COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT

On this page you will be able to read Press release from Commonwealth Government on Norfolk Island.


A new Administrators reflection of his first week on Norfolk Island


Having arrived on the flight from Sydney last Sunday, I was warmly greeted by Norfolk Island Mayor Robin Adams, for which I remain most grateful.

The unseasonably humid weather early in the week was for many an inevitable topic of conversation and I found this reassuringly familiar, as it often seems to be such in regional and rural communities all around Australia. For a Tasmanian the balmy temperatures were most welcome and swimming in Emily Bay has already become a morning routine, although a couple of locals have suggested that the best visibility is in Slaughter Bay when swimming at low tide, something I am yet to try.


I do really want to say a big thank you to all those I have met thus far, either in meetings arranged by my office or randomly whilst out walking or doing some shopping in Burnt Pine, for making me feel welcome as a visitor to your special home in the South Pacific. Flinders Island is part of the Furneaux group in Bass Strait and is the only other place I know of that people take the time to acknowledge each other whilst driving. It must be an ‘island thing’.


As some may be aware, through my mother’s family, I have personal connections to the First Settlement on Norfolk Island through William Abel (Abell), who came to Sydney albeit involuntarily in 1792 and arrived on Norfolk Island in 1796. After being given his leave he was granted a small land holding here, but like others left, undoubtedly with misgivings for what was then Van Diemans Land, as I understand in 1804. He had a son Thomas who died as an infant and is buried on Norfolk Island.


William was granted 34 acres of land on the Derwent River upstream from Hobart Town at a place Lachlan Macquarie had intended to be called Elizabeth Town after his wife, but the newly arrived settlers from Norfolk Island had different ideas and the town has always been known as New Norfolk.


The story of Norfolk Island is a multi-faceted one; it is a story that continues to be written. It is a consequential part of Australia’s history and one more Australians should understand. Like my family’s story, everyone who calls this beautiful island home has their own story, all significant in their own way.


Those who trace their ancestry to the Bounty Mutineers have a quite fascinating story, they have called Norfolk Island home since 1856 and understandably have a deep love of and affinity with the island over generations that in some measure defines who they are as individuals. There are others with different family heritage whose roots on Norfolk Island also run deep over multiple generations. Then there are recent arrivals to Norfolk Island from other parts of Australia and elsewhere, looking to start a new business or just looking to be part of a lifestyle you simply cannot experience living in a large metropolitan environment.


Most will be aware the Australian government is investing significant resources to improve access to services and help build better infrastructure on Norfolk Island, investments which will make this an even better place to raise a family, start a new business or to visit for a holiday. In my role I am absolutely committed to making sure that all parts of the community are kept informed as these projects are implemented. Where there are legitimate concerns raised by individual members of the community or through your elected Council representatives, I will use every influence I have to support you and advocate on your behalf.


My office is open each day and you are welcome to contact me if you have anything you wish to raise, but similarly, please don’t hesitate to stop and introduce yourself if you see me out and about within the community. My wife Amanda and our two teenage boys David and John are arriving next week from Tasmania for 8 days and I am very much looking forward to showing them around the island.


Thank you again.

Eric Hutchinson

Administrator of Norfolk Island

New Military Barracks, Quality Row, Kingston

PO Box 201, Norfolk Island 2899

Office: 0011 6723 22152

Mobile:  0011 6723 50001

Email: eric.hutchinson@infrastructure.gov.au 

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Community matters - progress on Norfolk Island reform


As Australian Government services on Norfolk Island continue to take shape, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development will provide regular updates to the community on the development and implementation of programs and services.

 

Norfolk Island Gaming Authority Closure – effects on gaming operators on Norfolk Island

 

The decision to close the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority from 31 March 2017 was taken by the Minister for Local Government and Territories in November 2016 following a review into the operations and management of the Authority. The review concluded the Authority had failed to fulfil its regulatory role to an acceptable level and demonstrated poor internal controls, non-transparency and limited financial viability.


A second report commissioned by the Department identified the costs required to reform the Authority into a competent regulator would exceed the revenue generated. The Minister had no choice but to close the Authority.  


It was also clear that independent state racing bodies in Victoria and NSW had lost confidence in the Authority as a capable regulator. In April 2016 these bodies advised the Authority they would suspend approval for all bookmakers licensed by the Authority to list their race-fields from the end of November 2016. A bookmaker does not have a viable business if sporting bodies do not allow them to accept bets on their events.  


Following the Minister’s announcement of the Authority’s closure the NSW and Victorian racing bodies agreed to extend NI TAB’s approval to list fields until 31 March 2017 to give NI TAB more time to secure other arrangements.


The Australian Government also advised NI TAB it would consider applying the relevant laws from another Australian jurisdiction if NI TAB could demonstrate in-principle support from a state gaming regulator to license their operations beyond 31 March. Unfortunately, NI TAB was unable to identify another jurisdiction prepared to provide it with a licence.


The Minister announced in November the Australian Government would cover the shortfall in Norfolk Island revenue resulting from the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority’s closure.


Both reports on the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority are available online at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/reforms

Update on the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA)

 

The Department is pleased to welcome Mr Eric Hutchinson, Administrator of Norfolk Island into the role of Chair of the KAVHA Advisory Committee.  Eric brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously chaired the Parliamentary Friends of History and Heritage group aimed at sharing knowledge and development of policy related to Australia's vast historical, natural and indigenous heritage.


Significant activity is underway to implement the priorities included in the 2016 KAVHA Heritage Management Plan as recommended by the KAVHA Advisory Committee.  


At its February meeting, the Committee considered the outcomes from the community consultation undertaken in November last year to develop a Site Master Plan. The Committee recommended further development and consideration of the community input which it will discuss at its August meeting. The Committee specifically sought a detailed proposal to improve the Pier Area and provide better access to the Prisoners’ Barracks compound to improve visitor experience and community use. The Department would like to thank the community for its valuable input into the Site Master Plan concept development process.


Tenders for a project to identify the future economic potential of KAVHA have been invited by the Department. The aim of the study is to provide the Department and the KAVHA Advisory Committee with an evidence base to inform future decisions regarding governance reforms and infrastructure investment, and to support applications for funding to assist in the further development of KAVHA for conservation and tourism. 


The development of a new KAVHA website is also progressing and is likely to be released for stakeholder testing and comment by July 2017.


The Department will keep the community informed on these and other KAVHA-related projects and also on further opportunities for the community to provide input as they arise. 

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

7 April, 2017

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APPLICATIONS FOR ‘OPEN DAYS’ AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE JULY 2017 – JUNE 2018


Community groups that raise funds for charities and for non-profit organisations are invited to submit applications to have an open day at Government House  between July 2017 and June 2018.


Open Days are held between 1.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. on scheduled Wednesdays.  An entry fee is charged and all proceeds are used to benefit the Norfolk Island community.


Prior to submitting an application, interested organisations should obtain an information brochure on Government House Open Days from the Office of the Administrator ( Ph. 22152) and acquaint themselves with the responsibilities that are placed on successful applicants prior to and during their respective Open Days.

Applications are to be in writing and should be forwarded to email office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au or mailed to:

           

            Office of the Administrator

            PO Box 201

            Norfolk Island 2899

by COB Wednesday  19 April 2017.

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Thanks and farewell



Lorraine and I wish to thank residents for their strong personal support during our 1001 days on Norfolk Island.

At the outset I undertook to ensure Norfolk Islanders were able to access the services and benefits other Australians on the mainland took for granted.  The massive reform of core community systems has achieved much to date but reform will continue over the years ahead.

The new reality on Norfolk Island is a vast improvement for most people as Australian citizens and eligible residents on Norfolk Island now have a fairer social support system.

Medicare, family support and pensions have helped deliver support to the most vulnerable and resource them to be able to more fully participate in the Island and national economy.

There is much more to do with further reform targeting the five Cs - communications, child wellbeing, consumer, corporate and criminal laws.  These ongoing reforms will continue to make this community fairer in the years ahead.

I have spent some time this past week with incoming Administrator Eric Hutchinson and I am very confident he will work hard to continue the reform course set over the past few years.

Finally and given the scope of reform was so complex, it was not well understood at the time but it is important to understand Executive Council responsibilities for Norfolk Island transferred in June 2015 to the Commonwealth.  Accordingly, Lorraine and I were honoured to have served as the last on Island Vice Regal representatives for Norfolk Island.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

30 March 2017

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Community Title on Norfolk Island


A new Ordinance to enact community title legislation will be made in the next few months and will be very similar to the model proposed in 2015 after widespread consultations.


Community title legislation gives Norfolk Island residents greater choice and flexibility in the way they use their land. It allows a single parcel of land to be divided between one or more owners, while at the same time protecting owners’ rights to the common areas of a subdivision, such as a shared garden or driveway. Community title was crafted in conjunction with the community. I am confident it is the next practical step to provide new opportunities for residents and businesses alike to further grow the Norfolk Island economy.


The community consultations for the changes to the Norfolk Island Plan revealed some residents thought the introduction of community title would open the door to high density development. I want to reassure residents the Planning Act 2002 (NI) and the Norfolk Island Plan have provisions to prevent inappropriate development occurring.


Community title has been designed to give Norfolk Island residents the most flexibility with subdivision while maintaining Norfolk Island’s unique feel and features. I would like to further emphasise that community title will not be mandatory when subdividing, Norfolk Island residents will be able to utilise community title mechanism if it suits their particular circumstances. 


The Hon Gary Hardgrave

29 March 2017

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Norfolk Island Capital Works Program Update


Anyone who has recently visited Cascade Pier, the Norfolk Island Central School or the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS) would have seen the fantastic progress being made by the Australian Government towards the delivery of vastly improved amenities and services to the Norfolk Island community and visitors.


The Cascade Pier extension is progressing at a cracking pace.  The recent addition of the dock crane is making light work of placing the 19 tonne I beams which will form the foundation of the pier’s 25m extension.  Once this is complete the crane will be moved to a more permanent location where it will manage the safe loading and unloading of freight vessels, passenger and fishing vessels. 


This second stage of the NIHRACS works program has already resulted in many structural upgrades as well as increased fresh water storage.  The upgraded and long awaited food preparation area will very shortly be complete which will address previous safety and hygiene concerns.


Capital works relating to the new x-ray and mammography rooms will soon be completed.  The new digital x-ray machines will provide more accurate and timely diagnosis.  Pending continued work on the legislative and service provider aspects of establishing a mammography service, members of the community will no longer have to travel to the mainland for routine mammography scans. 


At the school, the refurbishment of the woodworking and home economics rooms are well underway and when complete students will have access to safe and modern learning environments with a wide range of new equipment.  I would like to thank Robyn Menghetti and the Norfolk Island Regional Council for providing facilities for the students whilst the school rooms are unavailable.


The school’s ICT infrastructure will also be replaced enabling staff and students to access the full suite of NSW online administration services and teaching aids.  In the coming months most classrooms and buildings will be refurbished to some extent including new roofing, guttering, floor coverings and furniture with the kindergarten students able to enjoy new playground equipment.


It is pleasing the companies managing and delivering the respective projects, Waterways Constructions, Advisian and Manteena Security Pty Ltd, have committed to employing local businesses and tradespeople, sharing their knowledge and experience of the Australian construction and marine industry standards.  I am confident the project outcomes will deliver improved, safe and more modern facilities for the Norfolk Island community and I look forward to keeping up to date with the continuing progress.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

24 March 2017

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Human Services will be here from 14 to 16 March.



Important notice: The Australian Government Department of Human Services will be here from 14 to 16 March.


Staff from the department will be at the Governor’s Lodge Resort Conference Room from Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 March between 9am and 4.30pm.

You can make an appointment to see us from 2.00pm Monday 13 March at the Governor’s Lodge Resort Conference Room.

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

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Eric Hutchinson appointed as next Norfolk Island Administrator


  • Eric Hutchinson appointed for two years from 1 April 2017
  • Mr Hutchinson will work with the local community as the Australian Government continues to invest in Norfolk Island
  • Mr Hutchinson will replace current Administrator Gary Hardgrave whose term concludes on 31 March 2017

Former Federal MP Eric Hutchinson has been appointed as the next Administrator of Norfolk Island.

Minister for Local Government and Territories Fiona Nash made the announcement today, confirming Mr Hutchinson will replace current Administrator Gary Hardgrave after his term concludes on 31 March 2017.

“As Administrator, Mr Hutchinson will work with the community to improve services and create local jobs,” Minister Nash said.

“Mr Hutchinson has an exemplary track record working with local communities in regional Tasmania as the Member for Lyons.

“Mr Hutchinson also brings a wealth of business experience to the position following a long career in agribusiness and regional branding. He has a deep appreciation of the unique challenges and exciting opportunities faced by people living in smaller regional communities.

Like a number of other Tasmanians, Mr Hutchinson also has a personal family connection with Norfolk Island dating back to the 1790s.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Administrator for his dedication to the role over the past two years. Mr Hardgrave has fought hard to ensure the people of Norfolk receive the same level of essential services as those afforded to Australians on the mainland.

“Under Mr Hardgrave’s administration, the people of Norfolk have seen an ongoing investment in healthcare and education services, which will ensure future generations on Norfolk continue to prosper.

“I thank Mr Hardgrave for working closely with the community and never stepping back from a challenge to deliver a stronger future for the people of Norfolk.

Mr Hutchinson will begin his two-year term as Administrator of Norfolk Island on 1 April 2017.

Contacts:

Les White                 0409 805 122           les.white@regional.gov.au

Brett Chant              0477 744 614            brett.chant@regional.gov.au

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Celebrating diversity and difference on Australia Day



Australia Day is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures which Australia comprises of and acknowledges the difference and equality we all share as a nation.

 

I am pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Australia Day Awards, recognising service and contribution to the community by inspiring groups and members of the Norfolk Island community. 

  1. Citizen of the Year –Fenella Evans and Helen Price

This award recognises an outstanding contribution to the local community.  The award celebrated both Fenella and Helen’s continued dedication and support to the Norfolk Island community, going above and beyond in their community contributions.

  1. Young Citizen of the Year – Aden Ciantar

This award recognizes outstanding contribution to the local community by a person under the age of 25 years.  Aden has a passion for science and learning and has shared his passion with young members of the community over several years, encouraging their enthusiasm for learning. 

  1. Sportsperson of the Year – Andrew Pashley

This Sport Awards recognises outstanding ability or participation, or achievement in a particular competition.  Andrew brings passion and great mentorship to his role of coach, is passionate about supporting the junior rugby teams and works broadly across the community sector.  

  1. Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Ada Nebauer

This Sport Award recognises outstanding ability or participation, or achievement in a particular competition.  Ada is someone who has natural sporting ability that is well known in the community.  She has represented Norfolk Island multiple times, and has shown outstanding talent in the field of outrigger canoe racing.  

  1. Achievement Award – Year 7/8 debating team

This Achievement Award recognises the significant achievement of other categories, including contribution to public service.  This group achievement award was to celebrate the 7/8 Premier’s Debating Challenge.  Despite not winning the overall competition, the team showed great tenacity in their team work, and expertise in their debating skills. Congratulations to Ruby Ciantar, Joni King, Ashely Kyota, Harrison Hayes, and their coach, Susie Dixon.

I wish to acknowledge all who were nominated and the successful recipients of the Australia Day Awards, which were presented at Government House at a ceremony attended by many in the community.


The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

26 January 2017

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Media Release – Additional Air New Zealand flights to Norfolk Island from the Australian Mainland



There will be more opportunities for travel between Norfolk Island and mainland Australia as Air New Zealand has announced more flights in 2017.

The airline will be increasing flights on its Sydney-Norfolk Island route between November 2017 and February 2018 and there will be an extra flight on its Brisbane-Norfolk Island route in May 2017.

This is a positive sign more tourists are visiting Norfolk Island from the mainland and this will create more opportunities for Norfolk Island’s tourism industry and the local economy.

While Air New Zealand has increased its flights to Norfolk Island from mainland Australia, it has made a commercial decision to end its direct service from Auckland in May 2017.

The carrier made this decision based on long-term declining customer demand with the route no longer commercially sustainable.

Norfolk Island residents will continue to be able to travel to Auckland from Norfolk Island via Brisbane or Sydney.

Air New Zealand and other flight operators can provide chartered flight services between Norfolk Island and New Zealand.

Air New Zealand will continue to provide freight services from Sydney and Brisbane, while shipping freight services between Norfolk Island and New Zealand will continue to operate as normal.

We have plenty of time to consider how to best work with the changed arrangements and get the best outcome for Norfolk Island residents before 21 May 2017.
I will convene a working group in January 2017 of those parties impacted by the cessation of air freight from New Zealand to enable us to plan alternative freight delivery arrangements.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
16 December 2016

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Public holidays on Norfolk Island confirmed



Traditional customs and culture have been protected as the Governor-General made the Norfolk Island Continued Laws (Public Holidays) Ordinance 2016 (the Ordinance) on 8 December 2016.

The Governor-General, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), made the Ordinance, which combines all public holidays under the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009 with those previously contained in the Norfolk Island Employment Act 1988.

As promised, Anniversary (Bounty) Day, Foundation Day, Show Day and Thanksgiving Day will continue to be public holidays on Norfolk Island.

The Ordinance also provides certainty for the observance of public holidays when they fall on a Saturday or a Sunday.

I would like to thank everybody who provided comments in response to my media release of 4 November 2016 on this matter – most of the comments I received were related to the observance of Show Day.

The declaration of a day for Show Day will be made on advice of the organisers of the Norfolk Island Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show.

This decision reflects a longstanding feature of the Employment Act 1988 (NI) and gives organisers the flexibility to choose the best day to hold the Show in future years.

The attached table lists the public holidays to be observed and the day, or date, they are to be observed.

The Ordinance has been registered on the Federal Register of Legislation and can be viewed online at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L01949.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
15 December 2016


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Application of the NSW Public Health Act



Certain provisions of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) relating to public health matters and associated provisions of the Public Health Regulation 2012 (NSW) will apply on Norfolk Island from 20 January 2017.

The Governor-General, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), made the Ordinances on 8 December 2016.

These provisions will give the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service a legislative basis to seek assistance from NSW officials in responding to notifiable diseases on Norfolk Island, and managing public health risks during a state of emergency, for example during a natural disaster.

Remaining parts of public health legislation which directly impact the community will only be applied after community engagement takes place.

View the Legislative Instruments here:

Norfolk Island Continued Laws Amendment (Public Health) Ordinance 2016

Norfolk Island Applied Laws Amendment (Public Health) Ordinance 2016

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
15 December 2016
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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Suspension of New South Wales Laws on Norfolk Island Extended



As I foreshadowed in my media release of 4 November 2016, the Norfolk Island Applied Laws Amendment (Suspension) Ordinance 2016 (the Ordinance) was made on 24 November 2016 by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Ordinance provides NSW legislation will continue to be suspended until 1 July 2018. This will allow adequate time for the Australian Government to continue to consult with the Norfolk Island community and the Norfolk Island Regional Council regarding the priorities and timing of the application of NSW legislation.

The Ordinance has been registered on the Federal Register of Legislation and can be viewed online at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L01814.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
1 December 2016

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Media Release – Expressions of Interest for Statutory Appointments


I invite expressions of interest from persons who would like to make a contribution to the community by filling the following roles:


 Magistrates of the Norfolk Island Court of Petty Sessions and members of the Administrative Appeals Review Tribunal (ART);
 Member of the Disaster and Emergency Management Committee;
 Members of the Employment Conciliation Board;
 Members of the Liquor Licensing Board; and
 Members of the Norfolk Island Planning and Environment Board.

Appointments will commence from 7 December 2016 with the exception of the Norfolk Island Planning and Environment Board where commencement will be after the expiry of existing members’ terms of appointment. Persons desiring appointment as Magistrates or ART members will be subject to police clearance and background checks.

Interested persons should familiarise themselves with the legislation and qualification requirements (where relevant) relating to each of the above roles. This information can be accessed via the following link: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Browse/ByTitle/NorfolkIslandLegislation/InForce

Appointments will be until 30 June 2017, with the exception of appointments to the Employment Conciliation Board where appointments will be for a minimum of two years (as required under the Employment Act 1988).

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

Completed forms should be provided to the Office of the Administrator by 2.00pm, Wednesday 30 November 2016. These can be scanned and emailed to office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au or returned in person to the office located in the New Military Barracks, Kingston.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
18 November 2016

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Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area Advisory Committee Communique, November 2016



The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) Advisory Committee (the Committee) provides the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) with expert, independent advice on the management of the KAVHA site. The Committee met in Sydney from 20–21 October 2016 to develop a plan of action to implement the 2016 KAVHA Heritage Management Plan (HMP), which was recently endorsed and will be registered as a final document in the near future.

The Committee carefully considered many of the HMP’s almost 100 recommendations on the first day of the meeting and have recommended an ambitious priority workplan for the next 1–2 years. Two of the key themes which emerged from its workplan discussions included the need to maintain a close association between tourism development and heritage protection, and preserve KAVHA’s unique character as a place to work and play.

The Committee strongly supports the HMP recommendations relating to supporting the community’s free access to KAVHA for their personal use and cultural practices, while simultaneously pursuing initiatives to improve financial sustainability. Committee members considered it important for visitors and commercial operators to make a financial contribution to maintaining the site, and for the revenue collected to be directed towards improving the maintenance of heritage assets and enhancing visitor experiences.

The Committee recommended the Department promptly finalise a plan of works for public release, and regularly report progress to the community.
The Committee appreciated the opportunity to discuss the site master plan project with consultant Eric Martin as this work is considered vital for the future of KAVHA and the economic development of Norfolk Island. Members discussed their views on the priority outcomes for the master plan, including for it to carefully consider the challenges and opportunities which will arise with the expected increase in cruise ship arrivals to Norfolk Island in the coming years. The issues the Committee suggested for consideration within the site master plan included the need for better visitor orientation, improved pedestrian access, more structured car parking and vehicle access, and the provision of quality food and beverages, and retail services. The Committee looks forward to its further involvement in this project at its next meeting.

Members of the Committee also devoted considerable time at the meeting discussing the governance needs for KAVHA. While acknowledging the progress made in the past year, members recommended the Department consider further short-term enhancements to the existing arrangements, and explore options for longer-term governance change. These will be discussed at the next meeting.

The Committee members also appreciated the opportunity to visit the Hyde Park Barracks and Cockatoo Islandwhile in Sydney and meet with officials to obtain insights into the management of these sites, including governance,tourism development and visitor interpretation. These visits also emphasised to members the unique role ofKAVHA in Australia’s convict history and its potential to become a must see destination for all Australians.

Some of the KAVHA Advisory Committee also met with members of the Australian Convict Sites SteeringCommittee (ACSSC) who were in Sydney for their annual conference.

The Committee’s next meeting will be held on Norfolk Island in February 2017. Planning is also underway for anOctober 2017 committee meeting to coincide with the next ACSSC conference which is hoped to be held on Norfolk Island.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
Chair
KAVHA Advisory Committee
11 November 2016

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Remembrance Day 2016



On this day 98 years ago at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns fell silent as a ceasefire signalled the end of hostilities across Europe in the then called “war to end all wars”.

On this anniversary day of the Armistice, all across our nation and in many parts of the world, we observe a minute of silence for all who have served.

We think of those they served alongside in battle, such as our allies from New Zealand, Canada, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

We also take time to think of those who were enemies in the past like Turkey, Germany and Japan – they are now our firm friends.

On this day, we acknowledge the young Australians, including those from Norfolk Island, who continue to serve in Australia’s name.

On this day and on ANZAC Day each year, we acknowledge those who sacrificed their tomorrows for our today.

Lest We Forget

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
11 November 2016
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island


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Administrator’s 2017 Young Endeavour Scholarship


Nominations are sought from young people aged 16 to 23 for the 2017 Administrator’s Young Endeavour Scholarship.

This Scholarship will enable one young person ordinarily resident on Norfolk Island to participate in sail training voyage aboard the Young Endeavour.

The Young Endeavour experience is not a leisurely cruise.  It is unique and challenging adventure training at sea, which seeks to develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills. 

The Young Endeavour is a 44 metre long tall ship purpose-built for sail training, with modern technology and world –standard safety navigation equipment. You live ‘between decks’ in a close community with other youth crew from diverse places and backgrounds across Australia. Further information on the Young Endeavour and its voyages is available at: http://www.youngendeavour.gov.au.


The Administrator’s Scholarship will cover the cost of a berth on the Young Endeavour and assistance with insurance, airline travel to and from Norfolk Island, and accommodation, if required.

It is envisaged the successful candidate will take part in the Young Endeavour’s voyage departing from Sydney on 09 April 2017 and returning to Sydney on 19 April 2017. 

To be eligible for this Scholarship you must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • ordinarily live on Norfolk Island
  • be 16 - 23 years old on the day of departure of the voyage
  • be able to swim 50 metres
  • weigh less than 120kg and be in good health
  • not have previously sailed aboard the Young Endeavour.

If you are aged under 18, your parent or guardian must give permission for you to participate in the voyage.  And for safety reasons, there are certain medical conditions which may preclude participation in the voyage. Offers are provisional until confirmed by the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme, including completion of its health questionnaire.

Applications for a Scholarship will be assessed by a panel, together with the Administrator.

Further information and application forms are available by phoning the Office of the Administrator during business hours on 22152.

Completed application forms must be lodged with the Office of the Administrator Office before close of business on Monday 16 January 2017.

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Hansard - Senator Pauline Hanson


Senator HANSON (Queensland) (19:32): Last month, at the request of the local community, I travelled to Norfolk Island at my own expense. Over a busy four days I met with business groups including the Chamber of Commerce and the Accommodation and Tourism Association. I sat down with the council of elders and I was joined by dozens of primary producers and fishermen. I heard from pensioners, schoolchildren and the non-Australian citizens who have called the island home for decades. I attended community gatherings and addressed a public meeting of more than 300 people. I also heard from the Norfolk Island People for Democracy, who, with the assistance of leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, have taken the community's fight to the United Nations.


What I heard was alarming. The Norfolk Island people are overwhelmingly opposed to the Australian government's decision to abolish their parliament, overturn local laws and forcibly take over—without compensation—public assets such as their school, hospital and radio station. I was shown letters, petitions and requests sent to successive ministers, prime ministers and even the Governor-General, all of which have been ignored and disregarded. Business groups spoke of being prevented from meeting with the Minister for Local Government and Territories, Fiona Nash, during her only visit to the island since taking on the portfolio. I was told how the island had lost revenue sources, such as by the abolition of the GST, the closure of the postal service and a ban on the issuing of Norfolk Island stamps. I heard how the Australian government had collected millions in royalties from the island's exclusive economic zone while prohibiting Norfolk Island from having its own commercial fishing industry.


Perhaps most shocking were the reports regarding the Australian government's appointed administrator, Gary Hardgrave. Despite having no experience in administration or governance, Mr Hardgrave took control of the island's management following the parliament's axing. Since then he has shown contempt for the local population, making arbitrary decisions without consultation. I was provided with documents outlining serious allegations against him. These include that contracts have been awarded without tenders, that he intervened to have less qualified people awarded jobs and that he has been responsible for the waste of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money.


Also clear was that Mr Hardgrave has misled the Australian parliament. His false statements were used to justify government changes against the will of the Norfolk Island people. His claims that a substantial majority of Norfolk Islanders support the changes and that the community overwhelmingly wanted the island's legislative assembly abolished are clearly untrue. A referendum on the island last year showed that two-thirds of voters were opposed to the loss of self-governance. My own experience suggests that that number has only grown.


Mr Hardgrave also used the Commonwealth takeover of the island's radio station to impose a ban on political free speech, including any criticism of his actions. As a reward, Mr Hardgrave received an $83,000 pay rise this year. His total remuneration package is now almost $300,000. He also gets to live rent-free in a Georgian mansion overlooking pristine Emily Bay, with a staff of taxpayer-funded cooks, cleaners and groundskeepers.


Considering the current issues facing One Nation at the moment, people may be wondering why Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland, is concerning herself with these issues facing Norfolk Island. I have always stood up for people and their right to protect their homes, their country, their heritage and their integrity.


For 160 years, the people of Norfolk Island have shown a toughness, determination, work ethic and passion that the Australian government should be looking at for inspiration, not trying to wipe out. For three decades, until the global financial crisis struck, their legislative assembly was well able to fund local, state and federal services without budget deficits. Watching schoolchildren speak the native Norfolk tongue and perform traditional Tahitian dances, and hearing the passion as they sing their national anthem and raise the Norfolk Island flag, it is impossible not to be inspired by their plight. Their unique history, traditions, language and culture should be celebrated, not trampled by our bureaucrats and politicians 2,000 miles away in Canberra.


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Public Holidays on Norfolk Island


Today I am releasing a proposed schedule of public holidays to be observed on Norfolk Island for consultation.

The public holidays proposed combine those National Holidays which Norfolk Island residents are entitled to under the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009 as well as those currently contained in the Norfolk Island Employment Act 1988.

As I promised in my Media Release of 31 July 2015, traditional local holidays on Norfolk Island, Anniversary (Bounty) Day, Foundation Day, Show Day and Thanksgiving Day are still proposed to be public holidays on Norfolk Island.

The community should have certainty for the observance of public holidays when they fall on a Saturday or a Sunday. Instead of the Employment Regulations being updated each year to cater for these occasions, this proposal sets out when a public holiday will be observed in all situations. The alternative days proposed for Norfolk Island’s special public holidays are based on past practices.

In addition, it is proposed the Minister will have the ability to grant additional public holidays for days of special significance in any year.

The attached table lists the proposed public holidays to be observed and the day, or date, they are to be observed.

I am sure all Norfolk Island residents would welcome the clarity and certainty this approach would provide and I look forward to hearing from you on this proposal.

Please provide your comments via email to office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au by 18 November 2016.

Commencement will depend on the date the Ordinance is made.
The Hon Gary Hardgrave
4 November 2016

The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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2017 Australia Day Awards


Nominations are sought for the 2017 Australia Day Awards on Norfolk Island.


Australia Day Awards recognise service and contribution to the community in the past year by individuals or groups. They recognise those who are an inspirational role model.

The award categories are:
 Citizen of the Year Award
 Young Citizen of the Year Award
 Sportsperson of the Year
 Junior Sportsperson of the Year
 Achievement Award

The Citizen and Young Citizen Awards recognise outstanding contribution to local community. The Citizen Award is for persons 25 years of age and over. The Young Citizen is for those under 25.

The Sports Awards recognise outstanding ability or participation, or achievement in a particular competition.

The Achievement Award recognises significant achievement for which other categories may not apply, including for contribution in the public service.

Nominations will be considered by a panel, with the Awards announced at Government House on Australia Day, Thursday 26 January 2017.

Nominations should be submitted in writing to the Office of the Administrator. Each nomination should include:
 the nominee and nominator’s details (both name and contact information)
 the award category
 an outline of the significant contribution the nominee has made to the Norfolk Island community and an explanation of how this person or group is an inspirational role model.

Nominations must be received by the Office of the Administrator by close of business, Friday 9 December 2016.

Once again, we are looking to celebrate what is great about our Nation and our local community by saying thanks to those who have served or achieved something special during the past year.

Members of the community interested in attending the event to be held at Government House on Australia Day should contact my office using the details provided below.

For further information contact the Office of the Administrator on phone 22152 or email office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
4 November 2016
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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The Australian Territory of Norfolk Island



Community members have raised with me questions about the status of Norfolk Island and its relationship with Britain. To paraphrase the words of a former US Senator, the anti-Australia few are entitled to their opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts.

Norfolk Island has been part of Australia since 1914. An Order in Council (No. 528 of 1914) by the United Kingdom, coupled with the Norfolk Island Act 1913, effected the transfer of the full control and legislative authority for the government of Norfolk Island to the Commonwealth of Australia. The Order in Council is publicly available at https://www.legislation.gov.au/file/1914GN35 and the Norfolk Island Act 1913 can be downloaded via the following link https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C1913A00015.

My recent personally funded visit to the United Kingdom afforded an opportunity to talk with various people about Norfolk Island. My discussions with British Government officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed there is no change in the British Government’s view, developed over a century ago - Norfolk Island is part of Australia.

The FCO wrote to a former Norfolk Island MLA in June 1996 and rejected the sentiment of Norfolk Island being a British Overseas Territory.

The FCO said nothing has changed. The 1996 letter from the FCO clearly states a number of things including claims of Norfolk Islanders being British and not Australian ‘deserved, and have received, thorough research and analysis’. The FCO 1996 letter states ‘Norfolk Island is legally a dependent territory of the Commonwealth of Australia’.

Other key points in the 1996 FCO letter include:

 The Crown in right of the United Kingdom did not retain any further power to provide for the government of Norfolk Island.
 The transfer cannot be revoked, since the Order of 1914 assigned responsibility for Norfolk Island to the Australian Government without reservation. This contrasted with previous Orders (notably one dated 1900), which provided for administration of Norfolk Island by Australia “..until further Orders should be made on that behalf by Her Majesty..”;
 The effect of these arrangements is that the territory could only be returned to the United Kingdom by Order in Council of Her Majesty on the advice of Her Australian Government.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
4 November 2016

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Suspension of New South Wales Laws on Norfolk Island to be Extended



The Norfolk Island Applied Laws Ordinance 2016 (Cth) suspended the operation of New South Wales (NSW) legislation, other than some Acts such as the Healthcare Act 1997 and the Local Government Act 1993 until 1 January 2017.

In line with Australian Government’s commitment to phase the introduction of laws where community impacts need to be understood, a period of appropriate consultation will occur prior to NSW legislation being applied. To allow time for this to take place, NSW legislation will continue to be suspended until 1 July 2018. This will not prevent NSW legislation being applied progressively during the period leading up to 1 July 2018.

This amendment will allow adequate time for the Australian Government to consult with the Norfolk Island community and the Norfolk Island Regional Council regarding the priorities and timing of the application of NSW legislation. The extra time will also allow for systems and processes to be developed to ensure NSW legislation can be effectively administered from the date it is introduced.

I look forward to working with the community and the Council during this period as new legislation is introduced which will drive greater social equity, strengthen the legal system and improve economic outcomes for all Norfolk Island residents and visitors.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
4 November 2016
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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Important notice: The Australian Government Department of Human Services will be visiting on 18 and 20 October.



The Department of Human Services will be at the Governor’s Lodge Resort Conference room from Tuesday 18 October until Thursday 20 October between 9am and 4.30pm. 
Along with our usual services, this visit includes a Financial Information Services Officer who can provide you with free, confidential information on financial issues.
To make an appointment to see one of the staff during the visit please contact us from 9am Monday 17 October at the Governor’s Lodge Resort Conference room.

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

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Media Release - 2016 Australian Citizenship Day


Saturday 17 September was 2016 Australian Citizenship Day.  Australian citizenship is an important common bond for all Australians and lies at the heart of a united, cohesive and inclusive Australia. 

Australian Citizenship Day is a day where everyone in the Australian community can reflect on and celebrate the meaning and importance of Australian citizenship and the role citizens of many culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have played in shaping our nation.  It is a day for all Australians, by birth or by choice, to celebrate the common values which underpin Australian citizenship including democracy, equality under law and respect for each other’s beliefs.  It is a day to celebrate the strength we gain from our diversity - those aspects of our way of life which unite us.   

In the period since Australian Citizenship Day 2015, it has been an honour to preside over 15 citizenship ceremonies on Norfolk Island with 96 people receiving their Australian citizenship.  Of these 96 new citizens, 29 were from New Zealand and 67 were from other countries. 

This means almost 98% of people on Norfolk Island are Australian Citizens with many enjoying dual citizenship with places such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States.  In this regard, Norfolk Island is very consistent with the Australian national statistics regarding citizenship. 

If you would like to enquire about becoming an Australian citizen please contact Department of Immigration and Border Protection either via email at www.border.gov.au or through their office in Burnt Pine on telephone 22900.    
  
The Hon Gary Hardgrave
19 September 2016 

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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR CLEANING SERVICES AT OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR



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

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

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

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

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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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COUNTDOWN TO THE CENSUS BEGINS! – NORFOLK ISLAND EDITORIAL APPROACH PHASE 28 JULY – 8 AUGUST FOR PUBLISHING ON 1 AUGUST


The countdown to the 2016 Census has begun, with 8 days to go until Norfolk Islanders take part in Australia’s largest peace time operation on Tuesday, 9 August 2016. 


New South Wales Census Director, Liz Bolzan is calling on all Norfolk Islanders to complete their Census form, which will begin arriving at households soon.  
“Local Census Field Officers are now visiting households to deliver Census packs which include: Census letter, the Household form; a Norfolk Island fact sheet and a privacy envelope. Households can refer to the Norfolk Island factsheet to assist them in completing their form, which provides examples of some questions and how they relate to people on Norfolk Island.”

“Instructions for online completion, including a unique login code will be displayed on the front of the form should residents wish to complete their Census via the internet.” 

“The Census form will take approximately 30 minutes to complete per household and must include everyone staying with you on Census night. All information you provide is kept private and secure and ABS cannot and will not ever release your identifiable Census data. For visitors and travellers staying at a hotel, motel, hostel or any other type of accommodation, the service provider will provide you with a Census Pack to complete the Census,” Ms Bolzan said. 

For the first time, Norfolk Island will be included in the Census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics every 5 years,” Ms Bolzan said. In 2011, Norfolk Island had a population of 1,796 people in their last Census.  

“It is important to gain an accurate snapshot of Norfolk Island to help make informed decisions for future planning,” Ms Bolzan said. 

Remember the Census is compulsory. For more information about the Census visit www.census.abs.gov.au

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THE 2016 CENSUS ON NORFOLK ISLAND


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST



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

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

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

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

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

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FREE TRAINING SEMINAR


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IMPORTANT NOTICE



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR SERVICE PERSONNEL FOR FUNCTIONS AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



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

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

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


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KINGSTON AND ARTHUR'S VALE HISTORIC AREA (KAVHA)



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

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

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

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

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

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2015-16 TRANSITION YEAR



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 30 June 2016 

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PUBLIC SERVICES ANNOUNCEMENT



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

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

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

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

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MEDIA RELEASE - NEW RULES


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

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

All Rules commence on 1 July 2016. 

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

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

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

Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act Transitional Rule (Pathology) 2016

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

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

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

Norfolk Island Legislation (Migration) Transitional Rule 2016


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

Territories Legislation Amendment Transitional Rule (Business Names Registration) 2016

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

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

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
30 June 2016 

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2015-16 TRANSITION YEAR


Over this past year of transition, a number of milestones have been met during the Norfolk Island reform process. To summarise: 

 
 Commonwealth law has been extended to Norfolk Island with the exception of 25 laws, including corporations law and communications laws, with these to be extended over the coming years;  New South Wales law will be used as the basis for the Commonwealth Parliament to apply a number of laws to matters usually dealt with by states. Only a small number of such laws have been applied immediately, such as ordinances in place for local government to mirror NSW legislation;  
 New services which have been established with the Commonwealth or their agents to provide social security payments, employment, taxation, immigration and border protection and agricultural services directly. New South Wales is providing management support to the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS); 
 The elections for councillors has been successfully conducted and five new councillors take up their positions effective as of 1 July supported by remodelled administration and staffing arrangements which better support a Council;  
 The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has established a new funding agreement with the Norfolk Island Regional Council. The funding agreement provides funding for the Council to undertake agreed state type functions such as the management of the courts and issuing of drivers licences. It also provides an untied Financial Assistance Grants type payment, equivalent to that which the Council would have received if it were part of NSW; 
 A functional directory is being developed to outline who is responsible for which services to ease the transition to the new arrangements for the community; 
 Underwriting of Air New Zealand services will continue supporting national connectivity of Norfolk Island.   

Some asset responsibilities have changed reflecting the changes in service delivery arrang
ements, for example: 
 Roads on Norfolk Island have transferred to the Regional Council; 
 A number of unleased parcels of Commonwealth land have been transferred to the Regional Council, along with some public reserves; 
 The NIHRACS is a Norfolk Island entity reporting directly to the Minister with responsibility for Territories or their delegate. The Commonwealth has taken ownership of most of the buildings and equipment to ensure significant investments in upgrades to meet Australian health care standards including a brand new digital mammogram for breast screen services; 
 The School building has also transferred to the Commonwealth and already significant investments have been made and will continue to be made to bring the building up to Australian building standards.  
In addition: 
 Cascade Jetty, owned by the Commonwealth, is being extended and the extension is on track to complete in the second half of 2017; 
 A significant training programme has been delivered covering forklift and heavy machinery licenses, white card, working at heights and working in confined spaces; all critical to improved skills and duty of care in the construction and trades industries.  Other training included safe food handling and responsible service of alcohol for the hospitality industry, chemical handling training for farmers and nursery industry workers, skills training for nurses at the hospital.  Accredited child protection training for the early education sector has also been delivered along with a series of courses and seminars to improve skills in better practice company governance and small business planning and operations.  

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

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

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

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

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

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 30 June 2016 

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NOTICE OF CHANGE OF OPENING HOURS


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AGENT SERVICE - NORFOLK ISLAND


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



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

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

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

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BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TODAY



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

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

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

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

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

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MORE FUEL PRICES RELIEF FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2015/16 PERIODIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - QUARTERS 2 AND 3



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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 
3 June 2016 
 

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NORFOLK ISLAND ELECTS ITS INAUGURAL COUNCIL



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

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

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

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

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

Media Contact – Andrew Blow  0411 403 937 

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FURTHER WHITE CARD AND OTHER TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES ON NORFOLK ISLAND


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BOUNTY DAY 2016



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

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

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

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

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
3 June 2016 

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS



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

Five councillors have been elected in the following order:  

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

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

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

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

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NORFOLK ISLAND BENEFIT PAYMENTS



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

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

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

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


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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS UPDATE



Saturday, 28 May 2016 was election day for the Norfolk Island Regional Council. 
   
The Australian Electoral Company is in the process of counting votes with postal votes not closing until 6pm today, Monday, 30 May 2016.    
The Australian Electoral Company will continue to keep the community informed regarding the progress of the counting of votes via its website: www.austelect.com.  

The Norfolk Island Regional Council comes into effect from 1 July 2016, and from that date the Councillors will have decision making authority.    
Until 1 July 2016, the Administration of Norfolk Island remains in place and decisions will continue to be taken which ensure the ongoing delivery of services to the community, finalise current financial year matters, and put in place necessary planning for next financial year.    

The Councillors-elect will be provided with training during the period 22 to 30 June 2016, similar to what is provided to their counterparts in New South Wales.  This will address Council roles and responsibilities during their term of office.    

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 
30 May 2016 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
25 May 2016

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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT



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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

o Monday, 16 May: 5.30pm to 8.30pm 

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

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

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STAFF FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES ARE ON NORFOLK ISLAND



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

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

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

Important information

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

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

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NEW ORDINANCES: LATEST STAGE OF REFORM ANNOUNCED



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

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

Details are available on the website:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hon Gary Hardgrave 
11 May 2016 

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AGENT SERVICES - NORFOLK ISLAND


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SMALL BUSINESS INFORMATION SESSIONS AND WORKSHOPS


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

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


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


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

NORTEC Small Business Solutions is a not for profit organisation.


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HUMAN SERVICES RETURNING IN MAY



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


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


You’ll be able to:

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

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

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

 

Important information

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


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


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

Please 'contact us' for more information.

IS YOUR CHEMICAL ACCREDITATION UP TO DATE?


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TAX OFFICE STAFF TO VISIT NORFOLK ISLAND IN MAY



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

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


Employer Essentials Seminar

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


One-to-One Appointments

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

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

The Tax Office can provide information on:

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

•           business tax – including deductions, concessions and record keeping

•           employer obligations – tax and super for workers, and

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

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

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DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES STAFF WILL BE ON NORFOLK ISLAND


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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SUPPORT FOR SEPARATED PARENTS



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


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


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


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

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


For more information:

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

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

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ANZAC DAY 2016 COMMUNITY GUNFIRE BREAKFAST



A Community Gunfire Breakfast will be held at Government House following the ANZAC Day Dawn Service on Monday, 25 April 2016.


His Honour the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, and Mrs Lorraine Hardgrave invite all members of the community and visitors to the Island who attend the Dawn Service to join them for the Community Gunfire Breakfast. 


This will be a further opportunity to share the spirit of ANZAC Day.


A light breakfast and tea and coffee will be served.


There is no charge, but members of the public are invited to take the opportunity for a gold coin donation next time they visit the RSL Sub Branch.


Office of the Administrator

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HOW OUR REGIONAL COUNCIL WILL BE STRUCTURED


Norfolk Island is amazing. It feels like a small country town, only it’s surrounded by a vast acreage of ocean!


Because of the size and isolation of our community, our future governance will be unique, with responsibilities that might ordinarily be shouldered by a State Government, falling to the Commonwealth or Regional Council. 


As a rule, the Commonwealth is responsible for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Telecommunications, Immigration and Pensions. State Governments look after Public Hospitals, Public Schools, the Fire Brigade, Ambulance and Police. And Regional Councils take care of Roads, Public Health, Public Libraries, Building Inspections, Waste Collection and Childcare.


The State Government of NSW has agreed to take responsibility for Norfolk’s hospital and school, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. But key emergency services will continue to be managed on-island.


Broadly speaking, the responsibilities borne by a typical regional council include:

  • The provision and maintenance of infrastructure – roads, parks and gardens, footpaths, sporting fields, etc
  • Supporting community development – child and senior citizen services, recreational, library and cultural services, etc
  • Safeguarding public health – food and service industry safety, pest and vermin control, hazardous material containment, etc
  • Protecting the environment – waste disposal, pollution control, street cleaning, noxious weed control, etc
  • Planning for sustainable development – long-term strategic planning, zoning and subdivisions, building site and compliance inspections, etc

On a day-to-day basis, these functions and services will be performed by a small number of independent contractors and a large contingent of full-time and part-time staff employed across a range of different departments – each with its own manager. Most of these departments will be ongoing, but some will operate temporarily – in particular those that have been set up to ensure the transition from Admin to Council runs smoothly.


Perhaps the simplest way of explaining how our Regional Council will be structured, is with a diagram:


One big anomaly here on Norfolk that we’ve had to consider in the creation of our unique Regional Council framework, is the number of commercial enterprises that Admin has maintained as part of its long-standing charter; the Liquor Bond, Telecom, Norfolk Island Electricity, the Tanalith Plant, etc. The potential for privatisation of these businesses will be more thoroughly considered in the coming months, but for now they will continue to be managed under the Group Manager –Services portfolio.


Authorised by

Administration of Norfolk Island

15 April, 2016

Attachment – functional organisational chart


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INFORMATION SEMINARS FOR BUSINESS ON NORFOLK ISLAND A FOCUS ON THE PRACTICALITIES OF GETTING READY


Belinda and Sally from Norfolk Island Business Solutions will hold a series of free information seminars over coming weeks to support businesses draw together the information they have received to date and identify practical steps for transition on 1 July.  These information seminars are fully funded by the Australian Government and facilitated by the Office of the Administrator.

INFORMATION SEMINAR FOR SOLE TRADERS AND MICRO BUSINESS

Time:  1.30pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 20 April

Venue:  Paradise Hotel

Topics:

Understanding your business today

Business registrations

Employing and paying staff

Good business practice - record keeping and reporting beyond 1 July

Conclusion and question time

INFORMATION SEMINAR FOR SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESS

Time:    Part One – 10.00am to 12.00noon on Sunday 24April

             Part Two – 1.00pm to 3.00pm on Sunday 24 April

Venue:  Paradise Hotel

Topics: Part One

Choosing your structure

Business registrations

Employing and paying staff

Good business practice - record keeping and reporting beyond 1 July

Conclusion and question time

Topics: Part Two

Key concepts for business, including taxable income and deductions.

Making the most of information available on the ATO website.

Conclusion and question time

People who are interested in attending the seminars are requested to register in advance with the Office of the Administrator on 22 152.  

Please 'contact us' for more information.

INFORMATION SEMINARS FOR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISTIONS ON NORFOLK ISLAND



Look Now Training is a registered training organisation dedicated to providing the highest quality training and achieving real world outcomes.

Look Now Training will travel to Norfolk Island in May to support not-for-profit community groups in getting ready.

Information seminars will be held: Sunday 8 May (starting 9.30am) and Wednesday 11 May (starting 2.00pm). 

Topics to be covered include:

-        Organisational Structure for not-for-profits

-        Governance and the role of a board

-        Financial management for not-for-profits

-        Organisational planning

-        Legal compliance (including tax and employer obligations).

Meetings with individual community groups will be available at various times during the period 8 to 13 May.

Please call the Office of the Administrator to register your interest in attending a training seminar or to book an individual appointment for your organisation.

This visit to Norfolk Island by Look Now Training is supported by the Australian Government.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

INFORMATION SEMINAR FOR AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICIANS ON NORFOLK ISLAND


The Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers (IAME) will visit Norfolk Island from 11th to 13th May 2016 to provide information to automotive technicians and practitioners on the Island about industry regulation and licensing currently in place in New South Wales.


An information seminar will be held from 0900am on Wednesday 11th May 2016, with topics to include: NSW legislation; qualifications, skills and knowledge in the industry; recognition of prior learning and continuing professional development. The information seminar is free-of-charge


The information seminar will be followed the next day with one-on-one consultations starting at 8.30am on the 12th May and continuing on the 13 th  May.  The one-on-one sessions will provide individuals the opportunity to discuss individual circumstances. The IAME will provide assistance and guidance regarding the process during these sessions.


Please contact the Office of the Administrator during work hours to book an appointment (tel.  22 152). 


Background information on motor repairer tradesperson certificates in NSW can be found at:

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tradespeople/Motor_repairers_and_insurers/Motor_repairer_tradesperson_certificates.page


The Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers is a not-for-profit Association for individuals and organisations in the automotive industry.


This visit is supported by Australian Government funding for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island, as announced on 5 February 2016.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NOTICE OF ELECTION AND CALL FOR NOMINATION PROPOSALS


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BUSINESS PLANNING AND INFORMATION SESSIONS FOR FARM AND AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES ON NORFOLK ISLAND



Sunday 1 May 2016

1.00pm – 3.00pm: Farm business planning and management

5.30pm – 7.30pm:  Agronomic topics

Wednesday 4 May 2016

1.30pm – 3.30pm: Farm business planning and management


6.00pm – 8.00pm: Agronomic topics

Anson Advisory is a Queensland-based company that provides farm and agricultural business advisory services.  Stirling Tavener on behalf of Anson Advisory, will visit Norfolk Island and deliver a series of free information sessions on 1 and 4 May 2016 for farm and agricultural businesses.  The information sessions are supported by the Australian Government’s funding for small business on Norfolk Island announced on 5 February.  Places are limited.  Please call the Office of the Administrator during work hours and book early (tel: 22152).


Please 'contact us' for more information.

INFORMATION FOR TRADES PERSONNEL ON NORFOLK ISLAND



INFORMATION FOR TRADES PERSONNEL ON NORFOLK ISLAND

Pointsbuild has spent this past week engaging building and construction trades personnel on Norfolk Island about license classes and qualifications in NSW, and general industry information. 

NEXT VISIT: PLUMBING, DRAINING AND GASFITTING

Pointsbuild will return to Norfolk Island 14 to 16 May 2016 for information sessions and one-on-one consultations with plumbers, drainers and gas fitters.


Information sessions will be held on the Saturday morning, and followed by one-on-one consultations.  The one-on-one sessions will provide individuals the opportunity to explore options for becoming licensed under NSW regulations.


Please contact the Office of the Administrator during work hours to book an appointment (tel.  22 152). 

Subject to demand, a limited number of additional sessions for consultations with building and construction trades personnel may be held at this time. 


Background information on trades licensing in NSW can be found on Department of Fair Trading website: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tradespeople.page

Pointsbuild is a leading provider of professional development, education and training courses, including for those in the building industry.


Pointsbuild is supported by the Australian Government’s funding for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island, as announced on 5 February 2016.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTORAL UPDATE



Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher has given his powers to me as the Administrator of Norfolk Island to act as Electoral Commissioner for the Norfolk Island Regional Council election.

This decision was made under the Norfolk Island Regional Council Preparatory Election Ordinance 2016.
Accordingly a Returning Officer from the Australian Election Company has now been formally appointed to conduct the poll. The Australian Election Company is an independent election service provider with expertise in the conduct of local government elections.

Preparations are now well underway for the Norfolk Island Regional Council election, and some may have noticed the establishment of an enrolment centre on Taylors Road (opposite the Tourism Information Centre).

As a new electoral roll is being established, this means each eligible resident will need to enrol to be able to vote in the Norfolk Island Regional Council Election on 28 May 2016.

New enrolment forms are available from the Enrolment Centre and online at www.austelect.com
The electoral roll closes at 6:00 pm on 18 April 2016. It is important residents complete, sign and submit the form as soon as possible to ensure their voice is heard.

The enrolment form also gives residents the option of enrolling to vote in the federal election due later this year.

Enrolment on the federal roll will be compulsory for eligible persons from 1 July 2016.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
8 April 2016

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TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES ON NORFOLK ISLAND FORKLIFT AND OTHER QUALIFICATIONS



Register your interest for training opportunities on Norfolk Island over the next two weeks – 4 to 16 April 2016. 


Priority will be placed on those currently working in the field and seeking accreditation or re-accreditation.  Course fees (at a subsidised rate) will be payable direct to the training facilitator for some training (marked with an *).


White Card (general construction induction)

Group 1           Monday           04APR            4.00pm-10.15pm        max 20 pax


Group 2           Friday             15APR            4.00pm-10.15pm        max 20 pax

Forklift Licence*

Group A          Thursday         07APR            8.00am-4.00pm          max 8 pax

              Friday             08APR            8.00am-12.30pm

                  1.00pm-7.00pm (assessment)

Group B          Saturday          09APR            8.00am-4.00pm          max 8 pax

            Monday           11APR            8.00am-12.30pm

                1.00pm-7.00pm (assessment)


* Please note course fees are applicable for forklift training.  This is at the reduced cost of $300 per person, payable direct to the instructor. 


Working at Heights

Group 1           Tuesday          12APR            8.30am-3.30pm          max 10 pax


Subject to demand, an additional session of White Card training may be available in the evening on Thursday 7 April.


Also subject to demand, an additional session of forklift training may be scheduled on 13 and 14 April, or alternatively, this could be restructured for an additional session of working at heights and/or working in confined spaces training.  We welcome your views.  A final decision on the training to be delivered on 13 and 14 April will be made in coming days.


This training is supported by the Australian Government under funding announced on 5 February 2016 for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island


Please telephone the Office of the Administrator on 52634 any time between 08.00am to 8.00pm on Saturday 2 April to Monday 4 April to register your expression of interest.

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TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES ON NORFOLK ISLAND PLANT AND HEAVY VEHICLE LICENCES



Register your interest for WorkCover and verification of competency training opportunities to be delivered on Norfolk Island over the next two weeks: 4 to 16 April 2016.


Priority will be placed on those currently working in small business using the relevant equipment or vehicle, and seeking accreditation or re-accreditation. 

Training starts Monday 4 April for some courses:

  • Crane (three day course with assessment on the 4th day, starting Monday 4 April)
  • Dogging (three day course with assessment on the 4th day, starting Monday 4 April)
  • Skid steer (three day course with assessment on the 4th day, starting Monday 4 April)

Recognition of prior learning for experienced operators will be assessed and considered by the training facilitators.

Additional training will be made available after the first phase, including:

  • Medium Rigid (MR)  (one day course, to be held at various times)
  • Heavy Rigid (HR) (one day course to be held at various times)
  • Heavy Combination (one day course to be held at various times)
  • Front end loader (wheeled) (three day course, 8,9 and 11 April)
  • Excavator (four day course starting 11 April, with assessment on the 4th day)
  • Scaffolding (basic) course (four day course starting 11 April, with assessment on the 5th day).

Additional training opportunities may be announced during the two-week training period.  The heavy vehicle training is available for those who currently hold a valid licence and are seeking refresher training or certification of their existing license.

This training will be facilitated by Business Solutions and is funded by the Australian Government under support announced on 5 February 2016 for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island.

Please telephone the Office of the Administrator on 52634 any time between 08.00am to 8.00pm on Saturday 2 April, Sunday 3 April or Monday 4 April to register your expression of interest.  Placements for training starting Monday morning will be confirmed Sunday evening.

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$13 MILLION UPGRADE TO NORFOLK ISLAND'S CASCADE PIER



Waterway Construction has been selected as the successful tenderer to construct the $13 million upgrade of Cascade Pier on Norfolk Island.

Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher said Waterway Constructions are specialists in the construction and refurbishment of maritime structures and will bring an experienced construction and engineering team to Norfolk Island to deliver this vital infrastructure.
Importantly, the company is committed to using local businesses for supply of materials and to hiring local people to work on the project where practical,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Waterway's competitive pricing has allowed the Australian Government to commit to lengthen the pier by an extra 3 metres, bringing the total length of the extension to 24 metres.

“This extension will enable the loading and unloading of cruise ship passengers and freight to occur more safely and under a wider range of weather and sea conditions.”

Mr Fletcher said the refurbishment will also include the installation of a boom dock hydraulic crane to facilitate the future unloading of cargo.

“Additional funding will be provided for the construction of customised barges to service the new pier,” he said.

“Once the project is complete, nominated members of the Norfolk Island community and regional council staff will receive training in the safe and effective operation of the hydraulic crane.

“The Cascade Pier project will deliver great benefits to Norfolk Islanders, although inevitably there will be disruption to the normal operations of the pier during construction.

“Waterway Constructions and my Department will consult with port users with a view to minimising disruptions so vital freight deliveries occur, scheduled cruise ship arrivals are accommodated and the impacts to commercial fishing operations are contained. Norfolk Island residents will be kept closely informed on the progress of construction.”

Works on the Cascade Pier extension upgrade will commence in late May 2016 and be complete by late 2017.

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THERE ARE NEW ROLLS SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS ELECTION


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NEW ROLLS


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NEW SOUTH WALES TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO NORFOLK ISLAND



Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher and New South Wales Premier Mike Baird today announced the New South Wales Government will assist the Australian government to provide some services on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016.

Mr Fletcher said he was delighted Premier Baird had agreed to assist with health and school education services for Norfolk Island following the Australian Government's decision to extend Australian social security, immigration, taxation arrangements and government services to the island.

From 1 July 2016, Australian citizens residing on Norfolk Island will also have the rights and responsibilities of mainland Australians, including access to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

"The Australian and New South Wales governments are working closely together to determine the scope of services involving NSW, but these will include school education, the management, delivery and regulation of state type health services and advice about financial support for the newly established Norfolk Island Regional Council," Mr Fletcher said.

"The Australian Government is committed to providing high quality, affordable and safe health and aged care services for Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island will benefit from New South Wales agency expertise in commissioning services for rural areas and island communities such as Lord Howe Island. "I am looking forward to working with New South Wales government agencies to ensure the best possible outcomes for the Norfolk Island community," Mr Fletcher said.

"The Australian Government is committed to reforms which will result in a sustainable, stronger and more prosperous Norfolk Island." Mr Baird said New South Wales is pleased to help the Australian government achieve its objectives to improve social and economic outcomes for Norfolk Islanders.

"We are incredibly proud to support the Australian Government to ensure the delivery of safe, reliable and effective services to the Norfolk Island community."

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NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS - YOU MUST ENROL TO HAVE A VOTE


As part of the Norfolk Island reforms, from 1 July 2016 the Administration of Norfolk Island will be replaced with an elected Norfolk Island Regional Council. The Regional Council will consist of five (5) Councillors. The first election is being held on Saturday 28 May 2016. The Councillors will elect a Mayor from among their number. There are no wards for the Regional Council, meaning that all candidates stand in an undivided electorate. The proportional representation voting system will apply; which requires a candidate to receive a quota of the formal votes cast to be elected.


New electoral rolls are being created for this election. All people eligible to vote in this Regional Council election should therefore apply to be included on the new electoral roll before 6:00pm Monday 18 April 2016. Even if you are already enrolled to vote on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll for federal elections as a Norfolk Island Elector, you won’t automatically be included on the Norfolk Island Regional Council electoral roll, as there needs to be a new roll created for the Regional Council election.

You must submit an enrolment form specifically for these Regional Council elections.

You are eligible to enrol to vote on the residential roll for the Norfolk Island Regional Council election if you live on Norfolk Island, and: are 18 years or older at the time you enrol.

The residential roll is limited to people who live on Norfolk Island; it is not sufficient to be a permanent resident of Norfolk Island living elsewhere.
Land owners and occupiers who do not live on Norfolk Island are also eligible to vote. The non-residential roll will be prepared by the Administration.

Enrolment for voting in the Norfolk Island Regional Council election is not compulsory. However, if you are enrolled as a resident, you must vote and you may be fined if you don’t.

You can enrol by completing the enrolment form and returning it by 6:00pm on Monday 18 April, 2016 to the Locked Box inside the Norfolk Island Post Office; or returning it to the Office at Shop 36H Taylors Road (opposite the Tourist Information Centre), Norfolk Island Or by downloading an enrolment form online from www.austelect.com and returning the completed and signed form by scanning and emailing to info@austelect.com . Enrolment forms will also be available from the Office of the Administrator.

The deadline for enrolling is 6:00pm Monday 18 April 2016. If you want to vote in the first Norfolk Island Regional Council election, you must be enrolled on the Norfolk Island Regional Council roll.

The election is being held on Saturday 28 May 2016. Information on where and how you can vote will be provided closer to the election date on the radio, in the newspaper and other media sources.

Further information on the Election can be found online from Australian Election Company www.austelect.com
Written and authorised by Richard Kidd, Australian Election Company, PO Box 92, Norfolk Island 2899

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VISIT WILL SUPPORT BUSINESSES WITH ADVICE ON INTRODUCTION OF THE FAIR WORK ACT


Officers from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and the Department of Employment will again be visiting Norfolk Island between 11 and 15 April 2016.

With the Territories Legislation Amendment Bill coming into force on 1 July 2016, Norfolk Island residents will soon be covered by the national workplace relations framework through the Fair Work Act 2009. There are protections under the Fair Work Act 2009, including national minimum employment standards and modern award wages and conditions, which do not currently cover employees on Norfolk Island. The Department of Employment and the Fair Work Ombudsman visited Norfolk Island and consulted with businesses and stakeholders in August 2015. This follow-up visit will provide an opportunity to build on these conversations and to talk through the reform process with residents now that the details are known. The approach being taken involves a phased extension of specific provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009. This will ensure employment protections are in place for workers and employers are given appropriate time to adjust to the changes.

 From 1 July 2016, Norfolk Island employees will be entitled to 85 per cent of the National Minimum Wage - that is, currently around $14.70.
 From 1 July 2017, the Norfolk Island minimum wage would then be increased to 100 per cent – the current National Minimum Wage is $17.29.
 From 1 July 2018, Modern Awards (wages and conditions) will be extended to Norfolk Island.

I encourage residents to meet with the Employment and FWO officers, who will be happy to provide advice on how employers and employees can prepare for the alignment of the Norfolk Island workplace relations framework with the national system. Meetings can be arranged through the Australian Government Information Centre in Burnt Pine.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
23 March 2016

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REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS



The Norfolk Island Preparatory Election Ordinance 2016 was made yesterday by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

This Ordinance takes effect from today, 11 March 2016, and applies the New South Wales local government electoral laws, with modifications to cater to Norfolk Island’s circumstances. These laws provide a tested and effective framework for the conduct of local elections.

A new electoral roll will be established for the Regional Council election and eligible persons will need to enrol to vote to elect the people who will take decisions to progress local matters important to the community into the future.


To be eligible to vote, you need to be an Australian citizen, or an eligible British subject who was on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll prior to 26 January 1984. You must also be a resident on Norfolk Island, or own or occupy land on the Island.

Information on how and where to enrol, together with material to assist electors and potential candidates to understand the election process, will be provided soon.

The Executive Director of Norfolk Island is appointing independent assistance to manage the election and conduct a community education campaign to ensure eligible Norfolk Island residents and potential candidates understand their obligations as well as the enrolment and voting process.

Training will also be provided to assist those who are interested in standing for the local election.

The Norfolk Island Administrator Ordinance 2016 was also made yesterday, to establish the position of Administrator of Norfolk Island post 1 July 2016.
The Hon Gary Hardgrave

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COMMONWEALTH DAY 2016



‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ is the theme for Commonwealth Day 14 March 2016.

As a long standing nation within the Commonwealth, Australia has evolved into a nation of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity.  However, it is what we have in common which unites us.  Regardless of whom we are and where we come from we are subject to the Rule of Law and we communicate with each other through the common English language.

There is a real strength through our diversity just as there is across our inclusive Commonwealth of Nations.

Australia dynamic and diverse community keeps us at the forefront of innovation, growth and contributing to global value. In a diverse and increasingly connected global network, mature Commonwealth Nations like Australia bring fresh perspectives and new ideas yet we are strengthened by our solid values as the world’s sixth oldest continuous democracy. 

"An Inclusive Commonwealth” refers to values of tolerance, respect and understanding, as well as equity and fairness, which are set out in the Commonwealth Charter.

  

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

11 March 2016

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HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR APPOINTMENT?



Have you booked an appointment with a Financial Information Service Officer?

Staff from the Department of Human Services are coming to Norfolk Island for Are you ready? week. During this week, Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers will be running sessions and conducting face-to-face appointments. These sessions will inform Norfolk Island residents about the payments and services offered by the Department of Human Services.


The following topics will be covered in the sessions:


Australian Government Payments and Services

  • payments available from the Australian Government
  • eligibility criteria
  • payment rates
  • effect of your income and assets on your payments
  • claim process, and
    • telling us about changes in your circumstances.

Understanding Superannuation and Investment options

  • how super works
  • building your super
  • making contributions
  • investment options
  • taxation
  • insurance, and
    • planning for retirement.

There are four sessions per day, each 90 minutes long. The session times are 9 am, 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm every day, and 7 pm Wednesday evening. Places at the sessions are limited, so bookings are essential.

You can also book a one-on-one session with a FIS Officer.

At a face-to-face appointment a FIS Officer will:

  • explain the payment types and concessions available
  • discuss how your rate of payment is calculated (with approximate estimations)
  • detail the eligibility requirements for each payment.

You can make a booking at the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465.

For more information about our payments and services, visit humanservices.gov.au/fis

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ARE YOU READY?



Are you ready? week is coming!

Staff from the Department of Human Services are coming to the island for Are you ready? week. We’ll be there next week, from 14 to 18 March 2016, to answer questions and help you get ready to lodge a claim. We’ll go through our processes step by step with you to make sure you have everything you need.

Visit us at the Australian Government Information Centre during Are you ready? week to:

  • get help creating a myGov account
  • learn more about the income and assets tests, confirming your identity and the supporting documents you’ll need to lodge a claim
  • attend a Financial Information Service (FIS) seminar, or
  • find out more about Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services.

Our FIS Officers and social workers will be available during Are you ready? week. You can attend a FIS seminar for useful information about financial matters and how to make informed decisions about your financial situation.


You can make a booking by visiting the Australian Government Information Centre or calling 23465.


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

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INFORMATION SEMINARS FOR BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES PERSONNEL ON NORFOLK ISLAND


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NORFOLK ISLAND REFORM UPDATE ISSUE 9 - FEBRUARY 2016


Message from Administrator

Since the recent successful visit of Territories Minister Paul Fletcher, work has continued on a range of outstanding reform initiatives to assist businesses and the community prepare for 1 July 2016 and beyond.

Important changes have been made to federal election and enrolment arrangements for eligible Norfolk Islanders, as well as further arrangements for social security access.

Changes have also been made to the Norfolk Island Act and relating the definition of Australia for the purposes of many Commonwealth laws, including key pieces, such as the federal employment framework.

Following a range of meetings with Employment and the Fair Work Ombudsman in August 2015, the announcement of a phased transition of the Australian workplace relations system under the Fair Work Act 2009, will allow both employees and employers prepare for changes.

The Australian Parliament is currently considering new Legislative measures which focus on improving services and addressing long-standing issues of public sector governance and sustainability which have faced the Island's economy.

Locally, there have been many expressions of interest from a range of businesses interested in participating in the three-day Foundations of Governance Course, hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors in early April. I will soon announce further opportunities as part of the small business and private sector skills development, which the Australian Government is funding.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

Progressing legislative reform for Norfolk Island

In March 2015, the Australian Government announced a reform package for Norfolk Island. As part of this package, the Government committed to extend mainland tax, social security and other Commonwealth payments and programs to Norfolk Island.

The first tranche of reform legislation extended Australian social security, immigration, health and taxation arrangements to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016, ensuring Australian citizens on Norfolk Island have the same rights and responsibilities as Australian citizens on the mainland.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development consulted broadly with other Australian Government agencies to identify further legislation which should be extended, or which should be excluded from extending, to Norfolk Island. The results of these important discussions are contained in the Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (Territories Bill).

The Territories Bill makes consequential amendments to some Commonwealth legislation to allow its extension and transition to Norfolk Island, including access to social security arrangements for eligible New Zealand citizens living on Norfolk Island.

The package of Bills continues the Australian Government's commitment to provide Australian citizens on Norfolk Island with the same rights and responsibilities as those in other parts of Australia.

The Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 can be found atwww.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_before_Parliament and a link is available at infrastructure.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform/

Changes to Federal Electoral Act

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is responsible for maintaining an impartial and independent electoral system for eligible voters. This is achieved through conducting federal elections and referendums, as well as maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll.

The AEC also provides a range of electoral information and education programs and activities, and I am advised will be engaging directly with the Norfolk Island community following Royal Assent of the amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984.

Changes to this important piece of legislation will require eligible persons living on Norfolk Island to enrol and vote in federal elections and referendums from 1 July 2016.

Strengthened federal representation, as well as having a local voice through the Norfolk Island Regional Council, provides residents with improved representation and participation in the democratic process which other Australians follow.

New electoral enrolment claim forms will need to be completed and will be available soon.

Information about the Australian Electoral Commission can be found atwww.aec.gov.au

Workplace relations arrangements confirmed for Norfolk Island

The Department of Employment and the Fair Work Ombudsman have provided the following information.

The Australian Government is committed to strengthening Norfolk Island's economy and the implementation of the workplace relations framework is a vital part of this.

We have sought the views of Norfolk Island residents on the best approach to transitioning to the national framework. The strong message received was that residents would prefer a phasing in of the framework over at least two years.

The Australian Government has heard this message and the approach being taken involves a three-stage transition of the federal workplace relations system under theFair Work Act 2009 (Fair Work Act).

This approach involves extending the provisions of the Fair Work Act—including the National Employment Standards, the registered organisations framework and the enterprise bargaining framework—from the day of commencement of the legislation on Norfolk Island.

Subject to the passage of the legislation through Parliament, it is intended that from 1 July 2016, the Fair Work Act will apply to Norfolk Island.

From 1 July 2016, Norfolk Island employees will be entitled to 85 per cent of the National Minimum Wage—that is, currently around $14.70.

From 1 July 2017, the Norfolk Island the minimum wage would then be increased to 100 per cent—the current National Minimum Wage is $17.29.

From 1 July 2018, Modern Awards (wages and conditions) will be extended to Norfolk Island.

There will, therefore, be a two-year gap between the introduction of the National Minimum Wage and the application of other entitlements under Modern Awards to Norfolk Island to support businesses transition to the new arrangements.

This approach puts all Norfolk employees on a pathway to parity with minimum wages received by mainland employees immediately, with complete parity with the mainland achieved in two years.

It also provides business owners with time to adjust to an increase in the minimum wage rate and a full year before the full minimum wage would apply to Norfolk Island.

Whereas award conditions will not be a requirement until two years after commencement, it would benefit employers and employees to become familiar with the terms and conditions under their relevant award as soon as possible to prepare for the transition to the full national framework.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can provide advice to Norfolk Island businesses and employees on the Fair Work framework including which particular award would apply to them.

Further information on the national Workplace Relations framework for Norfolk Island is available at www.fairwork.gov.au/norfolkisland

National Employment Standards

From the date of commencement of the Fair Work Act, workplace relations on Norfolk Island will be underpinned by the National Employment Standards.

These are 10 minimum employment entitlements which have to be provided to all employees.

The national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards make up the minimum entitlements for employees in Australia.

An award, employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement can't provide for conditions which are less than the national minimum wage or the NES.

The 10 minimum entitlements of the National Employment Standards are:

  1. A maximum standard working week of 38 hours for full-time employees, plus 'reasonable' additional hours.
  2. A right to request flexible working arrangements.
  3. Parental and adoption leave of 12 months (unpaid), with a right to request an additional 12 months.
  4. Four weeks paid annual leave each year (pro rata).
  5. Ten days paid personal/carer's leave each year (pro rata), two days paid compassionate leave for each permissible occasion, and two days unpaid carer's leave for each permissible occasion.
  6. Community service leave, leave for jury service or activities dealing with certain emergencies or natural disasters. This leave is unpaid except for jury service.
  7. Long service leave.
  8. Public holidays and the entitlement to be paid for ordinary hours on those days.
  9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay.
  10. The right for new employees to receive the Fair Work Information Statement.

Employment visit

Officers from the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Employment will again be visiting Norfolk Island in April 2016.

This will provide an opportunity to talk through the process with residents and provide advice on how employers and employees can prepare for the alignment of the Norfolk Island workplace relations framework with the national system.

Claiming payments from the Department of Human Services

There are a number of payments and services you may be eligible for from 1 July 2016.

The Payment Finder is a way for you to learn more about our payments and services. You can use it for yourself or for someone else.

Simply visit humanservices.gov.au/paymentfinder and answer some questions about your circumstances.

Online estimators provide an estimate of your payment amount and compare payments based on your personal circumstances. The online estimator will calculate:

  • Centrelink payments, including pensions and allowances;
  • family assistance, including Family Tax Benefit and Child Support;
  • child care fee assistance; and
  • compensation impacts.

You will need to confirm your identity when you lodge a claim for a payment. We will not be able to assess your claim without confirming your identity, so make sure you have the correct documents to support your claim.

For more information about confirming your identity, visit humanservices.gov.au and search 'confirming your identity'.

For more information about the department's payments and services, call its information line on +61 3 9250 9100, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.

International call charges apply, including calls from mobile phones, which may be charged at higher rate.

You can call this number from the Australian Government Information Centre at no charge.

'Are you ready?' week is approaching!

'Are you ready?' week will be held on Norfolk Island from 14 to 18 March 2016.

Staff from the Australian Government Department of Human Services, including Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers and social workers, will be on island to help you get ready to lodge claims and to answer any questions you may have.

During 'Are you ready?' week you'll be able to:

  • get help to create a myGov account;
  • learn more about confirming your identity, the income and assets tests and the supporting documents you'll need to lodge a claim;
  • attend a FIS seminar for useful information about financial issues and how to make informed decisions about your financial situation;
  • book a confidential appointment with a social worker if you're experiencing a difficult time in your life. Social workers provide counselling and support, as well as information if you're unsure how to access the right assistance; and
  • find out more about Medicare and Child Support services.

Visit the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465 to book an appointment with a social worker or for a FIS seminar.

Update—Medicare and Bulk-Billing

From 1 July 2016 Medicare benefits will apply to eligible services on Norfolk Island.

To be eligible for Medicare you will need to complete a Medicare enrolment application. Applications will be available on island prior to 1 July 2016.

For more information on Medicare go to the Human Services website atwww.humanservices.gov.au/medicare

Bulk-Billing

The choice about whether to offer Bulk Billing on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 will be a decision made by the health provider. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development will require the provider of Norfolk Island's Multi-Purpose Service to make its services affordable to Norfolk Island residents and visitors.

Medicare Safety Net

After 1 July 2016, individuals and families will be eligible for the Medicare Safety Net. Under the Medicare safety net arrangements, patients who meet the threshold for out of pocket expenses will be eligible for additional safety net benefits on top of the standard Medicare benefit for out-of-hospital services for the remainder of the calendar year.

This may mean that visits to your doctor or having tests could cost you less for the rest of that calendar year.

For information about the Medicare safety nets and the qualifying thresholds visitwww.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/medicare-safety-net

What is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)?

The PBS is an Australian Government program that benefits you and all Australians by subsidising necessary medicines to make them more affordable and reliably accessed.

If you are an Australian Resident on Norfolk Island after 1 July 2016 and you get your Medicare card then you can receive subsidised medicines under the PBS.

The PBS also provides for visitors from other countries where there is a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with Australia, such as New Zealand and the UK.

PBS Safety Net

The PBS Safety Net reduces the cost of medicine for individuals and families once the PBS Safety Net has been reached. When you are close to reaching the PBS Safety Net threshold, ask your pharmacist about a PBS Safety Net card.

With this card your PBS medicine is less expensive, or free, for the rest of the calendar year.

Audited financial statements

On 11 February 2016, the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, Paul Fletcher, tabled the 2014-15 Audited Financial Statements of the Administration of Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau, and the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise in the House of Representatives following their completion by the Australian National Audit Office.

The Statements have now been tabled in both houses of Parliament.

While overall, the financial position of each entity has improved, the audits have identified findings surrounding governance and management issues which need to be addressed and rectified in 2015-16.

The tabled report is available at regional.gov.au/territories/publications/norfolk-island-financial-statements/index

Did you know?

Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships

You may recall during his visit last year, the Hon. Bruce Scott MP encouraged Norfolk Islanders to apply for a Nuffield Scholarship during 2016.

The objective of the Nuffield scholarship is to increase practical farming knowledge and management skills and techniques.

The Scholarship provides Australian citizens an opportunity to study farming practices in New Zealand, Europe, Asia, the Americas and other countries.

For more information visit www.nuffieldscholar.org

Community information sessions—Department of Immigration and Border Protection

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will present two community information sessions for foreign national permit holders, Norfolk Island Residents and Norfolk Island businesses.

1:30 pm and 6:30pm
Wednesday 9th March
Conference Room at Governor's Lodge Resort Hotel
(Queen Elizabeth Avenue)

All members of the Norfolk Island community are welcome and encouraged to attend. Foreign nationals residing on Norfolk Island are particularly encouraged to attend.

The sessions will provide information on arrangements from 1 July 2016 for:

  • transitioning from permits issued under the Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980 to appropriate Australian visas;
  • pathways to Australian citizenship for foreign nationals; and
  • visa options available to employers who engage foreign workers under Australia's migration arrangements.

If you would like to attend, register your interest at the Australian Government Information Centre (Taylor's Road, Burnt Pine).

If you would like to provide comments or feedback, you may submit a feedback form to the Australian Government Information Centre. The form will be available at the information session and at the Centre.

If you would like to further discuss your individual circumstances, you may book an appointment with representatives of the department to discuss visa arrangements for transitioning from permits to an Australian visa, Australian citizenship, and visa options for businesses.

The Australian Government Information Centre will offer extended opening hours during this period.

Thursday 10 March: 9.00 am—7.00 pm
Friday 11 March: 9.00 am—7.00 pm
Saturday 12 March: 9.00 am—5.00 pm
Monday 14 March: 9.00 am—7.00 pm

Please note—the Information Centre is closed from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

Visit the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465 to make an appointment.

Students and specialists learn together

Students from the Norfolk Island Central School were able to work with visiting specialists from the University of New England, to help uncover part of the Kingston Cemetery's history.

Research into the cemetery indicated a gravestone which vanished from the cemetery sometime in the past was lying just below the surface, covered with windblown sand. Previous research by the Cemetery Sexton, Shane Quintal, historic photos and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) investigations provided strong evidence for the headstone's location.

The visiting archaeologists, Martin Gibbs and Brad Duncan, undertook the excavation to recover the gravestone, and the strong research led to its discovery with the first test pit.

During their morning visit, the school students learnt of the cemetery's long history, how it is cared for and managed, how an archaeological dig take place and how objects recovered from such work are cared for.

Students also learnt how Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) is used to read faded inscriptions on gravestones by visiting engineers Greg Jackson and Pam Forbes, who are using the technique to reveal detail once thought lost from some of the headstones of Kingston Cemetery.

The fascinating technique is only undertaken at dawn and dusk with a specialised lighting rig. Multiple images of the one inscription are taken and combined as a 3D image to allow for greater resolution.

I would like to thank the visiting specialists for providing their time and expertise, the Commonwealth Heritage Manager, Shane Quintal and the other Administration staff who worked successfully together to make the project possible. I would also like to thank the Norfolk Island Central School and especially the students, whose continuing interest and pride in our shared history is inspiring to us all.

However, like many archaeological finds, the discovery of the gravestone raised more questions than it answered. Located about half a meter down, the stone was found to be broken about 40cm from its base. It would appear this break happened long ago, and there were no indications of the top of the gravestone in the immediately surrounding area.

There were some very faded inscriptions on the bottom which the engineers took images of to see if any of the carvings can be read.

Based on some decorative elements on the base of the stone and its location, the gravestone may date from the 1860-1880 period, however we still have no information on who lies beneath the stone.

Passenger movement charges

When passed by the Parliament, a $55 departure charge for people travelling from Norfolk Island to another country will apply from 1 July 2016.

This charge is consistent with travel from mainland Australian and also applies to departures from the Indian Ocean Territories to another country.

For example, if you are travelling to New Zealand from Norfolk Island, the charge will apply. If you are travelling to Fiji via Sydney, this charge will be added to your ticket.

International departure charges which relate to the Passenger Movement Charge Act 1978, together with the Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act 1978 will not apply to people travelling from Norfolk Island to the mainland or to other Indian Ocean Territories.

Further information about the Passenger Movement Charge can be found atwww.border.gov.au/Trav/Ente/Goin/Departing/Passenger-Movement-Charge-(PMC)

What will be in the March newsletter?

The next edition of the Norfolk Island Reform Update will include information about:

  • Australian Business Numbers and Business Name Registration;
  • Regional Council election;
  • private health insurance;
  • update of health and aged care services;
  • the role of the Fair Work Ombudsman and further information for employees and employers;
  • further opportunities to meet with Australian Government officers visiting Norfolk Island to explain changes ahead of 1 July 2016 and details about programs and services;
  • and much much more!

Australian Government agency visits to Norfolk Island

February 2016
Who? When? How they can help you?
Australian Border Force From February Establishing an ongoing presence on the Island.
March 2016
Department of Immigration and Border Protection 9 March Provide information about Australian citizenship, visas and overseas employees.
Department of Human Services 14 to 18 March Are you ready? Week—staff will be available to answer questions and help you get ready to lodge a payment claim.
April 2016
Department of Employment Fair Work Ombudsman 11 - 15 April Discuss workplace relations and proposed changes to the Fair Work Act.
Deputy Commissioner, Department Veterans Affairs 25 to 29 April ANZAC Dawn Service.
May to July 2016
Australian Taxation Office 9 to 14 May Ensure employers are ready for 1 July 2016.
Department of Human Services May to July Staff will be available to help you lodge an early payment claim or child support assessment.

Please note this schedule contains the visits known to date as at 24 February 2016, and is subject to change. Visits might be added as agencies confirm arrangements and dates below might change. This schedule will be updated regularly.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

2014-15 ANNUAL REPORT AND AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS


The 2014-15 Annual Report, audit reports and audited financial statements for the Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI), the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) and the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau (NIGTB) have been published today.   


These provide a summary of each entity’s operational and financial performance in 2014-15 and are key tools for demonstrating accountability to the Norfolk Island community regarding performance in delivering services and the expenditure of public monies.


Annual Report

In the period up to 18 June 2015, the operations of ANI and the Territory Authorities were controlled by the previous Norfolk Island Government.  The absence of strategic and operational planning has resulted in a report which meets legislative requirements but does not effectively address performance in meeting the community’s needs and expectations.


This will change from 2015-16. ANI has an operational plan for 2015-16 and will implement the New South Wales planning framework in 2016-17.  These new planning processes include engagement with the community in relation to objectives and priorities and annual reporting of achievement against these. This will greatly enhance current levels transparency and accountability to the community.


Key 2014-15 outcomes were:

  • continued provision of essential services;
  • development of a waste management strategy which, if implemented, will address the existing backlog and future disposal of hazardous waste and recyclables;
  • completion of a human resources skills audit as a first step in beginning the process of transitioning to a Regional Council in 2016-17;
  • an increase in visitor arrivals across the year of 8 per cent; and
  • introduction of new Public Service Act and Regulations and Community Title Act and consequential legislation.

Audit Reports and Audited Financial Statements

The audit reports, provided by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), highlight the entities as not being ‘going concerns’ as they will not exist in their current form beyond      30 June 2016.  The audit reports do however acknowledge the statements as having been appropriately prepared and fairly presented.

With the exception of NIHE, the final results for each entity have not changed materially from what was reported in the ‘2014-15 Final Budget Outcome Report’ released on             29 October 2015.  The final valuation report necessitated a reduction in the carrying value of NIHE’s land and buildings to $1.83 million (2013-14: $3.03 million).  This in turn increased NIHE’s 2014-15 final operating loss to $0.83 million.

ANAO also reports on the adequacy of each entity’s financial controls.  Key ANAO findings included:

  • weaknesses in ANI’s cash management controls, which resulted in accounting errors;
  • ANI and NIHE do not have asset management plans which address current risks and future priorities and costs;
  • governance weaknesses regarding ANI and NIHE’s corporate planning, risk management and internal audit processes; and
  • ANI’s financial and management reporting processes require further improvement.  In particular, there needs to be monthly monitoring of financial performance.

Addressing these findings is a focus for management in 2015-16 and the Audit Committee is playing an active role in monitoring progress.

Please click on www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Financial%20Statements/ to access the audit reports and financial statements.

The Annual Report can be found at www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Annual%20Reports/

 

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

26 February 2016

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MOST COMMONWEALTH LAWS TO EXTEND TO NORFOLK ISLAND




Legislation introduced into Parliament today will extend most Commonwealth laws to Norfolk Island, including the Fair Work Act 2009, and reform federal electoral arrangements for the territory.

“This Bill continues the Australian Government's commitment to reform Norfolk Island and provide its Australian citizens with the same rights and responsibilities as on the mainland,” Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, Paul Fletcher said.

From 1 July 2016, most Commonwealth laws will apply to Norfolk Island unless they have been specifically excluded.

“One of the key changes is that compulsory enrolment and voting in federal elections will apply to Australian citizens on Norfolk Island. Norfolk Islanders will vote in the division of Canberra and be represented by ACT Senators,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The Australian Government is committed to strengthening Norfolk Island's economy. Implementing the national workplace relations framework through the Fair Work Act 2009 is an important part of the reform process.

“Employers will be given time to adjust to the changes with the national minimum wage and Modern Award conditions being phased-in.”

The Australian Government will work closely with residents to inform them of the changes and assist with transitional arrangements.

The Bill will also correct inconsistencies in Commonwealth legislation by ensuring New Zealand citizens on Norfolk Island are able to access the social security system on the same terms as on the mainland, aligning the early claim period for child support and social security payments on Norfolk Island, and extending the child support framework to Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

'ARE YOU READY?’ WEEK IS APPROACHING!


‘Are you ready?’ week will be held on Norfolk Island from 14 to 18 March 2016. Staff from the Australian Government Department of Human Services, including our Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers and social workers, will be on island to help you get ready to lodge claims and to answer any questions you may have.

During ‘Are you ready?’ week you’ll be able to:

  • get help to create a myGov account
  • learn more about confirming your identity, the income and assets tests and the supporting documents you’ll need to lodge a claim
  • attend a FIS seminar for useful information about financial issues and how to make informed decisions about your financial situation
  • book a confidential appointment with a social worker if you’re experiencing a difficult time in your life. Social workers provide counselling and support, as well as information if you’re unsure how to access the right assistance
  • find out more about Medicare and Child Support services.

Visit the Australian Government Information Centre or call 23465 to book an appointment with a social worker or for a FIS seminar.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

REQUEST FOR EOI - PARTICIPATION IN AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE OF COMPANY DIRECTORS COURSE ON NORFOLK ISLAND



On 5 February 2016 the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, announced Australian Government funding for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island.

As part of this programme, we plan to host the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) to deliver training on Norfolk Island in areas of strategy & risk management, governance and finance as part of the AICD’s Foundations of Governance course (see: http://www.companydirectors.com.au/courses/courses-for-the-director/foundations-of-directorship for further details).

Expressions of interest for participation in this three-day course are sought from small to medium-size business owners and corporate managers, normally resident on Norfolk Island.

Subject to final confirmation, we are planning for the course to be held on Sunday 3 April and Monday 4 April, with the third and final session to be held on Sunday 10 April.

Numbers are limited but costs for those participating will be fully subsidised. Expressions of interest will be considered by a panel at the Office of the Administrator.

To register, please lodge your expression of interest by email before 24 February, including a short summary overview of your working background and contact details. Expressions of interest should be sent to the Official Secretary at: robin.mckenzie@infrastructure.gov.au

Office of the Administrator
Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES


The Australian Government Department of Human Services provides a range of payments and services to help you and your family. Find out about the products and services available at humanservices.gov.au/families

You can also use the Payment Finder on our website to find out what payments you may be eligible for at humanservices.gov.au/paymentfinder

If you’re interested in finding out how much you may get based on your individual circumstances, use our online estimator at humanservices.gov.au/estimators

If you or your partner have a child in your care from a previous relationship, you or your partner will need to take reasonable steps to obtain child support to be eligible for some payments. This is known as the Maintenance Action Test. You can meet this test by applying for a child support assessment. You may be able to lodge an early claim for a child support assessment. Visit humanservices.gov.au/ftb and click on the ‘Managing your payment’ tab for more information about child support and Family Tax Benefit.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND PRIVATE SECTOR SKILLS DEVELOPMENT ON NORFOLK ISLAND



Australian Government funding for small business and private sector skills development on Norfolk Island

Ongoing investment in the positive future for Norfolk Island continues with additional Australian Government funding for small business and private sector training and development on Norfolk Island.

This will be supported by the Office of the Administrator and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and delivered over coming months by experienced and qualified trainers, with a focus on supporting business and professional development in establishing and running small business.
This funding will also support training and skills development in key industry sectors on the Island, including but not limited to tourism, retail, food services, construction and other trades, and farming.

We plan to engage experienced training partners to provide opportunities to access specialist business information services and opportunities to help update or obtain vocational qualifications for those experienced and currently working in the field.

This will build on the Australian Government’s engagement with the community to date through the Australian Government Information Centre, and the various visits and information sessions conducted on Norfolk Island by Australian government agencies.

Details about specific business development and training opportunities will be provided in due course, including to seek expressions of interest from those seeking to participate.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
5 February 2016
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NORFOLK ISLAND WHOLESALE FUEL PRICE REDUCED FURTHER



The wholesale price of unleaded petrol and diesel will be reduced after 7 February 2016 when the next delivery is made.

The new wholesale prices will be $1.60 per litre for unleaded petrol and $1.59 per litre for diesel.

The reductions of $0.23 per litre for unleaded petrol and $0.20 for diesel bring the total reduction in wholesale prices since June 2015 to $0.43 and $0.48 respectively.

The reduction in fuel prices is a result of lower supply prices. I have again determined the entire amount of the savings be passed on through lower wholesale prices.
The US Dollar price per litre for the January 2016 fuel shipment was 14.0% lower than the price in September 2015, and there was a favourable 3.6% increase in the buying power of the Australian Dollar.

The 2015-16 budget of the Administration of Norfolk Island and the Australian Government will not be impacted by these changes.

These price reductions will provide broad benefit to the community and result in savings for individuals and businesses throughout Norfolk Island.

It should be noted that fuel prices are unknown as they are determined by the external market, which results in cost fluctuations for retailers and consumers.
The current pricing structure will remain in place until May 2016, when the next shipment of fuel is due to arrive.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
5 February 2016
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

2015/2016 MID-YEAR BUDGET REPORT



The Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI) and the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE) are under budget for the year to 31 December 2015 by $3.09 million and $60,206 respectively.The majority of the ANI surplus is due to timing differences in the receipt of funding from theAustralian Government. With the impact of these items removed, ANI is under budget by $0.73million. However there have been a number of areas identified where additional funds are required in the second half of 2015/16 and the modest savings achieved in the first half of the year will be reallocated to these areas.

NIHE is essentially on budget when the impact of an anonymous $50,000 donation is taken into account.


The areas where additional ANI funding has been directed provides an indication of the initiatives underway to transition to a Regional Council from 1 July 2016. These initiatives include:


 Bolstering decision making and operational management capacity and capability at the
Executive level;
 Designing and implementing the processes required to facilitate Regional Council
elections in late 2015/16;
 Investing in staff development through the implementation of a cultural change program;
and
 Implementing a new Enterprise Business Management System (subject to approval of the
business case from the Commonwealth).

These initiatives will form part of the ANI 2015/16 Operational Plan which will be made availableto the community very soon. The Operational Plan will establish objectives and priorities foreach area of ANI, define performance measures and assign responsibilities. This will enable thecommunity to better understand service delivery levels and standards and hold ANI accountablefor meeting these. Performance against planned outcomes will be assessed in the 2015/16Annual Report to ensure transparency and accountability regarding performance.

Overall I am confident ANI and NIHE’s financial performance during the year to date and thenew measures referred to above provide the financial resources required for each entity toachieve their 2015/16 operational objectives.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
5 February 2016
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

GET CONNECTED - CREATE YOUR MYGOV ACCOUNT



myGov is a simple and secure way to access Australian Government services online with one username and password, all in one place.

Your myGov account gives you:

  • secure access to a range of government services using one username and password
  • a single inbox for your messages from Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and the Australian Taxation Office
  • a quick and easy way to advise selected member services about changes to some of your personal details.

You can create a myGov account now. Once created, you will be able to link your myGov account to Australian Government services, which you can start to access from 1 July 2016.


A valid email address is the only thing you need to set-up a myGov account. You will not be able to use the same email address for more than one myGov account. Norfolk Island residents will not be able to connect their Norfolk Island mobile number with their myGov account.


While a mobile number can be used to access some additional features, it is not required. You can create a myGov account without a mobile number by following these steps:


-        on the ‘Set up your account’ screen, leave the ‘Your mobile number’ field blank

-        on the myGov security code screen, click the grey ‘skip’ button

-        on the ‘Inbox Notification Preference’ screen, choose ‘send your notification as’ Email


Get ready and create a myGov account before 1 July 2016 at my.gov.au


For more information about myGov, visit humanservices.gov.au/mygov or contact the Australian Government Information Centre in person or phone on 23465 for further assistance.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

CELEBRATING DIVERSITY AND DIFFERENCE ON AUSTRALIA DAY



Australia Day is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures which Australia comprises of and acknowledges the difference and equality we all share as a nation.

I am pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Australia Day Awards, recognising service and contribution to the community by inspiring groups and members of the Norfolk Island community.

1. Citizen of the Year – Mr Tim Sheridan
This award recognises an outstanding contribution to the local community through over 19 years leadership of the Australian Defence Force Cadets on Norfolk Island.

2. Young Citizen of the Year – Ms Shae Wilson
This award recognizes outstanding contribution to the local community by a person under the age of 25 years. Shae has shown dedication across a number of fields - performing and teaching Tahitian dancing, representing Norfolk Island at the 2015 Youth Commonwealth Games and being selected to represent Norfolk Island at the 2016 World Championship Junior Championships for netball.

3. Achievement Award – Mr Donald & Mrs Maree Reynolds
This Achievement Award recognises the significant achievement of other categories, including contribution to public service. Don and Maree have for many years been dedicated to diverse cultural pursuits including: teaching ukulele, guitar and Tahitian dancing as well as creating opportunities and encouragement for people to play and perform for the enjoyment of many in the community.

4. Sportsperson of the Year – Mr Phil Jones
This Sport Awards recognises outstanding ability or participation, or achievement in a particular competition. Phil has represented Norfolk Island at the South Pacific Mini Games in Port Moresby as well as the Merdeeka Asia Pacific Indoor Championships in Malaysia, the Asia Pacific Championships in Christchurch New Zealand.

5. Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Mr Will Partridge
This Sport Award recognises outstanding ability or participation, or achievement in a particular competition. Will has displayed outstanding ability in tennis; winning this year’s Cheryl Tennis Club Championships. As well as outstanding ability in Rugby League; Will has been offered a two-year contract with the Queensland based Redcliffe Dolphins Rugby League Under 20s Colt team.

I wish to acknowledge all who were nominated and the successful recipients of the Australia Day Awards, which were presented at Government House at a ceremony attended by many in the community.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
26 January 2015

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DELIVERING EFFECTIVE HEALTH SERVICES FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport, Sussan Ley, and Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, Paul Fletcher, today confirmed health care will be delivered through a multi-purpose service (MPS) on Norfolk Island.

Released today, the Norfolk Island Health Service Plan helped inform the Australian Government about how to best deliver health and aged care services for the Norfolk Island community.

The MPS model is consistent with the successful delivery of health and aged care services in rural and remote areas across Australia and provides the best possible outcome for the people of Norfolk Island,” Ms Ley said.

I am committed to ensuring the Government delivers on its promise to enable islanders to access Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and working closely with my colleague, Paul Fletcher, to have as many on-island services accredited to access Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by 1 July 2016.
Private health insurance will also be available to island residents from 1 July 2016 and my Department is working with insurance providers to have information on policies and products communicated to the local community as soon as possible,” Ms Ley concluded.

Norfolk Island Health Service Plan lays out a strategy to deliver the critical elements of health and aged care for the Norfolk Island community. This includes emergency bays and acute beds where people can be stabilised in times of crisis; a greater focus on primary and community health; and residential aged care and home support designed so Norfolk Island's elderly can receive appropriate support while living in their own community,” Mr Fletcher said. 

Mr Fletcher will be visiting Norfolk Island 28 and 29 January 2016 to meet with a range of people from the community and discuss the current reform process.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

ANNOUNCING LOCAL ELECTION AND FUTURE AIR SERVICES FOR NORFOLK ISLAND


The first election for the Norfolk Island Regional Council will be held on Saturday 28 May 2016, Minister Fletcher announced today.

“In line with similar sized councils in New South Wales, the Norfolk Island Regional Council will consist of five Councillors who will be elected for a four-year term and a Mayor will be directly elected by the Councillors each year,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The structure and arrangements for the Norfolk Island Regional Council will align with those for NSW local governments and the NSW Local Government Act, as far as possible.

“Using the well-established framework for local government elections under NSW law makes much more sense than reinventing the wheel,” Mr Fletcher said.

To be eligible to vote in the election on 28 May 2016, you will need to be:

  • an Australian citizen living on Norfolk Island; or
  • an Australian citizen not living on Norfolk Island, but owning land or a business on the island.

These are similar rules as apply in local council elections in NSW.

“Voting will be compulsory for those people who are Australian citizens living on Norfolk Island and no elector will be entitled to more than one vote,” Mr Fletcher said.

Mr Fletcher said he looks forward to announcing details of the framework and functions of the local council in the near future.

Mr Fletcher also announced that Air New Zealand has been chosen as the preferred provider of air services to Norfolk Island following a recent tender. A contract with Air New Zealand is expected to be finalised in the coming months.

“Air New Zealand is continuing to take travel bookings and I thank them for delivering this consistently high quality service which is critical in supporting tourism and the local economy,” Mr Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher said he was looking forward to visiting Norfolk Island on 28 and 29 January to meet with a broad range of people from the community to discuss the reforms.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE WITH NEW MINISTER



The Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, Paul Fletcher, welcomes the opportunity to engage with the community and invite questions about the reforms during his first visit to Norfolk Island from 28 to 29 January 2016.


Venue: Rawson Hall on Taylor’s Road

Date and time: 6:00pm to 7:00pm on Thursday 28 January 2016


The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

22 January 2016

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GET CONNECTED



Get connected—create your myGov account


myGov is a simple and secure way to access Australian Government services online with one username and password, all in one place.

Your myGov account gives you:

  • secure access to a range of government services using one username and password
  • a single inbox for your messages from Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and the Australian Taxation Office
  • a quick and easy way to advise selected member services about changes to some of your personal details.

You can create a myGov account now. Once created, you will be able to link your myGov account to Australian Government services, which you can start to access from 1 July 2016.


A valid email address is the only thing you need to set-up a myGov account. You will not be able to use the same email address for more than one myGov account. Norfolk Island residents will not be able to connect their Norfolk Island mobile number with their myGov account.


While a mobile number can be used to access some additional features, it is not required. There are many myGov users who manage accounts without registering their mobile number.


Get ready and create a myGov account before 1 July 2016 at my.gov.au


For more information about myGov, visit humanservices.gov.au/mygov

Please 'contact us' for more information.

MESSAGE FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR


Christmas is a time for family and friends. It is also a time to reflect and plan ahead.

A lot of work has been undertaken in the past few months to shape the package of services and programs which will apply to Norfolk Island towards the positive future ahead. In the coming months, the community should start to see how the reform will work ‘on the ground' as attention is turned from shaping to implementing.

Our transition team of experienced professionals, Executive Director, Peter Gesling; Transition Manager, Susan Law; and new Operations Manager, Peter Adams, are all focused on delivering changes to governance and expenditure to support private sector growth and better position the public sector so it can viably continue to deliver services and programs to the community effectively.

There continues to be some complex areas of the reforms which remain a priority for decision, including the delivery of health and aged care services. With a little over six months until changes commence on Norfolk Island, I will focus on resolution of these matters and continue to work closely with the community as mainland tax and social security, immigration, customs and biosecurity apply.

The Australian Government has set aside $13.5 million over the next four years for infrastructure upgrades in addition to the $13 million committed to the Cascade Pier. Concrete signs of change will appear in the coming months, including the pedestrian safety works at Channers Corner and the commencement of the Cascade Pier upgrade project, which is scheduled for completion in 2017–18.

Lorraine and I wish you and your family a happy, holy, safe and peaceful Christmas.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

What can you expect will happen over the coming months?

Delivering the key components of the reforms—taxation and social security systems, and extension of immigration, customs and biosecurity services—by 1 July 2016 is well advanced. Other important components are being carefully considered in the context of who will deliver services, how they will be delivered and when they will be delivered.

The next six months will be important to confirm arrangements not yet ‘finalised' and there is much work being done to prioritise arrangements for the delivery of health and aged care services, economic development, employment and education, as well as relevant NSW-based laws and programs.

The main legislative priority is ensuring the successful transition to the final reform arrangements. Key to this will be preparing and making legislation to allow elections to the Regional Council in the first half of 2016. Work is also underway with the Executive Director of Norfolk Island to make sure the Norfolk Island Regional Council is successfully set up and ready to commence on 1 July 2016.

There has been some apprehension and uneasiness in the community as people identify areas of change that may impact on them. Some people have raised concern about not knowing what the reforms are and what the changes will mean for them, their jobs and their businesses.

It is important to note, not all of the components of the reforms will commence on 1 July next year. Elements of the reforms are being transitioned and some of them are not anticipated to commence for some time. This is intentional to avoid excessive change and delivering too much information all at once.

The community will receive information at the appropriate time in the lead-up to each change.

Reform achievements and priorities ahead

I am pleased to share advice provided by representatives from various Australian Government agencies.

Visits and on-the-ground support for residents

The Australian Government Information Centre opened mid-2015 and over 450 residents and businesses have sought information about the reforms to date. The Centre continues to be an important gathering place, facilitating contact between Norfolk Island residents and Australian Government agencies. Information on the new reform arrangements is accessible in a single, central location for all on Norfolk Island. Visitors to the Centre can access free-of-charge computers to source and print information, as well as use online tools and calculators to explore a range of payments and services.

There have been 13 reform-related stakeholder engagement visits to Norfolk Island. Activities on Island have included meeting with key individuals and groups of stakeholders to scope future service delivery, and to provide information, as well as facilitate access to programs, services and initiatives.

Visits by Australian Government representatives will continue in 2016 to ensure the community is ready for the implementation of taxation, social security systems and national services such as immigration, biosecurity and customs.

Some agencies will be partnering together in 2016 to better support residents with information about their programs. Promotion of these visits and information sessions will be undertaken in the coming months.

Introducing mainland tax

The Australian Taxation Office (Tax Office) has held seminars and one-on-one appointments on Norfolk Island, which have been well attended. It has developed a range of communication products to support businesses and residents, including a dedicated Norfolk Island web page, and small business bulletin, which is available by subscription.

The focus for the Tax Office next year is to continue to inform residents through seminars, appointments and workshops, including visiting employers in their workplace to help them get ready to make superannuation payments and withhold tax from 1 July 2016.

Introducing mainland social security

The Department of Human Services will have a team on Norfolk Island from May to June 2016 to register customers and accept claims for payments and services from 1 July 2016. The team will include service officers who are specialists for Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support payments and services, Social Workers and Financial Information Service Officers.

The Department of Human Services will establish an agent for ongoing support with incoming and outgoing calls and all Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support processing operating from the mainland. Ongoing arrangements will include a team of Human Services staff on the island four times per year, similar to the current servicing of remote communities on the mainland.

The agent will provide Norfolk Island residents with free self-help facilities where customers can conduct their business with the Department of Human Services. The agent provides a face-to-face information service to the community and an internet-enabled computer and printer for customers to conduct their business. Norfolk Island residents will be able to lodge all Human Services documents at an agent site and agent staff will accept claim forms, documentation and provide assistance with providing and completing relevant forms.

Extending immigration to Norfolk Island

On 1 July 2016, the Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980 will be repealed and the Australian migration zone will extend to include Norfolk Island. This means permits issued under Norfolk Island immigration arrangements will cease on 30 June 2016, and foreign nationals on Norfolk Island will be required to hold an Australian visa.

Foreign nationals wishing to enter and remain on Norfolk Island will be subject to normal Australian migration arrangements from this time. Arrangements to transition Norfolk Island permit holders to the Australian visa regime are currently being finalised by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Staff from the Department have visited Norfolk Island in 2015 and have met with businesses and also with residents to assist with queries regarding their transition from holding Norfolk Island permits to holding appropriate Australian visas from 1 July 2016. The Department will establish a presence on Norfolk Island and engagement with the community will continue in 2016.

Subscribe to the new Tax Office Small Business Bulletin

The Australian Tax Office has a Small Business Bulletin designed especially for Norfolk Island small business owners. You can subscribe to the regular email bulletin to receive important information on business tax and super, including questions raised during recent tax office visits.

To subscribe send an email to NIBusiness@ato.gov.au

Interested in becoming an Australian citizen?

Australian citizenship is a privilege which offers enormous rewards.

By becoming an Australian citizen, you are joining a unique national community.

Australian citizens can vote in federal and state/territory elections, vote in referendums, run for Parliament, apply for an Australian passport and re-enter Australia freely, and register children born overseas as Australian citizens by descent.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has provided the following information.

Permanent residents of Norfolk Island aged 18 to 59 are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship. Residents can apply if they:

  • are a permanent resident, including a permanent resident of Norfolk Island;
  • can meet the residence requirement;
  • pass a citizenship test;
  • have an intention to reside in Australia (which includes Norfolk Island) or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia; and
  • are of good character.

The time it takes to apply for and be approved for Australian citizenship varies depending on the completeness of your application and your personal circumstances. It is best to plan ahead and allow several months for the processing of your application.

The final legal step in the journey to become an Australian citizen, for most people is to make a Pledge of Commitment at a citizenship ceremony. The role of holding these important ceremonies for residents who have been granted citizenship on the Island is undertaken by the Administrator of Norfolk Island.

For more information on Australian citizenship visit www.citizenship.gov.au

Get your tax and super info online

A new tax office web page has been developed for all Norfolk Island residents.

Find out more about tax and super at www.ato.gov.au/norfolkisland

Private health insurance arrangements for Norfolk Island

The Australian Government Department of Health has provided the following information:

Norfolk Island residents will have access to private health insurance from 1 July 2016. The premiums residents would pay and associated policies will be the same as those offered to Australians residing on the mainland.

Current information suggests most of the 26 open funds will be offering policy products to residents of Norfolk Island.

There are a range of products provided by funds for singles, couples and families, with benefits varying widely between policies. For example, there are more than 280 different policy products available to single people in NSW and the ACT, from a range of insurers with premiums and benefits differing between each of them.

Currently Norfolk Island residents are required to pay a healthcare levy plus the first $2500 in medical costs, and many residents also hold Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) policies for visits to the mainland for specialist treatment. From 1 July 2016 OVHC policies will cease for Australian citizens on Norfolk Island and residents who are interested in private health insurance policies will need to apply. The Norfolk Island healthcare levy will no longer apply from 1 July 2016.

People who are not Australian citizens, or will not be eligible for residency on 1 July 2016, will need to confirm ongoing OVHC with their insurance provider.

Do you know when your Australian passport is due to expire?

Residents needing to apply for an Australian Passport or Document of Identity are asked to first telephone the Office of the Administrator on 22152 to make an appointment to lodge or discuss passport applications.

The Office of the Administrator has recently received requests for urgent assistance from anxious residents who are about to travel from Norfolk Island, but who had just discovered their travel document had expired, was about to expire, or did not have a current travel document. Not having a valid Passport or Document of Identity can prevent you from travelling.

The above is also relevant to those families who have had to travel off-Island for the birth of a child.

It can take between 10 and 15 working days for a new Australian Passport to be issued.

For this reason, we recommend residents ensure they hold a current Australian Passport or Document of Identity at all times and these are up to date well before any planned travel off-Island.

KAVHA Advisory Committee and Heritage Management Plan

An improved management approach to the nationally significant and major tourism drawcard of the world heritage listed Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area has commenced. Changes include maintaining a strong local involvement through a highly experienced advisory committee whose aim will be improvements to the use and promotion of the site.

Following a call for expressions of interest, appointments were recently announced for the new Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) Advisory Committee.

The Committee will provide local community and expert heritage advice on the future direction of the site, and importantly, guide and support a steering group from the Australian Government and Administration of Norfolk Island to make sound decisions on the management, use and future of KAVHA.

The Committee's first face-to-face meeting on the island will be held in early January 2016.

Did you know …

Support and assistance with Australian Government payments.

Staff from the Department of Human Services will be on Island from May to June 2016 to support and assist eligible residents with applications for Australian Government payments.

Further information will be available early 2016.

Changes to drink driving

An Ordinance was made by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, on 10 December 2015 resulting in the introduction of random breath testing powers for police on Norfolk Island.

The introduction of these powers for police on Norfolk Island completes intended changes to laws by the former Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly. Importantly, Norfolk Island police now have the power to stop and detain people who choose to endanger innocent road users by driving while under the influence of alcohol.

From 1 December 2016, the Ordinance will also amend the Traffic Act 2010 (NI) and the Marine Safety Act 2013 (NI). These changes will lower how much blood alcohol content is permitted for everyone operating a vehicle or vessel on Norfolk Island from 0.08 to 0.05.

The Norfolk Island Road Safety Strategy prepared in 2011 observes a blood alcohol content of 0.08 results in a driver being five times more likely to have a crash than before they started drinking.

The Australian Government understands this reduced blood alcohol content limit to 0.05 will require adjustment on the part of the community and businesses. The lowering of this limit will therefore commence next year on 1 December 2016 to give the community time to better understand their responsibilities and prepare for this important change.

Understanding ‘gifting' and what it means for Age Pension eligibility

The Australian Government has considered the gifting rules for Norfolk Island residents following concerns there may have been financial decisions made by some residents over a small period of time in relation to gifting of assets.

The current gifting policy will apply to Norfolk Island, including existing mechanisms for appeals and review.

The Department of Social Services has provided the following information about gifting.

Like the name suggests, ‘gifting' means giving something of value away, such as a car, property, land, money or shares, without receiving its equivalent market value. Perhaps you have gifted a car to your son or daughter, or transferred a property in their name, and did not receive money, goods or services in return.

It is important to know the gifting of these assets can affect your eligibility for social security payments, including the Age Pension.

This is because the Australian Government provides social security payments as a ‘safety net' for people in the community unable to fully support themselves.

The purpose of the pension gifting rules is to ensure people who do have significant means (income or assets) available for their self-support do so, rather than giving away those assets and relying on the taxpayer funded social security system for support.

Understanding the pension gifting rules can help you to make an informed decision about managing your assets into retirement.

Under the gifting rules, you can give away assets with a value up to $10,000 in a single year or $30,000 over a five-year period, before this affects your eligibility for an Age Pension. However, any amount given away above either of these amounts is considered a ‘deprived asset' and it continues to count as your asset for five years, from the date of the gift.

Importantly for Norfolk Island residents, these rules do not apply to gifts made before 19 March 2015, when the Australian Government announced that Norfolk Island will integrate with mainland tax and social security systems from 1 July 2016. This is because Norfolk Island residents could not have reasonably known before this announcement that they may qualify for a social security pension or allowance.

There are review mechanisms in place where a person is not satisfied the gifting rules have been correctly applied in their case. There is also provision under the social security legislation which means the gifting rules cease to apply where a person has gifted income and/or assets and the income and/or assets are returned. In this case, the income/asset will again commence to be assessed under the means test.

Further information on the gifting rules is available online atwww.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/assets/gifting and through the Australian Government Information Centre at Burnt Pine, which offers free access to facilities, to call mainland customer service staff with questions and access agencies' websites for more information.

Additional changes to Norfolk Island laws

In addition to changes amending the Traffic Act 2010 (NI), further changes to allow for advancement and planning in key areas include:

  • integration of the functions, assets, and liabilities of the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau into the Administration of Norfolk Island; and
  • enhanced oversight and governance of the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority.

These changes support economic growth and sustainable governance of Norfolk Island.

Public holidays and office ‘shutdown' over Christmas

The Office of the Administrator and the Australian Government Information Centre will be closed from Friday 25 December and will reopen on Monday 4 January 2016.

In the event of an emergency please call 50000.

Geotechnical investigations for new path and associated road works project

This work, while inconveniencing some drivers along this section of road, was necessary in order to finalise the design work for improvements to Taylors Road and the Channers Corner intersection.

Subject to approvals, works are expected to commence on the path and road upgrade project in February 2016. This is a great outcome for community safety.

Update—progress of air services

The tender process for the Australian Government's underwriting of regular passenger transport air services between the mainland and Norfolk Island is underway and should be finalised early in 2016. Announcements on this matter will be made when appropriate.

Key dates for January 2016  

14 Jan

First meeting for the new KAVHA Advisory Committee

26 Jan

Australia Day community event at Government House

28 and 29 Jan

the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government visits Norfolk Island

Please 'contact us' for more information.

2015/16 PERIODIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - QUARTER 1



I am pleased to publish the periodic financial statements for the first quarter of 2015/16 for the Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI), the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise (NIHE), the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau (NIGTB) and the consolidated entity along with a brief summary of the financial position of each entity. These are available on the ANI website via http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Financial%20Statements/.

It is the first time the periodic financial statements have been prepared in the format required by the Commonwealth Finance Minister’s (Norfolk Island) Orders 2011 and they are an important tool in demonstrating accountability of public expenditure to the community.

Each entity has achieved a better than budgeted result for the year to 30 September with ANI being ahead of budget by $4.1 million, NIHE being ahead of budget by $119,000 and NIGTB being ahead of budget by $93,000.

However these results are due to expenditure being deferred to later in the year and 2014/15 Australian Government funding being recognised in 2015/16. Noting these factors, ANI and NIHE are still anticipating reporting significant accrual based deficits in 2015/16. Therefore there is still a significant amount of work to be done to achieve long term sustainability and in 2016 the momentum of positive change will need to step up a gear.

This will begin with the development of Strategic and Operational Plans which will be based around the services to be delivered by the Administration for the remainder of 2015/16 and then by the Regional Council in 2016/17 and beyond.

These plans will provide a basis for funding to be allocated according to community needs and priorities. However importantly, the extent of services may need to be reduced to achieve long term savings and changes to work practices will be needed to improve efficiency and productivity. The Strategic and Operational Plans will be released for public discussion when finalised.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
18 December 2015
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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ADMINISTRATOR'S 2016 YOUNG ENDEAVOUR COMMUNITY SCHOLARSHIP



Nominations are sought from young people aged 16 to 23 for the Administrator’s Young Endeavour Community Scholarship.

This Scholarship will assist one young person ordinarily resident on Norfolk Island to participate in a sail training voyage aboard the Young Endeavour.
The Young Endeavour experience is not a leisurely cruise. It is challenging adventure training at sea, which seeks to develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills.

The Young Endeavour is a 44m-long tall ship purpose-built for sail training, with modern technology and world–standard safety navigation equipment. You live ‘between decks’ in a close community with other youth crew from diverse places and backgrounds across Australia. Further information is available at: www.youngendeavour.gov.au/

The Administrator’s Scholarship will cover the cost of a berth on the Young Endeavour, travel insurance, air travel costs to and from Sydney, and accommodation, if required.

It is envisaged the successful candidate will take part in the Young Endeavour’s voyage departing Sydney on 20 March 2016 and returning to Sydney on 30 March 2016.

To be eligible for this Scholarship you must:
• be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
• ordinarily live on Norfolk Island
• be 16 - 23 years old on the day of departure of the voyage
• be able to swim 50 metres
• weigh less than 120kg and be in good health
• not have previously sailed in Young Endeavour.

If you are aged under 18, your parent or guardian must give permission for you to participate in the voyage. And for safety reasons, there are certain medical conditions which may preclude participation in the voyage. The Scholarship and offer to participate is provisional until confirmed, including completion of the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme health questionnaire.

Application forms can be obtained from the Office of the Administrator (Tel: 22 152).

Completed application forms must be marked “For the attention of the Office Manager” and received by the Office of the Administrator before close of business at 4.30pm on Monday 18 January 2016. Applications can be lodged in person at the Office, or via email at office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
23 December 2015

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SHAPING CHANGE ON NORFOLK ISLAND



As part of the constructive work to address economic growth, community protection and progressive sustainable governance, I am pleased to announce changes to some Norfolk Island laws.

His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, made the Norfolk Island Continued Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No.1) Ordinance 2015 yesterday.


The introduction of Random Breath Testing (RBT) powers for police on Norfolk Island completes intended changes to laws by the former Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly.


Lowering of the blood alcohol content limit for persons operating a vehicle or vessel will also be introduced but not commence until 1 December 2016. Changes relating to the blood alcohol limit are deferred to enable the community to fully understand their responsibilities, consistent with practices in other states and territories.


Other modifications to laws allow for advancement and planning in key growth areas include the integration of the functions, assets, and liabilities of the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau, into the Administration of Norfolk Island; and enhancing oversight and governance of the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority.

Minor amendments to the administration of enactments and the Criminal Code, and the amendments for gaming, the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau and the provision of random breath testing are expected to start following registration of the Ordinance on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments in coming days. 


Changes to the Census and Statistics Act 1905 will result in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) incorporating Norfolk Island in the next Census of Population and Housing on 9 August 2016.


In 2011, the Administration of Norfolk Island conducted a Census of Population and Housing at the same time, and with very similar questions, to the Australian Census.


The 2016 Census will provide an important snapshot of Australia’s people and their housing, including Norfolk Island. The Census helps estimate Australia’s population, which is used to distribute government funds and plan services, including housing, transport, education, industry, hospitals and the environment, for all communities. The ABS will work closely with the future Regional Council and the community to implement the Census, with further information available in the coming months.


The Hon Gary Hardgrave

11 December 2015

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LIQUOR BOND SUMMER OPENING HOURS



The Administration of Norfolk Island is pleased to advise that the summer opening hours for the Liquor Bond will commence on Monday 30 November 2015 until 27 February 2016 and will be as follows:

              RETAIL

Monday to Thursday

10.00 am to 6.00 pm

Friday and Saturday

10.00 am to 6.30 pm

Sunday

Closed

              WHOLESALE - WAREHOUSE

Monday to Friday

9.00 am to 12.00 noon

Saturday and Sunday

Closed

Jon Gibbons

Chief Executive Officer                                                                       17 November 2015

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CASCADE PIER CONSTRUCTION TENDER OPENS



Tenders for the extension and refurbishment of the Cascade Pier on Norfolk Island have now been called. Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher said the project will deliver an upgraded structure that can support the movement of cruise ship passengers and freight.

The Cascade Pier extension and refurbishment is part of the Australian Government's commitment to Norfolk Island reform,” Mr Fletcher said.

Importantly, this tender opportunity will give local businesses and tradespeople an opportunity to take part in a significant business opportunity.

An industry briefing for potential tenderers will be held in the week commencing 23 November with representatives from my department and WorleyParsons. Potential tenderers will also have the opportunity to meet the local workforce and businesses as they showcase some of their skills and experiences.

This will be an excellent avenue to make tenderers aware of the range of skills and suppliers available on island that they may wish to partner with in putting together a competitive tender for this work.

I am keen to see reforms to the Norfolk Island community continue and I am looking forward to a number of new business opportunities appearing in coming years.” Copies of the tender documents are available at AusTender 

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2016 AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS


Nominations are sought for the 2016 Australia Day Awards on Norfolk Island.
Australia Day Awards recognise service and contribution to the community in the past year by individuals or groups. They recognise those who are an inspirational role model.

The award categories are:

 Citizen of the Year Award
 Young Citizen of the Year Award
 Sportsperson of the Year
 Junior Sportsperson of the Year
 Achievement Award

The Citizen and Young Citizen Awards recognise outstanding contribution to local community. The Citizen Award is for persons 25 years of age and over. The Young Citizen is for those under 25.

The Sports Awards recognise outstanding ability or participation, or achievement in a particular competition.

The Achievement Award recognises significant achievement for which other categories may not apply, including for contribution in the public service.
Nominations will be considered by a panel, with the Awards announced at Government House on Australia Day, Tuesday 26 January 2016.

Nominations should be submitted in writing to the Office of the Administrator. Each nomination should include:

 the nominee and nominator’s details (both name and contact information)
 the award category
 an outline of the significant contribution the nominee has made to the Norfolk Island community and an explanation of how this person or group is an inspirational role model.

Nominations must be received by the Office of the Administrator by close of business, Tuesday 22 December 2015.

Once again, we are looking to celebrate what is great about our Nation and our local community by saying thanks to those who have served or achieved something special during the past year.

For further information contact the Office of the Administrator on phone 22152 or email office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au

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

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KAVHA Advisory Committee members



I am delighted to announce the foundation members of the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) Advisory Committee.  The members were selected after careful consideration of the balance of skills and experience necessary to deliver the priorities identified for KAVHA over the next two years, and following a call for expressions of interest from the Norfolk Island community.


Kristal Buckley of Melbourne is a lecturer in cultural heritage at Deakin University and a former international Vice-President of ICOMOS, the International Council of Monuments and Sites, which is a body responsible for the conservation of monuments and sites across the world.  She is also a board member for the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Committee, which represents three of the 11 historic sites, including KAVHA, together forming the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.


David Evans of Norfolk Island is a landholder within KAVHA.  His experience in working and living on the site and his connections to the community as a former Legislative Assembly member, and a member of the Council of Elders make a valuable addition to the Committee.  Mr Evans is widely recognised internationally for his strong commitment to Norfolk Island culture.


Duncan Evans of Norfolk Island is a local business operator in tourism and shipping.  He is also a member of the Norfolk Island Interim Advisory Council.  He will contribute to developing the commercialisation of the KAVHA Site with his extensive experience and interest in commerce, tourism, marketing and economic development.


Kevin Sumption of Sydney is the Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANNM) and has been an executive member on the boards for the Powerhouse Museum, Museums and Galleries NSW and Royal Museums Greenwich in London.  He has extensive experience in museum curation, collection management, tourism and associated business management with a focus on digital curatorship and community outreach services.


The Committee will be chaired by Paul McInnes, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.  Mr McInnes has extensive experience in cultural policy and cultural heritage management, including in senior leadership positions within the Australian Government. 


I will be requesting members to place a high priority on developing a strategic vision for KAVHA which includes realising the economic potential of the site for the benefit the Norfolk Island community. 

 

I look forward to the positive impact this group of highly skilled and experienced members will have on KAVHA’s future.

 

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

13 November 2015

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PLANNING DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH



As we progress the changes which commence from 1 July 2016, there is increasing focus on what is meant by strengthening and growing the Norfolk Island economy and how this can be achieved.

The recent release of reform reports highlights opportunities, areas of improvement and a range of options which can drive positive change for Norfolk Island and the future Regional Council.

The Administration of Norfolk Island’s (ANI) 2014/15 Final Budget Outcome Report has also demonstrated the ability to achieve effective results with good governance, structure and processes.

While the financial status of the ANI is better than forecast, driven by expenditure control and a range of operating improvements, it remains critical to develop a sustainable funding model for the future Norfolk Island Regional Council.

The time is right to foster growth and shape our future.

Building on the findings in the SGS Economic Development Strategy Report and reform progress made to date, we now have opportunities to diversify and adopt broader concepts of economic advancement.

Tourism is one of the obvious key sectors where growth and prosperity for Norfolk Island is possible. We live in an enviable island environment with a strong cultural heritage.

In coming weeks, positive changes to governance arrangements for tourism and a review of the tourism strategy are expected to better support broader economic development for Norfolk Island as well as help inform a long-term plan for the Island.

It is imperative we capitalise on investments and financial opportunities through planning and implementing realistic strategies for broad economic development to support the elected Norfolk Island Regional Council, commencing 1 July 2016.

Importantly, we need to start making decisions which will provide a secure and more prosperous future for businesses and residents.

As decisions are taken, engagement and dialogue with the people of Norfolk Island will continue.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
12 November 2015
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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GATHERING DATA TO INFORM FUTURE IMPORT AND EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES



I’m pleased to release the Norfolk Island Quarantine Survey (NIQS), which will assist with the safe movement of plant and animal products into and out of Norfolk Island and market negotiations for new imports and exports. 

The Survey was undertaken over a period of 18 months by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture to provide a detailed portrait of the Island’s plant and animal health status to determine what pests and diseases are present (as well as absent). The report provides important baseline data for the development of appropriate measures for the safe import (to) and export from Norfolk Island. Each (new) plant or animal commodity will require an appropriate risk analysis to be undertaken, the data provided by NIQS will expedite these.

The findings will inform options for biosecurity arrangements on Norfolk Island, following the extension of the full suite of border control arrangements, including quarantine, from 1 July 2016.

Gaining access to export markets, including mainland Australia, for plant and animal products includes the need for a risk analysis and accurate, current data on the plant and animal pests on Norfolk Island, which NIQS outcomes provide.

The Survey identified that quarantine barriers between Norfolk Island, the Australian mainland and New Zealand should be maintained or strengthened.
Norfolk Island is free from many pests which are present in Australia (such as Queensland fruit fly, silver leaf whitefly) and New Zealand (such as fire blight), some of which could severely impact crop production. The varroa mite from New Zealand could similarly devastate the island’s honey industry.

Norfolk Island does however have several plant, animal and pest species of quarantine (biosecurity) concern present on the Island that are not recorded on the Australian mainland. These include coffee rust, black sigatoka and tomato potato psyllid.


As a result of the survey, quarantine capabilities and capacity on Norfolk Island have now been enhanced, following community engagement and improved diagnostic capabilities that are now supported by strong links with professionals on the Island.


Whilst implementation of the findings of the survey are largely a matter for the Administration of Norfolk Island (until 1 July 2016), the Department of Agriculture will maintain an interest in the findings of the report as it is likely a number of these will relate to biosecurity services which will be implemented as part of the introduction of Commonwealth biosecurity and quarantine services to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016.


The Norfolk Island Quarantine Survey report is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories/publications


The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
9 November 2015

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IMPROVING NORFOLK ISLAND'S MOBILE NETWORK


Today I am releasing the Norfolk Island Mobile Network report which clearly shows the need for improvements to the Norfolk Island mobile network and infrastructure to better support businesses and the community, and assists in economic growth and opportunities in the tourism sector.

The report was undertaken by GQI Consulting and assessed the existing 2G mobile network, Norfolk Island’s mobile network requirements, technical solutions and costs for recommended improvements.

The key findings of the report shows the current 2G mobile network on Norfolk Island utilises obsolete technology and is likely to need upgrading in the next two to three years in order to prevent the occurrence of a major loss of service, which would impact greatly on businesses and the community.

Further findings include the need for all radio base station backhaul links to be upgraded, as they do not have the capacity to handle mobile data.

Despite its age, the consultants commented on the high standards of maintenance to mobile network infrastructure. This is a credit to the commitment and resourcefulness of Norfolk Telecom staff.

A new system is needed. The existing 2G network and base station equipment was second hand when purchased several years ago and is obsolete and becoming more difficult to maintain and support.

The report recommended an upgrade as a priority, particularly as back-up batteries at the base stations around the island have reached the end of their useable life.

While upgrading to 3G is possible, upgrading to a 4G network, estimated at $3.7 million, would be more cost and technologically effective and could be implemented within a 10-12 month timeframe.

The billing system also needs to be replaced. The manufacturer is no longer in business so support in future will become increasingly difficult.

The report will be provided to the Administration of Norfolk Island, as the owner and operator of Norfolk Telecom, to consider and action the findings and recommendations in the report.

The Norfolk Island Mobile Network report can be found at www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories/publications

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
9 November 2015

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STRATEGY PRIORITISES ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE SAFETY OF ROAD USERS



I am pleased to release the Norfolk Island Roads Audit and Strategy which provides an audit of the Island’s paved road system, assessing the condition of infrastructure and identifying priority improvements and redesigns to minimise road and pedestrian safety risks.

This report will inform future road works which require urgent attention, safety improvements and a longer term strategy to maintaining the road system.
A significant focus of the study was on the safety of road users (including cyclists, pedestrians and others in the vicinity) whilst having strong regard to the impacts on tourism, heritage and commercial activities such as the movement of freight around the island.

In completing the report, WorleyParsons undertook site assessments on each of their three visits to the island and consulted widely with stakeholders, including holding a Risk Identification and Rating Workshop. This workshop provided an opportunity for local representatives to provide feedback on what had been done so far. The report noted the community’s preference for keeping the ‘country lanes aspect’.

The report outlines a priority list of road infrastructure upgrades and indicative costs of these, and the ongoing maintenance requirements for the roads on the Island.

As well as finding 30km of the Island’s roads require urgent attention, the Report recommended two key upgrades take place; traffic safety and pedestrian access from Queen Elizabeth Avenue to Burnt Pine, and an upgrade to the roads in the School precinct.

The initial findings identified by WorleyParsons’ review informed the Australian Government funded upgrade of the footpath and associated works from Queen Elizabeth Avenue to Burnt Pine which was announced on 30 June 2015 by the Hon Jamie Briggs MP during his visit to Norfolk Island.

WorleyParsons also identified serious structural defects with the Bay Street Bridge within Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Heritage Area. Urgent repair works costing over $70 000 were recommended. These were funded by the Australian Government and recently completed by the Administration of Norfolk Island’s Works Team and local contractors.

The report estimated the cost to upgrade five urgent roads is between $3.5-5.5m. The broader estimated cost to restore the surface of all roads across Norfolk Island, which requires urgent attention for safe and effective use, will be approximately $10-15m.

The report’s upgrade priority list will form the basis for investment in road infrastructure on Norfolk Island in future years.

The Norfolk Island Roads Audit and Strategy is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories/publications

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

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2014/2015 FINAL BUDGET OUTCOME REPORT



A better than budgeted result in 2014/15 and improvements in performance of the three key government entities on Norfolk Island reflect a deliberate instruction by the Australian Government to find savings and build cash reserves in order to improve the future sustainability of each entity.

Section 14 of the Commonwealth Finance Minister’s (Norfolk Island) Orders 2011 (as amended) (CFMOs) requires the Administrator to publicly release a final budget outcome report for 2014/15 within four months of the end of the budget year.

This report is to provide an evaluation of the Norfolk Island Government’s actual performance against the annual budget.

Accordingly, the 2014/15 Final Budget Outcome Report has been released today and is available via the following link http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Financial Statements/.

This report provides a separate analysis of the budget outcomes for the Administration of Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise and the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau.

The report is based on the draft 2014/15 financial statements and the published budgeted 2014/15 financial statements for each entity.

The Australian National Audit Office is in the final stages of their audit of the 2014/15 financial statements and final results are expected to be published in mid-November.

This report has been prepared based on draft numbers (as at 22 October 2015) to satisfy the reporting timeframe set out in the CFMOs. While the results are still interim, I believe readers can place reliance on the information presented.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
29 October 2015

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MEETING GOVERNANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY GOALS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESSES



The review of Norfolk Island’s Government Business Enterprises, which has been recently completed, comprehensively details the condition of government owned assets and will inform the development of a future governance framework.

In recent years, the Australian Government commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to complete an analysis to assist the Administration of Norfolk Island in assessing the operational efficiency of its 19 Government Business Enterprises, which include electricity, the airport, postage, waste, lighterage, broadcasting, tourism and gaming.

The report being released today is the final of three reports analysing and making recommendations to improve the operation of Government Business Enterprises, particularly their governance, financial and management frameworks and processes. Two earlier reports were released in 2014.

This work is critical in helping to determine future service delivery options on Norfolk Island, and in ensuring the community receives value for money from these significant public assets.

The final report considers the needs of the community, sustainability, the manner in which assets on the Island are managed, culture and tradition, governance arrangements, skills and capabilities, community service obligations and clarity on operating mandates.

The Australian Government will work with the Administration of Norfolk Island in implementing the report’s findings, as part of broader considerations on the role and functions of the Norfolk Island Regional Council.

The Norfolk Island Government Business Enterprises report can be found at www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories/publications

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
27 October 2015

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IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



I am pleased to release the Norfolk Island Economic Development Strategy which identifies opportunities for economic stimulation and growth in the short and long term.

SGS Economics and Planning was commissioned earlier this year to develop a strategy which considers local experience and local skills, and how these can complement opportunities to diversify and broaden Norfolk Island’s economic base.

The report also:
 identifies private investment opportunities in current and emerging industries such as tourism, heritage and cultural precincts, cottage industries, agriculture, and aquaculture;
 determines the infrastructure investment opportunities to improve access by tourists and enhance supply chain connectivity;
 identifies barriers to tourism, investment and increased local production and brand development, and strategies to overcome them;
 identifies key short and long-term projects, including costings, to underpin the Economic Development Strategy for Norfolk Island.
Strategy findings and recommendations include:
 establishing opportunities and services for residents and workers comparable with those on the mainland which are essential for economic development (including the internet, recreational opportunities and municipal services);
 highlighting the impediment the Island’s infrastructure has on economic development (including the capacity of the diesel power plant and high cost of electricity which is four times the average cost on the mainland);
 the lack of overall capacity of water resources and there being no solid waste collection system.

There are a range of opportunities and services identified in this report which residents of Norfolk Island can be excited about and this report will inform future community engagement, including those by the Advisory Council.

The Commonwealth is supporting the Administration of Norfolk Island through the development of the Cascade Pier, which will further assist economic development and tourism on Norfolk Island.

The Norfolk Island Economic Development Strategy can be found at www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories/publications

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
27 October 2015

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RELEASE OF REPORTS DETAIL PLANNING FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SERVICE DELIVERY



From next week, I will be releasing the first of a series of reports which will inform reform policy and future delivery of services and economic development for Norfolk Island.

These reports were commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in mid-2015 and focus on the following key areas:
 Government Business Enterprises;
 mobile telecommunication;
 roads;
 agricultural pests and diseases; and
 economic development.

The documents are the result of months of careful review of current arrangements on Norfolk Island, identifying issues and areas of improvement, considering the needs of the community and businesses.

The recent completion of these reports will assist the Administration of Norfolk Island (ANI) to better position its operations and meet service delivery needs of the community as it transitions to a Regional Council from 1 July 2016.

I would like to thank the wide range of stakeholders who have been consulted and have provided feedback, including advocating for improvements, innovative ideas, areas of concern and opportunities.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
23 October 2015

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A MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER



I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Paul Fletcher and I represent the federal electorate of Bradfield. On 21 September I was honoured to be sworn-in as Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects in the Turnbull Government.


Part of my portfolio includes responsibility for Australia’s territories, including external territories such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.


Since being sworn-in as Minister, I have been working to get an understanding of the issues that affect your communities. Last week I met with the Administrator of Norfolk Island, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, and he impressed upon me the importance of continued engagement between the Australian Government and the Norfolk Island community.


The Government has committed to a broad set of reforms for Norfolk Island, including extending social services, Medicare and the Australian tax system. When they commence on 1 July 2016, these reforms will make a big difference for Norfolk Islanders. It is also important that we make changes to the way services are delivered on Norfolk Island to ensure they are sustainable into the future.


My priorities over the coming months will be to continue taking these reforms forward and working with the community to identify opportunities for further improvements. I look forward to visiting Norfolk Island, hopefully by early 2016, and learning more about your culture and unique history.

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NEW MINISTER BRINGS MOMENTUM TO NORFOLK ISLAND REFORMS



Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects Paul Fletcher said today that he is working to progress the Norfolk Island reform process – with the aim of stimulating growth in Norfolk Island’s economy.


“Today I am acting to respond to concerns in the Norfolk Island community, by announcing that Australian capital gains tax (CGT) will not apply to assets held by Norfolk Island residents prior to today,” Mr Fletcher said.


“The government intends to bring forward legislation to make the CGT change which provides relief for residents who have long-term asset holdings on Norfolk Island.


“The change will mean that CGT will only apply to assets acquired by Norfolk Island residents after today and provides additional flexibility addressing cultural legacy issues such as inheritance assets. However, this change will not apply to CGT assets held by Norfolk Island residents which would not have been exempt from CGT before Norfolk Island was incorporated into Australia’s mainstream taxation system.


“To assist small businesses on Norfolk Island, tax concessions are also available for businesses which can mean an immediate deduction for business assets which cost less than $20,000.  Small businesses on Norfolk Island will be able to access this concession from when they join the Australian taxation system on 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2017 at which time the limit will reduce to $1,000.”


Mr Fletcher said change of this nature takes considerable planning across governments and while a number of decisions have already been taken, more work remains to be done.

 

“My priority is to see the effective implementation and extension of programs and services to Norfolk Island.

 

To inform the future delivery of services and economic development for Norfolk Island, the Australian Government commissioned reports on roads, mobile telecommunications, economic development, Government Business Enterprises, and pests and diseases. The Norfolk Island Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, will be sharing these reports with the Norfolk Island community in the coming month and will engage with the community about the findings.

In addition, the Government has commissioned a report about the health system on Norfolk Island. Mr Fletcher said the Government will consider the recommendations of this report, once received, and draw on the report in determining the provision of future health services to best meet the needs of the community.

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OFFICIALS VISIT NORFOLK ISLAND TO HELP SHAPE FUTURE HEALTH SYSTEM



Staff from the Commonwealth departments of Health and Human Services, including officers from the aged care services area, together with representatives from the New South Wales Ministry of Health and the South East Sydney Local Health District, will visit Norfolk Island on 26 and 27 October.

The purpose of the visit is to determine the future focus of the Norfolk Island health system on primary care and aged care services, delivered most likely in the form of a multi-purpose service.

This visit will help to inform decisions on how the future medical services will operate from 1 July 2016 and other associated issues, such as Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme accreditation.

Multi-purpose services across Australia generally have a mix of acute care services, such as a casualty ward, primary healthcare providers such as general practitioners, diagnostic and imaging services and residential aged care.

In a study commissioned earlier this year by the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise, the Norfolk Island community indicated support for a multi-purpose service.

Delivery of health services is complex and crosses several layers of government. The need for this mix of officials is because of the different funding and delivery functions for health and aged care not only within the Commonwealth Government but also within the states.

The visiting staff will meet with a range of stakeholders, including the Norfolk Island Advisory Council.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
21 October 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND WHOLESALE FUEL PRICE REDUCED FURTHER



I am pleased to announce with effect from 12 October 2015, the wholesale price of unleaded petrol and diesel will be further reduced.


These reductions follow on from the $0.18 and $0.23 reductions announced on 26 June 2015. 


The new wholesale prices will be $1.83 per litre for unleaded petrol and $1.79 per litre for diesel.  


The reduction in fuel prices is a result of lower supply prices.  I have again determined the entire amount of the savings be passed on through lower wholesale prices.


The US Dollar price per litre for the September fuel shipment was 13.8% lower than the price in June, however a 12.6% reduction in the buying power of the Australian Dollar absorbed most of the price savings.


The electricity tariff will remain unchanged for the October-December billing period as existing Legislation dictates electricity price changes must be notified prior to commencement of the billing period.


The 2015/16 budget positions of the Administration of Norfolk Island and the Australian Government will not be impacted by these changes.


The current pricing structure will remain in place until December 2015, when the next shipment of fuel is due to arrive. It should be noted as fuel and electricity prices will continue to be driven by the external market there may be increases or possibly further decreases in future prices.


The Hon Gary Hardgrave

9 October 2015

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MESSAGE FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR


There have been a number of recent announcements which will impact the Norfolk Island community in positive ways, such as the new KAVHA Advisory Committee and the change to our time zone, but most notably, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP has been sworn in as the Australian Government Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects. 


These changes continue the Australian Government's efforts in building a stronger and more resilient community on Norfolk Island. With just another nine months until new arrangements are in place for social services, customs, immigration, taxation and other government services, many people are impatient for information about the impact of these. The best advice, however, remains the same—seek information from the Australian Government Information Centre about how some of the known changes might affect you, and what you may have to do to prepare for them. 

For advice about your own personal financial circumstances you should consult qualified, reputable and registered financial advisers, including those services available through the banks on Island. Change needs to be measured and gradual because of its complexity, but I believe change will put Norfolk Island onto a sustainable footing for the future. Change will deliver better consumer and patient focussed services, more and better utilised resources to deliver accredited health care services, and a restructuring of local charges to be equitable. With the introduction of Medicare, change will end current health levy arrangements with Norfolk Island health services being better resourced by being part of the larger Australian taxpayer funded scheme. There will also be new arrangements for the funding and delivery of services by the Regional Council, once established in 2016. Consultation on this is underway through the release of Discussion Paper No 2 by the Advisory Council and will help guide decisions about this change. 

The Hon Gary Hardgrave New Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) Advisory Committee Last week I announced the establishment of a new Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) Advisory Committee to ensure effective site management. Membership will comprise at least two community representatives and at least two experts in heritage, collections, land management and/or tourism. I encourage community representatives interested in contributing to a positive future for KAVHA and who wish to be considered as members of the KAVHA Advisory Committee to prepare a written Expression of Interest. Further information is available in my media release of 23 September 2015 and at by Monday 5 October 2015. Australian Government and state agencies working together for Norfolk Island The Australian Government remains committed to reforms on Norfolk Island to ensure a sustainable, stronger and more prosperous Norfolk Island community. We are now three months into the interim transition period of the delivery of reform for Norfolk Island, with the provision of a range of services to commence on 1 July 2016. Change of this nature takes an enormous amount of planning and preparation to ensure the transition is effective. To support this, a whole of Australian Government Norfolk Island Taskforce was established in Canberra and continues to provide strategic oversight and coordination of delivery of government services, programmes and initiatives on Norfolk Island. Also, the Australian and New South Wales (NSW) Governments have established a Steering Committee to discuss the arrangements for some state-type services on Norfolk Island, with health and education as the key priority areas. While a number of decisions are continuing to be made and operational plans are being developed, let me assure you the community and Norfolk Island businesses are always a key part of the considerations.

The work in Canberra and with NSW is paralleled by the Advisory Council which, as mentioned earlier, has just released its Discussion Paper No 2. I also continue to consult directly with the community. Time zone changes Earlier this month I advised the community of the permanent move to a changed time zone for Norfolk Island, effective from 4 October 2015. This means, at 2am on Sunday 4 October 2015, Norfolk Island time will become 1.30am. One of the easiest ways to make sure you have the correct time is for residents and visitors to set clocks and watches back by half an hour as you go to bed on the night of Saturday 3 October 2015. This change will provide easier access for local businesses when engaging with the mainland. This is also likely to bring increased opportunities and appeal to the Island's major tourist market. It will have a minor impact on the aircraft arrival and departures times to and from Norfolk Island. Air New Zealand has, and will continue to, publicise the changed arrangements. 

ATO plans to engage with community about what they can expect Staff at the Australian Tax Office have advised they are working on some information specifically for Norfolk Island residents, about the changes coming next year. They are close to publishing a Norfolk Island specific webpage, and intend to start an email subscription newsletter specifically for people in business. I'll let you know more about the newsletter as it comes to hand. They're also keen to hear about what information you need, so they can help you better understand the changes impacting you. There will be a short ATO survey available in the coming weeks and I will let you know when this is available and how you will be able to give the ATO your advice. Historical Finds in KAVHA KAVHA has been the scene of several new works projects in recent weeks and many more are planned over the coming twelve months. 

Since February, several projects have involved the assistance of Dr Douglas Hobbs, a supervising archaeologist. Over 2,500 objects have been unearthed, recorded and catalogued in cooperation with staff from the Norfolk Island Museums. Artefacts recovered date from the late Second and early Third Settlement periods and contain a mix of glass, ceramic, bone, metal and shell material. Most notable of the recent finds, were the convict leg irons uncovered at the Blacksmith's Compound. The recent Norfolk Island Museums article detailed the finds and how the objects will be preserved, and can be accessed on the Museum Facebook page. The KAVHA works team have recently completed a series of important safety, disability access and stabilisation works around the site funded by the Australian Government. These include upgrades to the Blacksmith's Compound and the Double Boat Shed as well as building a wheelchair access ramp to Government House. These works improve safety and provide ease of access for all users. The next twelve months will see additional projects further enhance access to the site, including disabled access toilets and additional safety works being undertaken. The Australian Government is continuing to work to understand the needs of the community and how health services will be provided in the future. We can however provide answers to common questions below. Will medical evacuation (medivac) to Australia continue? Evacuations from Norfolk Island for medical reasons will continue to occur, with the Australian Government bearing the full cost of these from 1 July 2016.

Will there be any immediate changes to the health arrangements on Norfolk Island? The current arrangements for health and aged care will continue into the foreseeable future, and will be influenced by Australian Government discussions with the New South Wales Government. What is Medicare? Medicare provides payments and services which can help people use health care services or buy medicines. Medicare services are delivered by Medicare-accredited providers. For more information on Medicare you can refer to the (www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/dhs/medic

The Information Centre is located at World Traders in Burnt Pine and is open daily from 10.00am to 4.00pm (closing for lunch from 1.30pm to 2.30pm). The Centre is available for you to drop in at any time during opening hours and appointments are not required unless specifically stated—you can contact Lorraine at the Centre on 23465.

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KAVHA ‘refreshed’



I am pleased to announce improvements to the management of the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) on Norfolk Island. A new KAVHA Advisory Committee will be established to ensure future site management is based on expert input while continuing local community involvement.

KAVHA is a heritage site of significant national importance to all Australians and is one of 11 sites which make up the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Listing. KAVHA is also recognised through Commonwealth, national and Norfolk Island heritage listings for its association with four distinct settlement periods.
The new Committee will have at least two Norfolk Island community members, at least two experts in heritage, collections, land management and/or tourism and an Australian Government representative as Chair.

The Committee will provide guidance to a steering group of Australian Government and Administration of Norfolk Island representatives on the management of KAVHA, including:

 best practice techniques to conserve the existing fabric and heritage objects;
 actions which will protect and present, with authenticity, the rich and interwoven natural and cultural landscape of KAVHA;
 strategies to achieve effective governance and good management; and
 opportunities to improve tourism use and the financial sustainability of the site.

In addition to actively participating in at least three scheduled meetings each year local representatives will be expected to access networks across the island to consult with the community and industry stakeholders on the future of KAVHA, provide informed comment into the plans and strategies developed to protect heritage features and promote economic development. Community members will also provide input into the annual works plans.

Community members interested in contributing to a positive future for KAVHA and who wish to be considered for the KAVHA Advisory Committee should prepare a written Expression of Interest to demonstrate:

 they are ordinarily resident on Norfolk Island;
 relevant skills and ability in liaison and representation, including with members of the Norfolk Island community, private sector and government agencies;
 proven ability to respect diverse points of view;
 willingness to participate effectively in a formal meeting setting; including experience in convening community meetings; and
 a strong and long-standing interest in improving and conserving KAVHA.

Applications should be submitted to: office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au by Monday 5 October 2015.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
23 September 2015
The Administrator
Australian Territory of Norfolk Island

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LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS MAKE A DIFFERENCE



The strong sense of community was celebrated at Government House on Wednesday 16 September following another successful community Open Day.


Over the past year, sixteen organisations helped provide a positive experience by ensuring Government House could be opened to the public including for many Island visitors.


Fifteen open days were made possible by volunteer “sitters” who interacted and guided the visitors while almost 2000 people passed through this significant national historic asset over the past year.


Community groups collected a total of $31,763.59 from their participation in the Government House Open Day events.  This equates to an average $2117.57 for each Open Day.


On Wednesday representatives of the organisations gathered to celebrate the success and share in the proceeds they collected.


Lorraine and I acknowledge the generous donation of time by so many people, especially the regular volunteer sitter team led so well by Maurge Jowett OAM.  We know Island visitors appreciate the unique opportunity to step back in time by visiting Government House.  We also thank all the people who visited Government House for their entry donations which go directly to local charity groups.


Charitable organisations which made a difference in the past year at Government House were Daa Side fe Ucklan/Blue Light Foundation, Quota Club of Norfolk Island, NATIN. NI RSL Women’s Auxiliary. Banyan Park Playcentre.NI Hospital Auxiliary, Mental Health Support Group, NI Branch Australian Red Cross, Sunshine Club, Girl Guides Association, Care Norfolk Inc, Royal A & H Society, Foodcare, St Johns Ambulance, and NISEDU.


Government House Open Days are held on a Wednesday each month.  Lorraine and I encourage all members of the Norfolk Island community to promote these occasions particularly to Island visitors as they assist Norfolk Island charity groups over the year ahead.


The Hon Gary Hardgrave

18 September 2015

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CITIZENSHIP DAY



Today, 17 September is Australian Citizenship Day.


I was pleased to mark the occasion by hosting a citizenship ceremony at Government House.


This ceremony was attended by a number of members of the community who have also received Australian citizenship over the past 12 months. 


Since Citizenship Day last year I have been honoured to host six citizenship ceremonies on Norfolk Island, conferring citizenship on 13 members of our community, adding to our modern nation of people from the four corners of the earth.


Citizenship Day was introduced in 2001. It is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate and value Australian citizenship.


Today on Citizenship Day, and indeed every day of the year, the Australian National Flag and the Norfolk Island Flag have been proudly flown at Government House. 


The flagpole at Government House is a special type of flagpole known as a “yardarm”.  It has its own history which is worth knowing.


The flag pole is recorded as having been part of the mast of the Norwegian sailing vessel Ho Ho, which was driven ashore by storms on Norfolk Island in 1935.  The vessel was repaired and continued its journey, with the mast brought to Government House where it remains in its prominent position. 


The protocols for flying the Australian National Flag can be found in part 2 of the ‘Australian Flags’ booklet (http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/symbols/docs/australian_flags_excerpt.pdf).

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HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN



This coming week Her Majesty The Queen becomes the longest reigning British Monarch in history. 


Of course, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is our Head of State as Queen of Australia.


Her Majesty ascended to the throne on the death of her father King George VI in the early hours of the morning of 6 February 1952.


Her Majesty’s coronation was held on 2 June 1953.


Changes to time keeping and calendar practices since 1837 has made calculating the exact moment she becomes the longest reigning Monarch an interesting topic for some.  However what is clear is Her Majesty, will have reigned 63 years 7 months and 3 days by this Friday 11 September 2015.


What is also clear is the exceptional and inspiring service Her Majesty has given for so long to so many generations of people throughout the world. 


Like no other Monarch in history, Her Majesty has travelled extensively to meet every-day people throughout the Commonwealth and other parts of the world.


It is right for us to celebrate Her Majesty, especially this week.


The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

4 September 2015

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AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL FLAG DAY




Australian National Flag Day celebrates the first time the flag was flown on 3 September 1901 over the dome of the Exhibition Building in Melbourne.


On that day, Australia’s first Prime Minister Edmund Barton announced the winners of a competition to find a flag for Australia.


Australian National Flag Day was later proclaimed by the Governor-General on 28 August 1996.

While we all try to keep our own family traditions alive, this occasion is an important opportunity to celebrate the number one symbol of our modern nation and its cultural and linguistic diversity.


Interested members of the community can find additional information on how to celebrate Australian National Flag Day and the protocols for flying the flag on the website www.itsanhonour.gov.au.


3 September also marks Merchant Navy Day. It is an opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of thousands of Australia’s merchant mariners during wartime who helped defend and shape our modern culturally diverse nation.


I take this opportunity to acknowledge the service of Norfolk Island resident, Mr Ralph Holloway, who many decades ago served in the Merchant Navy and was earlier this year award the Philippine Liberation Medal for his participation in the liberation of the Philippine Islands during World War II.


The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

3 September 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND STANDARD TIME CHANGES 4 OCTOBER 2015



Norfolk Island’s year round time zone is changing permanently.  It means in the early hours of Sunday 4 October 2015 at 2am, Norfolk Island time will become 1.30am.  Residents and visitors will need to set their clocks and watches back by half an hour as they go to bed on the night of Saturday 3 October 2015.  I will again remind residents closer to the date.


This change will provide easier access for local businesses when engaging the mainland.  This is also likely to bring increased opportunities and appeal for the Island’s major tourist market.


The change to a recognised time zone also resolves technical issues with computers and other electronic equipment experienced by people living on Norfolk Island.


The new Norfolk Island time zone will be GMT + 11 (or UTC +11 hours).


The change is consistent with consultations undertaken by the former Legislative Assembly earlier this year.  The Assembly passed a Standard Time Bill in April 2015.  It was championed by former Minister Tim Sheridan who saw this as a positive move for Norfolk Island.  As the NI Bill did not receive Royal Assent prior to the commencement of new governance arrangements, the Bill lapsed.


Given this, the change of time zone required the development of two new Commonwealth Ordinances, the Norfolk Island Standard Time Ordinance 2015 and the Norfolk Island Continued Laws Amendment (Standard Time) Ordinance 2015.  These were approved by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia today.


Interestingly, during Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time (which also commences on 4 October) Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT will adopt Norfolk Island’s new time for about 6 months every year.  This will help the tourism industry on Island and provide some real marketing opportunities to the major mainland market.


It also means Norfolk Island Time will be enjoyed by about 15 million other Australians as they “catch up” to us during the east coast daylight saving months.


The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

3 September 2015

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THE NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNIITY DESERVES A PROMISING FUTURE KINGSTON AND ARTHUR'S VALE HISTORIC AREA (KAVHA) ... Joint Statement with: Melissa Ward, Chair, Norfolk Island Advisory Council



The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) on Norfolk Island was one of 11 sites around the country to be included in the Australian Convict Sites UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2010.

It is at the heart of early Australian history, stretching back to 1788, and it is also at the heart of the people of Norfolk Island, since 1856.  Many Island residents have lived history within the buildings and open spaces of the convict heritage site.

World Heritage Listing provides opportunities, but also entails obligations.  Both require expertise and strategic planning to deliver upon.  

Critically, KAVHA is central to the tourism industry on Norfolk Island today. 

The high expectations of being part of the UNESCO World Heritage Listing have been unmet to date. The current Board is not structured to provide dynamic leadership of the site. The Memorandum of Understanding is focused on funding arrangements, without sufficient strategic policy setting.

Recent extensive community consultation on the draft heritage management plan shows the community wants KAVHA to be a living and vibrant site which offers a positive visitor experience, continued access for the community and economic opportunity. 

It is recognized an effective governance arrangement must be put in place to meet our obligations and reap the rewards of being a World Heritage Listed site. 

The Australian Government is committed to supporting the Island and its economic future.

What is needed now is a positive plan for KAVHA. Just like many in the local community, we are impatient for action. 

We need a new approach and a new Board to progress a positive plan for the future, which creates new employment and sensitive commercial opportunities, along with conservation and rehabilitation of the site.  The new arrangement must provide ongoing opportunity for community engagement, recreational use and everyday practices so many individuals enjoy and which are consistent with this significant World Heritage Site. 

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave                                 Melissa Ward

Administrator                                                                        Chair - NI Advisory Council

3 September 2015

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ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY FLIGHT DEPLOYMENT TO NORFOLK ISLAND


 

I welcome news of the Royal Australian Navy’s Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) Flight deployment to Norfolk Island.

 

The LADS hydrographic survey unit will survey the vicinity of Norfolk, Nepean and Phillip Islands to improve nautical charting in the area for safe navigation of coastal and commercial shipping. 

 

Further information on the LADS Flight is available at: http://www.navy.gov.au/fleet/aircraft/laser-airborne-depth-sounder

 

I wish to thank, in advance, all members of the Administration staff and community who are involved in supporting this deployment

 

 

 

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

28 August 2015

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JUDITH DAVIDSON AWARDED CHURCHILL FELLOWSHIP


Judith Davidson is one of the 109 Australian recipients of the Churchill Fellowship for 2015.

This is the 50th Anniversary of the Fellowship which has been awarded to talented and inspired Australians seeking to gain knowledge to better their local communities.

Judith will study and research how the other 10 Australian convict sites within the UNESCO World Heritage Listing utilise and promote heritage values.

It is a positive extension of her highly regarded work at the KAVHA Research Centre and will allow her to interact with colleagues and counterparts.

The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) is at the heart of Australia’s early history. Judith will travel to Sydney, Tasmania and Perth as part of her fellowship.

She will visit and work with heritage experts at the other sites inscribed on the World Heritage Listing. Places such as Hyde Park Barracks, Cockatoo Island and Port Arthur have a shared history with Norfolk Island. The physical architecture and the human inter relationship with the Norfolk Island story show how these are the obvious companions for KAVHA. Norfolk Island is an important part of the bigger story.

I am sure there are many good lessons to learn from these other sites. I look forward to the reports Judith will prepare for the Norfolk Island community.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave
21 August 2015

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EXPERIENCE THE WONDER OF GREEN PARROTS AND SKYSCRAPER PINES



Norfolk’s visitor experience has been enhanced and visitors are now able to get an in-depth look at the island’s plants and wildlife thanks to a purpose-built Discovery Centre.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin said the island’s latest attraction had been designed to encourage more people to visit thisvery special part of the world.

“The new Discovery Centre is nestled in the tranquil surrounding of Norfolk Island National Park,” Mr Baldwin said.

“Norfolk Island is a unique tourism destination offering a captivating history and picturesque charm. Visitors love Norfolk’s idyllic beaches, rugged coastlines, World Heritage historic sites, birdwatching and bushwalking through the national park. They also discover a welcoming community, local markets, fresh foods and a delightful sub-tropical climate.

“Inside the Discovery Centre visitors of all ages can delve into Norfolk’s richsettlement story and explore the island’s wildlife, changing landscape and the park’s conservation work. Young and old alike will enjoy the modern ceramic animals andartworks.

“The building itself is designed to blend in with the natural environment yet maintainsa modern and dynamic feel. The cladding, floors and pillars are all cut from Norfolk Island pine sourced within four kilometres of the centre. A skylight floods the room with natural light, while the large front doors and rear windows allow natural heatingand cooling.”

Norfolk Island Administrator, The Hon Gary Hardgrave agreed the Discovery Centre was a first-class addition to the island’s tourism attractions.

“Norfolk Island attracts well over 20,000 visitors each year, contributing more than 40 per cent of the local economy. By investing in world-class facilities like the Discovery Centre we’re hoping to boost that number.

“The Discovery Centre brings the outdoors indoors. An elegant wooden walk way leads to a rooftop viewing area where you’ll get a fantastic view of Norfolk’s vibrant green landscape including the iconic Norfolk Island pines.

“The nearby Orientation Room is another new addition, where children will make friends with an enormous green parrot that happily gobbles small change - all proceeds going towards the green parrot recovery programme.

“I’m thrilled with the centre’s blend of visual art and informative displays. I knowvisitors to Norfolk will enjoy the benefits for years to come.”

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EMPLOYMENT OFFICIALS TO ENGAGE WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES


Australian Government Department of Employment and Fair Work Ombudsman staff will be on Island to meet with local employers throughout the week commencing Monday 17 August 2015.

The meetings are a ‘listen and learn’ exercise which will be used to develop the best approach to implement the federal workplace relations system on Norfolk Island.
Australian Government staff will also consult with the Executive Director, Peter Gesling, the Norfolk Island Advisory Council, the Norfolk Island Public Service Association, the Chairman of the Norfolk Island Employment Conciliation Board, and individual employers.

If you are a Norfolk Island business which employs staff and you are interested in discussing your current employment arrangements you are encouraged to make an appointment to meet at the Australian Government Information Centre. Call 23465 to make an appointment.

Once implementation arrangements are settled, the Department of Employment and Fair Work Ombudsman will work with employers and employees so everyone will better understand their rights and obligations.

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave

14 August 2015

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ADMINISTRATION COMMUNITY UPDATE NUMBER 4


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TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS AND CULTURE ON NORFOLK ISLAND



Australia is the most culturally and linguistically diverse nation in the world and each of us has our own traditions inherited from our forebears, especially our parents.

We are all responsible for keeping our traditions alive. Norfolk Island’s local and family cultures based on personal experiences and traditions are not under threat through the economic and governance reform process.

Anniversary (Bounty) Day, Foundation Day, Show Day and Thanksgiving Day will continue to be public holidays. Traditional practice for funerals and for collecting materials for cultural craft as well as activities such as fishing, water recreation and camping can continue as they do in other parts of Australia.

The Norfolk Island flag can continue fly alongside the Australian flag as it always has. Advance Australia Fair is the national anthem but God Save the Queen, and the Pitcairn Anthem can still be sung on days of national or community significance.

The Norfolk language, can still be taught in the School, and the new Regional Council to be elected next year will still be able to use Norf’lk in public signage and documentation.

The words of the now superseded Norfolk Island Act 1979 Preamble are significant to the history of Norfolk Island, and while it is time to move forward, this history should be acknowledged and preserved. The Advisory Council is working on an appropriate means for this to occur.

The cultural practices of communities big and small across the diverse Australian nation are also secured by respect for the difference in cultural practices of others. Sharing and displaying cultural practices is part of ensuring our cultural diversity is supported by all.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
30 July 2015

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TECHNICAL NEEDS FOR BIOSECURITY AND CUSTOMS ROLES



Next week, Australian government staff from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will visit Norfolk Island to better understand information technology needs to support biosecurity and customs requirements from 1 July 2016.

While the focus of the visit will be on technology requirements and learning about how Norfolk Island currently manages customs and quarantine functions, the Department of Agriculture will also be available for initial meetings with local business to discuss specific biosecurity questions about current import and export on either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday afternoon. This will build on the feedback which has been provided through the reform discussions to date.

To make an appointment, please contact the Office of the Administrator on 22152.

Appointments will be held at the Australian Government Information Centre in Burnt Pine.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

30 July 2015

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DOUG CREEK EARNS A LITTLE RIVER OF GOLD FOR NORFOLK



Norfolk Island pistol shooters have won Gold, Silver and two Bronze Medals to dominate the XV Pacific Games in Port Moresby Papua New Guinea.

Congratulations to Doug Creek for winning a Gold and two Bronze Medals and Kevin Coulter for winning a Silver Medal.

Both Kevin and Doug have had to relearn their skill after being forced to change hands for pistol shooting.

Doug’s Gold Medal is a personal triumph since his injury to his right hand some years ago forced him to learn to shoot with his left hand. This result is a perfect tribute to his personal dedication and strength of character.

The attainment of winning the 25 metres pistol mixed competition allows Norfolk Island to claim the first gold medal in the event at the Pacific Games.

Doug ended the event with a total of 526 points from the two-day contest edging out the competitors from Tahiti (silver with 524 points) and New Caledonia (bronze with 522 points).

I am told it is likely to be Kevin’s last international event in pistol shooting. He won Silver, with Doug Creek winning Bronze in the 10m stand event. It is a wonderful result.

This is the first time pistol shooting has been contested in the Pacific Games. Kevin and Doug’s success helps ensure Norfolk Island’s ongoing participation in the Games for many years to come.

Lorraine and I intend to host a welcome home reception at Government House for Doug, Kevin and other members of the Norfolk Island Pacific Games Team in coming weeks.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
9 July 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND REFORMS COMMENCE


Today marks the beginning of a twelve month reform process to build a stronger and more prosperous future for Norfolk Island. 

Yesterday I visited Norfolk Island to meet the Norfolk Island Advisory Council ahead of today’s inaugural meeting. Under the leadership of Chair Melissa Ward, the Advisory Council will provide a strong local voice and work alongside the Australian Government in delivering positive change.

I also met with local business owners and community leaders brought together by the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hargrave, to discuss the reforms in detail. 

I was joined by Mr Peter Gesling, who today commences as Norfolk Island Executive Director. 

Mr Gesling is an accomplished senior executive in local government and is well positioned to strengthen local service delivery and work with the community to transition the Administration of Norfolk Island to a Regional Council.

During my visit I announced the first road project to be delivered as part of the Australian Government’s infrastructure strategy for Norfolk Island. 

The Australian Government will construct a new footpath connecting the school and shopping village to improve safety and amenity. This vital piece of infrastructure is a community priority and is just the first of many upgrades to be implemented.

Improving Norfolk Island's road network is critical for community safety as well as economic and tourism development. The Australian Government has set aside $13.5 million for infrastructure upgrades in addition to the $13 million committed to upgrade the Cascade Pier. 

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.

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FUEL AND POWER PRICES TO REDUCE



I am pleased to announce with effect from 1 July 2015, the wholesale price of unleaded petrol and diesel will reduce by $0.18 and $0.23 per litre respectively. The new wholesale prices will be $1.85 per litre for unleaded petrol and $1.84 per litre for diesel. This will reduce the price the community will pay for fuel.

I have also determined electricity tariffs be reduced by $0.06 per kWh, due to the reduction in diesel costs. The new tariff of $0.62 per kWh will be effective for electricity consumer after 1 July 2015.

The reduction in fuel prices and the electricity tariff is a result of lower supply prices and I have determined the entire amount of the savings be passed onto the community.

These price reductions will provide broad benefit to the community and result in savings for individuals and businesses throughout Norfolk Island.

The 2015/16 budget positions of the Administration of Norfolk Island and the Commonwealth will not be impacted by these changes.

The current pricing structure will remain in place until October 2015, when the next shipment of fuel is due to arrive. It should be noted fuel and electricity prices will continue to be driven by the external market and there may be increases or possibly further decreases in future prices.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
26 June 2015

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APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NORFOLK ISLAND



I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Peter Gesling as Executive Director of Norfolk Island.

Mr Gesling’s background as an accomplished senior executive in local government means he is well positioned to help steer the transition of the Administration of Norfolk Island to a Norfolk Island Regional Council from 1 July 2016.

Working closely with the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, the Executive Director will help ensure essential services continue to be delivered to the community, while also supporting administration staff throughout the transition period.

The Administration of Norfolk Island will ensure the day-to-day management of the Island will continue and Norfolk Island laws continue to apply.

The Australian Government is committed to driving economic growth on Norfolk Island and ensuring local residents have access to the same level of essential services and entitlements as those residing on the mainland and other external territories.

We will continue to actively and regularly consult with the Norfolk Island community to ensure all residents have significant input into their future governance.
For information about the Norfolk Island reforms, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform.


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APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NORFOLK ISLAND



I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Peter Gesling as Executive Director of Norfolk Island.

Mr Gesling’s background as an accomplished senior executive in local government means he is well positioned to help steer the transition of the Administration of Norfolk Island to a Norfolk Island Regional Council from 1 July 2016.

Working closely with the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, the Executive Director will help ensure essential services continue to be delivered to the community, while also supporting administration staff throughout the transition period.

The Administration of Norfolk Island will ensure the day-to-day management of the Island will continue and Norfolk Island laws continue to apply.

The Australian Government is committed to driving economic growth on Norfolk Island and ensuring local residents have access to the same level of essential services and entitlements as those residing on the mainland and other external territories.

We will continue to actively and regularly consult with the Norfolk Island community to ensure all residents have significant input into their future governance.
For information about the Norfolk Island reforms, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform.


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CHILD IMMUNISATION: NORFOLK ISLAND



The Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, and Director of the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise, David McCowan, thank the Rotary Club of Norfolk Island for their funding support over recent years for the community’s immunisation programme for children aged between 12 months and 15 years.

From this Wednesday, 1 July, immunisation for children within this age group will be fully funded from within the Hospital budget. This will be a free service for all children normally resident on the Island.

The Norfolk Island Administration through Social Services will continue to fund immunisations for children up to 12 months.

Norfolk Island has previously used, and will continue to use, the NSW vaccination schedule. This can be found online at:
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/pages/schedule.aspx or a hardcopy of the schedule can be obtained at the Hospital.

Parents are requested to check their children’s immunisation record. If you have any queries please contact Director, David McCowan, who is also the immunisation supervisor. For scheduled, or catch-up, immunisations please make an appointment at the Hospital.

Further information on immunisation can be found at: http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/why-immunise. Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your children and safeguard the health of future generations.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave                                                                David McCowan
Administrator                                                                                Director
Territory of Norfolk Island                                                              Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise

25 June 2015

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2015/2016 ANNUAL BUDGETS



Part 2 of the Commonwealth Finance Minister’s (Norfolk Island) Orders 2011 require before the start of the budget year, annual budgets for the Administration of Norfolk Island and each Territory Authority be prepared and publicly released.

Accordingly, the 2015/16 Annual Budgets for the Administration of Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Government Tourist Bureau and the Norfolk Island Hospital Enterprise have been released today and are available via the following link http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/reports/Financial Statements/.

Budgeted funding has been appropriated for 2015/16 via an Ordinance issued by the Governor-General. A copy of the Ordinance and the associated Explanatory Memorandum can also be found via the above link.

It is anticipated reviews of the 2015/16 annual budgets will be required during the year to accommodate the implementation of reforms and unforeseen expenditure needs. Further information regarding changes to the annual budgets will be provided via ongoing engagement with the community and as part of the mid-year budget report.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
25 June 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND FUTURE PROSPERITY STARTS TODAY


Yesterday, the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC proclaimed the commencement of interim arrangements under the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act.

This marks the beginning of what is now a 378 day transition period, including to move to a Norfolk Island Regional Council from July 2016.

As we undertake reforms during this period there is a role for all Norfolk Island residents in contributing ideas and making this change work, while we continue to respect the broad cultural traditions which are important to many people.

The five members of the Advisory Council announced by the Hon Jamie Briggs MP have a specific role. Each is committed to being active in our community and proactive in their resolve to represent the range of views needed to get the future governance model right.

Their important task will rely on feedback and ideas from across the community.

Equally each of us should take the opportunity to get factual information on entitlements at the Australian Government Information Centre. Based on the positive feedback from last weeks “full house” of appointments at the Centre, many have a better understanding of these systems and prospective entitlement in light of their individual circumstances.

In coming weeks the results of strategy work already undertaken in the area of economic development, roads, telecommunications and health will guide the future, to motivate new private investment and drive shared prosperity.

I look forward to continuing to work with all community members to build a strong prosperous future for Norfolk Island over the year ahead.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
18 June 2015

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NORFOLK ISLAND ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS SELECTED



Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, The Hon Jamie Briggs MP, and Melissa Ward, Chair of the Norfolk Island Advisory Council, today announced the appointment of Wally Beadman, Duncan Evans, Eve Semple and PJ Wilson to the Norfolk Island Advisory Council.

The Advisory Council will provide a strong local voice and will work in partnership with the Australian Government to deliver the best outcomes possible for the Norfolk Island community.

Establishment of the Advisory Council is an essential step in the transition to a Regional Council and will ensure the Norfolk Island community is actively engaged in shaping and delivering reform for Norfolk Island.

Chair of the Advisory Council, Melissa Ward welcomed the appointment of four strong candidates who offered a broad range of skills and experience in local tourism, transport, environment, business, culture and heritage.

The Assistant Minister and Chair thanked everyone who had put forward an expression of interest or engaged in the nomination process.

The first meeting of the Advisory Council is scheduled for 1 July 2015.

The Advisory Council is an interim body, established under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 to represent the Norfolk Island community until the Norfolk Island Regional Council commences on 1 July 2016.

Members of the Advisory Council will be appointed for a period of up to 12 months on a part-time basis.


For information about the Norfolk Island reforms, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform.  


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APPOINTMENT OF NORFOLK ISLAND ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIR


I am pleased to announce that Ms Melissa Ward has been appointed as Chair of the Norfolk Island Advisory Council.

Melissa Ward's leadership, governance and community engagement skills will be of great benefit for the people of Norfolk Island and ensure the reform process is inclusive and reflects the unique requirements of this very special part of Australia.

The Norfolk Island Advisory Council will play a critical role in representing the local community and in shaping the future governance model for Norfolk Island. I will be seeking advice from the Council on the following key issues.

  1. The Norfolk Island Regional Council model.
  2. The transition of Norfolk Island Administration staff to the Norfolk Island Regional Council.
  3. The phasing in of state law, keeping in mind the need to prioritise economic development, community safety and sustainable government while responding to the unique circumstances on Norfolk Island.

The Australian Government will continue to actively engage with the local community to ensure all residents are well informed and have a strong voice during the transition period.

Reforms to Norfolk Island will improve service delivery, boost economic growth and ensure local residents have access to the same level of essential services and entitlements as those residing on the mainland and other external territories.

The Australian Government is already working to improve Norfolk Island's infrastructure with WorleyParsons Services Limited progressing upgrades to the Cascade Jetty and developing a comprehensive road strategy to deliver significant improvements to the island's road system.

The remaining appointments for the Advisory Council will soon be announced so we can keep working to build a stronger and more prosperous future for the people of Norfolk Island.

For information about the Norfolk Island reforms, visit
www.infrastructure.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform.

Ms Melissa Ward—curriculum vitae

Experience:

  • MLA—Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly—March 2010—Present (5 years 5 months)
    • Member of the Immigration Committee 2010–2013
    • Member of the Social Services Committee 2010–2014
    • Chair of the Norfolk Island Education Review 2013/14
    • Member of the Commonwealth Women's Parliamentarian's Association Regional Steering Committee for Norfolk Island 2014/2015
  • Founding member of the Norfolk Island Mental Health Support Group—2012

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APPOINTMENTS AT THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT INFORMATION CENTRE CAN NOW BE MADE



From Tuesday 9 June until Friday 12 June 2015, the Norfolk Island community are encouraged to make a time to speak with visiting Australian Government staff about government payments, visas and tax.


The new Australian Government Information Centre is located at the World Traders Building in Burnt Pine and will open during business hours on weekdays. The community can access computer terminals to source information, brochures, factsheets and other materials.


Staff will be available in the centre by appointment, to answer your individual questions, discuss your general situation and also explain changes for the Norfolk Island community that commence from 1 July 2016.  Staff will help you to understand how these changes will affect you, and what you may have to do to prepare for them. 


Information available during this period will include:

  • the tax system, including what you will pay tax on and how much tax you might have to pay
  • a broad range of government payments and services for individuals including Medicare, Age Pension, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Newstart Allowance and concession cards
  • student payments, child support, payment for carers, and family assistance payments to help with the cost of raising children.

 

Department of Immigration and Border Protection staff will also be available to meet with New Zealand and other non-Australian citizens by appointment to discuss transitioning them from Norfolk Island permits to an Australian visa, and discuss requirements for Australian citizenship.

 

Immigration staff are particularly interested to meet with community members who are not Australian citizens to gain an understanding of their circumstances, such as their length of time on the island, the type of permit they are on and their long term intentions, to ensure their situation is encompassed in the proposed model to transition them to an Australian visa.


The Information Centre is part of the community support provided by the Australian Government leading up to the implementation of changes which will begin on 1 July 2016.


Notification about information sessions over the coming months, including opening hours, will be communicated widely, including through Radio Norfolk 89.9FM, on the website  www.infrastructure.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform, The Norfolk Islander newspaper, a fortnightly Norfolk Island Reform newsletter, notices in the new Information Centre and brochures in post boxes.


While all efforts will be made to assist residents where possible, staff at the Information Centre will only be able to answer general questions and provide general information on the reforms and how these may affect you.


Individual circumstances can vary. Residents should pause and make considered and fully informed decisions that may have major financial implications for them, especially as Australia’s social security, taxation, immigration and health systems will not be formally extended to the Island until 1 July 2016.  


To make an appointment for the June visit, please contact the Office of the Administrator on 22152 or email NorfolkIslandReform@infrastructure.gov.au


The Hon Gary Hardgrave

3 June 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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LETTER TO THE NORFOLK ISLAND RESIDENTS




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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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ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTIONS FROM THE INFORMATION SESSIONS










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ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTIONS FROM THE INFORMATION SESSIONS










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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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COMMUNITY UPDATE - CASCADE PIER



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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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AUSTRALIA'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO NORFOLK ISLAND


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY OF NORFOLK ISLAND AND THE CHIEF MINISTER




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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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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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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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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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INQUIRY INTO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON NORFOLK ISLAND



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

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

Terms of Reference

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

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

The Committee will inquire into and report on:

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

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

Neil Pope

Administrator

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JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE TO VISIT NORFOLK ISLAND



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

 

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


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

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

The Committee will inquire into and report on:

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

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


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

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


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

  • A Royal Commission conducted in 1976;
  •  12 separate Parliamentary inquiries; and
  • The commissioning of more than 20 reports from experts in various fields, including former Administrators

All of these reviews, reports and audits have been unanimous in recommending significant changes and reforms. 


In spite of this, as the ANAO findings I table today show, there has been very little progress in addressing the fundamental issues facing Norfolk Island. 


In fact, the situation has deteriorated and the challenges are increasingly more difficult. 

The ANAO has now forecast unfunded budget deficits for the Norfolk Island Government in future years of between $7.4 million and $7.8 million. 


The ANAO has also found there is a lack of proper financial controls and poor financial management practices in the Norfolk Island Administration, and has concluded that without further Commonwealth support, the Administration is not a ‘going concern’. 

These issues identified by the ANAO are longstanding, and I am not the first Minister to stand in this Chamber and talk about the problems facing Norfolk Island, but they are becoming more critical as deficits increase and essential infrastructure on the Island further deteriorates. 


I recently visited Norfolk Island, where I was able to spend some time with the Norfolk Island Government, the legislative assembly and community leaders. 


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Administrator of Norfolk Island, the Hon Neil Pope, for his generous hospitality during my visit. 


I would also like to thank him for his work over the last two years as the Administrator. 

Unfortunately, he has decided not to stay on as the Administrator and will return home to Victoria at the end of June. 


He will be a huge loss to the Island, and I wish him and his wife, Jen, all the best for the future. 


The visit was an opportunity to hear first-hand about the significant and ongoing challenges the Island faces. 


I was also able to see the Island’s infrastructure. 


Simply, it is dated, run down and fragile. 


There has been no significant infrastructure investment since the 1970s, and the Norfolk Island Government has not had the capacity to maintain much of what was built then, or earlier.


The Island’s Hospital is outdated. 


The roads are deteriorating. 


Broadband services are poor. 


And the Island’s electricity network is extremely fragile and at risk of collapse. 

Electricity costs on the Island are very high. 


But the money raised through utility charges is not invested in the network, rather it is used to cross-subsidise other activities of the Norfolk Island Government.


Previous attempts by the Norfolk Island Government to reduce reliance on imported diesel, by promoting solar, have achieved a high take-up of solar panels. 


But the surplus electricity now produced places the ageing network at risk of overload, exacerbating existing technical problems, and increasing the risk of system failure.  


While many communities across Australia have infrastructure needs, the inability of Norfolk Island to access funding programmes such as Roads to Recovery, equalisation payments, and local government Financial Assistance Grants, have made the infrastructure backlog much more severe than comparable remote communities across Australia. 


If something is not done, the Norfolk Island community will be increasingly at the mercy of events, with the chance that a future crisis or even simple neglect could push essential infrastructure past breaking point. 


This could have very severe consequences for the Norfolk Island community, leading to the point where the welfare of residents and even the ongoing viability of the Norfolk Island economy are placed at risk.  


It is clear that the problems facing Norfolk Island are getting worse, the financial position of the Island is deteriorating, and the population continues to decline. 


The lack of progress is disappointing, but it also shows the difficulty of achieving real improvements in this area, and the challenges of maintaining a sustainable model of self-government for a remote population of less than 2000 people. 


As disappointing as it is that long term reforms have not taken place, I acknowledge that previous Australian Governments have taken a number of steps to help the Norfolk Island Government and community, including:


-                      The provision of emergency financial assistance to the Norfolk Island Government on an annual basis; and


-                      Ensuring certainty for the tourism industry by underwriting the airline service to the Island.


The Australian Government has also been working with the Norfolk Island Government to introduce public sector and immigration reforms as well as land valuations ahead of the introduction of municipal rates on the Island. 


However, progress on even these modest reforms has been slow, and the Norfolk Island Government lacks the capability to address many of the key sustainability issues facing the Island.


The Australian Government has also made funds available to construct a waste management facility as well as to extend the Cascade Jetty on the Island. 


Extending the Cascade Jetty would be a significant investment that would reduce the freight costs and increase revenue opportunities for Norfolk Island, as additional tourists will be able to visit.


As important as these initiatives are, they will take time to pay dividends, and there is still important work that the Norfolk Island Government can and must do to help tackle some of the issues facing the Island. 


Members will be aware that the Australian Government has an election commitment to integrate Norfolk Island with the mainland taxation and social security systems. 

As a simple principle, the Australian Government believes Australians should be treated the same, no matter where they live.


This is why the Australian Government remains determined to implement our election commitment. 


But let me make this clear. 


We will not be introducing Australian welfare benefits without the obligations of the Australian taxation system. 


The Prime Minister has asked me to develop a discussion paper on possible reform options, including governance reform and plans to extend the mainland taxation and social security systems. 


In the coming weeks, I will be talking to my ministerial colleagues and the wider community about the best way to take this forward.


To help frame our policy direction, I have written to all residents on the Island seeking their views on how best to deliver essential services and the best governance model for the future. 


I must say that I am impressed with the level of responses I have received to date. 


I can say unambiguously that the correspondence reflects a strong mood for reform. 


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have already written to me. 


This feedback is very important and will assist in forming government policy going forward. 


I am pleased that while I was on Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Government has indicated its commitment to reform as well. 


This shared commitment will be important, as there is no doubt that this reform process will be complex and challenging for the Norfolk Island community, particularly in the adjustment to mainland taxation and social security systems. 


Businesses and individuals on Norfolk Island will need to adopt new record keeping practices, comply with various legislative and regulatory requirements and disclose personal information such as income and assets to a government, all for the first time.


As challenging as these reforms will be, they are important for the future of the Norfolk Island community. 


While the costs of addressing the problems facing Norfolk Island may seem significant; the costs of not acting are even greater. 


If a single parent on Norfolk Island needs family tax benefit payments to make ends meet, or if a person with a disability needs to receive the disability support pension, or if an elderly person needs to buy medicines that are unaffordable without the PBS, they must currently leave their support networks and community and move to the mainland, often at great personal expense. 


Australian citizens living on Norfolk Island are not eligible for Medicare, and Australians visiting Norfolk Island cannot use their Medicare card if they need to access medical services. 

In fact, Australians on Norfolk Island have to pay much more for public health services than on the mainland. 


And the health fund operated by the Norfolk Island Government is based on a flat levy, which hits low income earners especially hard.


For instance, a recent report on child and family services on Norfolk Island found that a family of four needs to spend almost $4,000 each year before the Island’s health insurance scheme starts to assist them, and even then the scheme does not cover the full costs of some treatment. 


And the Norfolk Island Government recently announced an increase of more than 50 per cent to its health levy, which will drive up this expense even further.


While the Commonwealth is assisting the Hospital to gain accreditation against the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards, several recent reviews have highlighted a fundamental disconnect between the services currently being delivered and the needs of the community. 

Issues with Broadband access have also limited the opportunity to consult with mainland specialists in the event of an emergency.


Extending the social security system will support Australians on Norfolk Island and allow them to continue to live and reside in their community throughout major life events.


While integration with the mainland taxation and social security systems will assist and support the most vulnerable in the Norfolk Island community, it will not of itself guarantee the sustainability of the Norfolk Island Government, or fix all the service delivery issues on the Island. 


The fact is that no other remote community of less than 2000 people has to deliver complex national level services including customs, immigration and quarantine. 


Therefore, as part of the reform work, I will also be considering and looking at changes to the governance arrangements for Norfolk Island. 


I appreciate the fact that many Norfolk Islanders have a strong connection to their history and their culture, as do many Australians, but the reality is that they are Australians, and must be treated as such. 


While I am fully aware that the problems outlined here are not new, and many promises to introduce reforms have been made in the past, I would like to assure Norfolk Island residents that this Government intends to put Norfolk Island on a more sustainable footing.


Despite the challenges, I am optimistic about the future of this special place of Australia. 


I have seen first-hand its natural beauty and experienced the warmth and hospitality of its people. 


It is etched in Australian settlement history and remains integral to our country. 


If we can take the time to get the policy settings right, then I think the Island will have a bright and prosperous future. 

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NEW INQUIRY INTO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON NORFOLK ISLAND


The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories has announced a new inquiry into economic development on Norfolk Island.


The Norfolk Island Roadmap has as one of its aspirational goals under Economic Development:
• Positive action to encourage diversification and broaden the Island’s economic base.
The Committee will inquire into and report on:
• redressing barriers to tourism, with particular regard to air services, facilities for cruise ships, roads and other
infrastructure;
• complements to tourism, such as agriculture, other industry or small-medium enterprises; and
• proposals and opportunities for niche industries.

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

The committee intends visiting Norfolk Island in late April 2014 and looks forward to inspecting existing businesses and infrastructure, and meeting with residents to learn more about the economic challenges and opportunities.

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GOVERNMENT HOUSE ESTABLISHES HISTORIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GARDEN



Government House is establishing a fruit and vegetable garden in the former farm area adjacent to the golf course.


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


However it has taken some time to gain approval from heritage architects, as the old dairy complex constructed in the 1840’s and the piggery and cattle stalls constructed in 1834 need to be protected.


In seeking approval Neil and Jen put forward the following proposal:

“Restoration of heritage garden beds to showcase Government House as it has been used in the past. The development of this area to be a further offering for tourists to view at the Government House Open Days. This will raise additional money for local charities on the island. The produce from these gardens will be donated to those in the community who are in need of assistance, i.e. the hospital, Foodcare, Service Clubs and Churches for distribution accordingly. These gardens will further enhance the KAVHA and golf course areas and aesthetically to this historic area.

 

The fruit and vegetables that are or will seasonally be planted include: plun (bananas), kale, tomatoes, corn, sweet tatie (kumera), tarla (taro), pumpkins, maize, cabbages, broccoli and other varieties.


“We could not have realised our long held desire to cultivate this area to showcase the produce without the fantastic work of our two gardeners Jane Rutledge and Jamie Ryves who have shown such commitment to the project,” said His Honour Neil Pope


Neil Pope

Administrator

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FUNDING AGREEMENT MILESTONES NOT MET



The Norfolk Island Administration has been informed by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development that due to significant non compliance with the milestones in the funding agreement, they will only receive a part payment of $250,000 of the $1 million for the September 2013 quarter.

The non compliance was in the main due to not adopting recommendations of the Australian National Audit Office. Any further payment might be made once additional milestones are met or progressed.

Neil Pope

Administrator

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LOCAL ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



On Friday 28 February the wife of the Administrator Jen Pope opened a small art gallery at Government House showcasing the work of local artists and photographers.

The development of the gallery was the initiative of Jen who used the visit of the Governor General late last year as an opportunity to exhibit local work.

At the opening Jen paid tribute to all who had contributed.

“Thanks to the assistance of KAVHA employees Dave Magri, Smudgie and Mick the walls of the hallway were set up for a perfect palette with which to work. Tracey Yager and Sue Draper helped select appropriate art work and the positioning of them,” said Jen.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Eve Semple who provided assistance and all the artists/photographers which included Alison Ryves, Louise Donald, Rob Nesbit, Emily Ryves, Dale Howe, Zach Sanders, Taina Hall, Sue Pearson, Christina McRitchie and of course Tracey and Sue.”

Jen went on to say that she hoped successive Administrators and their partners would continue to purchase art acquisitions for Government House and support the local art industry on the Island. Already tourists who visit Government House on Open Days have been impressed with the gallery and the work on display.

Neil Pope

Administrator

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SMALL GRANTS FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES



The Administrator, the Honourable Neil Pope would like to draw to the attention of not-for-profit community based organisations on the Island the possibility of receiving grants up to $5000.


The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is calling for applications for Round 25 of the Small Grants for Rural Communities grant program.  The closing date for applications is 28 March 2014.


“The program will offer at least $400,000 in grants up to $5,000 for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities, with populations of 10,000 or less, living in small rural and remote locations in Australia, contributing to their social and community welfare, economic, environmental, health, education or cultural areas,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Norfolk Island groups have been successful in receiving this grant in previous funding rounds.

To be eligible for a grant, projects must be for a charitable purpose (address a need in the community).  Information on previously funded projects is available on FRRR’s website - www.frrr.org.au.


Also available on the website are the program guidelines and application form.  Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the grant funding opportunity on 22152.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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ADMINISTRATOR WELCOMES VISIT BY FEDERAL MINISTER



The Administrator, the Hon Neil Pope, is extremely pleased that the Minister responsible for Territories, the Hon Jamie Briggs MP, will be on Norfolk Island 14-15 February.

“Whilst on Island I’m very keen to ensure that the Minister has the opportunity to meet with representatives of all sectors of the community.  Accordingly, Jen and myself will be holding a reception at Government House,” said His Honour Neil Pope.

The Federal Minister will be having discussions with the Norfolk Island Government and will have the opportunity of seeing various aspects of the Island, including Cascade Pier and the Waste Management Centre.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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CHRISTMAS CAROLS AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



On Monday night last week, Neil and Jen Pope hosted Christmas Carols at Government House which was extremely well attended.


“Our thanks go to all the various singers, but a very special thanks to Peter Randall for organising the night with Jen. Also we were blessed to have Dan Widdowson as the compere for the evening. Norfolk Island will dearly miss Dan’s contribution to this Island and his fantastic sense of humour.”


Santa made an appearance, but the Administrator once again missed out on seeing him for the second year in a row.  

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EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS TRAINING




In September last year Patrick Moriarty from the organisation Our Community ran a training program on how to write a successful application for grants. The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope has invited Patrick back to Norfolk Island to run a training program to assist representatives of organisations on how to plan for the future and improve the effectiveness of their organisations.


“From the feedback we received the training last year was greatly appreciated by those who attended and has assisted Norfolk Island in gaining a number of valuable grants”, said His Honour.


“Following that training a number of representatives from organisations on the Island raised with myself, or staff within my office, the prospect of further training for community organisations.  The issue raised by a number of representatives was the desire to have a greater understanding of strategic planning for an organisation.”


“Accordingly I have arranged for Patrick to return to the Island to run a two day program to cover the issue of planning or mapping an organisation’s future. The program will be run on 4 and 5 December.”


Interested parties should contact Ginny Maidment in the Office of the Administrator on 22152.


 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

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COMMUNITY GROUP TRAINING



The Office of the Administrator is pleased to inform the community of the following two–day training opportunity to be delivered by Patrick Moriarty of Our Community.  Many in the community will remember Patrick Moriarty from the grants training program held on Norfolk Island in September 2012.

Persons interested in participating in the training should contact Ginny Maidment, Community Liaison Officer at the Office of the Administrator, by email at ginny.maidment@infrastructure.gov.au or by phone on 22152.


EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY GROUPS TRAINING

4 and-5 December 2013

Facilitator – Patrick Moriarty of Our Community

Community groups are an integral part of community life.  Here on Norfolk Island there are some 70 groups providing a wide range of support and services for the benefit of the community.


Governance and strategic planning are at the core of group activities.

Your management team is responsible for building, maintaining and driving your group.  Ultimately, how it performs will be the single most important factor in determining the success of your group.

One of the most important roles of a management team is strategic planning, or mapping your group’s future.  A group that doesn’t know where it is going can never expect to achieve its mission or purpose.


Would you like to know more about the secrets of successful management teams and strategic planning?  If so, you are invited to come along to the upcoming effective community groups training.  In practical, interactive sessions, anchored by Patrick Moriarty, governance and grants guru of Our Community Melbourne, you will cover:

  • Understanding your legal and practical responsibilities as a management team member, and how you can create a more harmonious, more productive and more effective working group.

  • Why your group should be thinking about strategic planning.  What is it and what are the elements of a good strategic plan?

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GOVERNOR GENERAL HAS DESSERT FROM PROMISING CHEF



During the Governor-General’s visit to Norfolk Island Her Excellency was able to taste a dessert by one of our own budding chefs. Thirteen year old Jack Solely was requested by the Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope and his wife Jen to prepare a dessert for the Governor-General.


“At the private dinner with Her Excellency on Wednesday 13 November at Government House Jack prepared and served a lemon meringue condensed milk pie with toffee strands,” said Jen Pope.


“The empty dessert plate some short time after said it all, the Governor General thought it was delicious, and had been so gracious when we raised the prospect of Jack preparing and serving a dessert.”


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S VISIT TO NORFOLK ISLAND



The Governor-General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, had a very full and successful visit to the Island on Wednesday and Thursday this week following on from an invitation from His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.


“Whilst on the Island the Governor-General met many of the Island’s residents at a reception at Government House.  Her Excellency also met many residents at the RSL Club and the School. The Governor-General was extremely pleased to have a tour of KAVHA by David Buffett and was extremely complimentary about the Sirius museum presentation,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


More than 450 guests attended the reception at Government House hosted by His Honour and Mrs. Pope.


The highlight of the reception was the investiture of bravery awards to Darren Bates and Dean Burrell.


His Honour made the following remarks on behalf of the community.


“Your Excellency, Chief Minister the Honourable Lisle Snell, Speaker the Honourable David Buffett, Ministers and Members of the Assembly, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.


It is indeed an honour to have Her Excellency visit Norfolk Island. On Wednesday 21 March 2012 following the swearing in ceremony of myself at Government House in Canberra Her Excellency recalled to Jen and myself the 2009 aborted attempt to land on Norfolk due to extremely high winds.


Her Excellency made a commitment to me last March that she would visit prior to the end of Her Excellency’s term as Governor-General. I do remember, Your Excellency, that you also extended an invitation to our two children Sam and Jacinta and that Jen and I should ensure that they also be in attendance. Unfortunately they have not been able to join us.

 

Your Excellency in the 19 months that Jen and I have lived on this Island we have been amazed at the community spirit and generosity of the people of Norfolk Island.


Also the children are an absolute delight and all very engaging, which I am sure you will witness tomorrow when you visit the school.


It may be a small Island but it has a huge heart.

 

Your Excellency we are so pleased that you have already been able to see firsthand the beauty of this Island and over the next 24 hours we trust that you will also observe the fantastic community spirit that exists here on Norfolk.


On behalf of the community thank you for honouring that commitment of March 2012 and on behalf of Jen and myself we would like you to take back to Yarralumla this small gift which may always remind you of this beautiful Island.”

 

 

 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

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BRAVERY AWARDS PRESENTATION



On Wednesday 13 November 2013, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, presented a Commendation for Brave Conduct to both Mr Darren Bates and Mr Dean Burrell for their efforts in assisting the safe passage of the yacht, Beau Geste in June 2012.


The investiture took place at a reception hosted by His Honour and Jen Pope at Government House, as part of the Governor-General’s wider visit program.

The following is the citation for both recipients: Mr Darren Bates and Mr Dean Burrell


On 5 June 2012, Messrs Bates and Burrell assisted a stricken yacht to safely reach Norfolk Island.


Amid severe weather the previous day, Norfolk Island police received a distress call from the yacht, ‘Beau Geste’, which was some 95 nautical miles offshore.


A crewman advised that the yacht had suffered major structural damage and needed assistance, and that there were 18 people on board.  After being briefed by the police, Mr Bates and Mr Burrell volunteered to undertake the rescue of the yacht’s crew.


Just after midnight on 5 June they set off towards the Beau Geste, encountering 40-50 knot winds and five metre wave swells on the way.


Some two and a half hours later, Mr Bates and Mr Burrell located the stricken yacht about 45 nautical miles from Norfolk Island.  With weather conditions gradually easing, they escorted the Beau Geste to the island.


Despite fears that the yacht might break up due to the structural stresses caused by the strong head winds, it remained intact.  The crew were transferred to the safety of the boat piloted by Mr Bates and Mr Burrell.


For their actions, Mr Bates and Mr Burrell are commended for their brave conduct.


Neil Pope

Administrator

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NORFOLK ISLAND GIVES TO THE MAINLAND



Whilst Norfolk Island has been going through some tough economic times in recent years as tourist numbers are not at a sustainable level, it has not dampened their generosity in giving to those in need on the mainland.


The Administrator of the Island the Honourable Neil Pope and his wife Jen are continually amazed at the community spirit and generosity on the Island.


“The volunteerism, the caring for others in the community who may be struggling financially or health wise is extraordinary. For example, the Red Cross in the last ten years not only has it looked after the Norfolk Island community, the organisation has donated approximately $50,000 to Red Cross on the mainland,” said Neil Pope.


This week His Honour and Mrs. Pope opened up Government House at the suggestion of local residents to raise money for the New South Wales Bushfire Appeal, earlier this year an open day was held for the Tasmanian, Victorian and New South Wales which raised $3000.

The Open day at Government House on Wednesday 6 November raised $2766 and the historical society sold $300 worth of booklets and they have donated this money to the bushfire appeal.


“It is typical of this community that they would want to assist those in need even though they are struggling themselves. For the Open day at Government House for the bushfire victims thirteen residents volunteered to be sitters, as they do every fortnight when we raise money for various charities,” said Mrs. Pope.


The local Lions and Rotary clubs are always making donations to various charities and again this week $500 was donated to the Bushfire Appeal by the Norfolk Island Lions Club.


The Administrator Neil Pope and his wife Jen said they were very much looking forward to the Governor General visiting the Island next week in order that Her Excellency can observe firsthand the community spirit that exists on Norfolk Island.


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GOVERNOR GENERAL’S VISIT TO NORFOLK ISLAND



The Governor General, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce will be on Island on Wednesday and Thursday of this coming week following on from an invitation from His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.


Whilst on the Island the Governor General will be meeting many of the Island’s residents at a reception at Government House. Other activities arranged include the RSL, the School, afternoon tea with the year 12 students and a tour of the island. Her Excellency will also be viewing the Cyclorama.


In 2009 the Governor General had scheduled a visit to Norfolk Island but unfortunately the plane was unable to land due to unfavourable weather conditions.


“When being sworn in as Administrator by the Governor General, Her Excellency promised Jen and I that she would visit Norfolk Island during her term, and so we are so pleased that she is honouring that commitment,” said His Honour.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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ADMINISTRATOR ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR KAVHA



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope has announced a substantial Australian Government funding package for the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).


“The funding of $485,000 for capital projects for KAVHA is being provided by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.  I appreciate the guidance given by Dave Magri, Anita French and the KAVHA team in identifying initiatives that offer clear public benefit for tourism and the enhancement of the KAVHA site,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“The following are some of the initiatives to be funded,” said Mr. Pope.

  • Parking and turning area upgrades at Bloody Bridge, Golf Club, Lone Pine and the lime kiln.
  • Rebuild of the water channel where it has eroded.
  • Replacement of underground copper wiring.
  • Development of a new KAVHA website, including an app that can be downloaded.
  • Development of a guidebook, maps and brochures for the entire KAVHA site.
  • Development of the KAVHA Polynesian site.
  • REO building refit.
  • Disability access to Government House.

 

“The funding will provide an economic stimulus for the Island.  The proposed projects will enhance the world heritage listed site and contribute to improving tourism opportunities,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“The various projects will be commence as soon as possible.”


Neil Pope

Administrator

24 October 2013

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ADMINISTRATOR MEETS NEW MINISTER


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GOVERNOR GENERAL NOW VISITING NORFOLK IN NOVEMBER



The Administrator, the Honourable Neil Pope has announced that Her Excellency the

Governor General Quentin Bryce will now be visiting Norfolk Island on the 13th and

14th of November.


Unfortunately with a new Federal Government the Governor General, due to constitutional commitments, is unable to visit Norfolk during our Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show as originally planned.


His Honour Neil Pope and his wife Jen will be inviting local residents to a garden reception in honour of the Governor General on Wednesday evening 13 November.


Neil Pope

Administrator

25 September 2013

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AUSTRALIAN BRAVERY DECORATIONS FOR NORFOLK ISLANDERS



The Governor General on Sunday 1 September announced Australian Bravery Decorations for Darren Bates and Dean Burrell for their actions on the 5th June 2012 in assisting in the successful rescue of the yacht Beau Geste and its 18 crew.


“I had great pleasure in recommending Australian Bravery Decorations for Darren and Dean, and even greater pleasure on being notified that they were successful,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


On the night of 4 June the police on Norfolk Island were notified that the yacht Beau Geste had suffered a large crack throughout the superstructure and around the keel tower. All eighteen persons on board had been ordered up on deck, with life rafts ready to abandon ship and were at that time 176 kilometres from Norfolk Island.


Darren and Dean left Norfolk in Darren’s charter fishing vessel Advance 2 just after midnight and commenced to travel in the direction of Beau Geste.


In 50 knot winds and 5 metre swells they travelled 83 kilometres to meet with and escort the yacht back to Norfolk arriving off Kingston pier at 9.30am on 5 June.


“I will be requesting the Governor General’s office to present the decorations to both Darren and Dean when Her Excellency is on Island on Monday 14 October,” said Neil Pope.


Neil Pope

Administrator

2 September 2013

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2013 FEDERAL ELECTION



The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the Norfolk Island community of voting arrangements for the federal election to be held on 7 September 2013.


Electors can vote at the Office of the Administrator, New Military Barracks, Kingston from 4-7 September as follows:


Early voting

(4-6 September 2013)

Wednesday

8.30 am-5.30 pm

Thursday

8.30 am-6.00 pm

Friday

8.30 am-6.00 pm

Election day

(7 September 2013)

Saturday

8.00 am-6.00 pm

Interstate Voting

(7 September 2013)

Saturday

8.00 am-6.00 pm

Electors unable to attend a polling place on polling day are able to have an early vote, either by attending the pre-polling voting centre at the Office of the Administrator from Wednesday before polling day, or by applying for a postal vote.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/election/pva/.


To ensure receipt of postal voting packs, electors should apply as soon as possible.  If electors have applied for a postal vote, but do not receive their voting pack in time, they are still able to attend a polling place to vote.


Electors who will be overseas can vote at one of the international polling places.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/ways_to_vote/.


Electors who are in Australia before polling day can vote in an early voting centre.  Information is available at http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/ways_to_vote/.


Electors who are in Australia on polling day and will be in the state of their enrolled division, can vote in any polling place in that state (eg, if you are enrolled in Solomon then you can vote in any polling place in the Northern Territory).


Further information about the federal election is available at http://www.aec.gov.au.   Federal election queries can also be directed to Office of the Administrator staff, Keith Young and Ginny Maidment, on 22152.

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ANMM GRANTS



Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) – Grants and Internships

The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the community of the availability of Australian National Maritime Museum grants to regional museums and organisations to help them preserve Australia’s rich maritime heritage.


The MMAPSS is jointly funded by the museum and the Australian Government.

The scheme gives grants up to $10,000 for projects that fall into one of these categories:

  • Collection management (registration, documentation and storage);
  • Conservation (preservation, vessel restoration, conservation work/treatments and professional assessments);
  • Presentation (research, development of exhibitions, establishing interpretative displays and workshops);
  • Development of relevant education or public programs which make collections more accessible to audiences; and
  • Museological training for paid or unpaid workers of not-for-profit organisations caring for Australia’s maritime collections.

Funding of up to $3,000 is also available for internships to develop museological skills and knowledge to increase standards of practice in caring for and managing maritime collections.


All non-profit maritime museums and other organisations are encouraged to apply.  Joint applications from two or more eligible institutions are welcome.


The closing date for applications is 31 August 2013.


Further information, including guidelines and application forms, are available at 

http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1515.  The MMAPSS Coordinator can be contacted on 61 2 9298 3743 or 

mmapss@anmm.gov.au.  Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the initiative on 22152.

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SMALL GRANTS FOR SMALL RURAL COMMUNITIES




The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope would like to draw to the attention of not-for-profit community based organisations on the Island the possibility of receiving grants up to $5000.


The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal is calling for applications for Round 24 of the Small Grants for Small Communities program.  The closing date for applications is 27 September 2013.


“The program will offer up to $400,000 in grants up to $5000 for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities, with populations of 10,000 or less, living in small rural and remote locations in Australia, contributing to their social and community welfare, economic, environmental, health, education or cultural development,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Norfolk Island groups have been successful in receiving this grant in previous funding rounds.


To be eligible for a grant, projects must be for a charitable purpose (address a need in the community).  Information on previously funded projects is available on FRRR’s website - www.frrr.org.au.


Also available on the website are the program guidelines and application form.  Ginny Maidment in my office can also be contacted about the grant funding opportunity on 22152.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS ON NORFOLK ISLAND GET FUNDS AT A RECEPTION FOR GOVERNMENT HOUSE OPEN DAY SITTERS



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope and his wife Jen held a reception for Government House Open Day sitters and community groups on Wednesday this week.


An amount of $1,550.82 was presented to each of the 18 organisations that had an open day at Government House in the past year.


A further open day was held for the Australian bushfire victims, so in excess of $28,000 was raised this last twelve months.


“Without the dedication of our permanent sitters this would not be possible and having this reception for them is a very small way of saying thank you,” said Jen Pope.


Mrs. Pope also paid tribute to the Government House staff of Julia, Di, Kel and Di for the way they take such pride in keeping the house and gardens looking so immaculate.


Mrs. Pope also made special mention of Awa and her magnificent floral arrangements, and the great assistance she receives from Maurge Jowett who is presently off Island. Jen also thanked Barb Quintal in the Office of the Administrator.  

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ADMINISTRATOR ANNOUNCES NORFOLK ISLAND COMMUNITY INITIATIVE



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope has announced funding for a community initiative for Norfolk Island.


“The Norfolk Island Community Initiative is  Australian Government one-off measure providing funding for initiatives that offer clear public benefit for the Norfolk Island community in the following areas – family and community wellbeing, economic initiatives, environment, health, education, and culture and history,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“There is $200,000 in funding for the community and following recommendations to the Department of Regional Australia and sign off by Minister Catherine King the following are the recipients and/or initiatives to be funded,” said Mr. Pope.


Care Norfolk –  Increased delivery of home and community care services to the community of Norfolk Island.  $30,000

FoodCare – Ongoing delivery of food vouchers to those in need.  $15,000

Lion’s Club of Norfolk – Men’s health checks.  $5,000

Sunshine Club – Assistance to the aged and persons travelling to the mainland for medical attention.  $9,500

Army Cadets – Ongoing operating costs and cadets’ participation in mainland promotion courses..  $5,000

Lions Club of Arthur’s Vale – Women’s health initiative.  $5,000

Rotary Club – Immunisations for children.  $2,000

Volunteer Rescue Squad – Essential equipment.  $5,000

Blue Light Foundation – Equipment and youth development activities. $11,000

Norfolk Assists Those In Need – Assistance provided to persons receiving medical evacuations to the mainland.  $9,500

Emergency management Norfolk Island – Essential equipment. $8,000

Mental Health Support Group – Delivery of Mental Health Week activities in October.  $5,000

St John Ambulance – Essential equipment.  $10,000

Daa side f’ ucklan Youth Center – Equipment and outdoor works.  $10,000

Landcare – Rehabilitation of Cascade Reserve. $10,000

Rotary Club – Delivery of public reserve signage.  $5,000

Norf’k CIRCA – Operating premises and enhanced functions.  $15,000

A road safety education program.  $25,000

Refurbishment of the Mawson Units.  $15,000


“There are some very obvious needs in the community and I would like to thank the various community organisations on the Island that have assisted my office in pulling this together so quickly.


“The need for assistance to the community is now and as such funds will be made available almost immediately,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Neil Pope

Administrator

25 July 2013

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ADMINISTRATOR ANNOUNCES FUNDS FOR ROAD SAFETY INITIATIVE



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope has announced funding for a road safety education program for Norfolk Island.


“This road safety education program is part of a wider Norfolk Island Community Initiatives funding.  The Australian Government funded initiatives will provide funds for projects which offer clear public benefit for the Norfolk Island community in the following areas – family and community wellbeing, economic initiatives, environment, health, education, and culture and history,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“A key element will be the road safety initiative, and I have called a working committee meeting for Wednesday next week of key stakeholders to specifically look at how we should expend the $25,000 that we have received from the Australian Government for this project,” said Mr. Pope.


“The purpose of the road safety education program will be to improve road user education and behaviour.  I am hopeful that the working committee will develop a targeted road safety program and campaign considerate of Norfolk Island circumstances.”


“The working committee will engage and consult with community groups and draw on the wide range of road safety expertise available here and on the mainland in developing the program.”


“The program will target the whole community - children, young people and adults.  It will seek to develop behaviours and attitudes relevant to all road users – passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers.”


“In addition, the program will encourage and support the role that parents and carers need to play in helping their children to be safe in traffic and to learn about road safety,” said Mr. Pope.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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ENROLMENT AND VOTING IN THE FEDERAL ELECTION 2013


The Office of the Administrator would like to advise that the Australian Electoral Commission will be holding a public information session at Governor’s Lodge on Friday, 12 July from 5.00 pm.  Come and find out how you can enrol to vote, and how to exercise your vote in the 2013 Federal Election.  If you are already enrolled, you will also be able to check and update your enrolment details.  Please contact Ginny Maidment on 22152 with any queries.

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CHURCHILL FELLOWSHIP



The 2013 Churchill Fellowships have just been announced and Jodie Williams is one of the 109 recipients throughout Australia.


Jodie has won the Churchill Fellowship for her project which involves travel to the United Kingdom to research sound heritage, compile recordings and study contemporary audio storytelling methods.”


This project by Jodie will benefit Norfolk Island through the significant contribution it offers to preserving the Island’s sound heritage.


On applying Jodie stated a number of project aims, including “to trace back the lineage of Norfolk’s sound heritage to its very beginnings.”


“On behalf of the community I would like to congratulate Jodie on not only winning this Churchill Fellowship, but in putting forward a project of importance to this community.  I wish her well in her travels to gain knowledge,” said his Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.

Norfolk Island residents have been very fortunate to have received Churchill Fellowships almost every year since 1986. Later this year we will be advertising for applicants for the 2014 year.


The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which was established after the death of Sir Winston Churchill, has now funded more than 3,800 fellowships for Australians.


Neil Pope

Administrator

28 June 2013

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OPEN DAYS AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE RAISES IN EXCESS OF $28,000 FOR ISLAND CHARITIES



Charitable organisations on the Island are the beneficiaries of $28,000 from the open days at Government House.


“Thanks to the volunteer sitters we have been able to open Government House for many more Wednesdays than ever before, thus giving more tourists the opportunity to look through this iconic building. At the same time we have been able to assist more charities on the Island,” said the wife of the Administrator Jen Pope.


In late July Neil and Jen will be having a reception for the regular sitters, and will also invite 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.


“I would also like to take the opportunity to apologise to the 470 invitees to the garden reception for Queen’s birthday. We were informed that there was more rain to occur late afternoon early evening on Monday, and as the grass was already extremely damp and soft it was not appropriate to proceed,” said His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.

 

 

 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

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REGIONAL FUNDING GRANT TO SPARK NORFOLK ISLAND TOURISM REVIVAL


The Minister for Regional Services, Local Communities and Territories, Catherine King, today joined Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, on Norfolk Island to announce a $13 million federal grant to improve Norfolk Island’s tourism infrastructure.


The funding will be used to improve jetty infrastructure in order to facilitate passenger transfers, including works to strengthen and extend the Cascade Jetty and to purchase a mobile crane. The Kingston Jetty will also be equipped to allow the crane to operate at that site.

Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, said that the grant would provide a welcome economic stimulus to the Island and a sustained, reliable income for the many small businesses which depend on tourism.

“New jobs will be created during the construction phase of this project and additional employment sustained thereafter, with those wages being expended around the island,” Ms Brodtmann said.

“This is on top of the thousands of dollars that additional tourists will bring to hospitality operators and their service providers, providing long-term stability for their operations.”
The CEO for Carnival Australia, which manages cruise lines including P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, Ann Sherry, welcomed the announcement as an opportunity to realise Norfolk Island’s potential as a reliable cruise ship destination.

“In recent years our ships have missed more than 70 per cent of scheduled calls to Norfolk Island due to the effect of prevailing weather and the limitations of the small passenger transfer boats carried on our vessels, disappointing thousands of passengers as well as local businesses on the Island,” Ms Sherry said.

In addition to works on the jetties, the grant will fund the construction of purpose-built passenger transfer boats, which Carnival Australia estimates will allow more than two-thirds of scheduled visits to land.

“With the new infrastructure and purpose built transfer boats in place, the cruise industry will soon be delivering thousands of tourists a year to the island and adding millions of dollars in economic value to the community,” Ms Sherry said.

Minister King congratulated the Norfolk Island administration on its successful proposal under round four of the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund.
“The Federal Government is committed to providing Norfolk Island with opportunities to grow and diversify its economy in order to achieve the self-sustainability it strives for,” Minister King said.

“The infrastructure upgrade will provide more certainty to the many Australians who wish to visit this beautiful part of our country, as well as to those on Norfolk Island whose businesses rely on the tourists who come to see the unique history, attractions and natural sights that the Island has on offer.” Further information on the Regional Development Australia Fund can be found at www.regional.gov.au 

Media contact:
Rachel Cameron

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ADMINISTRATOR WELCOMES MINISTER KING’S CASCADE PIER ANNOUNCEMENT



His Honour the Administrator, Neil Pope, this week welcomed the announcement by the Federal Minister of $13 million for the redevelopment of Cascade Pier.


The Federal Minister, Catherine King, flew in to Norfolk Island on Sunday and stayed with Neil and Jen Pope.  At a small reception at Government House of Assembly members and residents involved in the barge working party and shipping the Minister announced the infrastructure grant.


“Whilst I have said I was optimistic that we would be successful in the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) round four grants, it was great to hear the announcement from the Minister,” said His Honour.


“There was billions of dollars worth of submissions for the $175 million in available funds.  Our $13 million was the biggest successful grant throughout Australia.”


“The ability to get cruise ship passengers to be able to disembark will make a huge difference to the economy of this Island.  It is estimated that more than two thirds of scheduled visits will be able to land passengers.”


In responding to the Federal Minister at the reception Mr. Pope thanked a number of people apart from Minister King.  He specifically thanked Minister King’s predecessor Simon Crean for supporting Norfolk Island’s eligibility for rounds three and four of the RDAF.  He also thanked Alan McNeil for his great work in leading the preparation of the funding application and said Alan’s departure to work for Swan Hill Rural City Council in Victoria will be a great loss to the Island.


“With the success of round three, the high temperature incinerator, and now round four this Island has received in excess of $47 million from the Commonwealth Government since December 2010,” said Neil Pope.


Neil Pope

Administrator  

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NEW FUNDING AGREEMENT SIGNED



The Commonwealth of Australia and the Administration of Norfolk Island have signed a Funding Agreement to ensure essential services will be provided for the 2013/14 financial year.


“The discussions I chaired between the parties were constructive and I am delighted that Norfolk Island will be able to access the $4.4 million that was appropriated in the recent Federal Budget,” said His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.


As foreshadowed, the Agreement between the parties has a number of milestones that must be delivered in order to access the Federal funding.


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the representatives from the Federal

Department, Robyn Fleming and Bruce Taloni, and the Administration of Norfolk

Island representatives, Wayne Richards, John Grose and Bruce Taylor,” said Neil


Pope.

Neil Pope

Administrator

14 June 2013

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MINISTER KING VISITS NORFOLK




The Federal Minister for Territories will be at Cascade Pier at 3.30pm Sunday afternoon 9 June with the Administrator, Chief Minister and Minister Sheridan.


At Government House at 5pm Minister King will be making an announcement.

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NORFOLK ISLAND - THE WAY AHEAD


—Making Progress under the Norfolk Island Road Map—

The National Capital Committee today tabled its report on its recent visit to Norfolk Island in the House of Representatives. The report focuses on recent progress under the Norfolk Island Road Map—the framework under which the Australian and Norfolk Island Governments are working together to provide for the economic sustainability and social cohesion and resilience of Norfolk Island.

The report recommends that the commitment of the Norfolk Island Government and the Australian Government to reform should be documented in a joint statement and timetable. This timetable should document the legislative changes required of both the Norfolk Island and Australian Governments to improve governance and administration and integrate Norfolk Island into the Australian taxation and welfare system.

It further recommends that any timetable should be predicated on the Norfolk Island Government introducing its own revenue streams (such as municipal rates), immigration reforms and divestiture of their Government Business Enterprises.

Committee Chair, Senator Louise Pratt, noted that the Committee had found its visit to Norfolk Island productive, giving the Committee an appreciation of the problems facing Norfolk Island from the community’s perspective and the widespread commitment to reform. She stated that ‘the Committee was pleased to find that the Norfolk Island Government and the Legislative Assembly both publicly committed themselves to the Road Map process and that the Norfolk Island community broadly had embraced the need for change’.

The Committee has restated its view that the Road Map, to which both the Australian and Norfolk Island Governments have made public commitments, remains the best way forward for the community on Norfolk Island.

For media comment: please contact the Committee Chair, Senator Louise Pratt, on (02) 6277 3127

Copies of the report can be obtained from the committee’s webpage at
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=ncet/norfolkvisit2013/report.htm

or by contacting the secretariat on (02) 6277 4355, or by email at jscncet@aph.gov.au

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT COMMUNITY FOOD GRANTS



The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the community that the 2013-14 funding round of the Australian Government’s Community Food Grants is now open.


The Community Food Grants program is a key initiative of the National Food Plan.


The program will provide small grants to support the establishment or improvement of community food initiatives, such as farmers’ markets, food cooperatives, food hubs, community gardens and city farms.  It will also support initiatives that address food insecurity, such as food rescue services.


Grants of up to $10,000 for community gardens, city farms or similar activities and up to $25,000 for farmers’ markets, food rescue and similar activities will be available.  Grants will be made available for projects to achieve one or more of the following objectives:

  • Use community food initiatives to build social networks, community cohesion and resilience, and build connections between farmers and consumers.
  • Improve people’s knowledge about food production and preparation to encourage the adoption of healthy diets.
  • Improve people’s knowledge of food production and agriculture in urban areas.
  • Help provide surplus safe and nutritious food to disadvantaged groups.

Community Food Grants are open to not-for-profit organisations, including, but not limited to:  farmers’ markets, charities, food rescue organisations, cooperative societies, Indigenous or culturally and linguistically diverse groups, community groups able to meet the program objectives and other non-government organisations.


Community Food Grants is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.  Information about the program, including the grant guidelines and application form, is available at http://www.daff.gov.au/community-food-grants.  Other information sources are the Community Food Grants Hotline (0061) 1800 702 330 and the program coordinator – communityfoodgrants@daff.gov.au.  Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the grant on 22152.


Applications need to be received by DAFF by email (preferred) or post by 5 pm, AEST 4 July 2013.

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YOUNG ENDEAVOUR SCHOLARSHIP



On Thursday 23 May the Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope presented Will Partridge with the 2013 Administrator’s Young Endeavour Scholarship.


“It was a difficult decision for the committee as we had great applications,” said His Honour.

 The Administrator’s scholarship gives the successful applicant the airfares to and from the point of embarkation and disembarkation and the cost of the actual voyage. This year’s voyage that Will is involved with will sail from Sydney to Geelong in Victoria.


Since 1988, the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme has operated a dynamic youth development program in partnership with the Royal Australian Navy. The program offers a unique method of developing youth leadership, team work and communication skills and creating a strong sense of community responsibility.


As a member of the 24 strong youth crew, the scholarship winner meets the challenges of sailing a tall ship, including climbing the 30m mast, setting sails, navigating, keeping watch and taking the helm. They also live ‘between decks” in a close community with other crew from a diversity of places and backgrounds.


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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ASSENT TO IMMIGRATION BILL


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GERRI DOWNIE AWARDED AUSTRALIAN FIRE SERVICE MEDAL



On Wednesday 15 May His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope presented Gerri Downie with the Australian Fire Services Medal.


At the presentation at Government House the Administrator said: “On behalf of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and at her request, it is now my privilege and pleasure to present with his insignia one whom Australia has been pleased to honour.”


The Official Secretary read the following citation to those present:

.

“I present to you Mr Gerard Patrick Downie who has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal for exceptional service to the community as a member of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Norfolk Island Fire Service spanning over three decades.”


“After beginning his firefighting service with the CAA in 1980, the Norfolk Island Government seconded Mr Downie in 1992 to take over the responsibilities of providing the Community Fire Service and the Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting Service to Norfolk Island. He has been the Emergency Services Coordinator for over 20 years. Mr Downie has assisted in establishing and introducing fire control legislation and shown ongoing dedication and support towards the Emergency Management Committee.”


In reply Mr. Downie expressed his thanks to the Governor-General, his family, his colleagues past and present and their families, and the Administrator and Mrs. Pope.


Neil Pope

Administrator

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ADMINISTRATOR WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE HIGH TEMPERATURE INCINERATOR



The Administrator has welcomed the Federal Minister for the Territories the Honourable Catherine King’s announcement that Norfolk Island has been successful in its submission for a high temperature incinerator.


“One of the biggest environmental problems on this Island and a perceived disgrace by most is the disposal of waste at Headstone into the sea,” said His Honour Neil Pope.

“In order to rectify this problem the Federal Government has now provided $433,000 through the Regional Development Australia Fund round three, for the installation of a high temperature incinerator.”


This project involves the installation of a high temperature waste incinerator and associated gas cleaning system and a briquette press for the Administration’s Waste Management Centre.


The incinerator is intended to burn general household waste that is delivered to the Centre, and the gas cleaning system is designed to eliminate harmful emissions. General household waste will be completely burnt to an ash residue, compared with the present situation where waste is burnt in the open and at a lower temperature, and partially burnt waste is deposited into the sea and washed up on beaches.


 The briquette press is intended to create a process whereby paper and cardboard can be removed from the general waste stream, compressed into briquettes and reused by the community as a substitute for firewood. As with the general household waste, these briquettes would ultimately be burnt, but for a useful purpose in providing households with fuel and heat in the winter.


“When Minister King was on Island in mid April I was able to show her the Waste Management Centre and more importantly the Headstone site of waste disposal”, said His Honour.


“The funds for the incinerator come on top of the recently announced Federal funds for a Quarantine Shed, for which work has commenced, thus $630,000 has been provided for great improvements for waste management on the Island, said Neil Pope”


“I trust that a quick solution to the location of the High Temperature Incinerator can occur as there is a time period contingent on the granting of these funds. To not rectify what all see as a community disgrace and an issue that leaves tourists in disbelief would be a tragedy.”

 

Neil Pope

Administrator

16 May 2013

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FIRST REGIONAL DELVELOPMENT GRANT FOR NORFOLK


Norfolk Island residents will reap the benefits of an upgrade to the Island’s Waste Processing Plant, which is being partly funded through the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund Round Three.

 

The Norfolk Administration will receive $433,000 toward the $561,000 cost of installing a high temperature waste incinerator that will burn the majority of the island’s waste. The project also promotes recycling of waste, through the installation of a briquette press to enable paper and cardboard waste to be reused.


The Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, said that the upgrade of the Waste Processing Plant would modernise the waste management practices on the island and would have a real impact on the environment of Norfolk Island.


“No matter who I speak to on the Island, it is clear that the current waste management practices are out dated and environmentally unsustainable,” Ms Brodtmann said.


“This project will benefit not only the local community but the amenity of those visiting the Island.


“Combined with the recent announcement of ongoing financial assistance, funding for child and family services and apprenticeships, this project displays the continuing commitment of the Federal Labor Government to the Norfolk community.” 

   

Minister for Regional Services, Minister Catherine King, said the project would deliver employment benefits to the island, creating five jobs throughout the project’s construction and sustaining a further five after its completion.


“This project means jobs for the local economy now and lasting benefits for the community over the longer term. It will mean local employment as well as ensuring the environmental sustainability of this beautiful and unique island,” she said.


Minister King said 79 projects across Australia were receiving funding under the latest round of funding.


Ms Brodtmann said the project was expected to be completed by September 2015.

More information on the Regional Development Australia Fund and all projects can be found at www.regional.gov.au


Gai Brodtmann MP                      Madeleine Firth         0422 664 772

Minister King                                Rachel Cameron       0425 199 184  

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GOVERNOR GENERAL TO VISIT NORFOLK ISLAND


The Governor General, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce has accepted an invitation from His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope to visit Norfolk Island in October.


“The Governor General will arrive with her husband and support staff on Sunday 13 October and leave on Tuesday 15 October”, said His Honour.


“I will be meeting with the Chief Minister and Speaker to discuss a program for the Governor General. However I am sure that Her Excellency will be extremely pleased to officially open the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show on Monday 14 October”, said the Honourable Neil Pope.


In 2009 the Governor General had scheduled a visit to Norfolk Island but unfortunately the plane was unable to land due to unfavourable weather conditions.


“When being sworn in as Administrator by the Governor General, Her Excellency promised Jen and I that she would visit Norfolk Island during our term here.”


Tuesday 15 October is also International Day for Rural Women, thus most appropriate that Australia’s first female Governor General will be visiting Norfolk Island.  


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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NORFOLK ISLAND AND THE FEDERAL BUDGET



On Tuesday evening 14 May the Federal budget was handed down and Norfolk Island is to receive $5.4 million in a variety of measures.


“Apart from the $4.4 million in essential services funding to the Norfolk Island Government, there were also some very pleasing initiatives which will assist children, school leavers and the aged in our community,” said His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.


“There were also funds announced for ensuring that the ombudsman legislation can now be implemented, and audit monies for the Government Business Enterprises.”


“The most pleasing from my perspective was the three areas that I and my office have been working on for some months. Following further discussion with Minister King, during and after her visit to Norfolk Island, I am extremely pleased that we will have access to funding for apprenticeships, aged care and child protection,” said His Honour.


“Detail on the roll out of these initiatives will be forthcoming in the near future as my staff and I work with the Federal Department and associated agencies.”


The $4.4 million to the Norfolk Island Government to continue delivering essential services is in line with the figures given to the Australian National Audit Office by the Norfolk Island Administration in their cash flow forecasts.


“This brings a total of in excess of $34 million that has been provided to Norfolk Island in the last two and a half years, and I am optimistic that there may be more in the near future with rounds three and four of the Regional Development Australia Fund shortly to be announced.”


Neil Pope

Administrator 

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JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE VISIT



The Joint Standing Committee for the National Capital and External Territories met for an hour and a half with the Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope and the Commonwealth Finance Officer, Ms. Alison Savary, on Monday afternoon 29 April for an informal discussion.


The Committee, whilst having been briefed recently by the Department of Regional Australia, was interested in following up with the Administrator and Commonwealth Finance Officer on aspects of the reform process, the funding agreement and the current financial position of the Norfolk Island Administration.


“I was impressed by the amount of detail that the JSC already had in terms of the current situation on Island,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


The Committee members on Monday evening enjoyed the hospitality of Neil and Jen Pope at a reception at Government House with approximately 140 local residents from all sectors of the community.


As the Committee is not pursuing a formal inquiry, at this stage there is no intention to prepare a formally report. Documents received by the Committee from the community are being treated as being for the information of the Committee only.


Neil Pope

Administrator

2 May 2013 

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT T-QUAL GRANTS – TOURISM QUALITY PROJECTS PROGRAM


The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the community that the 2013 funding round of the Australian Government’s T-QUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects Program is now open.


T-QUAL Grants provide funding from $15,000 and $100,000 for small scale projects to support collaborative tourism industry development projects, particularly those which stimulate private sector investment.


Applicants are required to provide at least dollar-for-dollar matching cash for their project.

Administered by the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, T-QUAL Grants support projects which deliver high quality tourism projects and services to meet the needs of domestic and international visitors.  Examples of projects that have been successful in previous grant rounds can be found at www.ret.gov.au/tqual.


Potential applicants should pay particular attention to the section in the T-QUAL Grants Program Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions covering eligible applicants/entities.  


Those documents and further program information is available at  www.ret.gov.au/tqual, via a telephone Hotline (0061) 2 6243 7604 or by emailing tqualgrants@ret.gov.au.   Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the grant on 22152.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 3 May 2013.

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT T-QUAL GRANTS – TOURISM QUALITY PROJECTS PROGRAM


The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the community that the 2013 funding round of the Australian Government’s T-QUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects Program is now open.


T-QUAL Grants provide funding from $15,000 and $100,000 for small scale projects to support collaborative tourism industry development projects, particularly those which stimulate private sector investment.


Applicants are required to provide at least dollar-for-dollar matching cash for their project.

Administered by the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, T-QUAL Grants support projects which deliver high quality tourism projects and services to meet the needs of domestic and international visitors.  Examples of projects that have been successful in previous grant rounds can be found at www.ret.gov.au/tqual.


Potential applicants should pay particular attention to the section in the T-QUAL Grants Program Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions covering eligible applicants/entities.  


Those documents and further program information is available at  www.ret.gov.au/tqual, via a telephone Hotline (0061) 2 6243 7604 or by emailing tqualgrants@ret.gov.au.   Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the grant on 22152.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 3 May 2013.

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT T-QUAL GRANTS – TOURISM QUALITY PROJECTS PROGRAM


The Office of the Administrator would like to inform the community that the 2013 funding round of the Australian Government’s T-QUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects Program is now open.


T-QUAL Grants provide funding from $15,000 and $100,000 for small scale projects to support collaborative tourism industry development projects, particularly those which stimulate private sector investment.


Applicants are required to provide at least dollar-for-dollar matching cash for their project.

Administered by the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, T-QUAL Grants support projects which deliver high quality tourism projects and services to meet the needs of domestic and international visitors.  Examples of projects that have been successful in previous grant rounds can be found at www.ret.gov.au/tqual.


Potential applicants should pay particular attention to the section in the T-QUAL Grants Program Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions covering eligible applicants/entities.  


Those documents and further program information is available at  www.ret.gov.au/tqual, via a telephone Hotline (0061) 2 6243 7604 or by emailing tqualgrants@ret.gov.au.   Ginny Maidment at the Office of the Administrator can also be contacted about the grant on 22152.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 3 May 2013.

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THE HONOURABLE CATHERINE KING MP MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND TERRITORIES MINISTER FOR ROAD SAFETY


Catherine King, the Minister for Territories, on her first visit to Norfolk Island met informally with the community and government Ministers and formally with members of the Legislative Assembly.

Minister King said, "I cannot emphasise strongly enough that the Australian Government remains committed to reform of the Norfolk Island economy and we look to the Norfolk Island Government to continue to progress their commitments under the existing funding agreement, including in the areas of immigration and land-based taxes such as municipal rates."

Minister King noted that the Australian Government had demonstrated its ongoing commitment to the people of the island through its $29 million funding to Norfolk since 2010. She said that the next steps to more substantive structural reforms must be undertaken in a spirit of partnership, and that the impacts of those reforms need to be clearly articulated to the people of the island.

Minister King also noted that two funding agreements, worth $300,000, were signed today on health strategy to progress accrediting of the local hospital and for municipal waste management.

"These agreements are a further example of how the two governments working together can produce excellent outcomes for the local community."

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JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE TO VISIT NORFOLK ISLAND



The Joint Standing Committee for the National Capital and External Territories (JSCNCET) will be visiting Norfolk Island on Monday and Tuesday 29 and 30 April.

“I am pleased that the Joint Standing Committee will be on Island to get a greater understanding of the economic circumstances and a clearer picture of progress on the reform agenda,” said His Honour Neil Pope.

Unfortunately not all Committee members can attend, but there will be six Federal Members of Parliament arriving on Monday 29 April.

“I will be arranging a reception at Government House and inviting a cross section of the community to meet with the Committee. On Tuesday they will be holding discussions with various parties including of course the newly elected Chief Minister and Ministers,” said His Honour.

The last visit by the Joint Standing Committee occurred in 2011, thus it is an opportune time for them to return and gauge what progress has been made and what commitments may be required for the future.

The Committee has indicated that the purpose of the visit is to discuss recent progress under the Norfolk Island Roadmap, expectations of further progress going forward, and the current state of Norfolk Island’s economy and government finances.

 

Neil Pope

Administrator

4 April 2013

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ADMINISTRATOR’S ADDRESS TO THE FOURTEENTH NORFOLK ISLAND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY



Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, Madam Clerk, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a privilege to address this first sitting of the 14th Legislative Assembly and to congratulate each and every Member on their election.

The Federal Minister, the Hon. Simon Crean, has specifically asked me to pass on his congratulations to all the successful candidates.


I would also like to thank the three Assembly Members Mike King, Craig Anderson and Andre Nobbs who did not recontest at this recent election, and also the six unsuccessful candidates who put themselves up for election and helped ensure that the democratic process is alive on Norfolk Island.


As the Chief Minister of the 13th Assembly said recently in the Norfolk Islander:

“General Elections form an important community component of the democratic process and many countries around the world are still fighting for the ‘right to vote’. Along with voting rights come responsibilities such as to make sure that it counts towards the good governance of your local community.”

The people of Norfolk Island have done their part in the process by exercising their democratic vote and have now vested responsibility in each of you as Members of this Chamber.


It is now incumbent on you to wisely exercise that responsibility.


This Parliament convenes at a time when Norfolk Island is having to contend with a range of serious issues and challenges. We have a depressed economy and a community that is “doing it tough.” Many residents are facing the hardship of having a partner or children or grandchildren they dearly miss, who out of necessity are living, working or studying back on the mainland.


So, this is a time for us all to pitch in and do what is right for this Island and its people.


The Federal Government has, over the period since December 2010, contributed in excess of $29 million to Norfolk Island, and we may be successful in coming months in securing from the Regional Development Australia Fund millions of dollars for infrastructure, namely a high temperature incinerator, pier works and ancillary services to assist cruise ships and freight.


Those projects would be of great assistance if the applications are successful, but they would not be the panacea to all our problems. We need long-term sustainability that will require courageous decisions by those of you sitting in this Chamber. Tough times require tough decisions.


As I have stated on other occasions, there is unanimity within our community on a number of issues. There is general agreement that we need:

  • to build tourist numbers to the Island.
  • to have a more sustainable population.
  • both the NIG and the Federal Government to constructively work together.
  • to develop our port facilities for cheaper freight and disembark cruise ship passengers.
  • a strategic direction that will alleviate the current economic hardship.

The issue we have, and the challenge for this new Assembly, is to reconcile the differences in opinion as to how we get there.


I can recall the former Premier of Victoria, my first boss in Parliament, the Honourable John Cain saying to me and my colleagues in 1982 when we were first elected to Government, that it is not enough to merely sit in the Parliament; that you had a responsibility to continually engage with the electorate, but also to give them an explanation, especially if a decision is not popular.


He was saying to us that public office often involves a choice. You can be popular or you can get the hard things done. That you can’t always have it both ways.


Good governance requires the courage to make the hard decisions and to stand by them and communicate them.


I was also privileged to serve in Cabinet with my friend former Premier the Honourable Joan Kirner and she would say “You can never communicate enough – keep giving the message until it is told back to you.”


So, now that you are Members of this 14th Assembly, you have taken on this enormous responsibility. By democratic process, each of you brings to this Chamber the policies upon which you were elected. As a result, differences of opinion will arise. However, in order to reach a decision or achieve an outcome, you will now have to engage in debate, listen to and challenge each other’s views, and then seek to reconcile those differences. That is what Norfolk Island’s model of self-government demands.


There will be times when you will have to make a call, based on all the information available to you, that is contrary to some popular view or other held by Norfolk Island residents. But, as long as you are prepared to explain why this decision or that outcome was necessary, the loss of any popularity will not be at the cost of respect.


This Assembly must be a place for practical and constructive discussion with a shared sense of responsibility. “Pie in the sky” solutions that are unachievable or, worse still, no solutions at all will only condemn this Island to a state of dependency, scrambling for the next handout. The people of Norfolk Island don’t want or deserve that.


I look forward to the deliberations later today, as discussed with Minister Crean yesterday. A commitment to the principles of the Roadmap is imperative.


Last Friday I said on radio:


I quote “Just because there were some people who designed the Roadmap in March 2011 doesn’t mean they got it all right......doesn’t mean that elements of the Roadmap shouldn’t be amended. Key elements of the Roadmap come out and are exhibited in the Funding Agreement – immigration, GBE’s etc. So there are some key elements, and those key elements need to be delivered.” End of quote.


The Federal Minister and I are committed to those key elements.


As the representative of the Australian Government on Island I look forward to working with the soon to be sworn in Executive, and indeed all Members of the Assembly to tackle the challenges we face.

I wish you all well in your deliberations.


Hon. Neil Pope

Administrator

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MEDAL PRESENTATION AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE



On Thursday 21 March the Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope presented medals to a number of local residents acknowledging the contribution they have provided in dedicated service to this community over an extended period.


“I have commented before on the extent to which people on Norfolk Island work for the benefit of each other and the community at large. This evening is an opportunity to highlight the contribution to the safety and wellbeing of this community that has been made, and continues to be made, by particular individuals in their professional and volunteer capacities,” said His Honour Neil Pope


The Official Secretary read the following citations.

 

Australian National Service Medal

Fire fighter Lance Quintal is awarded the Australian National Medal for over eighteen years combined service in the Royal Australian Navy and the Norfolk Island Fire Service.  Lance  was a Marine Technician in the Royal Australian Navy from August 1993 to August 1999 and again from August 2003 to August 2007. From February 2002 to July 2003, he served as Auxiliary Fire Fighter with the Norfolk Island Fire Service. Since August 2007, Lance  has served the Norfolk Island Fire Service with distinction as a Fire Fighter.

 

Australian Federal Police Service Medal  –

Detective Senior Constable Tara Ducker is awarded the Australian Federal Police Service Medal for over ten years service in the Australian Federal Police.   Tara was sworn in on 14 June 2002 and has spent most of her time working in Canberra in ACT.  In 2004 she was deployed for 6 months to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomons. She came to Norfolk Island in October 2011


Volunteer Rescue Association Medal

The Norfolk Island Volunteer Rescue Squad was originally formed in late 1985 to assist the Norfolk Island Police in areas of search, rescue and recovery.  At this time three of the founding members (Chris Buffett, Alan McConnell and Mattie Nola) were sent to Canberra to attend a two week training course conducted by the Australian Federal Police Rescue Squad.  In 1986 the squad became affiliated with the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association.

 

In recognition of their many years of voluntary service, and on the recommendation of the Norfolk Island Volunteer Rescue Squad, the following members have been awarded the Volunteer Rescue Association Service Medal


For  15 + years service in the Squad

            Mervyn Buffett

            Arthur Evans

            Matthew Bigg

 

For 10+ years service:

(The late Chris Buffett  (original founding member. Wife Patricia accepting)

            Peter Evans (wife Raewyn to accept)

            Matthew Reeves

            Vince Reeves (Matthew to accept)

            Joy Adams

            Melissa Graham (Brother Michael to accept on her behalf)

           

Neil Pope

Administrator

22 March 2013 

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS - AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT VOLUNTEER GRANTS 2013



His Honour the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope, would like to inform the community that Volunteer Grants 2013 call for applications is now open.


Volunteer Grants 2013 recognises the valuable work of Australia’s volunteers.


Funding of $16 million is available to support and encourage volunteering.  Eligible not-for-profit community organisations can apply for grants between $1000 and $5000 to:

  • Purchase portable, tangible, small equipment items to help their volunteers
  • Contribute to the reimbursement of fuel costs for their volunteers who use their own car to transport others to activities, deliver food, assist with medical appointments or help people in need
  • Contribute to the reimbursement of transport costs incurred by volunteers with disability who are unable to drive
  • Contribute to the cost of training courses and/or undertake background screening checks for their volunteers.

‘Volunteer Grants is one way the Australian Government can say thank you for the selfless work and commitment of volunteers,’ said His Honour.


‘I encourage not-for-profit community organisations to take advantage of this funding opportunity.  Last year four Norfolk Island organisations were successful with their applications for Volunteer Grants.’


For more information about Volunteer Grants 2013, including the grant guidelines and application form, visit 

http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/communities-and-vulnerable-people/grants-funding/volunteer-grants-2013-call-for-

applications-now-open.   Contact details are (0061) 1800 183 374 or vg2013@fahcsia.gov.au.  Ginny Maidment 

from the Office of the Administrator on 22152 is a further contact for the grant.


The closing date for applications is 5 pm (AEST), Wednesday, 24 April 2013.

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HONOURABLE JOAN KIRNER AC FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.



The following is the speech made by the Honourable Joan Kirner AC for International Women’s Day.


Jen Pope a personal friend of Joan organised for both Joan and her husband Ron to come to Norfolk Island.


It was Joan and Ron’s fifth visit to the Island and they stayed the first week with His Honour and former cabinet colleague Neil Pope and Jen at Government House before moving to Shearwater for a second week on the island


      WOMEN CAN

By Hon Joan Kirner, AC

Former Premier of Victoria

Victorian Community Ambassador

Address to Norfolk Island,

International Women’s Day

8 March 2013

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • Women of Norfolk Island and friends and family
  • Jen Pope – wife of Administrator
  • Members of Norfolk Island Assembly and staff
  • Eve Semple and the Women’s Committee

Thank you for your invitation to speak here on International Women’s Day. I am delighted to be here in Norfolk Island again for the fifth time. It is a very special place and this day is a special day for women across the World.


My address has a simple title – Women Can – I believe in any field they wish to succeed.

From my 50 years plus of experience in public life from Form Captain to Mothers Clubs to Minister to Premier and State Ambassador the following are some of the key assets for women in leadership.

  1. CONFIDENCE

One of the essentials if women are to succeed in public and private life is confidence in their own capacity, image and ability to speak out.


Confidence to stand up for things we believe in and value: even if the public mood seems to wish that we strong women would go away, or at least resume our rightful subordinate places.

  • Confidence we can make a difference in our personal, professional and public lives.
  • Confidence to engage in the full range of women and society’s interests, needs and demands in determining and implementing the changes that need to be made to achieve equity and freedom;
  • Confidence to speak up and speak in debate on our terms;
  • Confidence is part of the male armoury of success and influence. It should be part of the armoury of women too;
  • Confidence is the feeling that I needed as premier most mornings, the ability to stand tall, square your shoulders (padded or not) and say:

“I can do it – I will do it.”

 

Both parts of that statement are important. Too many women know the first but don’t act on their knowledge or their passion to do the second.

  1. CELEBRATE, PROTECT AND BUILD ON OUR ACHIEVEMENTS.

One of my joys in life now is to talk with young students about the achievements of the feminist struggle in Australia.

They often look at me in amazement as I recount my experience of having to resign from the teaching service because I got married.


When I tell them how we changed the rules to allow married women permanency, family leave and superannuation they begin to understand the struggle was to enable them to be more equal. It is important that we share our achievements in the equal opportunity struggle.


Similarly it is important for you as Women Leaders to recognise, build on and celebrate your achievements – however small you may think they are.


It is clear that we have much to celebrate and much left to change.

  1. A CLEAR SENSE OF PURPOSE AND FOCUS

Women are good at doing many things at once, but we also need to be good at focussing on our central purpose.

  • My clear purpose when I began working with communities was to make a difference in education for my children and all children.
  • Then I added a second purpose – to ensure that we built a society where women are equal. In particular I wanted this century to become one which women are represented in the Parliaments according to their numbers in society. And in the Labor Party through our affirmative action campaign there are now more women in Parliament. We are getting much closer to that aim. In 1994 when we first started the Affirmative Action campaign Labor had 60 women in Parliaments across Australia. Now Labor has over 150 women in Parliaments – an extraordinary achievement. And, as we hoped building up that critical mass of women MPs has led to the first woman Prime Minister of Australia. Five women premiers and many other influential women politicians. But we still haven’t obtained our target of political equity.
  1. VALUE OURSELVES AND STATE OUR VALUES CLEARLY

One of my favourite women’s movement songs goes like this:

Don’t be too polite girls

Don’t be too polite

Show a little fight girl

Show a little fight

Don’t be fearful of offending

In case you get the sack

Just recognise your value and

You won’t look back

 

The key words here are:

Just recognise your value and

You won’t look back

 

 

That mantra has supported me personally. And I am here to assure you that if you don’t recognise your own value – a few others will. But as women leaders we need not only to value ourselves but it is essential to be clear about our values. Here are mine:

  • People matter – Janet Holmes a Court describes her leadership in this way:

“when people in workplaces are treated like people they respond accordingly and the productivity of the workplace increases.”

 

  • Women matter as much as men do;
  • Each person has the right to shape their own life;
  • If you give respect you gain respect; (my father’s creed)
  • People affected by decisions should be part of making those decisions;
  • Each citizen is entitled to a fair share of the wealth, knowledge, services and infrastructure which build social inclusion. No citizen should be left behind.
  1. UNDERSTAND POWER AND USE IT WELL

Women need to understand that success for women is about gaining, using and sharing power wisely. I believe that in that quest for power being a woman in decision making is a plus not a minus. As a woman you need to see yourself, as an activist not as a victim of change: an activist who uses her power and that of her group to advocate and implement change based on your values of social inclusion.


To share power equitably women need to work together to change the current male dominated culture to one in which women shape their own lives and that of their communities.


To achieve this women need to:

(a)    Build a new knowledge base founded on the individual and collective experience of women;

(b)   Establish and develop a group of women/leaders from each generation and culture, as effective advocates within the government, community and the business sector.

(c)    Create and sustain effective networks.

  1. BUILD COLLABORATION AND TEAMWORK

To be a true leader you need to take people with you on the journey and the outcomes. Leaders can choose between:

  • Acting on people; or
  • Acting with people.

If you choose the first, faster progress can be made in the short term, but there will be long term failure and deep divisions within your group or community.


If you choose the second – you will work collaboratively, listen to and respect the views of other women and the wider community and take them with you. That way, in my experience, you will get better outcomes and more sustainable long term solutions.


My first initiative as minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands was to find answers to our ever increasing land degradation improving the community’s commitment and ability to care for the land.


The answer was to include all the people involved in the program and organise farmers, conservationists, businesses, bureaucracy and professionals into listening to each other, agreeing on the challenges and implementing the solutions. Together we made the necessary changes happen. We went from 10 community based landcare programs in 1986 in Victoria to over 5,000 landcare programs across Australia.

  1. BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY

Balancing work, family, friends and community is a major challenge for most women – especially women leaders.

As a friend and fellow politician put it to me one day:

When we had a baby, I realised that up till then my husband and I had not been as equal as I thought we were – we had just been childless.”


Maintaining work/family/life balance is a matter of constant negotiation at home and at work as well as insisting on time out for you. Hard, but important to do.


In your home and workplace – you need to cooperate with others to increase home and work flexibility and adopt equal responsibility.

  1. BE YOUR OWN PERSON: DEVELOP YOUR OWN IMAGE AND A SENSE OF HUMOUR.

If you want to shape the future, having a clear sense of your own image is as important as having a clear set of principles and sense of purpose.


The lesson of image was my hardest lesson in public life and I urge you to take the issue seriously. Whether in business or politics the issue of image applies. And my key message is – be yourself.


The image makers who constantly and often viciously presented me as the overweight harassed housewife in a spotted shift and moccasins did not simply denigrate me personally, they were out to destroy me politically. But it wasn’t until I realised they were making a political statement rather than a personal one, I was able to deal with it. I was able to react politically as well as personally. I was determined not to become the victim: but to demonstrate the power of a feminist image.


I had to ask myself the question – how can I turn the attacks around.


Having asked and answered these questions. I could then shape my response. I had to build on my own image. An image which treated myself and other women with respect and integrity. Ultimately, I hoped I would gain respect from men and women by giving them respect and respecting myself. In other words – I was being myself in public life.


Having reached that understanding I could fight back. My supporters and I used our sense of humour to make polka dots of the cartoon a badge of courage! “SPOT ON JOAN” was a message for a T-shirt and show bag at the Royal Agricultural Show in Melbourne and they were a hit!


Then finally – once released from the pressures of parliamentary leadership, I could let the real me loose on the public. Clad in the best ever leather jacket I rocked my way through a live TV late Show performance of my namesake hit record “I Love Rock and Roll.”


That performance might be described as the most successful strategy in my politics of learning so far. At least I was seen to be human. Who knows – if I had won that gig before the 1992 election: we might have won!

  1. CONCLUSION: ENHANCING HUMANITY

At its heart, for me, being a leader is about enhancing the humanity of our society: our world.


One of the most inspiring things I have had said to me were the words of Lillian Holt, former Principal of the Aboriginal Community College in Adelaide, when she first addressed the Centenary of Federation Advisory Committee in 1994 on the importance of having a national dialogue on racism: as part of the national celebration.


“Joan,” she said, “I believe talking about racism in this country is about collective healing and we can all learn as a result of it. It is not about being anti-white, it is about being pro humanity. For what has diminished ma as an Aboriginal woman in this country has diminished all females: white and black.”


Can I leave you with that thought:


“...what diminishes one person in our society diminishes us all...”


If as women leaders we can grasp that thought and embrace it, the women of Norfolk will build, live in and benefit from a fairer, better connected, more inclusive and sustainable Island.


Good luck and thank you again for this honour of addressing you.

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR THREE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT GRANTS NOW OPEN



The Administrator, the Honourable Neil Pope, would like to inform the Norfolk Island community of three Australian Government grant funding opportunities:

  • Caring for our Country Community Landcare Grants.  $5000-$50,000.  Closing date 20 March 2013.
  • Small Grants for Small Rural Communities.  Up to $50,000.  Closing date 2 April 2013.
  • Your Community Heritage Program.  Up to $500,000.  Closing date 21 March 2013.

“These grant programs offer potential benefits to the community across a variety of areas and I encourage eligible groups on the Island to apply for them,” said His Honour Mr Pope.

“Any organisations requiring information can contact Ms Ginny Maidment in my office on 22152.”


SMALL GRANTS FOR SMALL RURAL COMMUNITIES

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal is calling for applications for the Small Grants for Small Rural Communities grant program.

Grants will made in amounts up to $5000 for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities, with populations of 10,000 or less, living in small rural and remote locations in Australia, contributing to their development in social and community welfare, economic, environmental, health, education or cultural areas.

Applications are invited from not-for-profit, incorporated community organisations.  Projects must be for a charitable purpose, benefitting the whole community.  Deductible Gift Recipient status (DGR) is not required for this grant program.

Further information on the program, including the guidelines and application form, is available at www.frrr.org.au.  Enquiries can be made by phone - (0061) 1800 170 020 or by email - info@frrr.org.au.

Applications are to be submitted by 5 pm on Tuesday, 2 April 2013.


CARING FOR OUR COUNTRY COMMUNITY LANDCARE GRANTS

Community Landcare Grants build on the success of the earlier Community Action Grants initiative, with a renewed focus on sustainable farming and fisheries, agricultural innovation and community capacity building.

Grants of between $5000 to $50,000 are available to:

  • Help build a skilled and capable land care community;
  • Encourage community participation and engagement in land care;
  • Share information and learnings in sustainable agricultural techniques;
  • Reduce the spread of pest species; and
  • Encourage the adoption of improved sustainable land management practices.

Examples of eligible projects are available in the grant guidelines.

Groups eligible to apply for Community Landcare Grants include, but are not limited to local land care groups; professional farming systems groups; ‘friends-of’ organisations and other community-based groups; Indigenous organisations; and women, youth and culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

For more information about the Community Landcare Grants, including the grant guidelines and application form, visit the Caring for our Country website -http://www.nrm.gov.au/funding/agriculture/clg/index.html.  The Caring for our Country hotline is (0061) 1800 552 008.

The closing date for applications is 5 pm (AEDT), Wednesday, 20 March 2013.


YOUR COMMUNITY HERITAGE PROGRAM

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is calling for applications for the Your Community Heritage Program.

In 2012-13, Your Community Heritage funding is available under five sub-programs:

  • Protecting National Historic Sites.  Grants of $50,000-$500,000
  • Recovering from National Disasters.  Grants of $5000 to $70,000
  • Commemorating Eminent Australians.  Grants of up to $10,000
  • Sharing Community Heritage Stories.  Grants of $2500 to $25,000
  • Celebrating Community Heritage.  Grants of $2500 to $25,000

Further information about the Your Community Heritage grants program, including the guidelines and application form is available atwww.environment.gov.au/heritage/progrmas/ych.  Enquiries can be made by phone:  (0061) 1800 653 004 or email:  heritagegrants@environment.gov.au

Applications close at 5 pm (AEDT) on Thursday, 21 March 2013.


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THREE LOCAL RESIDENTS GET OPPORTUNITIES FOR A POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA AND POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATES IN PLANT BIOSECURITY




His Honour the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope this week announced that local resident PJ Wilson has been successful in his application to undertake a postgraduate diploma in plant biosecurity.


Both Neil (Snow) Tavener and Ron (Rob) Ward have also been accepted to do postgraduate certificates in biosecurity with Murdoch University.


“As many of you in the community would know, the Commonwealth 2012 Budget included a pest and disease survey to be conducted on Norfolk Island over a period of two years,” said Neil Pope.


“One of the aims of the survey project is building capacity on the Island in the area of biosecurity.  Accordingly, funding has been made available for a postgraduate diploma and two postgraduate certificates in plant biosecurity commencing this month to be undertaken half time and completed by the end of 2014.  The timing is planned to coincide with the completion of the surveys.”


Graduates of the program will have internationally recognised skills, knowledge and understanding of plant biosecurity.  The course will develop their ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from scientific and regulatory sources and apply effective solutions to programs with changing contexts.


All material will be flexibly delivered using the latest on-line technology.  Most units can be studies at students’ own pace and assessment items will use relevant workplace examples.

“Higher education opportunities are few and far between on this Island, and I am pleased that through our office; the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport; and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, in particular, Dr Glynn Maynard, we have been able to have these three local residents successfully enrol at Murdoch University,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Neil Pope

13 February 2013

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SMALL GRANTS FOR SMALL RURAL COMMUNITIES



The Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope would like to draw to the attention of not for profit community based organisations on the Island the possibility of receiving grants up to $5000.


The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal on behalf of a number of philanthropic trusts is calling for applications to be submitted by 2 April 2013.


“The program will offer up to $400,000 for this round in grants up to $5000 for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities, with populations of 10,000 or less, living in small rural and remote locations in Australia, contributing to their development in social  and community welfare, economic, environmental, health, education or cultural areas,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


Applications are invited from not-for-profit, incorporated community organisations. In previous years some Norfolk Island groups have been successful in receiving this grant.  Projects must be for a charitable purpose, benefitting the whole community. Deductable Gift Recipient status (DGR) is not required for this grant program.


“Any organisations wishing to make an application or requiring more information should go to the following website www.frrr.org.au , or can contact Ms Ginny Maidment in my office on 22152.”


Neil Pope

Administrator

15 February 2013

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS - AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT CARING FOR OUR COUNTRY COMMUNITY LANDCARE GRANTS



His Honour the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope would like to inform the community that the 2013-14 funding round of the Australian Government’s Community Landcare Grants is now open.


Community Landcare Grants build on the success of the earlier Community Action Grants initiative, with a renewed focus on sustainable farming and fisheries, agricultural innovation and community capacity building.


Grants of between $5000 to $50,000 are available to:

  • Help build a skilled and capable land care community;
  • Encourage community participation and engagement in land care;
  • Share information and learnings in sustainable agricultural techniques;
  • Reduce the spread of pest species; and
  • Encourage the adoption of improved sustainable land management practices.

Examples of eligible projects are available in the grant guidelines.


Groups eligible to apply for Community Landcare Grants include, but are not limited to local land care groups; professional farming systems groups; ‘friends-of’ organisations and other community-based groups; Indigenous organisations; and women, youth and culturally and linguistically diverse groups.


For more information about the Community Landcare Grants, including the grant guidelines and application form, visit the Caring for our Country website -

http://www.nrm.gov.au/funding/agriculture/clg/index.html.  The Caring for our Country hotline is (0061) 1800 552 008.


The closing date for applications is 5 pm (AEDT), Wednesday, 20 March 2013.

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CHURCHILL FELLOWSHIP



On Wednesday this week Jen and I hosted a dinner for Duncan Evans to present his interim findings from his 2012 Churchill Fellowship. All who attended have an active interest in the topic of “containerisation for small islands without a harbour.”


Duncan’s presentation was informative and thought provoking, and I was so pleased that through the Churchill Fellowship a Norfolk Islander has the opportunity to pursue an issue so vital to our future.


Since late last year we have been advertising the 2013 Churchill Fellowships, and calling for applications. Indeed this week there is another advertisement requesting residents to apply.


This is a great opportunity for both the Norfolk Island community and the individual who is awarded a fellowship. Here on Norfolk Island we have been fortunate in being awarded a fellowship in virtually every year since 1985.


Applications close on the 20th February and should be lodged with our office. They will be assessed by a committee comprised of local residents and is chaired by myself.


Applications are assessed on two distinct components:


1          The Project – the need for this project in Norfolk Island, the benefits of the project, the achievability etc;  and


2          The Applicant – the ability to maximise the opportunity, the ability to make a difference and the ability to widely disseminate findings of the project.

Given all the issues we are presently faced with this is a chance to assist your community and experience an opportunity of a lifetime.

  

Neil Pope

Administrator

24 January 2013

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DRAFT MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE TEMPERATE EAST COMMONWEALTH MARINE RESERVES NETWORK


COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

 

Subsection 368(5)

 

INVITATION TO COMMENT

DRAFT MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE TEMPERATE EAST COMMONWEALTH MARINE RESERVES NETWORK

 

The Director of National Parks has prepared a draft management plan under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) for the Commonwealth reserves in the Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network that includes a reserve in the waters around Norfolk Island. The draft management plan sets out how the Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network will be managed for a period of ten years.


From Monday 14 January 2013 copies of the draft management plan and further information will be available at www.environment.gov.au/marinereserves or by contacting the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities via email: marinereserves@environment.gov.au.


Members of the public are invited to comment on the draft management plan.  Comments may be made in relation to the management plan generally, or as it relates to individual reserves or particular activities within the network.


All comments received will be carefully considered and the draft management plan may be revised accordingly. To ensure your comments are clear and concise please:

  • list your points in order, numbered according to the relevant sections or prescriptions (strategies and actions) of the draft plan
  • state whether you agree or disagree with prescriptions and give your reasons
  • if you disagree, suggest alternatives
  • include any matters relevant to management of the reserves in the Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network that are not covered by the draft plan.

Comments must be sent to either:

1)      Postal address-

Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Draft Management Plan

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Reply Paid 787

Canberra  ACT  2601

2)      Email address - TemperateEast.draftplan@environment.gov.au


Comments on the draft management plan for the Temperate East Marine Commonwealth Reserves Network must be sent by Thursday 14 February 2013. Comments that are sent after that date or to addresses other than those above cannot be taken into account in finalising the management plan.


Please note that all comments may be treated as public documents and may be made public on the department’s website.  

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NORFOLK ISLAND HAS NEW POLICE OFFICER IN CHARGE




Detective Sergeant Craig Marriott, has been appointed as the new Officer in Charge of the Norfolk Island Police Force, he arrived last Saturday, with his wife Anna and three children to take up command.  He replaces Detective Sergeant Vince Pannell APM, who completes over three years on the island.

 

On Monday 14 January the Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope swore in Detective Sergeant Marriott and Senior Constable Pine.

 

Detective Sergeant Marriott has most recently been a Team leader in the ACT Policing Criminal Investigation Branch.   During his career he has performed various roles in community policing, criminal investigations, the Adult Sexual Assault Team, the Police Negotiation Team and as an AFP Liaison Officer in Bangkok.

 

He holds formal qualifications in Training and Assessment, a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.   He is a Police Negotiator having completed the National Counter Terrorism Training Program.

 

Also arriving on Saturday was Senior Constable Shaun Pine and his wife and three children. Senior Constable Pine has taken over from Leading Senior Constable Robert Munro, who is retiring and leaving the island after his three years service.

 

Detective Sergeant Marriott this week had a handover with Detective Sergeant Pannell during which time he met with the Administrator, Chief Minister and other key stakeholders.

 

Departing Detective Sergeant Vince Pannell APM has been the Officer in Charge of Norfolk Island Police since November 2009. In that capacity he has shown great leadership and enormous community involvement in a number of areas including the Blue Light Foundation, Volunteer Rescue Squad, Emergency Services Management and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.


Neil Pope 

Administrator 

17 January 2013

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COMMUNITY LIAISON OFFICER EXTENDED




“I am pleased to announce a further 12 month extension to the secondment of Ms Ginny Maidment as Community Liaison Officer (CLO),” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“Many in the community have met and had dealings with Ginny since she came here in January 2012 for a 6 month posting.  I was able to get that extended for 6 months to January 2013, and this week my request for a further 12 months has been granted.”

“The Federal Government has only since last year allowed for the role within the Administrator’s office.  Unfortunately due to a number of changes during the first half of 2012 Ginny was not able to begin the role until the middle of the year,” said Mr. Pope.

During this time of change and economic downturn the position of CLO is even more important.


In recent months Ginny has been involved in a wide range of activities, including those aimed at increasing Norfolk Island’s access and participation in mainland services and programs, and policy development opportunities.  An example is the area of grants funding which has included on-Island training, ongoing identification of available grants, and working to remove barriers to participation such as the recent legislation change allowing Norfolk Island Deductible Gift Recipient status.  Facilitation of the community’s input to policy development includes a parliamentary inquiry into ‘fly-in, fly-out’ workforce practices in regional Australia, and the future strategic framework for the Caring for Our Country program.


Ginny also acts as a liaison point for individual’s general enquiries related to mainland functions such as those of the Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink.


As required, Ginny fulfils the functions of the Official Secretary.


“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a welcoming and inclusive community”, said Ginny.


“I’m really enjoying this new role and getting to know and work with individuals and groups on raising awareness of Norfolk Island on the mainland and facilitating the community’s access to opportunities.”


Neil Pope

Administrator

3 January 2013

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POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA IN PLANT BIOSECURITY - CALL FOR APPLICATIONS



His Honour the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope would like to inform the community of two opportunities to undertake a postgraduate diploma in plant biosecurity.


As many of you in the community would know, the Commonwealth 2012 Budget included a pest and disease survey to be conducted on Norfolk Island over a period of two years.

The pest and disease survey is a joint initiative between the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).


The survey program commenced recently with a familiarisation visit by the project manager, Dr Glynn Maynard of DAFF and preliminary survey work by Drs Alice Wells and Laurence Mound.


One of the aims of the survey is building capacity on the Island in the area of biosecurity.  Accordingly, funding has been made available for two postgraduate diplomas in plant biosecurity commencing beginning 2013 to be undertaken half time and completed by the end of 2014.  (Note there is no stipend included.)


ABOUT THE PLANT BIOSECURITY POSTGRADUATE PROGRAM

Who should undertake the study?

The Plant Biosecurity Postgraduate Program is ideal for people who have a passion for protecting their island from plant pests and invasive species, and are looking to enhance their skills and increase their knowledge of biosecurity.


Why was the program developed?

The increase in movement of people and goods means it is critical to have effective plant biosecurity systems to maintain agricultural and environmental integrity in a world where foreign plant affecting organisms pose major and ongoing threats.


What will graduates learn?

Graduates of the program will have internationally recognised skills, knowledge and understanding of plant biosecurity.  The course will develop their ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from scientific and regulatory sources and apply effective solutions to programs with changing contexts.


Who provides the program?

This program is a collaboration of five universities:  University of Queensland, University of Adelaide, Charles Darwin University, Murdoch University and Latrobe University.

How will the material be delivered?

All material will be flexibly delivered using the latest on-line technology.  Most units can be studies at students’ own pace and assessment items will use relevant workplace examples

.

What are the entry requirements?

The entry requirements for the postgraduate diploma is an existing university degree recognised in Australia.


Where  you can find more information about the program

Further information about the program can be found at:  http://plantbiosecurity.edu.au.  Dr Glynn Maynard can be contacted on glynn.maynard@daff.gov.au or telephone - +61 (0)2 62725391


APPLYING FOR THE POSTGRADUATE PROGRAM

Persons interested in the postgraduate diploma in plant biosecurity opportunity will need to submit an application by close of business, Friday, 18 January.  The written application must be limited to two pages and be accompanied by a one-page professional reference.  Applications are to be sent to Dr Glynn Maynard at glynn.maynard@daff.gov.au.


Preference will be given to applicants with a university degree in a plant science related area.  Assessment of applications will include, but not limited to:  the applicant’s ability to commence the study at the beginning of 2013, the applicant’s ability to maximise the opportunity of the postgraduate study (current standing and experience in the field, skills and/or expertise); and, the applicant’s ability and commitment to make a difference on Norfolk Island after the study (ongoing involvement in the field, leadership qualities, a strategic approach, networks).


Enquiries about the application process can be directed to Dr Glynn Maynard.


Neil Pope

4 January 2013

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AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROJECTS




His Honour the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope would like to inform the community that the FY2013-14 National Emergency Management Project (NEMP) application process is now open.


The Australian Government established the NEMP grant program to fund emergency management projects of national significance.


Projects carried out under the NEMP support measures to strengthen communities, individuals, business and institutions to minimise the adverse effects of disasters on Australia.


Projects funded through an NEMP grants are designed to improve the ability to prevent, prepare, respond to and recover from disasters across social, economic, environmental and governance elements.

The NEMP is overseen by Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) and managed by the Attorney-General’s Department.  The Attorney-General/Minister for Emergency Management approves projects proposed by ANZEMC.

The NEMP funds projects that are strategically targeted to deliver and support  major,  national level, emergency management capability development activities.  Proposed projects must:

  • be consistent with the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience
  • achieve substantial national outcomes
  • identify a national emergency management capability gap
  • have sustainable outcomes with consideration given to national implementation and long-term sustainability, and
  • take into consideration that recurrent funding is not available (however, multiple-year funding  will be considered with appropriate milestones).

Initiatives should address one or more of the proposed NEMP priority themes for FY2013-14, including:

  • emergency management volunteering (workforce sustainability, surge capacity)
  • interoperability (information, communications)
  • development of capability frameworks including measurement tools (within communities, national enablers, scalable – applicable to all levels of government, partnerships and collaboration)
  • understanding risk (education, engagement)
  • transition from Response to Recovery (transition procedures, acknowledgment of concurrence/overlap)
  • Insurance (affordability, policy agenda),
  • warnings (alerts, interoperability, technology, community education and awareness)

The NEMP has a funding cap.  It is a competitive and discretionary grants program.

In 2012/13 NEMP funding of $3.8 million funded 29 projects.  A list of the projects can be found at:  http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Media-releases/Pages/2012/Fourth%20Quarter/19October2012$3-8millioninprojectstohelpAustraliagetdisasterready.aspx.


All applications must be submitted to the relevant ANZEMC Sub-Committee Secretariats by Thursday, 31 January 2013.


Information about the National Emergency Management Program, including program guidelines, is available at:  http://www.em.gov.au/nemp.


For general enquires on the NEMP process and/or program documentation, contact nationalprojects@ag.gov.au.

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JOINT STATEMENT FROM ADMINISTRATOR AND CHIEF MINISTER ON FUNDING AGREEMENT DISCUSSIONS


Discussions on the funding agreement have taken place in Norfolk Island this week and were very constructive.


The $4.5 million total package is contingent on the delivery of various reforms, some of which involve legislative change.


A number of the reforms, some already identified by the Norfolk Island Government in the Road Map, have either been passed or introduced in the Assembly, such as the hospital board, accommodation quotas, land valuation, public sector management and immigration.

The first monthly instalment should be forthcoming in December.


The payments are projected on a monthly basis through to June 2013, and the agreement has a series of conditions and outcomes which are payment milestones in the delivery of the monthly amounts.


“I anticipate that in this following week, barring any last minute complications, the funding agreement will be signed by the parties,” said His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope who chaired the discussions.


“The payments are necessary to ensure that essential services such as education, health and utilities can continue to be delivered in this financial year,” the Chief Minister advised.

In the last two years the Federal Government has expended in excess of $26 million on Norfolk Island.


Neil Pope                                                                    David Buffett

Administrator                                                              Chief Minister

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NORFOLK ISLAND PEST AND DISEASE SURVEY




The Australian Government recently committed $1.5 million over the 2012-13 and 2013-14 years to conduct a Pest and Disease Survey on Norfolk Island.


The survey will identify pests and diseases of biosecurity concern present on Norfolk Island and will inform decisions on the future quarantine status of the Island.  The completion of this survey is a pre-requisite to any discussion on the possible extension of Australian customs, quarantine and the Migration Act 1958 to Norfolk Island.


It is expected that there will be six rolling surveys comprising the collection and identification of plant and insect specimens from the island, data capture, imaging and validation to retain the data and record specimens for future use and comparison.  Six surveys are needed to capture the range of pests present across all seasons.  Some pests are only detectable for relatively short time periods depending on their lifecycles and the season.


Ultimately the goal is to develop a report on the plant health status of Norfolk Island.  This will include a baseline study that will inform discussion on options for exporting and importing of goods, development of measures for the protection of natural biological resources on the island, waste management and biosecurity issues.


The project will be lead by Dr Glynn Maynard from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry who has extensive experience in this field and is already familiar to some of you who will recall her work to date on biosecurity matters relating to Norfolk Island.  Dr Maynard will visit the Island on 10-14 December 2012 to work closely with relevant stakeholders to identify sample collection sites and to engage with interested community groups.


Commencement of the first survey will take place during 21-28 December 2012, with a team of two entomologists visiting the Island.  The team will undertake a survey and collection of invertebrates (insects and other inveterbrates) on Island, sampling targeted plants, including crop plants.


Future surveys will include an evaluation of the presence of zoonoses (disease that can be transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans) with the scope of this to be conducted on a similar basis as to those already undertaken in various areas in Australia, the extent of which will be determined upon an assessment of the perceived risks on Norfolk Island.


Contact:  Ginny Maidment, Office of the Administrator, phone 22152


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NORFOLK ISLAND’S ACCESS TO GRANTS INCREASES




On Monday, 3 December Royal Assent was given to enact the Australian Charities and Not-for profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Bill 2012.


“This new Act removes a barrier to particular Norfolk Island institution’s ability to apply for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status,” said His Honour Neil Pope.


“One of the major barriers to particular institutions obtaining grant funding on Norfolk has been the inability to get an ABN to apply for DGR status.  This was a problem raised at the grant training in September.  This has now been rectified.”


“My office through Ms Ginny Maidment has been liaising with Canberra for months to get this issue resolved.  We are ecstatic that the legislation has finally rectified a long-standing problem for particular institutions on this Island.”


Until Monday a cultural institution on Norfolk Island was considered in Australia for the purpose of the Income Tax Assessment Act and could apply for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status provided they had an ABN.


“I would also like to pay tribute to Lisa Richards from the Museums who initially alerted us to this issue which we have been lobbying Canberra about for many months,” said Mr Pope.

 

Institutions that now could be eligible to apply for an ABN and DGR status include (per the Tax Act):

  • hospitals
  • public ambulance services
  • a technical and further education institution
  • a public fund maintained solely for the purpose of providing religious instruction at schools
  • a school building or maintenance fund
  • a scholarship fund
  • a public benevolent institution
  • certain animal welfare bodies
  • a non-profit company engaged in marriage education or marriage counselling
  • a public library
  • a public museum
  • a public art gallery
  • a government entity or a public fund for fire and emergency services

 

Institutions that now could be eligible for an ABN and Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission registration include (per the ACNC Act):

  • an institution whose principle activity is to promote the prevention or the control of diseases in human beings
  • a charity that is an entity with a purpose that is:
    • the relief of poverty, sickness or the needs of the aged
    • the advancement of education
    • the advancement of religion
    • another purpose that is beneficial to the community
    • the provision of child care services

 

“This is great news for Norfolk Island.” said Mr Pope.

 

Neil Pope

Administrator 

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS ... by Neil Pope, Administrator



Australian Government funding for three energy efficiency grant programs

His Honour the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope would like to inform the community of new funding rounds for three energy efficiency grant programs.

The new grants to drive smarter energy use in business, local government, households and communities were recently announced by the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus.

‘The investment in trialling and demonstrating smarter ways to use energy in Australian households, communities and businesses will create new job opportunities and strengthen local economies,’ said Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

A second round of grants is now being offered in the following programs:

  • the Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) – a $200 million program to help local government and not-for-profit organisations undertake energy efficiency upgrades to community infrastructure such as council buildings and recreation centres;
  • the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) – a $100 million program to demonstrate smarter energy use and provide practical advice and assistance to low income households across Australia;
  • Energy Efficiency Information Grants (EEIG) – a $40 million program to support small to medium-sized businesses and community groups, by providing tailored information and advice on saving energy and cutting costs with smarter energy choices.

‘For regional communities and small councils, the second round of CEEP grants will make it easier to access assistance for projects that benefit low socio-economic and other disadvantaged communities, especially in regional and rural areas,’ said Mr Dreyfus.

‘The LIEEP grants are targeted directly at households that need practical help to improve energy efficiency to cope with the rising cost of living.  LIEEP supports the most vulnerable in making smart energy choices to improve living standards while reducing energy use,’ he said.

The second round of the EEIG program will add to the $20 million already allocated to 28 projects in the manufacturing, agriculture, retail and tourism sectors.  These projects provide practical information to time-poor businesses on conserving energy and saving money through to energy smart choices.

Program opening and closing dates:

  • Community Energy Efficiency Program – 30 October 2012 - 7 February 2013
  • Low Income Energy Efficiency Program – 30 October 2012 – 13 December 2012
  • Energy Efficiency Information Grants – 30 October 2012 – 20 December 2012

Further information about the package of energy efficiency programs, including program guidelines, is available at:  www.climatechange.gov.au.

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FUNDING AGREEMENT UPDATE ... by Neil Pope, Administrator




There has been conjecture in a number of forums this week as to the reforms to be implemented through the next funding agreement which will deliver $4.5 million to the Norfolk Island Administration in order to maintain essential services.

 

“On 23 October the Chief Minister released a press statement and also went on radio spelling out the reforms that were attached to the funding, and I have also raised these reforms on radio and other forums,” said His Honour Neil Pope.

 

“In the weeks that have followed there have been numerous emails and teleconferences between the two governments to gain clarification on how the reforms will be attached to the funding being provided until the end of June 2013.”  Understandably, the Department of Regional Australia has had to consult with a number of other agencies sharing responsibility for the reforms.”

 

To re-iterate, the upcoming funding is conditional on the Norfolk Island Government’s implemention of a number of reforms as stated by the Chief Minister in a press release on 23 October as follows:

 

“The $4.5 million does not come without the hard yards involved to facilitate change.  There are

a range of initiatives that the Norfolk Island Government must pursue as conditions to the

funding being provided.

 

They are:

  • The inclusion of a Commonwealth representative on the Norfolk Island Hospital Advisory Board, in addition to a representative from the South East Sydney Local Health District;
  • Commitment to the removal of accommodation quotas, presently controlled by the Tourist Accommodation Act;
  • Commitment to the removal of the 12 month retention period which presently exists as a prelude to involuntary redundancy entitlements in the Norfolk Island Public Service;
  • Further amending the Norfolk Island Immigration Act to exempt all Australian citizens from current immigration requirements including the provision of temporary and general entry permits;
  • Introducing an acceptable Land Valuation Bill as a prelude to the introduction of property based taxes;
  • Removing loopholes in current GST legislation that results in non-payment;
  • Providing immediate and open access to telecommunications infrastructure on the island and a commitment to the divestment of Norfolk Telecom;
  • Supporting a Government Business Enterprise (GBE) divestment program to develop a framework and process to evaluate and divest GBEs; looking initially at the Liquor Bond, Lighterage, Timber Treatment and Norfolk Energy; and
  • Amending the Public Sector Management Act to remove the Public Sector Board and to align the provisions in relation to redundancy entitlement with mainland public sector jurisdictions.”

“The funding of $4.5 million has been received from Treasury and is in addition to the Department’s $2.9 million in budget measures to assist Norfolk Island this financial year.  With the billions of dollars that have been cut in various areas of the Federal Government’s budget I am extremely pleased that we were able to achieve this money to maintain essential services which impacts all sectors of the community,” said Mr. Pope.

 

Since December 2010 the Federal Government through Minister Crean has now allocated in excess of $27million to Norfolk Island.

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NORFOLK ISLAND GETS ACCESS TO REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUSTRALIA FUND




The Administrator, the Honourable Neil Pope, this week announced the Federal Government have included Norfolk Island as eligible to access the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF)

Announcing new guidelines and opening rounds three and four, Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said the Federal Government had improved RDAF in response to community feedback.

“Round three will see $50 million dedicated specifically to projects in small towns, while round four will distribute $175 million to support strategic infrastructure projects,” Mr Crean said.

“Both rounds will be rolled out at the same time – so $225 million is available now for partnership projects right across Australia.

The Administrator Neil Pope welcomed the announcement and will work with the Norfolk Island Government to deliver much wanted infrastructure projects to help stimulate the economy.

“The guidelines specifically mention Norfolk Island for the first time. Prior to these two rounds we have not been eligible to apply,” said His Honour.

The guidelines state: “Given that Norfolk Island is not covered by an RDA committee, the Norfolk Island Government may submit one expression of interest (EOI) and application to each of Rounds Three and Four. The EOI and application will be submitted directly to the Department, and will progress through the assessment process.”

RDAF will continue to drive a cultural change in regional funding by focusing on priorities of persistence and projects that stack-up, partnership and leverage, and regional reach.

Mr Crean said the Federal Government has improved the RDAF guidelines to make it easier to apply and broaden the sorts of projects which can be funded.

“Round three will directly address feedback from communities by targeting $50 million – in grants of between $50,000 and $500,000 – for projects in towns with a population of 30,000 or less,” he said.

“Round four will see $175 million allocated through grants of between $500,000 and $15 million to deliver priority regional infrastructure in partnership with funding from state and local governments, and the private sector.

“We will aim to allocate at least $40 million to arts and culture projects in rounds three and four – the amount provided to the sector in rounds one and two.”

Mr Crean reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to partnership projects that provide an investment multiplier.

“The first two rounds of RDAF invested $350 million in 81 projects with a total leveraged value of $1.2 billion – that’s a partnership multiplier of up to one to four,” he said.

 “Regional communities understand the benefits of joining the dots and building strong investment partnerships with the three levels of government, and in some cases, the private sector.”

Neil Pope

Administrator

1 Novemberer 2012

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ANZAC DAY 2015 AT GALLIPOLI – COMMUNITY FORUM


2015 will be an important period of commemoration for Australia, as we mark 100 years since the original ANZACS landed on the shores of Gallipoli.

The ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Gallipoli is expected to attract large interest from Australians across the nation, however, there are constraints that will mean not everyone who wants to attend will be able to.

The Australian Government has opened a period of public consultation asking the community to consider how the nation can be represented at Gallipoli on ANZAC Day in 2015.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will also be holding a community forum in the Norfolk Island RSL Club on Sunday, 14 October 2012, at 3:30pm and all interested members of the community are invited to attend.

For further information visit www.gallipoli2015.dva.gov.au.

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ADMINISTRATOR’S UPDATE



Barges/Piers Scoping Study

The Federal Government have commissioned resources and energy company WorleyParsons to do a scoping study of barges/piers on Norfolk Island for the possibility of landing cruise ship passengers and containerisation.


Many on the Island may recall Simon Batt who lived on the Island whilst supervising the refurbishment of Kingston Pier five or six years ago.


Simon is now the Harbours Manager in the Ports and Marine Terminals area of WorleyParsons. He was on Island for the week and met with the Administrator and staff, the Norfolk Island Government and Administration, the Barge Working Group, lighterage and stevedore representatives, shipping agents and the cruise ship ground handling agent.

“It was good to have someone commissioned who has the expertise on the issues confronting Norfolk Island,” said His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope.


“The Federal Minister Simon Crean has taken personal interest into the issues of landing passengers and freight on the Island.”


The scope of Simon Batt’s work is to present a report to the Federal Department of Regional Australia and the Minister detailing the order of costs and feasibility concerns in unloading passengers and freight safely.


Emphasis of his investigation will be on the costs of any possible upgrade of Cascade pier, crane capacity, roadworks etc.


Neil Pope

Administrator

5 September 2012

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SIX MONTH REFLECTIONS




On Monday 1st October I have been in the position of Administrator of Norfolk Island for six months. There are times that Jen and I feel that we have been here for years, such has been the warmth of this community in embracing us.


When we decided to take the position here we did so with eyes wide open as we had read, googled and youtubed everything we could about Norfolk and its community. I even read most of the Hansards of every sitting day of the Assembly for the previous 12 months! That still did not prepare us for the beauty of the Island and the amazing community that we have joined.


Last week Jen and I had further medical checks in Melbourne from the traumatic accident we had nearly 12 months ago; it also gave me the opportunity to catch up with Minister Simon Crean.


On the way to Melbourne airport I said to Jen are you happy to be returning to Norfolk after only a week away, and I received the response “I cannot wait to return home.” Definitely a sentiment that I shared.


The last six months have not been an easy time for the Island with low visitor numbers and primary breadwinners leaving the Island to work on the mainland. There is also the uncertainty of when change will occur with respect to the introduction of the taxation system and the social package that accompanies it.


I have tried through regular updates and radio interviews to keep everyone informed, and recently had the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Regional Australia here to discuss progress with the Norfolk Island Government.


It is true that things do move slowly, but I expect that in the next 6 to 8 weeks we will have a much clearer picture of future governance arrangements and a timetable for change.

During our 6 months here we have had 38 friends and relatives visit us who would probably have never thought of visiting this Island. Every one of them has loved it and returned to Melbourne and told others that it is a must to visit. At times I joke with Jen that she has become the “Retail Stimulus Package.”


There are so many highlights in our short time here, but a few are:

  • Having dinner with all the year 12 students at Government House.
  • Engaging with the entire community, and being invited to many of your homes.
  • Being part of an efficient and very happy office with Keith, Ginny, Anne and Barb.
  • Being able to share your Government House with many residents by way of receptions, and tourists through increased number of Open Days.
  • Our staff at Government House is fantastic.
  • Whilst it has been a pity to have attended so many funerals, Jen and I think your farewell to those who have departed this life is so special.
  • A further highlight for us was joining and assisting the women in preparing the wreaths, and listening to their repartee. I think my wreath was better than Jen’s!
  • Discovering the amazing food and dining at some great restaurants.

Jen and I look forward to working with the Norfolk Island Government and the local community over coming months to assist in addressing the important issues we are facing.


Neil Pope

Administrator

5 October 2012

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JOINT STATEMENT FROM ADMINISTRATOR AND CHIEF MINISTER



During this week the Deputy Secretary Mr Dan O’Brien and the Assistant Secretary Mr Bruce Taloni from the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts & Sport (DRALGAS) have been visiting the island for a series of meetings with senior officers and the Government. The objective of the visit was to share information on the progress of the Norfolk Island Government’s submissions for long-term sustainability under the Roadmap and representations for short-term financial assistance to provide essential services.


It was the second visit to the island by Mr O’Brien and the first visit by Mr Taloni.  As the Assistant Secretary of the Regional Policy Coordination Branch of the department Mr Taloni has been tasked with coordinating across the Australian Government the responses to the Roadmap reform program.


The discussions centred on the governance arrangements for the future, the present state of the Norfolk Island economy and the current budgetary pressures of the Administration.

Chief Minister Buffett again outlined to the visitors the dire economic times that the Island continues to face and re-emphasised the Island’s commitment to enter into the Australian Taxation System, including the GST regime along with also entering into the Australian Safety Net.


Mr O’Brien explained that the situation in Canberra was also very difficult financially and that Minister Crean and the Department were committed to the Roadmap Reforms.  He went on to commend the Norfolk Island Government on its local reforms to date as well as the Motion passed at the July Assembly Sitting.


The full details of the governance arrangements will require more discussion and consultation between the two governments and community over the next few months.

On the issue of a further funding agreement to sustain the Administration’s budget shortfall all parties agreed to enter into discussions in the next few weeks.  However it was stated by the Deputy Secretary that the Federal Government would like to see more movement with respect to immigration, the introduction of property taxes, more deregulation, including divestment of selected Government Business Enterprises and changes to the Public Sector Management Act


Neil Pope                                                                                David Buffett

Administrator                                                                          Chief Minister

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS




Australian Government Grants to Voluntary Environment, Sustainability and Heritage Organisations program


His Honour the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope would like to inform the community that the 2012-13 funding round under the Australian Government’s Grants to Voluntary Environment, Sustainability and Heritage Organisations (GVESHO)program is now open.


‘This program helps fund community-based not-for-profit organisations to harness the energy, experience and hands-on expertise of their members to work towards more sustainable management of Australia’s natural and environmental resources and cultural heritage,’ said Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.


Funds of over $1.3 million have been made available for allocation in 2012-13 to eligible organisations under GVESHO.


The purpose of the grant is to assist eligible environment, sustainability and heritage organisations by contributing to their administrative costs.


Administrative costs may include, but not be limited to:  salaries and salary on-costs, office accommodation and utility charges.


Further information about GVESHO, including the program guidelines and application form, are available at:  www.environment.gov.au/about/programs.gvesho.


Program contact details are:  telephone 1800 003 562 and email gvesho@environment.gov.au.


The closing date for applications is 5 pm (AEST), Friday, 14 September 2012.

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GRANTS TRAINING FOR NORFOLK ISLAND



The Office of the Administrator advises there are places available for the upcoming grants training.  Persons interested in participating should contact Ginny Maidment, Community Liaison Officer on
ginny.maidment@regional.gov.au or phone 22152.

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2012 TOON BUFFETT ENVIRONMENT TRUST GRANTS AWARDED




His Honour the Administrator Neil Pope and his wife Jen hosted a reception at Government House on Thursday this week for the presentation of the 2012 Toon Buffett Environment Trust grants awarded in memory of the late Toon Buffett.

The Toon Buffett Trust was established with monies received by the Australian Government from the proceeds of freeholding what was previously Crown Land on Norfolk Island, and paid into a Fund established by the Australian and Norfolk Island Government to protect and conserve Norfolk Island’s environment, its heritage or to improve land management generally. 


In his welcoming remarks Mr. Pope said: 


“I congratulate all this year’s recipients of grants and thank the Trustees and especially the Advisory Committee who have the difficult task of assessing the applications.” 


 “However having personally viewed work of two of this year’s recipients Duncan and Mollie Sanderson and Ria Howell, it is an absolute pleasure to see the tremendous work that they have achieved with help from the Trust, and I am sure not an onerous task by the Trustees and Advisory Committee having walked through their properties.” 


Minister Tim Sheridan explained that this was the sixth round of projects that have been funded and this was the most competitive ever, with 18 applications received, the highest number ever. 


The Administrator and Minister both congratulated the Advisory Panel of Margaret Christian, Shelley Buffett, Rosemary Hollow and Alison Archer. 


In total there was  $77,309 presented to the following: 


Glenn Tardy Evans
Weed clearance from creek at Portion 65h4 Rooty Hill Road 


Graeme Woolley 

Weed clearance from creek at Portion 65i1 Rooty Hill Road 


Duncan Sanderson 

Protect and manage remnant biodiversity in the Bloody Bridge Catchment area (Portions 66e1, 66e2, 66j, 66o, 66n, 66k & 66h Rooty Hill Road) by increasing native planting, improving water quality, control noxious weeds and feral animals. 


Michelle & Cheryl LeCren 

Removal of Camphor Laurel trees, a toxic weed, from Portion 23d Grassy Road 


India Ashley Pereira 

Remove weeds and plant native vegetation to provide habitat for native flora and fauna at a property adjoining the National Park at Portion 128e Mount Pitt Road 


Ria Howell 

Protect and enhance remnant Mission Road rainforest by erecting stock-proof fencing to enable further weed management and planting of native vegetation, at Portion 149j Mission Road 


Scott Greenwood 

Restore and enhance remnant rainforest through weed control, enrichment planting, feral animal control and ongoing maintenance at Portions 111c1 & 111d1 Captain Cook Road 


Jo & Jonathan Snell 

Establish a native plant community to stabilise soil, create connectivity with adjacent landholdings, control invasive weeds and feral pests, increase habitat for native bird species, at Portion 5g2 Cascade Road 


Minister Sheridan also announced two inaugural winners of awards for excellence in preserving and enhancing the natural environment of Norfolk Island, they being awarded to Ria Howell and Duncan and Mollie Sanderson. 


A seventh round of applications will be called for next year.

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BRAVERY AWARDS




On the 18th November 2009 a number of residents of Norfolk Island co-operated together in saving the lives of 6 survivors following the ditching of a Pel Air jet approximately 6 kilometres west of Norfolk Island.


Fifty two people have been recognised for their efforts on that night, 15 with a Bronze medal or clasp to a previous awarded bronze medal and a further 37 with letters of commendation.

All the recipients of the bravery awards and letters of commendation from the Royal Humane Society of Australasia have been notified in the last week.


“Jen and I in recognition of the efforts of those recipients will be presenting the bravery awards and letters of commendation at a Government House reception in coming weeks,” said the Administrator the Honourable Neil Pope.


“It is so typical of the community of this Island that on such a bad night there was no hesitation by many to get their craft in the rough seas with all six persons on board being rescued within approximately 90 minutes of the ditching. Those rescued were the pilot, co pilot, nurse, doctor, patient and patient’s husband.”

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GRANT APPLICATION TRAINING


The ability to attract grant money to Norfolk Island has been hampered by a number of factors such as eligibility, awareness of what grant monies are available and the skills required for putting a successful application together.

In May of this year a number of Administration staff attended a grant writing training course in Melbourne.  I understand the group thought the training very worthwhile and raised the possibility it being delivered on Norfolk Island


The Administrator, Neil Pope, is now pleased to confirm his Office is currently making arrangements for grant application training to be delivered on Island from 11-13 September.

The training will target representatives from organisations in the non-government sector and is being co-ordinated by the Community Liaison Officer, Ms Ginny Maidment,’ said Mr Pope.

The grant application training will be delivered over the two days, 11 and 12 September.  Participants will be able to take part in the morning session from 8.30 am-12.30 pm or the evening session from 5.00-7.30 pm.


The training will enable participants to prepare a grant application.  It will cover:  organisational strategic planning; finding, applying and managing a grant; and forming funding partnerships.

For people wanting to take the next step, a practical hands-on session will be held on 13 September from 8.30 am-12.30 pm.  Putting the theory into practice, participants will prepare a grant application and receive advice and feedback.

‘The purpose of the training is obviously to increase Norfolk Island community’s participation in mainland grants funding opportunities,’ said Mr Pope.

Interested persons should contact Ginny and advise preferred sessions by close of business on Friday, 24 August.  Her contact details are 22152 or 56771.

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ADMINISTRATOR'S UPDATE ON ROADMAP


As mentioned in other updates the Federal Department of Regional Australia has been working for some time on governance and taxation models for Norfolk Island. 


In May of this year a secondee from the Australian Taxation Office was on Island to discuss the work that he was embarking on, that is, modelling taxation with various governance models. 

This work continues to progress and constructive discussions are occurring across the Commonwealth.  

In the coming months the Federal Government will be discussing the progress of this work directly with the Norfolk Island Government. 

The reform agenda is crucial to the long term sustainability of Norfolk Island. This is not about undermining the cultural heritage of this Island, it is about ensuring that residents of Norfolk Island have access to those issues that other Australians on the mainland take for granted. 

Of course it involves accepting aspects of Federal, State and Local Government tax issues. These issues will be part of the discussions to occur in the near future. However they will and should occur with full transparency. 

Naturally there are residents on this Island that are anxious and hesitant as to what this will mean. I will continue throughout this process to be as communicative as possible of the implications. Without change and an influx of tourists Norfolk Island is not sustainable. 

The issue is to ensure that the change does not affect the wonderful history, culture and community spirit that Jen and I have witnessed on this Island. 

We cannot afford to see residents leave for the mainland either as the primary breadwinner or even worse taking their family with them. 

Possibly some of the issues that must be confronted by the Norfolk Island Government are not the most palatable, but unfortunately that is the reality of ensuring long term sustainability.



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'CARING FOR OUR COUNTRY’ NEW STRATEGY RELEASED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT




The Australian Government invites the community to help shape the next phase of Caring for Our Country by participating in a round of public consultation on the recently released framework for future delivery of the initiative.

“I understand Norfolk Island has had been able to access funding under this initiative in the past.  It is important that interested parties avail themselves of the opportunity to give feedback on the new strategy for Caring for our Country,” said the Administrator, Mr Neil Pope.

The following is an extract of the relevant Ministers’ press release.

A broad framework for the next five years of the Caring for our Country initiative has been set out with a new strategy released for public comment.

Issued jointly by the Minister for Environment, Tony Burke, and Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig, An Outline for the Future will now form the basis for community feedback over the coming eight weeks.


Mr Burke said through Caring for our Country, funding had been allocated to provide a healthy and more resilient environment through the work of volunteers, farmers and community groups.

An Outline for the Future document sets out the strategic objectives for the second five year phase of Caring for our Country to ensure Australia’s environmental assets are conserved, resilient and healthy, and our agricultural base is sustainable, productive and resilient,” Mr Burke said.


“These objectives have been developed after extensive consultation with the community and reflect national and community priorities for natural resource management across Australia.


“I encourage all stakeholders to have their say to ensure the design of the new program is robust and reflects the knowledge and experience of the community.”


Senator Ludwig said consultation would run until 15 August and include stakeholder forums and meetings and the release of discussion papers through a dedicated online forum.


“Over the next five years Caring for our Country will continue to invest in successful elements of the current initiative, focus on emerging priorities, and help combat new incursions of pests, weeds and disease,” Senator Ludwig said.


“We know that those Australians who live and work on the land have the best understanding of how to take care of it.

“That’s why community engagement is such an important part of shaping the next stage of Caring for our Country and ultimately its success.”


Comments will be accepted until 15 August and the strategy can be accessed at this website -
http://caringforourcountryreview.com.au/document/index/1

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$2.9 MILLION FOR NORFOLK ISLAND ... by Hon Simon Crean MP


Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean today announced $2.9 million in 2012-13 Budget funding for Norfolk Island.

 

Mr Crean said the funding boost would continue to drive the reform process that the Australian and Norfolk Island governments were undertaking to build a more sustainable future for the Island.

 

“Together, our governments are delivering a Roadmap to strength Norfolk Island’s economic diversity, social cohesion and unique heritage and environment.

 

“Our goal is to build strong partnerships to preserve Norfolk's unique character and customs while ensuring a standard of living comparable with the mainland.

 

“This funding will allow us to review and create long-term plans for health services, develop a strategic community plan and deliver environmental management that protects the Island’s tourism opportunities.

 

“Through these and other initiatives, we are continuing to make significant progress in strengthening Norfolk Island's economy and community.

 

“This is about building long-term opportunities for growth and prosperity for the people of Norfolk Island.

 

“The Roadmap is on track and progressing well and I look forward to seeing even greater progress in the year ahead.”

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FEDERAL BUDGET HAS $2.9 MILLION FOR NORFOLK ISLAND ... Neil Pope, Administrator




The Federal budget released on Tuesday night has addressed some of the issues emanating from the Roadmap.

As most are aware Norfolk Island is outside the quarantine and border security zone and thus the inconvenience of Australian citizens from the mainland having to carry a passport is a disincentive to tourism.

In the Roadmap it states:

“Implement changes to the immigration, customs and quarantine regimes to reduce barriers to tourism and other investment.”

The Federal budget has delivered $1.5 million to complete a pest and disease survey over 2 years. This is essential to eliminate one of the most significant barriers to travel.

Other measures in the budget include:

  • $0.3 million to implement recommendations from the Economic Development Report, in particular to assist with the divestment program outlined by the NIG.
  • Measures to review and revive the provision of Norfolk Island health services, and create a long term plan for the future, including:
    • $0.1 million to complete a review of the services provided by the Norfolk Island hospital;
    • $0.1 million to develop a strategic community plan
    • Measures to protect and enhance Australian assets and assist the Norfolk Island community in contemporary waste management, including:
      • $0.1 million to improve the tourist experience in KAVHA
      • $0.2 million to develop a waste management strategy, implementation and action plan
      • Measures to improve opportunities to access health and wellbeing funding programs available to mainland states and territories.

 

Apart from the federal budget initiatives there has been a lot more work on gaining an understanding between the two Governments on where we are on the Roadmap.

Commencing on the 2nd May I have facilitated meetings over the last two weeks between the Australian Government Departmental officials and Norfolk Island Administration officials on issues from the Roadmap.

The discussions have been very frank and constructive. The following matters were discussed:

  • Update on Roadmap
  • Australian Government’s response to NIG’s revenue options paper.
  • Role of the Capacity Building Team
  • Role of the Commonwealth Finance Officer.
  • Economic Development Report
  • NIG’s Competition Investment Policy
  • Public Service Review

In addition there were site visits to Telecom, Waste Management Centre and the Airport. A KAVHA Board meeting was also convened on Monday 7 May.

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NORFOLK ISLAND RESIDENTS INVITED TO MEET WITH FEDERAL MEMBER GAI BRODTMANN


Norfolk Island residents will have a chance to meet with the Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, when she travels to the island later this month.

The Canberra electorate covers Norfolk Island and this will be Ms Brodtmann’s fourth visit since she was elected in 2010.

If you are interested in speaking to Ms Brodtmann while she is visiting, you can make an appointment to see her on Thursday 29 March by contacting her office.

On Thursday 29 March, 15 minute appointments are available to meet with Ms Brodtmann at the Governor’s Lodge.
•Between 9am and 12noon

Between 2pm and 4pm

To make an appointment please contact Julie Burns by email: Julie.Burns@aph.gov.au.

Ms Brodtmann said she was looking forward to the visit, thanking the outgoing Administrator Owen Walsh, and speaking to locals about issues of concern.

“This visit will be a great chance for members of the Norfolk Island community to tell me what sort of future they see for the island, and what I can do to help improve infrastructure and assist with the island’s economic reform,” said Ms Brodtmann.

“I am really looking forward to this visit, and I urge anyone who is keen to have a chat to contact my office and arrange a time.”

Ms Brodtmann has a number of other activities planned during her trip including meeting Members of the Legislative Assembly, presenting School Legend Awards at Norfolk Island Central School, visiting the hospital and touring the national park.

MEDIA CONTACT: Claire Johnston 00 +61 452 597 459

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ADMINISTRATOR WELCOMES SECRETARY BEAUCHAMP



A reception was hosted by His Honour the Administrator and Mrs Walsh on Thursday evening at Government House for Ms Glenys Beauchamp, the Secretary of Minister Simon Crean’s Department. Chief Minister David Buffett, Minister Andre Nobbs and Members of the Legislative Assembly joined other community guests in welcoming Ms Beauchamp to Norfolk Island. 

“Bianca and I are very pleased to welcome Secretary Beauchamp to Norfolk Island on her first visit and appreciate her finding time in a demanding schedule to visit and get to know the island and its people first hand”, Mr Walsh said.

The Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government was established in September 2010 to lead and drive the Australian Government’s commitments to regional Australia and to provide a voice for regional and remote communities in whole-of-government policy development and program delivery.

His Honour acknowledged the important partnership between Ms Beauchamp’s Department and the Norfolk Island Government and what that partnership had achieved for the community in a short period of time. 

“In the 18 months since the Norfolk Island Government first signalled its need for financial assistance, a huge amount of work has been undertaken by the Government and the Department including development of the Road Map, Funding Agreements, and important reviews and studies aimed at securing a sustainable future for Norfolk Island.” Mr Walsh said.

“I particularly commend Ms Beauchamp and her officers for their hard work in securing $19 million for Norfolk Island despite a very tight budgetary environment in Canberra. That funding has and will guarantee the continued delivery of essential services to our community”, Mr Walsh said.

Ms Beauchamp was accompanied by Ms Gillian Savage, First Assistant Secretary of the Norfolk Island Reform Taskforce, on a two day visit where they met with the Government, Assembly members and a number of community interest groups, as well as seeing a few of the island’s iconic landmarks, including the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area.

In responding to the Administrator’s welcome, Ms Beauchamp emphasised the role of the Norfolk Island community in the reform process and in determining Norfolk’s future: “Minister Crean’s priorities for regional Australia, including Norfolk Island, are clear. His guiding principles are first and foremost that ‘localism’, that is, genuine local consensus on what is best for the community, is far more likely to deliver real outcomes than anything else. Secondly, he knows that economic diversification is the cornerstone of sustainable prosperity, self-sufficiency and, ultimately, community confidence and achievement. 

“We take those principles very seriously in developing advice to the Minister on the best short and long term investment options available to deliver real social and economic returns for the residents of Norfolk Island”, she said.

Mr Walsh also said: “Norfolk Island is facing real economic challenges at this time, with many residents concerned about the future. However, both the Australian and Norfolk Island Governments are responding to meet these challenges and to assist the community. Their commitment to work together to deliver a sustainable future for Norfolk Island, Norfolk’s great potential as a tourist destination and its wonderful community spirit and drive all point to a positive future.”

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POSITIONS VACANT


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UPCOMING TENDER OPPORTUNITY: AIR SERVICE PROVIDER


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UPCOMING TENDER OPPORTUNITY: AIR SERVICE PROVIDER


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