17 December 2021
The year 2021 has been one of significant challenges but also still many opportunities. Since COVID-19 first emerged, we have all had to adapt and change to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe while trying to keep the economy moving during these unprecedented times.
Thank you for doing your part this year, by rolling up your sleeves to get vaccinated against COVID. As we look to 2022, with more than 90 per cent of Norfolk Islanders fully vaccinated, we can turn our focus to what comes next.
This year, we saw the beginning of a new, long-term partnership between the Australian and Queensland Governments to deliver state-type services to Norfolk Island. 1 January 2022 marks a new era of state service delivery on Norfolk Island, supporting the best outcomes for Norfolk Island’s students, patients and the broader community. My thanks to the NICS and NIHRACS staff for all your positive contributions and work with Queensland to support the transition.
Working with your Administrator, Eric Hutchinson, a raft of essential community infrastructure upgrades have been delivered through the $5.5 million economic stimulus package, along with renewed tourism promotion to position the island well as a sought-after tourism destination. I have enjoyed watching the on-Island team deliver projects such as the BBQ areas around the Island, the Lyons Park Playground and sporting infrastructure.
The Government also supported Norfolk Island businesses through the disruptions caused by mainland lockdowns and travel restrictions with the tailored business relief payment scheme, delivered with the Norfolk Island Regional Council.
These next months and years will bring more opportunities as we continue to support the sustainable and effective governance of Norfolk Island and work together to grow your economy.
I hope to be able to return to visit you in the New Year, to discuss again in person our shared goals for the future of Norfolk Island.
Wishing you and your families a very safe and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The Hon Nola Marino, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories,