NORFOLK UNITED GROUP (NUG)


Federal Government Intervention Resulting in Economic and Social Disaster for Norfolk Island - NORFOLK UNITED GROUP – 21 July 2018


Norfolk Island is in the throes of a major economic and social crisis precipitated by changes introduced by the Australian Federal Government since 2016.


Both the Administrator, as the local representative of the Australian Government, and the Minister for Territories, are ignoring the unfolding crisis impacting the island's economy, tourism, commercial sector, and agricultural interests.


Issues raised as a matter of urgency in two recent reports authored by Dr. Chris Nobbs, the November 2017 report 'On the Brink of Disaster' and the June 2018 report 'Norfolk Island’s major problem is DIRDC', sent to the Minister for Territories have been ignored.  

 

Norfolk United Group (NUG) previously requested a meeting with the Administrator to discuss these issues, including the air services, the hospital, and Federal Government responsibility for tourism promotion, but was rebuffed, with the Administrator reluctant to address these issues in any meaningful way.  This has been a consistent pattern throughout the Administrator’s tenure, despite his public announcements that his “door is always open”.


NUG also requested a separate meeting with Minister McVeigh during his visit to Norfolk Island in July 2018, but this was also declined, with the Administrator indicating that there will be “opportunities for members of NUG to contribute to discussions at meetings and events during the scheduled visit”.


On 1 July 2018, the Modern Award System (MAS) took effect on Norfolk Island, representing the largest single impact on the Norfolk Island economy at a time of declining visitor numbers (-11% from March to May 2018), severe economic contraction, and on top of a raft of new Federal and local Government taxes, land rates, fees and charges.  Many employees have recently lost their jobs or had their hours reduced, and businesses are struggling to survive.


Despite repeated warnings of loss of employment, severe increase in business costs, reduced business viability, and damage to tourism, the Department of Regional Development & Cities (DIRDC) has not conducted a single economic assessment.  The Administrator and Minister have remained totally silent throughout this crisis.


What exactly is the Federal Government’s long term plan for Norfolk Island?


Despite the failed political model for the Indian Ocean Territories, the Federal Government imposed the same failed model on Norfolk Island.  Now, in the same spirit of “governance on the fly”, the Minister with responsibility for Territories is writing to the Premier of Western Australia and Chief Minister of the Northern Territory to formally explore interest in incorporating the Indian Ocean Territories into WA or NT.


NORFOLK ISLAND UNITED GROUP

21 July 2018

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Looming Disaster for Norfolk Island Australian Modern Award System




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