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Rock Update - 12 July 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

Well, we all know we have lost the fight as far as local jobs and local rock are concerned. It’s no secret that Boral will be using minimal local labour and they are bringing in imported rock, as well as their own equipment.

However, the fight for the protection of our environment is far from over!

According to experts, the processes and treatments of these imported products is required to be open and transparent. My interpretation of this statement is that we, the community, should be aware of all procedures be put in place to safeguard our environment.

We may be considered a part of Australia for political reasons, but on an environmental level, we are radically different. We don’t have snakes, cane toads, midgies, fire ants and various other toxic vermin over here. Some of the noxious weeds readily available in Australia are not present here. The differences in our ecosystem, environment and climate are too numerous to mention. We must remember a harmless weed in some areas of the world can have a devastating affect in others.

Our island has remained free of these potentially dangerous weeds, pests and pathogens. We have monitored what has come into the island and been aware of any potential effects on our environment. It is no accident that Norfolk Island has been looked after so well. I am not saying we had a perfect score, but we certainly did a better job than the present system.

Whenever I came home, I loved to sit on the grass…not a major achievement for those who have lived here all your lives, but this was one of the few times I was able to enjoy this simple pleasure. In Australia, there various types of ants and spiders that live in the grass, and man, can they bite!

The other day I was moving old palm fronds. I wouldn’t be doing this if we had snakes here. Even cleaning a pool filter or pond, you need to be on the lookout for snakes. I don’t miss that at all, just sayen.

We take it for granted that we are safe when we work in the garden, run in long grass or roll down a hill. This will all change dramatically if the imported rock, sand and even equipment isn’t treated correctly before it leaves Australia, and especially, BEFORE it lands here. Although there are no guarantees it will eliminate all hitchhikers; ensuring the correct and proper systems are in place is better than having none at all.

When the Rock Group first met with the administrator about the possible importation of rock, he told us he could not help us if we used the environment as our main focus. He advised that for every problem we brought up, a management plan would be created through biosecurity services.

If this is the case, then perhaps we should be pushing for a management plan for each and every potential biosecurity issue. Perhaps we also need to insist we have a quarantine process in place for everything Boral intends to bring here, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have one in place for ships offloading our freight either.

We have been playing Russian roulette with our environment/biosecurity for long enough. If we just believe and accept that Boral is going to do ‘the right thing’ for Norfolk Island, and we do nothing, ask nothing and expect nothing, we will most likely end up with everything!

We only have one shot at this. Come September or thereabouts, it will be too late. It only takes one pregnant toad; one pregnant paralysis tick; one pregnant red backed spider to produce thousands more.

I know this sounds like I am scaremongering, but in all honesty, you should be scared, and you should be worried. Boral will come here and do their job, which is what they are contracted to do, and then they will leave. We will be the ones who live with the consequences. I haven’t heard about any funds that will be allocated to assist with the clean up/eradication of any ‘unwelcome guests’ as a result of the airport upgrade. So, who do you think will be paying for this? That’s right, us!

As a community we need to know what practises and procedures will be put in place to protect our island home.

The big question is, what are you going to do to protect our environment and lifestyle? The Rock Group has been doing all it can, but we all need pull together to look out for our island, the time for sitting back and hoping for the best is long gone!


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Anglicare is celebrating its third year serving Norfolk Island!

Friday, July 05, 2019

We have recently purchased new books for our Street Library and have just received new equipment for our playgroups.

The Anglicare Children’s Library is now open for borrowing! Books can be borrowed from:

  • Our office at 102A Taylors Road 9am – 4pm most days
  • Our funky street Library box outside the office - 24 hours

Please look after our books and return the ones you have read for a new one.  We have a range of books aimed at children from birth through to toddlers, including a range of novels for primary school. Our love for a book usually relates to the person who read that story to us - a parent, grand-parent or special person in our life. Reading to and with children, is one of the best gifts you can give them. More than just the emotional connection, reading aloud to children is considered the single most important activity to build the skills to learn to read.

We are excited to have more equipment for our playgroups including giant puzzles, giant fishing sets, painting easels. For our Thursday Mothers Group, we have added baby gyms.

Anglicare has welcomed new staff in 2019, introducing Sarah Robinson who is part of the driving force of our new Nature Playgroup titled ‘In A’ Stik’. Sarah has a Bachelor in Early Childhood and Primary Education. Sarah has over 15 years’ experience as a classroom teacher, as well as educating in preschool, child care & vocational care. Sarah is a passionate advocate of child-centred, play-based, creative learning. Sarah is inspired by the curriculums of Rudolf Steiner, the Netherlands & Finland and is passionate about outdoor education; connecting children with their natural environment, wholesome play & the world around them.

Trish Smith has joined the Anglicare team and is studying a Diploma in Early Childhood Education & Care. Trish has organised and ran volunteer Mothers groups which evolved into playgroups exploring various locations on Norfolk Island.

Combining Sarah and Trish’s passion in getting outdoors, there are plans for a Nature Playgroup for 0 – 5 years old’s. Look out for the information session on our brand new Nature Playgroup launching in just 2 weeks.

Mothers Group is still on during the school holidays, pop in for good coffee, meet other mums in the Anglicare Lounge Room at 102A Taylors Road. Contact 22232 for more information.

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Friday, July 05, 2019

Today Friday 5 July 2019 we join hands across the ocean with our family and friends on the Isle of Man who are celebrating their National Day – Tynwald Day. The Isle of Man flag will fly proudly today on Norfolk

The historical ties between Norfolk Island and the Isle of Man were set in motion with the marriage on 4 February 1781 of William Bligh to Elizabeth “Betsy” Betham whose family lived on the Isle of Man; and while history tells us that Fletcher Christian was born in England, his ancestors came from the Isle of Man where the Christian family had been prominent for probably a thousand years.

The story of the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789 is a tale of conspiracy, adventure and romance, a tale that today links the Isle of Man and Norfolk Island. Hollywood has produced at least three movies with high-profile actors taking on the roles of Captain William Bligh, lead mutineer Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian and Midshipman Peter Heywood from the Isle of Man.

This historical relationship led to the signing of a Cultural Agreement between the Isle of Man and Norfolk Island on 5 July 2011; a cultural accord that provides a platform for our two communities to share information on heritage, governance, business and culture, including music and dance.

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ANAO Audit of DIRDC on Norfolk Island – Is Scepticism Justified? (Part 1)

Friday, June 28, 2019

As a result of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act of 2015, the Australian Government on 1 July 2016 abolished self-government on Norfolk Island and replaced it with governmental arrangements based on a NSW regional council model, and with substantially reduced powers. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has now carried out a performance audit to "assess whether the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities has designed and implemented appropriate governance and administration arrangements for the transition and delivery of sustainable reforms to services on Norfolk Island": the Department (DIRDC) being the Commonwealth department with overall responsibility for Norfolk Island through its Territories Branch. The completed ANAO Audit Report was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 31 May 2019. (1)

The Audit Report gives, for the first time and in public, a clear description of the Commonwealth governmental processes undertaken in the implementation of the Act of 2015, including processes involving the transitional administration. Such a description had not previously been available, so for this publication we must be grateful. However many on Norfolk Island, who have been waiting a long time for a fair and transparent account of DIRDC's conduct on the island in recent times are sceptical about the content and conclusions of the Report. Should they be? Well, "No", and "Yes". Here's why.

The ANAO is the national auditor for the Parliament of Australia and the Government of Australia, and reports directly to the Australian Parliament. The ANAO is located in the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, and ANAO employees are Commonwealth public servants, as are employees of DIRDC. So that despite the independence of the ANAO process, we have one group of public servants reporting on the competence of another group of public servants.

The intra-governmental nature of the Audit Report is easy to see as almost without exception the 113 footnotes in the Report are either explanatory notes on the ANAO's own behalf, or Commonwealth/government-initiated communications, letters, and reports, or those of their consultants and appointees. The former Norfolk Island Government provides source for one footnote, as does the Norfolk Island Regional Council. There is a view that we should not be too concerned with this circumstance – after all the audit is primarily concerned with assessing one Commonwealth agency's performance. However we do need to be aware of the audit's characteristics and limitations.

Public service protocols ensure that public reports by public servants will be in sober tones, with no use of rude, abrasive or emotional language as one might find in say, some independent journalism. So one will not find such crude and direct statements like "DIRDC failed to accomplish what it was responsible for", but rather something like "DIRDC was partially successful in its mission". The over-riding characteristics of public service reports are circumspection and euphemism. There are also other subtle forces working to ensure that such reports resemble blancmange rather than curry. For example public servants tend not to want to rock the boat too much as that might embarrass a minister or two, and could damage their (the public servants') immediate career prospects. Anyone who has watched episodes of the British political sitcom Yes Minister will not find such a circumstance surprising. Some readers of the ANAO Report may well find themselves impatient with this anodyne fare.

Here is a key observation from the Report's conclusions:

The department's advice to the Australian Government presented a range of reform options, which was based on an assessment of Norfolk Island's self-governance arrangements and input from a community consultation process. Elements of the reform design relating to state and local government services could have benefitted from more detailed analysis. (p. 8)

We will consider what the ANAO thought of the "self-governance arrangements" and the "community consultation process" in more detail below, but the final sentence here conveys the blandness within which the Report's conclusions are couched. Here are some further examples:

Roles and responsibilities for the implementation of the reforms were clearly outlined, but the department's prioritisation plans lacked appropriate detail.(p. 8)

Arrangements established for the oversight of the Norfolk Island Health Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS) were inappropriate. (p. 9)

That's about as fiery as the Report gets. Whether these and other criticisms in the Report amount to a caning of DIRDC or merely a flogging with a feather duster, is difficult for someone outside the system to tell. But criticisms of DIRDC there are in the ANAO Report, even if self-effacingly expressed.

One major concern with this intra-governmental audit process – at least in the present example – is an acceptance of the governmental view of events, with alternatives or criticisms squeezed out or disregarded completely. (In this regard we have already mentioned the matter of text references.) Here are some other examples.

In relation to the econometric studies carried out by CiE on the Norfolk Island economy in 2014, the ANAO Report states:

A November 2014 report commissioned by the department provided modelling of the economic impact of extending Commonwealth taxation, social security, superannuation and the minimum wage to Norfolk Island. The modelling showed that if Commonwealth arrangements were implemented, the expected ‘higher level of economic activity, increased employment and wages combine to see (nominal) household consumption each year being some $20 million higher than otherwise.’ (p. 24)

This is a deceptive statement because it accepts the conclusion of a DIRDC-sponsored study which was heavily and comprehensively criticised at the time by an independent econometric modelling expert Professor Michael Common, formerly of the Australian National University and at that time at Strathclyde University in the UK. And furthermore there was no mention in the Report of an earlier and similar econometric study by CiE, suppressed by the Commonwealth, which reached a very different conclusion. (2)

Again, in relation to the "community consultation process" carried out on the island in the lead-up to the implementation of the 2015 Act, the ANAO Report states:  

In his report to the Minister on the consultation process, the Administrator stated that ‘there is now widespread general agreement with the JSC recommendations.’ The Administrator’s report, which formed part of the submission to the Australian Government, included dissenting views and commentary from the public meeting for the Australian Government’s consideration. (p. 27)

This merely accepts the Administrator's view of the process, which was against the totality of evidence in the public domain, to the contrary. The Administrator's view was widely discussed and challenged at the time, but never defended. (4) The Audit Report appears to have declined to investigate the truth or falsity of this matter, of which it was well aware (5), choosing rather to ignore the matter completely.

Again in terms of the "community consultation process", the fact that over years DIRDC systematically declined to respond to queries put to them by members of the Norfolk Island public, did not even rate a mention in the Report as relevant to DIRDC's performance.

Well, in responding to these claims of ignore, one view would be that, of necessity, ANAO must of take a circumscribed view of the area it will consider. But there is a problem: Where does that leave the audit assessment when it is made on only a part of the evidence? The fact that "modelling of the economic impact" and a "community consultation process" were carried out by DIRDC is in practice meaningless: what is relevant is the content of those exercises. The constriction of the area of interest that the ANAO was prepared to entertain in its audit, and the steering away from controversy, are problematic because ANAO evidently wants to appeal in its assessment to broad merit but then takes a very limited view of the information it is prepared to accept. The Report provides no indication as to what the legitimate bounds of its exercise are, and without it the Report must be taken as compromised and deceptive.

This article will continue next week when some more general matters will be considered.

Chris Nobbs

(1) ANAO, 2019. The design, implementation and monitoring of services reform on Norfolk Island, Auditor-General Report No. 43, 2018-19, 31 May.

(2)  Common, M., 2015. A Comparison of Two CIE Reports (2006, 2014) on the Economic Impact of

Norfolk Island Reform Scenarios. Also: Nobbs, C., 2015. Norfolk Island Reform Scenarios - Comparing the two CIE reports (2006 and 2014), The Norfolk Islander and Norfolk Online News, 28 November; reproduced in (3).

(3) Nobbs, C, 2017. Australia's Assault on Norfolk Island 2015-16: Despatches from the Front Line, Amazon, pp. 30-33.

(4) For example: Nobbs, C., 2016. Was there ever a majority of Norfolk Islanders in favour of the removal of self-government? The Norfolk Islander and Norfolk Online News, 13 February. Reproduced in (3), pp. 60-66.

(5) Nobbs, C., 2019. Submission to ANAO Performance Audit of DIRDC, 11 November.

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2019 Bounty Bowls

Friday, May 10, 2019

The weather gods were extremely generous to the bowlers this week for the Christian-Bailey Agencies sponsored Bounty Bowls with fine weather throughout the week, with temperatures in the low 20s. Excellent bowling weather and it certainly was on display with the standard of bowls displayed by all teams in the tournament. 34 teams fronted the starters gun on Sunday 5th May for the 1st round for the week, with 22 teams from overseas from all places, Caboolture Lakes, Lowood, Sarina, Brothers Bundaberg, Moore Park Beach, New Farm, Mt Gravatt, Wagga Wagga, Coraki, Musgrave Hill, Northern Beaches Mackay, Nambour, Woombye, Palmwoods plus 4 teams from Western Australia, these 22 teams were up against the 12 teams of local talent and play proceeded through the week until Thursday afternoon, where the 8 teams who qualified for the quarter-finals were decided.  Due to the very generous sponsorship of Kim & Charles from Christian-Bailey Agencies a total of $13,800 dollars was available for the teams who qualified.

The qualifiers were: in Section A, the team from Norfolk Island, skipped by Gary Ryan (and last years winners) together with Dave Smith, Stephen Mathews & Tess Evans qualified 1st with 6 wins +68, in 2nd place was a composite team skipped by Martin Rogers, together with his father A. Rogers, J. Willies and Brent Johnstone with 6 wins +38.

In Section B, the team from Sarina skipped by Wade Cranston together with Brian Adams, Ian Gardner & Trevor Bird topped the section with 7 wins +42, and in 2nd place was the local team of Phil Jones, Ester Sanchez, Barry Wilson & Petal Jones with 6 wins +65  .

In Section C: the team from Norfolk Island skipped by Alan Marshall, Gary Bigg, Graeme Woolley & Jacki Marshall qualified in first place with 6 wins +56, and in 2nd place was again another local team skipped by Moochie Christian, together with Shae Wilson, Culla Graham & Vivian Bigg with 6 wins +45.

In Section D the local team of Mick Godfrey, S. larking, Wes Cooper & S. Cohen placed first with 7 wins +77, and in 2nd spot was the team skipped by Pete Walkinshaw, Jeff Pledger, Spider Webb & Trevor Gow with 6 wins +60.

The quarter-finals are scheduled for Thursday afternoon, with the semi-finals and the final on Friday with the following match-ups decided.

The quarter-final match ups were: Gary Ryan’s team Vs P. Walkinshaw’s team. Culla Graham’s team Vs Wade Cranston’s team, Alan Marshall’s team Vs Phil Jones team, and Martin Rogers team Vs Mick Godfrey’s team.

The write up for the finals and the presentation will be provided in next week’s paper.

The Bowling Club would like to thank all of our generous sponsors in Kim & Charles of Christian-Bailey Agencies, Foodland’s Supermarkets and Cookie for the 2 Drips water.

A great week was had by all and the Club Manager would like to thank his band of helpers throughout the week and he is looking forward to putting up his feet for a couple of days.

Don’t forget that the Club is open 7 days per week for both lunch and dinner, plus the coldest beer in town.

See you on the greens soon.

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Blainville’s Beaked Whale Norfolk Island 2016

Friday, April 26, 2019

Three years ago, on the 26th April 2016, a Blainville’s Beaked Whale was stranded on the reef at Slaughter Bay, Kingston.  During the late afternoon, I will always remember the community effort to attempt to rescue the exhausted whale, but it was too injured to survive, and later died.  The poor thing was very battered, bruised and cut up as the waves bashed it into the coral reef on the shoreline.

On that Autumn afternoon, I spent three hours until after dark down the beach photographing the whale so there would be scientific records of the small whale.  It was later identified as a Blainville's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), also called the dense beaked whale.

On the day the beaked whale died, a biopsy tissue sample was taken and during the past few years the hope to get the sample to Sydney where there has been an offer to test the tissue and confirm the whales species.  It has proved very difficult with Australian biosecurity laws to transport the frozen tissue sample to Australia.  Maybe one day it may be possible but until then, it will remain frozen in Norfolk Island.

Wojtek Bachara, a whale researcher from Poland, contacted me in 2016 and together we gathered information and he then put together a scientific paper including my photographs.  It is interesting reading the research he has completed, and there are several sightings around Norfolk Island which he has documented in the report including the Gilbert Jackson sightings with video footage.  Plus, the picture on cover of Ian Kenny’s book “Whales, Boats & Fish”.  He also included information from other passing boats data records.  It is very exciting to now have my photographs published in my first scientific paper.


This week I have looked back at the photographs I took three years ago, on that sad afternoon.  My biggest thought, as I looked through the photos, was the sense of community.  What an amazing place we live in on Norfolk Island.  I looked at the young teenagers out helping the whale, then how quickly everyone pulled their resources together to help.  Thank you to everyone who attempted to assist with the rescue one year ago.

I hope the next time I see a Beaked Whale it is a healthy Blainville’s swimming in the ocean, and not stranded on the Norfolk Island shoreline.

Thanks, Yorlie for all helping.

Betty Matthews

April 2019

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Airport Master Plan

Friday, April 19, 2019

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PeoplePlus committed to working together for better futures on Norfolk Island

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Since 2016, PeoplePlus have been delivering a range of employment services for job seekers and employers. The Norfolk Island VET Financial Assistance Initiative now makes it easier for Norfolk Island residents to access vocational training, including apprenticeships

PeoplePlus has been operating on Norfolk Island for three years, but there is still some mystery around the services we provide for residents of the Island.

In a nutshell, PeoplePlus helps job seekers prepare for and find work, and match them to our employers’ specific recruitment needs. We’re also Norfolk Island’s exclusive job active and Disability Employment Services provider.

In a further win for the Island, since January 1, 2019 PeoplePlus has also been offering access to subsidised Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses to residents over the age of 15, undertaking courses provided by mainland Australia RTO’s.
Business services

Recruiting the right staff for your business can be a daunting process. Our team have worked hard to build effective working relationships with businesses across our community. Our services for businesses simplify staffing needs and provides additional assistance, such as:

• Drafting job specifications to ensure we find the right job seeker for your business

• Creating and posting job ads for the Norfolk Islander Newspaper and Facebook free of charge

• Provide business advice for employers and new businesses looking for job seekers and those with specific needs.

Assistance for job seekers

We can help with every aspect of employment preparation and application, including:

• Assist you in applying for jobs including answering selection criteria, writing cover letters,
reviewing your education history and utilising the technology in our office to apply for work

• Reviewing the job register for all the positions we have advertised in the community and
discussing any other non-advertised positions that may interest you

• Undertaking practice interviews to help prepare you for any problem-solving approaches
or personal responses you may need

• Disability Employment Services including Disability Management Service for job seekers
with disability, injury or health condition who need assistance to find a job and occasional
support in the workplace to keep a job.

• Post Placement Support services and connections to local community groups and allied
health services.

• PeoplePlus is a non-government organisation – private enterprise, you do not have to
registered with Centrelink to engage with this service.

VET Training

In early 2019, PeoplePlus secured the Norfolk Island VET Financial Assistance Initiative -making it easier for residents of the Island to access vocational training.

The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities has partnered with PeoplePlus to deliver the Initiative and provide information to Norfolk Island residents onthe financial support now available to them.

The Hon Sussan Ley MP said “During my visit to Norfolk Island many issues were raised with me, including the need for Norfolk Island residents to have access to the full variety of education opportunities, such as Vocational Education and Training (VET).

“The sorts of qualifications people may wish to take up include those that lead to working in a trade—carpenters, chefs, plumbers or early childhood teachers.”

The availability of new courses which will lead to career opportunities for roles in nursing,disability support and early childcare education and aged care will strengthen the skills for people in our community.

There are several employment opportunities which are currently available in these sectors.With the introduction of NDIS in July 2018, as well as the new construction project at Banyan Park Play Centre which is due for completion in 2020, there is expected to be demand for early childhood educators and facilitators next year.

PeoplePlus Norfolk work closely with AETS (Australian Employment and Training Solutions)and have established connections at Kingscliff / Wollongbar TAFE. Both organisations provide flexible study options to support your learning needs.

For students interested in earning a qualification in Early Childhood Education and Care, the training and support we offer for students include employing an experienced local mentor,with the course delivered via distance education and weekly face to face study sessions, via Skype, Zoom or other media, if in-person is not possible.

With several recent enrolments for apprenticeships to note, our team have received glowing feedback, as we continue to work throughout the year in building steady momentum for employment and training opportunities across Norfolk Island.

Meet the Norfolk Island team
Heather Bruce is our Norfolk Island Branch Manager and has a background in hospitalityand education.

Annie Kenny is our Norfolk Island Case Manager and has a background in human resources and law.

We make the perfect team to help you with your employment needs. Over the month of March, we connected and supported eight job seekers into employment. This is a great outcome in a market where employment is limited and approaching our quieter months.

Further Information
Our services are on offer for anyone looking for work or wanting to fill a vacancy in their business. PeoplePlus provides a confidential service which can create quality support to the business community on Norfolk Island.

For more information, contact our office.
22562 or 50925

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Fun Community Day

Thursday, April 18, 2019

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Customer Care Offices

Friday, March 29, 2019

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