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It is a no brainer

Thursday, April 11, 2019


Dear Editor


Our friends from ThinkPlace have been sent on a mission by DIRDC to develop a framework for community consultation.


The answer is simple. Consultation should begin at the Ballot Box.


Allow the people of Norfolk Island to vote for their own government, and allow their elected representatives to make decisions on the matters that are currently handled (very badly) by DIRDC.


Problem solved. It is a no-brainer.


Yours etc

Mary Christian-Bailey

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The Norfolk Island Regional Council General Manager (Gm) Believes She Has The Right To Dictate Which Groups Are To Be Part Of Norfolk United Group (Nug)

Friday, March 22, 2019


THE NORFOLK ISLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL GENERAL MANAGER (GM) BELIEVES SHE HAS THE RIGHT TO DICTATE WHICH GROUPS ARE TO BE PART OF NORFOLK UNITED GROUP (NUG)


The GM declined to accept the NUG written invitation of 14 March 2019 (with copy to Mr Bruce Taylor) to the public meeting held on 18 March 2019 to discuss the crane/shipping and rock situation, without even the courtesy of a response to the invitation.   A email from the Mayor states:


“I have consulted with Councillors who are on island – Crs McCoy and Snell – and we are agreed that your  interests would be better served by seeking a meeting with the General Manager and Group Manager Services Mr Bruce Taylor in the first instance.  You will then get answers to your concerns first hand; answers that Councillors will not necessarily be able to provide to you when they are operational in nature.  The elected members gave instructions re the relief crane and the purchase of a new crane  through a recommendation  to the operational arm on 1 February 2019.  I have provided you with a copy of that recommendation and the media release titled Lighterage Report - and I understand Group Manager Services has given an undertaking to you to provide further information after discussion with the lessor of the relief crane.”


As a follow up to the public meeting, the NUG scheduled a meeting with the GM for 21 March 2019 to address important questions from the community around the unacceptable crane/shipping debacle and the rock situation.


A day prior to the meeting on 20 March 2018, NUG made it very clear in writing that it did not accept the written conditions laid out by the GM regarding the maximum number, organisational representation and composition of the NUG group that was planning to meet with her. The NUG informed the GM of seven proposed attendee names, plus the possibility of 2 or 3 more to be added.


When a group of 8 representatives showed up for the scheduled meeting, the GM refused in a rude and discourteous manner to meet with them, as she stated that her conditions were not met for the maximum number and the specific organisations to be represented by the NUG delegation. Clearly, the conditions dictated to by the GM were more important to her than actually using the opportunity to address the community issues.


NUG now publicly requests the General Manager to urgently explain in writing her inappropriate behaviour and attitude towards members of the public because it is not acceptable.


NUG would like to remind the General Manager and Councillors of the following extracts from the Norfolk Island Regional Council – Code of Conducted adopted 6 July 2016, Resolution 6/16, as follows:

Introduction:  Councillors, administrators, members of staff of council, independent conduct reviewers, members of council committees including a conduct review committee and delegates of the council must comply with the applicable provisions of council’s code of conduct in carrying out their functions as council officials. It is the personal responsibility of council officials to comply with the standards in the code and regularly review their personal circumstances with this in mind.


Failure by a member of staff to comply with council’s code of conduct may give rise to disciplinary action.


General conduct

You must not conduct yourself in carrying out your functions in a manner that is likely to bring the council or holders of civic office into disrepute. Specifically, you must not act in a way that:

a) contravenes the Act, associated regulations, council’s relevant administrative requirements and policies

b) is detrimental to the pursuit of the charter of a council

c) is improper or unethical

d) is an abuse of power or otherwise amounts to misconduct

e) causes, comprises or involves intimidation, harassment or verbal abuse

f) causes, comprises or involves discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to employment

g) causes, comprises or involves prejudice in the provision of a service to the community. (Schedule 6A)

3.2 You must act lawfully, honestly and exercise a reasonable degree of care and diligence in carrying out your functions under the Act or any other Act. (section 439)

3.3 You must treat others with respect at all times.


Norfolk United Group

21 March 2019

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Community Meeting

Friday, March 22, 2019


NORFOLK UNITED GROUP (NUG) WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU TO THE NORFOLK COMMUNITY FOR COMING TO THE PUBLIC MEETING ON MONDAY NIGHT AND ASKING QUESTIONS OF THE MAYOR, COUNCILLOR SNELL AND COUNCILLOR MCCOY.  NUG THANKS COUNCILLORS FOR ATTENDING.


THERE WERE MANY POSITIVE AND URGENT ANSWERS REQUIRED TO QUESTIONS ASKED WHICH WERE TO BE THEN DISCUSSED WITH THE GENERAL MANAGER AND NIRC STAFF.  UNFORTUNATELY THE GENERAL MANAGER DECIDED WHO SHE THOUGHT WAS TO BE PART OF THE NUG GROUP SO THE MEETING WITH HER DID NOT TAKE PLACE.


NUG IS FOLLOWING THIS SERIOUS MATTER UP URGENTLY WITH COUNCILLORS AND WILL UPDATE YOU ALL AFTER A MEETING WITH COUNCILLORS.


THANK YOU ALL FOR THE DONATION OF PAYING FOR THE VENUE - THE $300.00 PAYMENT WAS RAISED.

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Inappropriate Behaviour by the General Manager

Friday, March 22, 2019


Dear Mayor and Councillors,


As outlined to you all in previous email correspondence from the Norfolk United Group, the level of inappropriate behaviour and unprofessional actions displayed by the General Manager, Norfolk Island Regional Council, Ms Lotta Jackson, today towards members of the Norfolk United Group raises questions of her Code of Conduct and her ability to maturely, intelligently and rationally work, consult and collaborate with the more diverse and self-regulated community groups on Norfolk Island.


Therefore, on behalf of Chamber members, I wish to request a meeting next week with each of you and the Chamber Committee to discuss the seriousness of the General Manager's behaviour and actions today; as no community group based on volunteers with local membership (residents) should be subjected to such blatant rudeness and disrespect.  


It would be appreciated if you would confirm a meeting date and time by return email as soon as possible.


Kind regards,

Cherri Buffett

President

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Airport Questions

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Sir,


An interesting meeting last Monday evening convened by Norfolk United Group?


However, most attendees left with still too many questions yet to be adequately answered.


Among the many, there are some quite crucial questions in relation to the Airport Upgrade and Tender deserving of an immediate response, listed below.


NOTE:  These were some of the questions the NUG Group were to have raised with the Council General Manager and Bruce Taylor at a pre-arranged meeting on Thursday 21st.


Astonishingly, in an arrogant manner and spate of rudeness, the General Manager refused to admit us into her office, claiming the number of participants had exceeded her desired number!!

  1. Given the ‘difficulties’ in past years with both the dictates and advisings from the Dept of Aviation and CASA in respect of the Norfolk Island Airport -

To what extent has the Council engaged, if at all,  consultant expertise to assist them with the determining of ALL matters relative to the imminent Airport Runway re-surfacing Project, INCLUDING the assessment of, and advice in relation to,  the various Tenders, and advice in respect of potential cost over-runs?

  1. As Terence Grube commented during the NUG Meeting, the 2nd Runway is seldom used, and thus the obvious question arising,  is –

WHY was/is this 2nd runway re-surfacing being included in the current tender, when this runway (excluding the piece leading to the Terminal from the cross-over) is so under-utilised? 

It is a good argument for removing it from the tender, thus saving thousands of tonnes of crushed rock from the outset? Consideration, other than any urgent patching, could be deferred to a future time?

  1. The Council has been foisted the responsibility of paying any cost over-run with the Airport Runway re-surface, beyond those funds allocated. (A VERY unwise position to have signed off against, given the history of major project cost over-runs as being almost the ‘norm’).

WHY was the cost overrun responsibility so readily accepted, given the potential risk attached?

WHY then is the Mayor not the signatory to the Tender, given that it will be the Councillors who will be answerable to the local taxpayers should further (cost over-run) funds need to be raised from them? 


And please don’t tell us it is because operational matters are the exclusive purview of the Council Administration arm, when such a matter is of such vital importance!


  1. The Administrator recently returned from meetings in Canberra, among them a meeting that included discussion about the Airport Upgrade Project.

WAS the Council General Manager, the Mayor, or any other officer invited to be present at this important meeting, and if not, has this serious omission been raised with the Administrator and/or DIRDC ?

  1. In a Press Release in the “Islander” of16/3/19, the Administrator stated,

“No significant development application has been received from either the Council or a private entity to source rock specifically for the Airport resurfacing”.


At the NUG meeting, the Mayor advised that Minister Ley WAS aware of a Significant Development Application that INCLUDED reference to rock required for the Airport runway resurface.


In view of the importance, AND diminishing timeframe in relation to gaining the approval to mine rock from appropriate sites, who is correct?  IF the Mayor is correct (and we believe so), WILL there be a retraction or correction sought from the Administrator?


Perhaps we shall all be better informed if the answers appear in next Saturday’s “Online”?


Yours etc.,

Geoff B.

 

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THE CRANE & SHIPPING DEBACLE!

Friday, March 15, 2019


Sir,


Why has there NOT been an immediate & formal inquiry into the current shipping debacle?


Why have our elected Councillors not stepped forward to take charge of the serious situation Norfolk now finds itself in?


Who is taking responsibility for the massive losses befalling the shipping companies and local businesses, AND more importantly, the potential loss of a shipping service?


Who is ‘taking the lead’ in endeavouring to get the urgently needed cargo back to Norfolk?


And, who is to cover the heavy cost of losses and damage to, particularly, liquor and grocery consignments when this cargo is first discharged in Auckland; stored; and re-loaded onto another ship that becomes available?  History provides evidence of substantial loss & damage occurring on previous occasions when cargo ‘sails’ from Norfolk without being discharged!  (There is NO affordable insurance cover available for such losses!)


WHAT is the real story with the cranes?


How on earth did Norfolk get to the stage where neither of the two cranes became operational or serviceable?  This has never before occurred in most memories, at least NOT during the period Norfolk locals had control of such important equipment and service delivery!


Who had the ultimate responsibility, and what were the chain of events and considerations that led to the expensive crane-hire?   And, what was Plan B, if any??


Why was the advice of ‘locals’ not heeded? 


What actions were taken (or NOT taken) to get at least one of our cranes in a condition that would allow discharge at the very least at Kingston?

Why did it take so long to finally get discharge operations underway at Kingston when very favourable sea conditions had been present?


WHEN was the offer of the use of the Franna crane received, and why did it take so long to agree to and put the Franna to use?


Has our secretive and seemingly non-accountable NIRC “Operational Team” let the side down, and are they now attempting to sweep the matter (the issues) ‘under the carpet’?  


An apparent level of incompetency in the decision-making process is now having a seriously impact on many.


Poor decision making; procrastination; and failure (again!!) to listen to the advice of locals; appears to have all contributed to what now has evolved into somewhat of a crises.


If you think it was bad enough that the Operational Council decision-makers failed to ensure that there was at least one crane that was serviceable, think again.


That the offer of the use of the Franna was deferred, is extraordinary in itself.


Its delayed usage formed part of the reason why the “Southern Tiare” was not fully discharged. Whilst not ignoring the fact that the ship itself had defective lifting gear, had the discharge using the Franna occurred days  earlier, the option to use the ship’s booms to move cargo from the lower hold to the tween-deck, COULD HAVE been achieved before the weather again deteriorated, or so we are led to believe? 


Finally, who in fact is the ‘Officer-in-Charge’, the go-to person, the decision-maker in the setup – Commonwealth, NIRC, or whoever -  to whom one can raise issue with, and/or negotiate outcomes?   It has been said that it is like a revolving door, with the ‘buck’ being passed from one entity or person, to another?  No-one seems to have the ultimate responsibility for discharge operations, or prepared to take ANY responsibility??


The eventual outcome of this debacle will undoubtedly see increased Freight Rates and prices, being the only means available to amortise the hundreds of thousands of dollars that this ‘disaster’ will potentially cost! 


Regrettably, these will be cost increases that the people of Norfolk Island will bear from this point onwards.   Freight Rates DO NOT ever decrease!!


Let’s now have some truth, and some acceptance of both responsibility and liability!!!


COME ON COUNCILLORS – as our only elected representatives, we implore you to take ownership of the issue, and to drive both an immediate inquiry, AND the solutions, because, at this time of writing, we are told that the soonest cargo can be returned to Norfolk will be aboard the “Capitaine Wallis” but unlikely before mid-April!!!


Yours etc.,

Geoff B.

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A visitor’s observations

Thursday, March 14, 2019


I enjoyed my time on Norfolk and say thank you to each and every one of you for the rewarding experiences and memories that I was able to take with me.


There appears to be two types of visitors—The “Two days, and I am bored” type and the “Impressed and interested”. The latter is drawn into the unique culture, the strength and commitment of the Norfolk people to a way of life that has endured and developed through the centuries.

As a member of the “Impressed and interested” group it seems that the political reality of new management threatens the very culture and way of life for many residents.  There are many examples worldwide of cultures that have been destroyed by forced changes by “those” who claim to offer a better lifestyle and future.


Are there ways to ensure that the people of Norfolk do have a realistic say in their future? Too often the ordinary person feels that their thoughts and concerns have little input in developing the big picture. There are a myriad of minor factors that have created the Norfolk culture. Each one is an interrelated and important part of the cultural belief system.  The main issue is to be able to focus on changes that may impact on the culture that has been the basis for the accepted rules for the Norfolk Islanders (ie. No crime, A work ethic of sharing and caring, A policy to retain the Norfolk pines in the ground, Safe boat unloading practices, access to medical services, no poker machines,  Etc. Etc.).


Success may be achieved if the “rules” for the people of Norfolk Island identify what are the critical factors that must be retained to keep your unique and happy way of life.


 You, the people of Norfolk Island, are experiencing the greatest challenge that your Island has ever faced. A committed and unified voice of the people to present cogent arguments about “imposed” changes is an absolute must. A valid suggestion developed by the people is more likely to bring about successful change.


You have among you some of the smartest people on Earth who have ensured that you all enjoy a unique and very safe way of life. This is the greatest draw card you have for bringing tourists to your Norfolk.


Many thanks

Ray Troyahn

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Norfolk Island land Sales and the Ballot Box

Friday, March 08, 2019




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Norfolk Island Hospital

Friday, March 01, 2019




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Airport Overlay Upgrade - Vote of No Confidence

Friday, February 22, 2019



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