRAEFIK (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

Resumption of debate (Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward) from 15 October 2014 on the question – THAT the Bill be agreed to in principle

 

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

54     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister For Finance

Will the Minister provide details on the Norfolk Island Government’s overall policy approach to fuel and electricity supply and the extent to which the policy has been or is proposed to be implemented?

55     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

Given that the Ball Bay bulk storage facility is proposed to be outsourced along with the other aspects of the fuel supply operation; will the Minister answer the following:

  1. What is the current condition status of the bulk storage facility,
  2. What are the current and ongoing costs associated with running and maintaining the storage facility,
    1. Is it a fact that the Norfolk Island Government builds into the wholesale price of fuel a component for the upkeep and    operation of the bulk storage facility, and;
  3. Is the land owned by the Commonwealth and if so; what are the ongoing associated costs?

56     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

Given the Minister’s previous statement that the Norfolk Island Administration only seeks to break even in its fuel supply role; will the Minister explain how the outsourcing of the bulk storage facility will have a positive effect on the price of fuel to the local consumer and if it has the reverse effect; will the Minister reject a new arrangement in relation to the storage facility?

57     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

What is the current cost per litre of diesel fuel used for electricity generation as reflected in the Norfolk Electricity budget and what is the methodology used to lower or raise the KW hour tariff in line with movements in the price of diesel?

58     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

What is the Norfolk Island Government’s plan for electricity generation; short, medium and long-term and what are the expected outcomes for house-holds and business including government business enterprise?

59     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

Will the Minister list the agreed recommendations arising from the Deloitte review of Government Business Enterprises and explain the agreed deliverables and expected outcomes from the current stage of the reform process? 

 

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

         Did the Norfolk Island Government make submission to the draft R&S Muller Health Services Survey Report and Response to the Draft Health Services Plan Report and if not why, and; when will the final R&S Muller reports be released to the Norfolk Island Government?

 

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

         Will the Minister provide a definitive timeframe in relation to the development of a five year health services plan for the Norfolk Island community and; will the Minister confirm that both the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise Advisory Board and Director have provided written advice in response to the draft Nexus and R&S Muller reports?

 

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

         Will the Minister explain how the five year health services plan fits into the Norfolk Island Government’s Preferred Territory model of Government; which health services have been identified by the Norfolk Island Government as essential; how will these services be delivered and how will they be funded?

 

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

         Given that the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise operating theatre has been closed because it does not meet Australian Council on Health Standards (ACHS) standards for elective surgery; what is the Norfolk Island Government’s policy position in relation to the ongoing provision of elective surgical procedures at the local hospital and if the policy is to re-open the theatre; how will the policy be funded?  

 

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

         Given that the development of consolidated health legislation as set out in the Nexus and Smyth Reports form part of the agreed joint funding agreement 2014-15; will the Minister inform the House which Government officer or department has been charged with undertaking the task and will the Minister provide a progress report that will give Members confidence that the June 2015 milestone deadline will be met?

 

65     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for the Environment –

         Given the Minister’s words in the House last December that he had asked the Chief Executive Officer to meet with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to find an agreeable way forward in relation to the Cascade and Kingston Pier upgrade project; will the Minister confirm that this meeting took place and brief Members on the outcome of the meeting and let the community know whether or not they should hold out hope that an economic development project will commence in 2015?

 

66     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for the Environment –

         Isn’t it a fact that the original Federal Grant funding for the pier upgrade project was approved with the understanding that the Norfolk Island Government was not a going concern and that future obligations in relation to the purchase of a crane and barges were unfunded and if so; what has caused the Norfolk Island Government to no longer trust the Commonwealth to remain committed to economic infrastructure development on the Island?

 

 

 

67     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for the Environment –

         Given the Norfolk Island Government’s new policy in relation to future rock supply; when will  essential exploratory drilling work at Cascade, Headstone and Jacob’s Rock commence and how much has been allowed for in the budget review process to undertake this work?

 

68     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

         Will the Minister outline the Government’s plan to repay the $11.4 million airport runway re-seal loan; fund the next reseal and fund currently unfunded depreciation worth approximately $44 million and; what timeframe is attached to the action plan?

 

69     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Environment –

         Given the Minister’s unilateral policy position on land rates stated at the last Sitting of the House; will he outline the alternate local revenue streams that have been examined by him and will he indicate whether or not sufficient revenue will be raised to deliver services in a way that upholds National standards particularly in the area of health, education, policing and community welfare? 

 

70     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

         Will the Minister provide answers in relation to the proposed municipal rates levy system:

  1.   Provide the reasons behind the development of the special rate levy system,
  2.   Describe how the benefit principle will be applied, and;
  3.   Explain why rural and agricultural land has been aggregated but residential land has not?

 

71     Mrs Ward to ask the Minister for Finance –

         Given that the Australian Government is not willing to fund the Norfolk Island Government’s preferred Territory model of government and given the Norfolk Island Government’s insistence to date that it is the best way forward; is the Norfolk Island Government proposing to fund its preferred model without Australian Government support?

 

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

         Given the Norfolk Island Education Report 2014 recommendation that the Norfolk Island Government negotiate the extension and implementation of relevant Commonwealth and NSW legislation to support the provision of education to the Island and given the general support of Members; what has the Minister done to pursue the matter?

 

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

         In relation to child protection and safe guards for local children attending the two pre-schools and Norfolk Island Central School; has the Minister developed a policy in relation to employees and volunteers who come into contact with children and young people and if so; what has the Minister done to assure herself that the policy has been implemented and is working effectively?

74       Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister –

         What has the Norfolk Island Government done since March 2013 to convince the Commonwealth that the Island has the political will and capacity to legislate, administer, manage and partially fund efficient, equitable, effective and transparent State level services now and into the future?

 

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly  

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SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL



Mr John Christian wrote to the local press on 31 January 2015 expressing a number of concerns about the operation of the Hospital and the services being provided (or not provided).  The concerns raised by Mr Christian are valid concerns not only of Mr Christian, but also by the Norfolk Island Government and members of the Norfolk Island community. 


“I trust the brief provided to me by the Director in response to Mr Christian’s letter is of some assistance to the community in understanding the current and ongoing difficulties that we are endeavouring to address to provide the community with the medical services that we would wish to see available in this small and isolated community”, Minister Adams said, “and I thank Mr Christian for publicly raising his concerns, concerns which were also raised at the community meeting held Thursday evening at Rawson Hall.”


THE NORFOLK ISLAND HOSPITAL ENTERPRISE

PO BOX 94

NORFOLK ISLAND 2899

Phone: 6723 22091

Facsimile: 6723 23245

Brief provided by the Hospital Director to Minister Adams on the issues raised by a member of the community in the local press on Saturday 31 January 2015

Mr Christian’s letter raised a number of points regarding the downgrading of services provided at the Norfolk Island Hospital. This brief is to address a number of those concerns and provide factual information for yourself and the community.


“Routine services such as surgery, colonoscopies, endoscopies, and obstetrics have ceased being performed at the Hospital under the auspices of accreditation” (Mr Christian)

Colonoscopies and endoscopies have ceased until such time as the operating theatre can be brought up to standard; a standard which is set by the ACHS (the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards) which undertook a survey of the Hospital in 2014. A considerable amount of electrical, building, and policy and procedure development is required to achieve accreditation of the theatre, including satisfying the requirement to provide positive and negative airflows in clean and dirty areas, appropriate clean to dirty flow through of instruments, linen etc and to provide appropriate storage for sterile stock. Electrical systems must be isolated and ceiling pendants installed to prevent electrical cords on the floors. Scavenging systems for anaesthetic gases must also be installed along with the installation of fume cabinets for the sterilisation of colonoscopies and endoscopes. The estimated cost of the upgrade is in excess of $500,000.00. The Hospital is committed to undertaking this work once resources and funding can be provided.

The Hospital has attempted at least for some years now to recruit a replacement GP/Surgeon/Obstetrician and a GP/Anaesthetist/Obstetrician. Recruitment strategies included advertising in the Weekend Australian, Australian Doctor Magazine, NZ Doctor Magazine, 6 Minutes Newsletter for Doctors, Medical Observer Magazine, Jobs4doctors.com.au; the Australian College of Rural and Remote medicine, NSW Rural Doctors Network, Medical Journal of Australia, Charterhouse Medical Recruitment, IMR Medical Recruitment and through Dr Ian Rewell from South East Sydney Local Health District.. In excess of $50,000.00 has been spent on this process with not one response from appropriately qualified Doctors.


Anecdotally we have been informed by a number of sources that the Doctors we were seeking, in particular GP/Surgeons/Obstetricians no longer exist. In fact, Dr McNamara was one of only 10 left in Australia who was still practicing. There are a large number of studies that identify the difficulties with recruitment of such doctors and the following are quotes from a number of those articles:


Maternity Care in General Practice, W E Brodribb, Medical Journal of Australia, 2013.

“10 years ago commenced the decline in GP led Obstetrics. In 2013, there were 481 GP/Obstetricians Australia wide, 142 less than in 2008 (Rural Health Workforce Survey). There has been a closure of 50 birthing services between 2006 and 2011 leading to a deskilling of GP’s in these areas.”


Leading the Rebirth of the Rural Obstetrician, Campbell, Brown, Simon, Young and Kinsmark, Medical Journal of Australia, 2014.

“Half of the existing GP/Obstetricians intended ceasing practice in the next 5-7 years (2003). Factors contributing include a rise in specialisation, centralisation of services, concerns regarding indemnity and litigation, rural workload and difficulty maintaining competence.”


Obstacles and solutions to maintenance of advanced procedural skills for rural and remote medical practitioners in Australia, Glazebrook and Harrison, Rural and Remote Health, 2006.

“A further barrier to the maintenance of advanced procedural skills relates to rising professional indemnity premiums and increased litigation. This factor has had a considerable impact on the entire medical profession in Australia. In rural areas the impact is heightened through older doctors choosing to retire rather than continuing to practice, doctors ceasing procedural work and a reduction in the complexity of rural based surgical services offered by visiting surgeons. A survey of procedural GP’s in NSW reported that rising costs of indemnity cover and a growing fear of litigation were to blame for doctors planning to cease advanced procedural work within the next 5 years.”


What to do about the problems caused by super specialisation in Medicine, Smith P, Australian Doctor, 2012

“Specialisation has gone too far, driven by the professions and supported by employers … while at the opposite end, the capacity of GP’s, generalists and support workers are not being sufficiently valued or managed.”        “We need a broader, and in the case of general practice and medicine, a deeper scope of practice. The idea is to equip a new generation of GP’s with skills in obstetrics, emergency medicine, anaesthetics and surgery after the previous generation was stripped of them through the combined efforts of the specialist colleges and the hospital system.”


“Since this happened I have spoken to two general practitioners who tell me they would have happily treated this injury and that it is crazy to fly to another country and wait 4 days for treatment.” (Mr Christian)

The injury that was suffered was a compound laceration (open exposure of the bones) to the toes of the right foot that needed surgical debridement by an Orthopaedic surgeon. The surgery that was undertaken was a removal of the terminal phalanges, or amputation at the last joint of the toe. This was required to be done under a general anaesthetic in an operating theatre by an Orthopaedic Surgeon. I am advised by the Hospital’s General Practitioners that it was necessary for the patient to be referred to Australia. Whilst it is correct that this may have been able to be treated here three years ago by Dr McNamara, the hospital no longer has a surgeon on its staff.


“I understand that currently 70 people are being referred off Island for treatment that would normally be performed at the NI Hospital.” (Mr Christian)

In 2009/2010 there were 215 patients referred off Island. 

In 2010/2011 there were 238 patients referred off Island.

In 2011/2012 there were 208 patients referred off Island.

In 2012/2013 there were 256 patients referred off Island

In 2013/2014 there were 312 patients referred off Island.

Dr McNamara departed in June, 2012 and as can be seen even when we had those services available a number of patients had to be referred off Island. Since that time we have been relying on Locum services and this possibly explains the increase in the latter half of 2012/2013 and 2013/2014. With an ageing population on Norfolk Island illnesses that cannot be treated here are becoming more prevalent including cancer and other chronic illnesses and we have certainly seen an increase in those who require referral off Island which could not have been treated here, even with the best surgical services.


“We were told three years ago that closer ties with the Australian medical system and POW would improve our health care.” (Mr Christian)

The Memorandum of Understanding between South East Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) and the Norfolk Island Hospital has certainly improved our health care as we are now able to refer our patients directly to SESLHD without the need to ring around to find an available bed or a hospital that will treat our patients. We have direct access to specialists and emergency departments through SESLHD and Prince of Wales, Sydney Children’s Network and St George hospitals in particular. We have also received a lot of assistance in accessing information and assistance with the Accreditation process, Infection control and Governance issues. We are also pleased to advise that we are able now to send our  X-rays and Ultrasounds away for reading and reporting in a short time frame.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

06 February 2015

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BEST WAY FORWARD FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today, “The first community meeting was held on Thursday 5th February with approximately 110 residents attending the meeting  and was facilitated by Simon Millcock the former Economic Development Officer for both Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands when he was employed by the Australian Government. Simon was able to provide a brief background to the meetings of his personal and family experiences of living and working in the Indian Ocean Territories from late 2008 until September 2013. Simon had also been part of the pro-bono economic development capacity building workshops undertaken with the Norfolk Island community by Economic Development Australia in August 2012”.

The topics discussed during the meeting were:

  1. Private investment processes & Industry government partnerships
  2. Infrastructure and capital injection projects
  3. Government Business Enterprise management structures

Following discussion on those topics the meeting then moved onto discussions, two suggested outcomes from the meeting and these matters were resolved via a show of hands

Outcome 1: Economic Development Strategy

The meeting endorsed that the NIG in partnership with the community develop an agreed strategic economic plan that identifies the long term economic direction for Norfolk Island. And: That this strategy is to include both current industries/enterprises and future economic initiatives and performance measures by identifying and describes the partnership arrangements and actions between all levels of government, business and the community to deliver the strategic outcomes.

The meeting was divided on if the Australian Government should be part of this partnership with approximately 60% of those who raised their hands indicated that the Australian Government should not be and around 40% of those who raised their hands say that the Australian Government should be.

Outcome 2: Infrastructure

This meeting endorsed that the NIG should be able to negotiate with the Commonwealth Government to identify critical short and long term infrastructure projects for budget allocation and they should not be limited to the Joint Standing Committee recommendations but include such items as Airport, KAVHA and Hospital. And: Those negotiations to include the necessary infrastructure capital injection and management models as required for the Government Business Enterprise to be sustainable for delivering ongoing and future services to the needs of Norfolk Island.

This was a unanimous vote with approximately 80% of those attending voting for this and no one raised their hand against.

The second community meeting scheduled to be held on 6th February is too late for reporting on before the cut off for inclusion in this weekend’s edition of the Islander.

A full summary of the outcomes of both those community meetings will be next week’s Norfolk Online edition.

Lisle Snell                                                     

Chief Minister

Date 06/0/2015

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AUSTRALIA DAY STATEMENT



Australia Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788.  Nearly six weeks later that same year, the first colonial settlement on Norfolk Island was established. 

On Australia Day, we celebrate our modern nation and its diversity across all Australian states and territories.

While I am disappointed to not personally be on Norfolk Island today, I wish to take the opportunity to recognise the importance of community service and more specifically, that the ethos of community service is undeniably strong on Norfolk Island. Many people do so much. 

With that in mind, I recognise the following people for their own community service, as representatives of the organisations to which they belong and as representatives of the broader community.

Loretta Boler

Rebecca Christian

Doug Creek

Peter Davidson

Leslie Edward

Hadyn (Teddy) and Rose Evans

Melinda Hassen

Dale Howe

Maureen King

Cheryl (Sarlu) LeCren

Jack Marges

Mike Perkins

Seventh Day Adventist Church

Louise Tavener  

Naomi Thompson

Tracey Yager 

 

I also wish to recognise achievement today, with a well-deserved focus on the youth of Norfolk Island.

Andre Forrester

Members of the Norfolk Island Central School – 2014 Years 7 & 8 Debating Team (Vanessa Brown; Sophie Ellem; Amelia Murray and Branker South).




















The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

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PETROL STOCKS TO BE RATIONED



The Hon Tim Sheridan, Minister for Finance, has confirmed the radio advice that there is a

need to ration petrol stocks.


“It is important to make it clear to the community that diesel fuel is not being rationed, only

petrol. The decision to introduce rationing from 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 January 2015, was a necessary measure to ensure the limited stock of petrol is available to all users until supplies are replenished,” the Minister said.


The tanker has been unable to discharge since its arrival on Saturday 24 January, 2015 and, as the unfavourable weather is forecast to continue, and other islands are also low on petrol supplies, the tanker has sailed to service those islands.


The date of the return of the tanker is still being finalised.


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 4pm on business days; and
  • Visitors Information Centre between 8.30am and 3pmon weekends.

A voucher can only be used once. The voucher is to be given at the time you purchase the fuel 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.”


I take this opportunity to convey my thanks and appreciation to all those who are working

proactively to minimise the impact of this problem on Norfolk Island. I particularly wish to

thank the owners and the employees of ExxonMobil, Natjola, Burnt Pine Fuel, the Service Stations and the Administration for their co-operative efforts.


Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance

30 January 2015 

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YOUR PARLIAMENT YOUR VOICE



From time to time I have been asked as Minister with responsibility for cultural heritage in the Norfolk Island Government for information on how the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island works and as Speaker in the previous Assembly (the 13th) I published a regular blog post “Your Parliament Your Voice”. This week I have been asked whether the DVD of the Inaugural Sitting of the First Legislative Assembly which took place on 10 August 1979 could be made available on local TV and radio. We do have a copy of the DVD; however it is copyrighted and therefore it is necessary to get approval for it to be replayed.  Approval to do so has been requested.


However we do have a copy of the DVD produced in 2004 by Mr Chris Ciantar on the occasion of the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Legislative Assembly in 1979 which was attended by the then Administrator, the Hon Grant Tambling; the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads in the Australian Government the Hon Jim Lloyd MP; and the Hon R J (Bob) Ellicott QC, the architect of self government for Norfolk Island when he was Federal Minister with responsibility for Norfolk Island affairs in 1979.


With the kind permission of Mr Rob Nisbet of TVNI, and of the film’s producer Mr Chris Ciantar, TVNI will be screening the 25th Anniversary Sitting of the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island over the coming months on both channels on TVNI. 


Regrettably we do not have a DVD of the 30th Anniversary Sitting of the Legislative Assembly which was to have been attended by the then Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, AC and I know we will all recall our disappointment that Her Excellency’s aircraft was unable to land due to inclement weather.  However we proceeded with the ceremonial sitting and the then Administrator, the Hon Owen Walsh, read a speech on behalf of the Governor-General.


“I realised when I was asked about the DVD”, Minister Adams said, “That whilst the sittings are broadcast over the local radio only a handful of people on Norfolk Island would have actually ‘seen’ a live sitting of our Legislative Assembly. At this time when the people of Norfolk Island are being asked whether they wish to continue to have their own Parliament (the Legislative Assembly), and retain self government which was given to Norfolk Island in 1979, or revert to a local Council as proposed by the Commonwealth in its Factsheets circulated in December 2014, it is appropriate to provide this information to help to inform the community.”


In addition to the screening on TVNI of the 25th Anniversary sitting in 2004, our local radio will over the coming week take us on a trip down memory lane by re-broadcasting the speeches of:

  • The Hon R.J. Ellicott QC in 1979 and 2004;
  • The  Chief Minister Geoff Gardner, and the Hon. Jim Lloyd MP in 2004; and
  • Her Excellency the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in 2009.

In addition the speeches will be published in the local media commencing this week with the speech of Her Excellency the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Speech of Her Excellency the Governor General of Australia on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the inauguration of the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island held on 19 August 2009


Read by His Honour the Administrator Mr Owen Walsh.


“Her Excellency the Governor-General has asked me to read the message that she would have much preferred to deliver in person on this important historic occasion. Her Excellency’s message is as follows:


“I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit Norfolk Island to commemorate 30 years of self-government. I thank you for the opportunity to address this special sitting of the Legislative Assembly. Norfolk Island has a rich history, chequered in hope and despair, beauty and ugliness. I am speaking to you today in a building deeply ingrained with the lessons of the past and with the promise of the future. The stark contrasts of Norfolk Island provide such an opportunity for us; a chance to learn about ourselves, each other. A chance to work together to secure a future for the people of Norfolk Island – to ensure the lessons from history are not forgotten. I congratulate all past and present members of the Legislative Assembly. Each member of the Assembly has contributed their own time and effort in the interests of the Norfolk Island community. Your generosity is as important a reason for the 30th anniversary celebrations as the passage of the enabling legislation. Today, I also remember the loss of Ivens (Toon) Buffet who was killed while in office in 2004. I honour his memory and contribution to Norfolk Island.


“As Governor-General, I have had the opportunity to travel to many communities throughout Australia. I have spoken with the people who are responsible for those communities. I can see that every day, members of the Assembly must deal with the issues that are facing the community here. You, as policy makers, live side by side with the people affected by your policies. What a valuable opportunity that is, for you and the people you represent. It means that you can be held to account immediately for the decisions that you make. You are not buffered by living elsewhere in a different community. The decision that you make today will be raised with you tomorrow. Being part of a system with such direct representation has its own demands on you. It means that you must daily demonstrate the courage to make the right decisions. Not the decisions that will please your neighbour or the people you see in the supermarket. You must make the decisions that will benefit the community and future of Norfolk Island.


“I am reminded of the address made to the first Assembly by the Hon Bob Ellicott QC in 1979. Mr. Ellicott said: As individuals, be prepared to abandon your own pet theories; adopt as your test what appears to be reasonable in the interests of all the people. This is sage advice indeed. Mr. Ellicott also asked the Assembly to focus on decision-making by consensus. I realise that decision-making by consensus brings a certain burden. Those who speak must express their ideas clearly and honestly. Those who listen must do so openly. Alternatives and opportunities must be raised and considered. Consensus decision-making may take time. It may raise issues that are difficult or confronting. However, at the end of those discussions, there can be certainty, certainty that dialogue has been open; certainty that the best interests of the Norfolk Island community have been explored. I commend these ideals to you, as a central aspect of your self-government system. I am sure that you will agree that these ideals should be protected and valued.


“Norfolk Island has much to be protected and valued. The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area will be assessed as part of Australia’s nomination of convict sites to the World Heritage List. I am excited that KAVHA has been included in the nomination. Our capacity to demonstrate our care for our heritage and environment will be showcased. It is an opportunity for many Australians to understand the important role Norfolk Island has played in Australia’s settlement and development. Norfolk Island’s small first European settlement was crucial to the survival of its sister settlement at Sydney Cove. I hope that KAVHA’s nomination will encourage many to visit Norfolk Island. Visitors will gain a better understanding of the many challenges faced by early settlers, on Norfolk Island. 


KAVHA’s nomination also acknowledges a significant, dark time in Australia’s convict history. We should not forget the ordeals experienced by the people sent here. Neither should we forget that KAVHA is the place where the Pitcairn Islanders found their new home. I can only imagine the mixed feelings of the Pitcairners on leaving their Island home. I can certainly imagine their delight in seeing this beautiful landscape five weeks later. The heritage, language and culture brought by the Pitcairners has been woven into the rich fabric of Norfolk Island life. It contributes to the Norfolk Island that we enjoy today. What a change is represented here - from the misery of a penal colony to the opportunities for a new life. This building represents a point of balance between Norfolk Island’s past and its future. The Assembly that uses it forms the heart of the Norfolk Island Government and community. 


Norfolk Island faces some significant challenges. It needs to be focused on, treasured and developed. I am struck by the words of Emily Dickinson “I held a jewel in my fingers, And went to sleep, The day was warm, and winds were prosy; I said: "It will keep. I woke and chid my honest fingers, -- The gem was gone; and now an amethyst remembrance is all I own.” Let us not risk the jewel that Norfolk Island represents.

 

“I invite you all to use this 30th Anniversary as a time to contemplate not only where Norfolk Island has come from. It is a time to look to the future, to ensure that Norfolk Island’s gift is available to the generations that follow us. I congratulate Norfolk Island for 30 years of self-government.” (Speech by Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC, the then Governor-General of Australia, on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary Sitting held on 19 August 2009 to commemorate the inauguration of the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island)


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

30 January 2015

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GOVERNANCE MODEL COSTINGS



In my message to residents of 16 January 2015 I indicated that the Norfolk Island Government had proposed to the Commonwealth that our two governments work together to develop and cost alternative governance models for Norfolk Island.


As I indicated then that proposal was not accepted by the Commonwealth and consequently the Norfolk Island Government had conducted an independent evaluation and costing of its preferred governance model. 


As the Commonwealth has still yet to disclose any costing on its Regional Council model proposal and in the support of openness, transparency and accountability the Norfolk Island Government has decided to publically release that independent evaluation and costing on our preferred model which can be found at;


http://norfolkisland.gov.nf/la/RoadMapReformProcess/GovernanceModel/2015_01_30-Governance_costing_report.pdf


As we as a community move to a critical stage in the discussion around the future governance arrangement for Norfolk Island the onus is on the Commonwealth to publically release the full costings of its Regional Council model proposal.


If that is not forthcoming the community has a right to question why not!

 

Lisle Snell                                                     

Chief Minister

Date 30/01/2015

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SAD PASSING OF MS COLLEEN MCCULLOGH AO



I am saddened to hear of the passing of well-known Norfolk Island resident and author, Ms Colleen McCullough AO.


Ms McCullough was born in Wellington, NSW in 1937.  Her mother was New Zealander. Her family settled in Sydney and she attended Holy Cross College. She continued her studies at the University of Sydney (in medicine).


During her stay in the USA while studying and teaching at Yale, Ms Cullough wrote her first two books - “The Thorn Birds” being the most celebrated. In 1983 the book became an international best seller and a highly commended television mini-series.


Ms McCullough moved to Norfolk Island in the late 1970s. She married Ric Robinson in April 1983. A portrait of Miss McCullough was painted by artist Wesley Walters and featured as a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 1984.


A member of the New York Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science, Ms McCullough led an extraordinary life.


Along with all residents of Norfolk Island and those who loved her literary works, I would like to extend my condolences to her family and friends.


His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

29 January 2015

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COMMUNITY MEETING DATES


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THE BEST WAY FORWARD FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


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NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENTS INFORMATION SHEETS






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CALL FOR PUBLICE COMMENT ON THE CURRENT PROPOSALS TO AMEND THE TRAFFIC LEGISLATION OF NORFOLK ISLAND





On 17 December 2015 the Legislative Assembly resolved -

That the TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014 / TRAEFIK (CHIENJEN)

BIL 2014 (the Bill) be referred to the Impact of Bills Committee

 

The Committee needs to know how you, the Norfolk Island community, feel about the proposed changes.

 

What are the main issues that the proposed legislation deals with?

 

The purpose of this Bill is to introduce an initial step towards bringing the road traffic laws of Norfolk Island more in line with accepted principles of safety applied in the Commonwealth.  The Bill seeks to make provision for random breath and oral fluid testing and to make some consequential amendments and corrections to the principal Act.

The Bill has 4 clauses and a Schedule.

Clauses 1-3 provide the usual short title, commencement and reference to the principal Act being amended.

Clause 4 provides for the principal Act to be amended by the Schedule.

The Schedule contains 5 items ¾

     Item 1 Replaces the existing definitions of “Commonwealth” and “Commonwealth entity” to reflect changes to Commonwealth legislation.

     Item 2 Corrects an incorrect subsection reference in section 8.

Item 2A brings the existing provisions of the principal Act into line with the terminology of the changes proposed and makes a correction in terminology.  Thus reference is now made throughout to “breath test” rather than “breath analysis”. “Blood test” is the expression used with respect to blood rather than “analysis”.

Item 3 inserts 6 new sections into the principal Act.  These are ¾

          Section 32A to provide a power to conduct random breath testing.  A police officer can request any person to take a breath test if the officer is satisfied that the person is or was driving a motor vehicle on a road or otherwise in a controlling position with respect to the vehicle or the driver.  Before a breath test is done a police officer may require a person to take a preliminary breath test to ascertain f there is any indication of alcohol in the person’s breath.  A police officer may require a person to stop a vehicle and if the driver does not do so an offence is committed.

          Section 32B provides that a person may be arrested if as a result of the testing the alcohol concentration exceeds those set out in the section.

          Section 32C provides for the conduct of random testing of oral fluids for prescribed illicit drugs.  The provision mirrors that for alcohol testing.

          Section 32D provides for the arrest of persons testing positively for illicit drugs and mirrors the provision for alcohol testing.

          Section 32 E makes provision for having oral fluid samples tested following the arrest of a person.

          Section 32F provides for the taking of a blood sample in order to determine the presence of illicit drugs.

Item 4 makes consequential changes to the regulation making power concerning alcohol and drug testing in section 56(9) of the principal Act.

It is important to the Committee that all members of the Norfolk Island community, who have made this Island their home, be given every opportunity to comment on this proposed piece of legislation.

 

The first public hearing will be held at 9.30 am on Thursday 29 January 2015 in the Assembly Chamber.

 

If you feel you would like to comment on the proposed TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014 there are a number of ways you can do this:

 

  1. Obtain a copy of the proposed legislation at no cost by contacting the Clerk or Secretary at the Legislative Assembly, either by phone on 22003 or by email on clerk@assembly.gov.nf. You can also access the Bill, the explanatory memorandum and the clause notes at www.info.gov.nf and click onto “Bills introduced into 14th Assembly”.

 

  1. Write a letter saying how you feel about it and send it to the Office of the Clerk, Old Military Barracks, Kingston.

 

  1. Make an appointment to come and talk with the Committee members by contacting the Clerk or Secretary at the Legislative Assembly, either by phone on 22003 or by email on clerk@assembly.gov.nf.   Appointments are essential.

 

The Committee urges members of the community to find out how they are affected by the proposed law and make their views known

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APPOINTMENT OF NEW OFFICER IN CHARGE, NORFOLK ISLAND POLICE FORCE



Following her appointment on 19 January 2015, Sergeant Catherine Tye has commenced her role as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Norfolk Island Police Force (NIPF).

Catherine is a welcome addition to the NIPF, continuing the shared funding arrangement between the Norfolk Island Government and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Catherine comes to this appointment with 15 years policing experience in general duties, national investigations, training, professional standards and administration. Catherine has worked with Pacific Island police services in developing their investigative and surveillance capabilities, including an extended deployment to Papua New Guinea. She has also previously been deployed to Christmas Island.

Catherine is joined on Norfolk Island by her husband Angus and daughter Ellen.

I thank Detective Sergeant Craig Marriott, his wife and family, for their tireless contribution and Craig’s service over the past two years.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
20 January 2015

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WHOLESALE FUEL PRICING



The Minister for Finance, Tim Sheridan has advised “I would like to make this statement to defuse a lot of inaccurate information that has flowed from the community in recent weeks ”.


Whilst it is true that world oil prices have dropped by in excess of 50%, and retail petrol prices in Australian cities are at their lowest in five years, the factors that influence Norfolk Island petrol prices are different to those in Australia.


Norfolk Island’s fuel is supplied by tanker every 4-5 months and that fuel has been purchased at a price 2-3 months prior to its arrival on Norfolk Island. The wholesale price remains unchanged until the next shipment is received. Changes to crude oil prices cannot make the fuel in the Ball Bay tanks any cheaper (or more expensive).


It is anticipated that the next fuel shipment due before the end of January, 2015 will be at a price that reflects the falling price of crude oil,  the exchange rate of the A$, and having been purchased  in the last quarter of 2014. Norfolk Energy pricing policy is for the operation to break-even so any reduction in costs will be reflected in the wholesale price. The wholesale price will be available in mid-February when all costs are known.


Minister Sheridan also wished to supply facts to assertions that the current wholesale petrol and diesel prices include a surcharge carried over from a previous fuel shortage. Minister Sheridan advised that:-

  1. The only petrol shortage in recent history, where drummed petrol was imported, was in February, 2012.
  2. The Wholesale price prior to the drummed petrol arriving was $1.94 per litre.
  3. The Wholesale price for the duration of the use of the 100,000 litres of drummed petrol was $2.25 per litre. (the additional $0.31 was cost recovery only).
  4. The Wholesale price of petrol from the tanker which arrived after the shortage was $2.04 per litre (based on an increase of $0.10 per litre in the supply price, compared to the previous bulk shipment).
  5. The Wholesale price of diesel remained unchanged at $1.97 per litre for the duration of the petrol shortage.
  6. The Wholesale price of diesel increased from $1.97 per litre to $2.03 per litre (based on an increase of $0.06 per litre in the supply price, compared to the previous bulk shipment). 

Timothy Sheridan

Minister for Finance 

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NORFOLK ISLAND’S FIRST QUARANTINE DETECTOR DOG DAWSON MAKES A HIT…




 









Dawson checks inspects a bag at Kingston Jetty



                                                                                                                        A few moments to pose for the cameras…


Dawson the quarantine detector dog arrived on Norfolk Island on the Tuesday the 6th January along with Michele Gauci of Australian Dog Training. Michele is training Dawson’s handlers Snow Tavener and Dean Fitzpatrick. The need for a quarantine detector dog has long been recognised and the efforts and generosity of the Australian Department of Agriculture in providing this outstanding highly trained dog is appreciated especially by those on the front line of Norfolk Island’s quarantine service.


Dawson now belongs to the Norfolk Island Administration and has begun working in the airport arrivals hall where he has made some hits on undeclared items at the airport. Dawson also met and screened passengers arriving from the cruise ship on Wednesday 14th January where he and his Norfolk livery were a big hit with many of the visitors. While popular, the highly visible message that Norfolk Island takes quarantine seriously could not be missed.


The handlers’ training will continue until the end of March and eventually Dawson’s deployment will be broadened to include cargo inspection.


Ron Ward
Minister for the Environment
16th January 2015



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COMMUNITY LETTER FROM THE CHIEF MINISTER


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PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR



Personal Statement
I have delayed my return to Norfolk Island from my planned short family break due to an unexpected medical issue.

Fortunately world class medical professionals and procedures available in the Australian Health System not only detected but successfully repaired a tear in my Aorta, the major artery.

On December 30, the amazing skills of surgeons and support medical staff saved my life.
Interestingly, the doctors and support staff at the hospital I attended, like other major hospitals, use high speed internet technology to also serve the medical needs of people in many remote parts of Australia.

My progress and recovery is well underway and doctors are planning for my return to duty on Norfolk Island in a few weeks.

I have recommenced limited duties and remain in contact via email and telephone with my Official Secretary Rob McKenzie OAM who continues as Acting Administrator until my return.

At this stage, I will return after Australia Day. The planned events at Government House on 26 January will continue in our absence.

All around our nation, Australia Day provides a chance to recognise the importance of community service.

The Community Service Ethos is understandably strong in a remote community like Norfolk Island.

Lorraine and I are disappointed we will not be able to personally thank and recognise recipients of the 2015 Administrator's Awards for Community Service until after our return in February.

We are most grateful for the support of the Prime Minister, Assistant Minister Briggs, his Department officials, as well as the many well-wishers amongst our friends on Norfolk Island.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
15 January 2015

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2014/15 BUDGET UPDATE



The Government is pleased to release a community information update in relation to the appropriated 2014/15 Budget.

 

The purpose of the update is to allow members of the public to identify areas of spending as well as revenue across the Administration of Norfolk Island, as well as within KAVHA, The Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise and Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau. The document also provides information about municipal rating.

 

Minister Sheridan notes that this document is late in the Budget cycle however announces that ‘now this template has been developed, I plan to make this a regular part of the budget appropriation process by the Government.’

 

‘Clear and transparent reporting is a goal of all Governments and the Norfolk Island Government is no different. I would like to thank  staff within the Public Service for putting this document together which I  am pleased to provide to the community for their information’ Minister Sheridan  said. 

 

‘Should anyone have enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact the Assembly (22003) or   the Administration  (22001) ’, the Minister said.

 

To download a copy of the document it is available under ‘Public Broadcasts’ on the homepage of www.norfolkisland.gov.nf  or www.facebook.com/NorfolkIslandGovernment

 

 

Tim Sheridan                                                           

Minister for Finance                                      

19 December 2014

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REVIEW OF NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ENTERPRISES (GBES)



I have today, at the request of the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, The Hon. Jamie Briggs, released the Deloitte Access Economics report “Norfolk Island government business analysis – November 2014”.


As many in the community will know, this is the latest stage of work that has been undertaken since 2013 to assist both the Norfolk Island and Australian Governments assess sustainable business models for the delivery of key services on Norfolk Island, including electricity supply and telecommunications.

The Report has found that:

  • There is limited scope to privatise GBEs (due to the market size; unclear financial performance and lack of reliable data; prohibitive investment requirements; Government financial reliance on GBEs);
  • It is possible to introduce elements of competition or market pressure without completely selling off the business;
  • A simple management outsourcing arrangement could be the best option in the short term for business efficiency, while still retaining the Government’s revenue stream.


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.


The report is available through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s website at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/index.aspx.  It is also available on my website at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/administrator/index.aspx.

The Deloitte Access Economics report will assist the Norfolk Island Government assess the operational efficiencies of its Government Business Enterprises and to support future decisions about how to structure and operate these businesses to ensure the community receives the best return.


Deloitte Access Economics to visit Norfolk Island early in 2015 for the next stage of work which will involve developing a cost of service, standardised governance structure and asset management information for each Government Business Enterprise in conjunction with the Administration of Norfolk Island.  I would to thank the senior officers of the Administration of Norfolk Island for their commitment of time and resources and the Norfolk Island Government for their cooperation with the this process.


His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave
19 December 2014

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CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS: ECONOMIC IMPACT OF NORFOLK ISLAND REFORM SCENARIOS



Following the recent community consultations, the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon. Jamie Briggs MP has asked me to release the independent analysis of the Norfolk Island economy by the Centre for International Economics (CIE). 


The executive summary of the CIE report which notes substantial economic improvements from the extension of the Australian taxation and social security systems:

  • The Norfolk Island Government will no longer have to fund social service type payments of over $1.6 million nor allocate nearly $2 million to subsidising the local hospital, which means greater resources being available.
  • Combined, the income taxation, welfare payment and Medicare reforms are estimated to see a sizable increase in economic activity of around 14 per cent, but a larger increase in household consumption (the preferred welfare measure) of around 38 per cent.
  • The higher level of economic activity, increased employment and wages combine to see (nominal) household consumption each year being some $20 million higher than otherwise.

Key points from the CIE report include:

  • Norfolk’s Gross Territory Product (GTP) (at market prices) was estimated at around $68 million in 2013-14. This estimate was around 22 per cent lower than a previous estimate from 2010-11.
  • This equates to a GTP of nearly $41 900 per person. Various indicators point to a sharp contraction in Norfolk Island’s economy over recent years.
  • Over recent time, Norfolk Island has been attracting around 25 000 visitors per year, a decline of around 35 per cent compared to a decade earlier.
  • GST collections suggest the value of sales have fallen by around 25 per cent over the past four years, or an average of 7 per cent per year. As prices are likely to have increased over this period, the volume of sales on Norfolk Island is likely to have fallen by even more.
  • Workers Compensation Levy receipts suggest that the number of hours worked has fallen by around 24 per cent since 2009-10, or around 6.6 per cent per year on average.
  • The Norfolk Island population has also declined steadily since 2001. As at September 2014, the population has fallen by around 360 people or 18 per cent since the 2001 Census.

Of importance to economic growth potential, the CIE report finds for most of this past decade the Norfolk Island Government Budget has not provided what CIE describes as “necessary expenditure to maintain and expand the stock of infrastructure”.

CIE notes a number of other significant problems with the current Norfolk Island Government financial position:

  • Until 2007-08, the budget was broadly balanced in cash terms, but has deteriorated significantly, particularly in the past two years.
  • Norfolk Island has recorded budget deficits in every year except 2007-08. Budget years 2004-05 to 2012-13 the deficit has been some $40.9 million.

                                                                                    

CIE has modelled the advantages to residents of the inclusion of Norfolk Island in the Australian taxation and social security systems.  The report indicates Norfolk Island households will receive around $4.9 million by means of welfare type payments, while saving around $5 million in healthcare related costs.  CIE suggests household consumption will increase in excess of $20 million as a result of these reforms. 


CIE has also modelled the removal of Norfolk Island’s GST, import duty and Fuel Excise (without extending comparable mainland taxes as is the case in the other external territories – see Fact Sheet 1 - November 2014).


The full 62 page CIE report is available on line at www.infrastructure.gov.au.


His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

19 December 2014

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COMMENCEMENT OF ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE NORFOLK ISLAND OMBUDSMAN













The Chief Minister of Norfolk Island, the Hon Lisle Snell MLA and The Administrator, His Honour, the Hon Gary Hardgrave are pleased to welcome the commencement of arrangements for the Norfolk Island Ombudsman.


An agreement has been signed by The Administrator on behalf of Norfolk Island and the Commonwealth of Australia, represented by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.


The Commonwealth Ombudsman, Mr Colin Neave said:

“With this new agreement to provide the Norfolk Island Ombudsman service, my office will be well placed to assist the Administration of Norfolk Island to operate with greater transparency and fairness for the whole community. We look forward to working constructively with the Administration and the community towards building confidence in the capacity of the Norfolk Island public sector to deliver services fairly and equitably to all.


I am pleased to see that the Administration continues to support the role of the Complaints Officer on Norfolk Island. ”


Mr. Snell expressed his appreciation for all the work done over a long period of time by the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island both present and past, the Legal Services Unit (LSU) of the Administration of Norfolk Island, and by the previous Governments of Norfolk Island, in pursuing the goal of establishing a proper Ombudsman system for Norfolk Island.


This role is vital for the speedy resolution of most complaints about public sector services on Norfolk Island and should continue to be the first option for anyone who has a complaint about those services.


The Ombudsman’s office is now open for business to the Norfolk Island community. They can be contacted through their website – www.nio.gov.au, email address – Norfolk.Island@ombudsman.gov.au, or telephone number – 1800 1354.

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

Administrator

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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS WEDNESDAY 17 DECEMBER





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AUSTRALIA'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO NORFOLK ISLAND


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SOCIAL SERVICES AND TAX



Norfolk Island residents have been provided with a Fact Sheet dated December 14, headed Social Services and Tax provided by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to each resident via the Office of the Administrator.  The fact sheet states it is “general in nature based on how the arrangements operate on mainland Australia”.


“At recent discussions between His Honour the Administrator and Members of the Legislative Assembly on the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories we continued to stress the urgent need for taxation and social security officials to have a ‘shop front’ in Burnt Pine to be available to explain the operation of social services and taxation in Australia and how the extension of these systems to Norfolk Island will impact businesses and individuals”, Minister Adams said, “The urgency for this to occur was appreciated by His Honour who undertook to raise the matter with Assistant Minister Briggs.


“I have sought assurance from His Honour that the Fact Sheet is not intended to act as ‘the shop front’ for information; particularly as it was agreed by Norfolk Island in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island entered into in November 2010 that entry into the Australian Taxation and Social Welfare systems was conditional on there being a net benefit to Norfolk Island and its community and there is appropriate consideration of local circumstances. Having access to a ‘shop front’ manned by taxation and social security officials will assist people to ascertain how entry into the Australian taxation and social welfare systems will impact on them,” Minister Adams said. “For example, answers could be provided to questions such as the following which I am currently receiving as Minister with responsibility for health and social services -


  1. Will persons in Norfolk Island who are over the age of 30 years being entitled to the benefit of Private Health Insurance Lifetime cover taxation relief if they join a private health fund once the legislation is extended to Norfolk Island?

  2. Will Norfolk Island patients have to go on public hospital waiting lists in Australia for treatment if private health insurance is not extended to Norfolk Island?

  3. The eligible age to apply for a pension on Norfolk Island is lower than that In Australia.  Will those people currently receiving social welfare in Norfolk Island continue to be entitled to such payments under the Australian system?

  4. Who will be responsible for the costs of medical evacuations?

  5. Will persons already in receipt of social welfare continue to receive this payment without being re-assessed based on assets?
  6. Will persons who have tried to be self-funded retirees be entitled to put their savings into a superannuation account without the amount being limited so that they can obtain the best taxation rate under superannuation?
  7. Issues around phasing in superannuation and its impact on business and market competiveness.

The issue of transitioning into the Australian taxation and social welfare systems remains on the agenda for discussion.  The concept of transitioning was first recommended by Dr James Fogarty in the Acil Tasman (March 2012) Commonwealth commissioned Economic Development Report in which Dr Fogarty recommended the development of a tiered strategy for reform, namely –


  • First phase – immediate measures to improve community welfare;

  • Second phase – built around the continued implementation of a microeconomic reform agenda to bring competition and transparency to the Norfolk Island economy; and
  • Third phase – involves the resolution of the long term taxation and funding arrangements for Norfolk Island.  This involves either the staged integration of Norfolk Island into the Australian tax system, or the development of an alternative mechanism for providing financial support to Norfolk Island.

These issues were raised by me by letter of 12 November 2013 to Assistant Minister Briggs and Health Minister Peter Dutton.  It will bring certainty to this community when a decision is taken on this tiered strategy approach.

We look forward to being advised that “shop front” will be in place in early January 2015.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

 

12 December 2014

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RESPONSE TO THE DRAFT HEALTH SERVICES PLAN



The Norfolk Island Government, together with the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) recently arranged for community consultation regarding two reports released  some time ago relating to the Norfolk Island Health Services System.  Those reports are –

  • The draft Health Services Plan by Nexus Management Consulting; and
  • The review of existing child and family support services on Norfolk Island (“The Calvert & Connolly Report”)

R&S Muller Enterprises have now provided a Report on both the community survey conducted prior to their undertaking the on island community consultation process and on the findings from the community consultation undertaken on the Draft Health Services Plan.  Both reports are published on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/hospital/reports .


Community members who provided the facilitator Mr Sam Muller with their email contacts will receive an electronic copy of both the Reports direct from R&S Muller.


“The reports will now be considered by the Hospital Director and the NIHE Advisory Board who in turn will provide advice to the Norfolk Island Government on the next stage in the process of developing a 5 year health services plan for the Hospital taking into account the findings in these Reports”, the Minister said.


Please feel free to provide feedback to the Hospital Director Mr David McCowan by email to dmccowan@hospital.gov.nf; a copy of each of the Reports is also available at the Public library.

Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

 

12 December 2014

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PROPOSED CASCADE JETTY UPGRADE



  • A new draft version of a funding agreement for the Cascade Jetty project was received by the Administration on the 9th December 2014. This values the project at 18 million dollars as it includes the requirement for the Administration of Norfolk Island to commit to funding the purchase of a 100 ton crane and three barges.
  • Under the draft agreement Administration of Norfolk Island would be committed to funding any cost over-runs – potentially millions of dollars. While the construction management of this project is well within the capacity of the Norfolk Island Administration, the Government of Norfolk Island is not in a position to underwrite any cost overruns on a Commonwealth vested asset.

  • Other designs and locations have been proposed by groups and individuals and as part of the Commonwealth public consultation processes into the JSC recommendations. The only fully designed port project is for the Cascade Jetty improvements as per the RDAF4 grant of $13million.

  • It is believed that upgrade of Cascade and Kingston jetties will not facilitate containerisation or reliable cruise ship processing – this will only be attained by constructing an enclosed harbour facility or at very least a west side port to complement existing Kingston and Cascade Jetties.

  • Although the Cascade Jetty upgrade is necessary, the current project was designed to fit the limits and conditions of the grant on offer at that time rather than as part of a properly prioritised ports strategy. The Cascade upgrade in whatever form it may ultimately take is one component.

  • Recommendation 3 of the Joint Standing Committee report ‘Norfolk Island, Same Country:       Different World’ reads:

“The committee recommends that the Commonwealth assume responsibility for the Cascade and Kingston pier upgrades and that the Commonwealth expedite the works in line with Australian standards and occupational health and safety requirements, as soon as practicable”

The Norfolk Island Government endorses this recommendation and would welcome a collaborative approach to developing and implementing a Norfolk Island port strategy. I have asked the Chief Executive Officer to meet with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development staff on island next week with the aim of finding an agreeable way forward.

Ron J. Ward

Minister for the Environment

12 December 2014

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NORFOLK ISLAND REFORMS



Through listening to community discussion I have learnt many things. My commitment has been to keep the conversation going as we build community collaboration for the future well being of all residents in this community.


I have been asked to provide more information about proposed reform.  This week I released a Fact Sheet detailing the Australian Government commitment to introduce federal tax, social security and Medicare to Norfolk Island. Another Fact Sheet details a possible model for a local government type body as recommended by the recent Joint Standing Committee Report. 


It is clearly important, new and transitional governance arrangements must be agile and robust to ensure local views and aspirations are fully engaged.


Extending federal tax and social security to Norfolk Island will have an overwhelmingly positive impact for residents and the local economy. Research suggests the social security system would provide about $4.9 million in additional support to families and individuals on Norfolk Island each year.


A key part of social security is a safety net to support the most vulnerable, including payments for people with a disability and their carers.


Overall, the Norfolk Island community would receive far more in social security benefits than it would pay in taxes. The extension of these systems is estimated to improve economic growth on Norfolk Island and increase household consumption.


This means Norfolk Island households would have more money to spend, boosting local business and employment.


Unlike the Norfolk Island health levy, Medicare begins subsiding health costs immediately without having to reach a threshold.  To partially fund the costs of providing Medicare, the Australian Government charges a Medicare Levy of 2% of taxable income through the tax system. This means someone earning $29,000 would pay about $580 per year.


The Medicare Levy would replace the Norfolk Island health levy of $1,200 per year.  Low income earners and seniors may not have to pay the Levy if they meet certain conditions.


As part of the transition to new arrangements, it will be possible for you to speak privately and directly to Australian Government officials about your own personal situation.


Feedback and comments are needed by Friday 12 December 2014 so I can report views collated from the consultation process to the Assistant Minister. 



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NOTICE PAPER



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DRAFT HEALTH SERVICES SURVEY REPORT RECEIVED



The Norfolk Island Government, together with the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE), acknowledged community concern regarding two reports released relating to the Norfolk Island Health Services system.  These reports are –

  • Draft Health Services Plan – Nexus Management Consulting (Nexus); and
  • Review of existing child and family support services on Norfolk Island – Gillian Calvert AO and Marie Connolly PhD (Calvert and Connolly)

The Nexus Report recognised there was little information regarding the status of health needs for Norfolk Island and that this was required to underpin any future health services planning.

The NIHE engaged R&S Muller Enterprises Pty Limited to undertake a community and stakeholder engagement process to inform health service needs to assist the NIHE and the Norfolk Island Government to develop a 5 years Health Services Plan for Norfolk Island.  This five year plan is to identify the healthcare needs of the Norfolk Island community now and into the future and to develop health strategies to provide for those needs.


Mrs Sam Muller visited Norfolk from 17 to 24 October. Prior to her visit a survey was developed in direct response to recommendations or comments made in the Nexus and Calvert and Connolly reports.  The survey covered community safety; substance abuse; sexual activity; mental health and barriers to accessing care. The number of valid surveys submitted was 335 representing 20.1% of the Norfolk Island population at that time and therefore considered statistically valid.


The NIHE and the Norfolk Island Government have now received the Draft Health Services Survey Report and the report of some 150 pages will be available early next week on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/hospital/reports.


In addition, during the visit Mrs Muller undertook extensive community consultation and a report will shortly be provided summarising the findings from that consultation.


Community members who provided Ms Muller with their email contacts will receive an electronic copy of the Survey Report direct from R&S Muller.


Robin Adams

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

 

5 December 2014

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INTERPRETATION BY DEPARTMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVLEOPMENT OF RECOMMENDATIONS 1 AND 2 OF THE JSC REPORT “SAME COUNTRY: DIFFERENT WORLD




Residents will have now received a package of documents from the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave seeking submissions from the community on the information provided by 12 December 2014. 

 

We are advised that the package is not a definitive position of the Commonwealth, but an attempt to give form to Recommendations 1 and 2 of the recent JSC report “Same Country: Different World”.  The package includes:

 

  1. Letter dated 3 December 2014 from the Administrator;
  2. Factsheet 1, from the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, December 2014, ‘Social security and tax’; and
  3. Factsheet 2, from the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, December 2014, ‘A regional council model for Norfolk Island.’

 

The Norfolk Island Government acknowledges the release of this material as the first indicator of Commonwealth intent on financial and governance structures and notes the material is “general in nature” and many aspects are yet to be finalized.

 

The Chief Minister and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly continue to await a response to their letter to Assistant Minister Briggs of 21 November 2014 which proposes a united way forward to resolve the current Norfolk Island governance debate.  The text of the letter has previously been published.

 

The Chief Minister advises that he has today received a letter dated 17 November 2014 from Assistant Minister Briggs in which he refers to the consultation process to be undertaken by the Administrator; advising that “the consultation will consider new models of governance”.  The Norfolk Island Government is heartened that more than one model of governance is to be considered and awaits detail of those “other models”.

 

The Norfolk Island Government rejects the proposal to remove self-government and views the proposed model for a local government type body instead of the elected Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly as a retrograde step for democracy and efficiency in practical service delivery for Norfolk Island.

 

The Norfolk Island Government strongly objects to the Committee making recommendations in relation to governance which was clearly outside the Committee’s Terms of Reference.  There was overwhelming community rejection of Recommendations 1 and 2 at the public meeting held by the Administrator.

 

The Administrator’s reference in his letter to “new and transitional governance arrangements” ignores the outcome of community consultation.  The Norfolk Island Government rejects the proposal that an unelected advisory body be set up to manage the transition process from self-government to a Regional Council model and vigorously defends its role in the development of any reforms to the future model of government for Norfolk Island.  As the Island’s elected representative body the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island is the obvious and appropriate body to oversee any changes to governance going forward in partnership with the Commonwealth.  Norfolk Island is not a region of any State of Australia and cannot be classified as such.

 

The Norfolk Island Government also reiterates that the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between the then Chief Minister and the then Commonwealth Minister provided 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 would be a net benefit for Norfolk Island and its community and there is appropriate consideration of local circumstances.

 

The Norfolk Island Government has sought indicative costs to engage Mr James Fogarty of Acil Allen Pty Ltd (previously ACIL Tasman) to undertake a costing of the Norfolk Island Government’s Preferred Model of Territory Governance so that the Norfolk Island community and the Australian Parliament can compare the cost benefits of the Commonwealth proposed model with the Norfolk Island preferred model.

 

While there are positive measures in the package of material provided by the Administrator, the Norfolk Island Government urges members of the community to consider what functions and values need to be protected for the good of the Island and the community going forward? 

 

Have a say in your future and provide submissions to the Administrator.

 

When the Norfolk Island Government receives details from Assistant Minister Briggs as to the consultation process for the other models of governance, the Norfolk Island Government will convene a public meeting to help inform the community and to seek community input on these vital issues.

 

 

 

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

 

4 December 2014

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A BETTER WAY FORWARD



Today the Speaker the Hon David Buffett and I have written to Assistant Minister The Hon Jamie Briggs MP seeking a united way forward to resolving the current future Norfolk Island governance process.” The Chief Minister said.


A copy of the text of that letter is.

“Dear Minister

We are writing to you seeking your assistance and support for a united way forward to resolve the current Norfolk Island governance debate.

As you would agree, we need to develop a platform for moving forward that lifts that discussion to a level of trust and cooperation that will enable an outcome for change that is collectively agreed and jointly implemented.

Accordingly, we propose that, the Federal Government and the Norfolk Island Government agree on the following set of principles, process and timeline for moving forward.

Principles

  • Agree that the current governance model needs to be modified
  • Both parties agree to design a modified governance model(s), and that the model(s) be fully discussed with and costed by the Federal Department of Finance
  • That the model(s) need to:
    • Have a democratic elected representation
    • Provide the most efficient and cost efficient delivery of service 
    • Identify clearly the division of responsibilities between the Federal Government and the Norfolk Island model
  • There will be one final model that is recommended for adoption and implementation.

Process

  • Identification of the division of responsibilities between the Federal and Norfolk Island Governments
  • Evaluation of the most efficient and cost effective delivery of service of those functions identified as Norfolk Island Government and or Commonwealth Government responsibilities
  • Identification and development of governance model(s) that support that delivery of service
  •  Costing of the model(s) by the Federal department of Finance
  • Identification of an agreed governance model, arising from the above process.
  • Agreement on the Legislative amendments to facilitate the introduction of the agreed model

Timeline

  • Consideration of the following  timeline for the development of the final agreed model and the implementation of change
    • Now-  31 March 2015 for the identification and costing on the preferred model
    • 1 April 2015 –30 June 2015 implementation planning of the new governance model
    • 1 July  2015 – ongoing  implementation of the new governance model

We further propose that during the process to identify and agree on a model there will not be a recommendation to Federal Cabinet on a model outside of the above process and timelines.

An Essential factor in these suggestions is that the discussions on the principles and process are face to face with the relevant decision makers.”

We believe that only through a cooperative approach to reform will we be able to provide stable governance to Norfolk Island that will deliver long term sustainable economic growth.

We look forward to a positive response from the Assistant Minister to our Better Way Forward approach.

Lisle Snell                                                                 

Chief Minister

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NORFOLK ISLAND AIRPORT OPERATIONS



The Minister for Finance, the Hon Tim Sheridan, MLA, who has ministerial responsibility for the Norfolk Island International Airport, today provided the following information with regard to legislation governing Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) services to Norfolk Island.


In 2008, as a result of significant losses incurred by the Administration of Norfolk Island due to failure of aircraft operators over a number of years and to protect the Administration’s finances in respect of airport landing fees, the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island passed an amendment to the Airport Act 1991 to extend the Regulation making power to ensure that new airline operators would be required to lodge a security deposit with the Administration.


The Regulations, amongst other things, provide that every aircraft operator, other than an aircraft operator operating a scheduled passenger service on or before 31 December 2008, must before commencing a public passenger service, deposit with the Administration any security deposit applicable to that operator.  An aircraft operator shall not be permitted to land any aircraft on the airport until the operator’s obligations under the regulation been complied with to the satisfaction of the Commonwealth Minister.


The aircraft operator is the organization that is conducting the service and, if the aircraft is leased, may not necessarily be the holder of the Aircraft Operator’s Certificate.


The Minister for Finance encourages prospective RPT operators, indeed all those considering starting any type of business, to include the timely compliance with all applicable legislation as an integral part of their business plan.


Tim Sheridan

Minister for Finance

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GOVRENMENT TO PROTECT CRITICALLY ENDANGERED NORFOLK ISLAND PARROT


Faced with predation from introduced rats, cats, and nest competition from introduced birds, the Critically Endangered Norfolk Island Green Parrot is one of the world’s rarest birds.

“Although saved from the brink of extinction by urgent conservation action in the 1990s, critical action was neglected and we almost lost this species again” said Samantha Vine, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Australia.


“We had concerns that bird numbers where declining dramatically last year”, said Margaret Christian, of Norfolk Island Flora and Fauna Society. In response to concerns raised by locals, an alliance of groups including BirdLife Australia, The Nature Conservancy and Island Conservation commissioned a survey by parakeet expert Dr Luis Ortiz-Catedral. “The survey found the species had declined to the extent that only 11 breeding females were observed” said Dr Ray Nias, Director of Island Conservation’s Southwest Pacific Program.


The alliance warmly welcomed the announcement that the Australian Government will mobilise $300,000 to expand rat control on the Island.


The Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, made the announcement at the World Parks Congress in Sydney.


“The rat control will complement improved management – including predator-resistant nest sites – which has significantly boosted the Norfolk Island Green Parrot’s population in 2014” explained Margaret.


Community members in the rural Anson Bay area, adjoining the north-west boundary of the Norfolk Island National Park, have begun a program to co-ordinate their rat-baiting efforts. It is expected to reduce the impact on domestic food security, health and the cost of lost produce for commercial growers. “The increase in rat control will provide a benefit to the Anson Bay residents, who in turn will benefit the National Park by their control programs, as both should prevent repeat incursions to each area” continued Margaret. “There are another 6 endemic forest bird species and a range of breeding seabirds that will also benefit from control of rat numbers”.


Norfolk Island is a globally important Bird and Biodiversity area (IBA). BirdLife Australia launched a report at the World Parks Congress which identified Norfolk Island as one of five IBAs ‘in Danger’. Each of the IBAs in Danger provides habitat for species that could soon become extinct should the current threats continue.


However 4 of the 5 IBAs in Danger include National Parks. “National Parks and protected areas are critical for our threatened species” said Dr James Fitzsimons, Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Australia, “but we need to ensure there is sufficient and consistent funding of our protected areas to ensure they remain safe places”.

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QUESTIONS TO BE DISCUSSION AT THIS WEEKS PUBLIC MEETING


Here is the list of questions for the attendees at tomorrows meeting which will be held between 2pm and 5pm. For anyone that is unable to attend the Administrators Office will welcome anyt written submissions

Recommendation 3: The Commonwealth to take responsibility and expedite
upgrades of the Cascade and Kingston Piers. 

Is the current plan the best option?
To help ensure the right plan is in place, what are the key elements of such upgrades? 
What priorities should we set? (eg cargo containerisation, safe passenger handling, safe 
moorings for yachts and recreational fishers). 
Which Pier is the priority and why?
What about the road works leading into the Cascade Pier, what works are needed and why?
What capacity (like rock, human resources and machinery) is missing from the Island to 
deliver the upgrade – can we do the job ourselves?

Recommendation 4: The use of multipurpose barges for the loading of passenger 
and cargo on and off the Island. 

What role does the traditional Lighterage service have in the future? 
What new skills and equipment are needed to make such barges a viable infrastructure 
purchase? Where should they be stored?

Recommendation 5: A plan for public road transport infrastructure. 
What should be the priority roads and why? 
For instance should there be precincts of activity such as commercial, industrial, heritage, 
cultural and education. Should such precincts be linked by specific road and footpaths? 
What are the key elements needed on Norfolk Island’s road and footpath system?

Recommendation 6: The Commonwealth to appoint officers to strengthen the 
development of economic and human resource capacity. 

Officers from key Commonwealth Agencies such as Tourism Australia and Austrade to
provide support and advice to plan, define, develop, and promote diverse tourism products.
What should be the priorities of such officers?
What products are missing from the Tourism offering?

Recommendation 7: Assistance cottage industries on Norfolk Island. 
What new and existing industries should be targeted for growth? 
How do we ensure cultural and agricultural products are protected from exploitation?
Recommendation 8: The Commonwealth to take responsibility for bio security. 
The biodiversity of Norfolk Island and its status as a clean, green environment is under threat  from the Psyllid infestation. 
Has enough work been done to explain the situation and the strategy to eradicate it. 
What other pests should also be targeted to protect Norfolk Island’s unique bio diversity?

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NOTICE PAPER 19 SEPTEMBER


            

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mr David E. 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, 19 November 2014 at 10 am.

 

NOTICES

 

NORFOLK ISLAND

FOURTEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

NOTICE PAPER NUMBER 20

wednesday 19 NOVEMBER 2014

 

NORF’K AILEN

FORTIINTH LEJESLIETEW ‘SEMBLE

NOETIS PIEPA NAMBA 20

WENSDI 19 NOEWEMBA 2014

 

NOTICES

 

1       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

 

Laser Grader Blade Control Equipment             Norfolk Island Bowling Club

         - amount of duty applicable $600.27                   Conditions:  Control equipment to be exported on completion of use

 

Uniform - Football Jerseys                                 Norfolk Mutineers Norfolk Island Rugby

- amount of duty applicable $609.84                   League Masters

                                                                           Conditions:  Nil

 

Basketball Tower                                               Daa Side fe Ucklun

- amount of duty applicable $234.14                   Conditions:  Nil

 

ORDER OF THE DAY

 

3       TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) BILL 2014

TRAEFIK (CHIENJEN) BIL 2014

         Minister for the Environment, Mr Ward, to present a Bill for an Act to amend the Traffic Act 2010

 

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

 

30         Mr Nobbs to ask the Minister for Finance –

Will the Minister for Finance provide, for the public record, a simple table for each financial year since 1979 that lists -

  1. Year;
  2. Average number for resident population for the year;
  3. Total dollar value of expenditure from the Norfolk Island Government Public Account for the year;
  4. Total dollar value of expenditure at (c.) funded by Australian Government; and
  5. Total dollar value of expenditure at (c.) used to fund works on Commonwealth assets eg Roads, Reserves, Piers etc.

 

31     Mr Nobbs to ask the Minister for Finance –

Will the Minister for Finance provide, for the public record, an itemised list detailing the specific works the Norfolk Island Government has been required to do in exchange for annual payments received from the Australian Government under Funding Agreements?

32     Mr Nobbs to ask the Minister for Finance –

Will the Minister for Finance provide, for the public record, detail of expenditure reported to be spent by the Australian Government in emergency funding to Norfolk Island not covered in responses to questions 1 and 2 above. If the Minister does not have this information will he seek this from Minister Briggs department to qualify his claims in Australian media?

33     Mr Nobbs to ask the Minister for Finance –

Will the Minister for Finance establish a mechanism for accountability and local reporting of all federal funding claimed against Norfolk Island to provide Australian and Norfolk Island taxpayers information about where taxpayer resources are being allocated?

34     Mr Nobbs to ask the Minister for Finance –

Does the Minister for Finance consider Norfolk Islands quantum funding to maintain Commonwealth owned assets since 1979 grounds for a claim for reimbursement or offset against funding received since the RoadMap was signed in 2010. If not will the Minister advise why he supports introducing new taxes upon a financially stressed economy whilst we fund Australian Government obligations?

35     Mr Nobbs to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism –

In respect of significant activity being undertaken by the federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development on Norfolk Island’s future governance model will the Chief Minister -

  1. seek from the Administrator, for the public record, details of all personnel engaged within the Departments Norfolk Island team, their role and responsibilities, and a summary bio that identifies their respective qualifications and experience
  2. Put in place a mechanism to publicly update this information when new personnel are engaged within the Departments Norfolk Island team in any capacity

36         Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism –

Is it a fact that the Chief Minister met with a political lobbyist firm during his most recent visit to Canberra and if so –

  1. what was the purpose and outcome of the meeting;
  2. who paid the account; and
  3. is there an ongoing relationship with any external consultant?

 

37         Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism –

Will the Chief Minister table his Government’s strategic and/or economic plan and highlight the key elements which will lead to a sustainable future for the Island?

 

38         Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism –

Given the Government’s 2014/15 budget debate; will the Chief Minister list the identified constraints to business development and improving the economy and describe what the Government has been doing to remove and/or reduce local constraints?

 

39         Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism –

Is it a fact that the Norfolk Island Government’s Preferred Governance model is reliant on access to the Australian fiscal transfer payment system and a dividend collected from each of the Government Business Enterprises, and given recent comments made by Assistant Minister Briggs that Norfolk Island would not be entering the fiscal transfer payment system, and the draft Deloitte Report recommendations, how will the Preferred Governance model be funded?

 

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

Will the Minister table in tabular form by category the number of people, resident or otherwise, who have obtained a Healthcare Levy exemption over the past twelve (12) month period and from those figures will the Minister inform the House how much has been paid out by the Healthcare Scheme in the same period?

 

41         Mrs Ward to ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism –

Will the Chief Minister describe in detail his comment that some funding agreement conditions will be “impossible to achieve”; outline what this means in dollar terms and explain where expenditure could be reduced in order to meet any budget shortfall?

 

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

Given the tabling of the Education Report 2014 and the Administrator’s September 2014 letter to the Minister in relation to education and training on the Island; has there been any further discussion with the Australian Government on the matter, and if so, what was the outcome?

 

Gaye Evans

Clerk to the Legislative Assembly

 

Issued by the Office of the Clerk on 14 November 2014  

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NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT REJECTS THE REPEAL OF THE NORFOLK ACT 1979 (CTH)



“The Norfolk Island Government has today released its formal response to the Report of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories “Same country: different world.  The future of Norfolk Island”, the Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today.


The Norfolk Island Government contends that it was not appropriate for the Committee to broaden the Terms of Reference given to it by the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development to include governance matters in those terms of reference.


The Committee should have sought a review of its terms of reference from the Minister to include governance issues and the Norfolk Island Government and the community of Norfolk Island given an opportunity to provide submissions on governance.


As an amendment to the Terms of Reference was not sought, it was therefore not open for the Committee to make recommendations on governance reform and as such the “Governance: a new model” should not form a part of the Committee’s report.


“The Norfolk Island Government unreservedly rejects Recommendation 1 of the Report that calls for the repeal of the Norfolk Act 1979 (Cth)”, the Chief Minister said.


The Norfolk Island Government totally agrees with the Committee that “sound governance underpins any discussion of economic development” and certainly agrees that “certainty and confidence…..is a prerequisite for investor confidence and growth.”


However, the Norfolk Island Government disagrees in the strongest terms that the lack of certainty and confidence in Norfolk Island can be attributed to failure on the part of the Norfolk Island Government or the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly when little, if any, action has been taken by the Commonwealth since –

1)         the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on 25 November 2010 between the Commonwealth of Australia and Norfolk Island whereby Norfolk Island agreed to enter into the Australian Taxation and Social Welfare systems; and

2)         the signing of the Norfolk Island Road Map for reform on 2 March 2011 by the Commonwealth of Australia and Norfolk Island; a Road Map which was “developed in partnership between the two Governments and is subject to budget outcomes from both the Commonwealth and Norfolk.”.

The stated purpose of the Road Map being to describe the reforms needed 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.

A full copy of the Norfolk Island Government response to the Joint Standing Committee report is available on. www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/publicreports


Lisle Snell                                                                 

Chief Minister

Date 13/11/2014



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DEMOCRACY DENIED - CONSULTATION PROCESS FLAWED “YOU CAN CALL FOR A REFERENDUM UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME”



The Norfolk Island Government welcomed the meeting held last night organised by  the Norfolk Island Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave which was the first public consultation conducted by an independent facilitator, Ms Vivien Twyford, to consider recommendations 1 and 2 of the Report by the Joint Standing Committee of the National Capital and External Territories – ‘Same country: different world.  The future of Norfolk Island’.

The meeting was well attended with an estimated 300 people attending.  The clear outcome from the meeting was a request for a referendum on the issue of governance and that the majority of those in attendance do not support the first recommendation of the Joint Standing Committee of the National Capital and the External Territories.  Recommendation 1 of the Report recommends the repeal of the Norfolk Act 1979 (Cth) which effectively removes the elected Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and establish an unknown interim administration of non-elected Canberra public servants.

The most alarming outcome of the meeting was not the reference made that the 300 plus community members present do not represent the overall Norfolk Island Community, when Assistant Minister Briggs previously relied upon only 70 letters to inform his position that the Norfolk Island Act should be repealed, but the reference by the Administrator that “you can ask the referendum questions until the cows come home”.  This statement suggests that he will not support the request by members of the community for a democratic decision making process through referendum or plebescite.

It is clear but unfortunate that by making this statement the consultation process was flawed before it commenced.

As one member of the meeting clearly stated to the Administrator “I can vote to get rid of the Assembly but I don’t have a vote to get rid of you”. 

It is clear that the decision on the democratic rights of Norfolk Islanders will not be determined by them but by politicians in Canberra without any recourse available to the residents of Norfolk Island.

Nevertheless, the Norfolk Island Government encourages and urges all Norfolk Island residents to continue to attend the ‘consultative’ meetings to voice their views on the recommendations whether for or against.

In the meantime, the Norfolk Island Government urges the Commonwealth Government through the Office of the Administrator to provide facts and information on its proposed model of government so that the community can enter into informed debate on recommendation 1.

Lisle Snell                                                                 

Chief Minister

Date 13/11/2014

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COMMUNITY GATHERS TO DISCUSS SHARED FUTURE



An estimated audience of 300 took the opportunity to express their views about the Island’s future.


Discussion on the recommendations on future governance arrangements for Norfolk Island from the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee of the National Capital and External Territories included a vocal few and a silent many who contributed through notes and other expressions.


The Forum was facilitated by Ms Vivien Twyford and followed on from recent consultations I have had with groups such as Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Council of Elders and the Chamber of Commerce.


The Forum was very instructive to me. It was a shame a number of people were not able to comment publicly because they felt uncomfortable in expressing their views. I was gratified to receive a number of comments and calls since the meeting expressing support in creating a better Norfolk Island. I am a great believer in collaboration which allows people to have their say, in a respectful and constructive way.


The clear message to me was people need to be confident reform will improve their standard of living and opportunity.


A report on the meeting will be made available to those who registered on the night.  It will also assist me in the report I will make to the Assistant Minister following further public and private meetings.


His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

13 November 2014

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NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE JSC REPORT













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NORFOLK ISLAND WEEDS HANDBOOK RELEASED


The Hon. Ron Ward, MLA is pleased to advise members of the community that an electronic version of the Norfolk Island Weeds Handbook is available on-line at the Norfolk Island Government’s website at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf under the link ‘Land Use & Environment’.

“The handbook is a guide to the 50 most significant weeds on Norfolk Island, being those weeds that are most likely to be encountered in Norfolk’s unique environment and in domestic and commercial gardens”, Minister Ward said.

The handbook brings together the knowledge gained from the Norfolk Island Quarantine weed surveys in 2013 and 2014. Though not intended to detail the entire range of local weeds, it presents a comprehensive list of 50 significant species as chosen by Brendan Lepschi, curator of the Australian National Herbarium.

Many scientists, Herbarium staff and specialists from the Australian National Herbarium and CSIRO undertook the field surveys. “These are leading weed researchers” Minister Ward said.

Plant specialists from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture compiled the handbook with locals, including Health and Quarantine Officer Neil Tavener, involved in reviewing the species selected.

Minister Ward advises that “the weeds survey was undertaken with funds and resources provided by the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australian Department of Agriculture, Plant Health Australia, Australian National Herbarium, the University of Queensland, the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, various consultants and with support from the Norfolk Island Government and Administration.”

“Our appreciation extends to all of these agencies for their assistance and support in the development of such a high quality guide. I recommend to anyone with enquiries on weeds or interested in the Norfolk Island environment to use this handbook as a reference” Minister Ward said.

Though a number of the plants listed can be used for stock grazing or other useful purposes, the general definition of a weed is a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth – the effect being that in one setting it may be a useful plant, while somewhere else that same type of plant is clearly a weed.

Where a weed has been declared noxious there usually has been a prolific spread by seed or corms that make eradication or control difficult and expensive. Several of the listed weeds are on the Norfolk Island Noxious weeds list which can be accessed through the www.norfolkisland.gov.nf website.

Rob Ward

Minister for the Environment

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GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE REPORT


“The Government is continuing to develop its response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories Report on The Future of Norfolk Island. The Norfolk Island Government response is extensive and it is intended to seek clarification and comment on a number of contentious issues raised within the report.

“We are also participating in the consultative process currently undertaken by the Administrator in which we are continuing to put forward our preferred model of Territory self-governance” the Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today.

The Administrator has indicated the first of the community consultative forums will be held at 4pm on Wednesday 12th November at Rawson Hall.

“I would encourage all members of the community to attend and express their views on recommendations 1 and 2 of the JSC Report which recommends the repeal of the NI Act 1979 (Cth) and to establish an interim Administration” the Chief Minister said.

Lisle Snell

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism

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NORFOLK ISLAND GOVERNMENT JOINS THE SOCIAL MEDIA SCENE


In a joint announcement, the Minister responsible for Telecommunications, the Hon. Tim Sheridan and the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, the Hon. Robin Adams are pleased to announce the launch of the Norfolk Island Government Facebook page.

“We are aware of how many people use Facebook daily and how strongly it is embedded into our culture and as a personal tool for networking and our new page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/NorfolkIslandGovernment ” said Minister Adams.

“Social media such as Facebook can offer the Government the ability to provide information, to seek feedback, promote events and programs, and proposals, and reach a wide audience in a very fast manner and adds to the existing communications tools available to us” said Minister Sheridan. 

“Whilst we are very excited by this step into the digital age, we have to appreciate that Facebook and other social media sites can be very demanding on staff time and we hope to manage the site carefully, so as not to get into detailed discussions on the page with the site administrators intending to refer enquiries to the correct areas within the Administration or the Assembly. We will therefore be taking small steps.  This Facebook page is not intended to replace the normal channels of communication, such as any complaints are to go through the normal complaints process, etcetera” Minister Adams said.


The Facebook page will not be fully monitored, moderated or responded to on a 24/7 basis with responses to postings aimed to be provided within 24 hours for a general enquiry. The pages will not generally be monitored on weekends. There are controls allowing the removal of certain content such as inappropriate, offensive or illegal material and also to block inappropriate users.


“We are pleased to be adding Facebook to our current communication tools to help inform our community and the general public and we invite people to like and follow the Facebook page” said Minister Sheridan.

Tim Sheridan                                                               Robin Adams                                     

Minister for Finance                                                 Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

7 November 2014

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COMMUNITY CONSULTATIONS ON THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE REPORT



Further to my recent advice on Radio Norfolk, I would like to advise the first of several Community Consultations on the October 2014 Joint Standing Committee report will be held at Rawson Hall on Wednesday 12 November at 4pm.

Each of the separate consultations will focus on specific Recommendations.

The first consultation next week will be run by an independent facilitator, Ms Vivien Twyford, and it will focus on Recommendations 1 and 2 of the Joint Standing Committee report.

A copy of the Joint Standing Committee Recommendations will be available at the meeting. 

The full report is available at the following website:

www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/
National_Capital_and_External_Territories/Norfolk_Island/Report

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

6 November 2014

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WELCOME TO THE WAKA HAUNUI




The Hon. Robin Adams MLA, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services, welcomes the Waka Haunui and all who sail in her to Norfolk Island’s shores.

“As your pacific neighbour we join with you in your call for action in protecting the environment in harmony with our cultures.  We salute your courage and wish you God speed on your journey as the ancestors you spoke of in your message to us guide you across the seas to take the message of the Pacific Promise to the 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney” the Minister said.

A call for Global Action: The Mua Message:

  • Appreciate and value the global significance of our Pacific island space – in a climate-challenged planet, our hope lies in protecting and managing our large natural spaces that provide life sustaining ecosystem services.
  • We need extraordinary partnerships and commitments to sustain the Pacific islands for future generations and for the health of the planet.
  • Join us to protect and nurture our environment in harmony with our cultures. Nature, in turn, will help restore our planet – that is our Pacific Promise.

(extract from http://www.muavoyage.com)

Robin Adams                                                              

Minister for Cultural Heritage and Community Services

31 October 2014

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VISIT TO CANBERRA BY THE NORFOLK ISLAND CHIEF MINISTER AND SPEAKER


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SEA BIRD CRISIS - PHILLIP ISLAND



Over the last 8-10 years there has been growing concern within the Norfolk Island community regarding the impacts of purple Swamphens (Porphyrio) on Phillip Island sea bird colonies. It is recognised that swamphens are one of a number of pressures being exerted, and that all long term management must be based upon a sound scientific basis.

A recent inspection visit to Phillip Island has confirmed there is a need for urgent action to avoid total destruction of the Phillip Island seabird colonies. The visit was in the company of Assistant Secretary Dr Judy West, Ornithologist consultant Mr Luis Ortez Catedral, Mr Derek Ball of the international conservation group Wildmob, and Park rangers Mr Joel Christian and Ms Cassandra Jones on the 28th October 2014. The crisis has also been worked through with Endangered Species Commissioner Mr Gregory Andrews who was able to accompany us to the Phillip Island landing.

The decline in seabird activity is stark for breeding season time of year, giving the impression of mid-winter when most species of seabirds have migrated.

Facts are:

  • At least five species of seabird have been severely  impacted:

Grey Ternlet - Procelsterna albivitta

Australasian Gannet - Morus serrator

Masked Booby - Sula dactylatra

Red Tailed Tropic Bird - Phaethon rubicaudra

Sooty Tern - Sterna fuscata

  • One species (Morus serrator) has been completely lost to the Phillip/Norfolk Island region.
  • One species (Sterna fuscata) has been progressively colonising the northern coastline of Norfolk Island as the decline on Phillip Island gathered pace.
  • Evidence of swamphens can be found across the length and width of Phillip Island.
  • Almost no other predators are present on Phillip Island. (One Kestrel - Falco cenchroides) seen resting on a rock. Seabirds have co-existed in the region with kestrels for decades with negligible effect.
  • The camera monitored Sooty Tern egg collection exclusion zone has fared no better than other parts of the island. In 2013 visitors to the island recorded greater swamphen activity in the exclusion zone, with the observation offered that reduced human presence was an advantage for the swamphens.

In light of these alarming facts I am proposing that there be a joint response effort between the Norfolk Island Government and National Park Management to address the increasing swamphen activity.

As Minister responsible I would be willing to issue permits under the Birds Protection Act 1913 to National Parks (who also have similar provisions under the EPBC Act) and to the Norfolk Island Administration to cull an agreed prescribed number of swamphen. This would enable National Park personnel to control the predators on Phillip Island, while the Norfolk Island Parks and Forestry Service can affect controls in the Kingston wetlands that are known to be prime breeding grounds for the swamphen.

This interim intervention would allow for any wider issue research that may be identified as necessary and flags responsible and proactive approach.

Swamphens are great waders and runners. When disturbed they much prefer to run or hide than to fly. However when pushed, they are strong fliers and can fly long distances if needed. Swamphens lack webbed feet, but are good swimmers and have good balance in water, on land or in trees. Swamphens are aggressive and will attack, particularly, the chicks of other species.

The culling of Swamphens on Great Barrier Island by the New Zealand Department of Conservation has been a major part of the programme to restore the population of little brown teal. Swamphens have good hearing and eyesight, and can be very challenging to hunt once they are wised up to hunting, often posting a sentry in a high position while the others feed.  However, in low light and/or high winds they are easier to approach.  Trapping would be done with a shortened version of the trip traps commonly used as cat traps.

It has also been reported that swamphens at Phillip Island are now severely impacting on the Carpobrotus glaucescens (commonly known as pigface or ice plant). This is of concern as Carpobrotus is a vital revegetation plant, one of the few that can cope with Phillip Island’s extreme conditions. This development is not surprising as the depleted seabird colonies are no longer able to provide the moisture the swamphens are seeking.

Ron Ward

Minister for the Environment

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REFORM UPDATE


“I wish to update the Norfolk Island community on the Commonwealth’s desire to change the Governance of Norfolk Island”. Chief Minister Lisle Snell said today.

The community petition, the text of which is set out below, will be presented to the Australian House of Representatives and the Senate next week, and in addition we are seeking meetings with both Government and Opposition Members in Canberra.

“TO THE HONOURABLE THE SPEAKER AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

This petition of Norfolk Island residents and descendants of the original settlers of Pitcairn Island draws to the attention of the House the pending proposal to Cabinet to change governance arrangements on Norfolk Island. The Norfolk Island Chief Minister and the Minister for Finance left the meeting with the Assistant Minister, the Hon. Jamie Briggs MP, on 8 October 2014 with the view that the new model will not be the subject of community consultation before, or after, the Cabinet’s and Parliament’s decision on such changes.

We therefore ask the House to: Before voting on any Bill to change governance arrangements for Norfolk Island established by the Norfolk Island Act 1979 of the Commonwealth, that the residents of Norfolk Island have the right to be provided the facts and consulted at referendum or plebiscite and have a democratic say on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before any proposed changes are voted on by the House.”

The Speaker of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, the Hon David Buffett, AM, MLA will be presenting to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop, MP, the following Motion passed by the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly at its meeting on Wednesday, 15 October 2014:

“THAT this House

1.      Values the relationship that Norfolk Island has with the Commonwealth of Australia.

2.      Reaffirms its commitment to the Norfolk Island Government’s preferred model of territory self-governance. 3. Calls on the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia that before voting on any bill to change the governance arrangements for Norfolk Island established by the Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Commonwealth) that the residents of Norfolk Island

          (a) be provided with details and facts as to any proposed changes; and

          (b). be consulted to ensure a democratic and open and transparent say on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island.”

We have also now considered the Joint Standing Committee’s report tabled in the House of Representatives on Monday.  Let me say from the outset we do not oppose the direction of those recommendations on infrastructure investment and economic development, and we will be presenting that to the members of the Australian Parliament next week.

We do not support the removal of the Legislative Assembly.

However, we support meaningful community consultations and discussions on any future governance models. 

Finally, the recent comments by Assistant Minister Briggs that the infrastructure is of 3rd world standards is offensive and cannot go unanswered , to suggest  for example that our School, the airport and emergency facilities, the recent satellite receiving upgrade and our energy  production is 3rd world standards is wrong and offensive to this community and the staff who work within and maintain those facilities.

Can we do better about improvements to our infrastructure, of course we can, and the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee are acknowledged.  But to require the removal of the Legislative Assembly as prerequisite of that is wrong. Do we run a budget deficit, yes we do at the moment since the Global Financial Crises that was not created by us. Does the Commonwealth run a budget deficit yes it does but is there a suggestion that the Federal Parliament should be abolished and replaced, no there is not such a suggestion. 

We are committed to work jointly with the Commonwealth on the implementation of agreed reform, but not with a process that imposes governance reform without proper and meaningful consultation.

Lisle Snell                                                                  

Chief Minister 

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LETTER FROM MINISTER BRIGGS



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NEW COMMONWEALTH HERITAGE MANAGER FOR THE AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE CONVICT SITE AT KINGSTON AND ARTHUR’S VALE


It is with much pleasure I announce the appointment of a new Commonwealth Heritage Manager for the Australian Heritage Convict Site of Kingston and Arthur’s Vale.

Mr Matthew (Matt) Alexander has moved to the Island with his family to commence in the role this week.  He joins the Office of The Administrator team from Murwillumbah NSW and his initial appointment is for 2 years.

Matt will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role, drawing from his extensive experience and a strong background in heritage management and archaeology both as a hands-on manager and consultant.  He has worked on many key heritage projects across the Australian mainland for federal, state and local governments. 

I trust the Norfolk community will join Lorraine and I in extending a heartfelt welcome to Matt, Andrea and Harry to their new home for at least the next two years.

His Honour the Hon. Gary Hardgrave

22 October 2014

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 

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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

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NOTICE PAPER


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AWARDS ON AUSTRALIA DAY 2015



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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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












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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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NOTICE PAPER



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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

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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

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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 

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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.

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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 

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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 

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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

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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

 

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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

 

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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

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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.

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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

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NOTICE PAPER





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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

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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

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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

 

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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) 

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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

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY








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JOHN STANHOPE LETTER TO THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE



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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:

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MINISTER ADAMS RESPONSES TO NEIL POPE SUBMISSION



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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

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LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLE MEETING





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HOUSEHOLD and BUSINESS INCOME and EXPENDITURE SURVEYS 2014


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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

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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

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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.

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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. 


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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

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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.

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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.  

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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

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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 -                             

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








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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 

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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

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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

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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

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LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY OF NORFOLK ISLAND AND THE CHIEF MINISTER




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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 

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NORFOLK ISLAND - THE WAY AHEAD





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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

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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

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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



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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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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 Norf