10 December 2021
Eric Hutchinson: …. Just a couple of things, it would not have been lost of anybody that on Tuesday morning the the Assistant Minister Nola Marino made the the decision to to dismiss the elected members of the Regional Council and appoint Mike Colreavy to the position of er Administrator, the role he has had as Interim Administrator during the time of the Council was suspended. She stated her reasons and I wont go through those reasons in the media release that she pulled out, that she that she put out but it is, I think an opportunity now for for for a resetting in terms of making sure that business the business support services that that are delivered to this community can be on a sustainable footing going forward.
That was the primary reason and that was the essence of the two reports that Council, and to their credit, their enduring credit acted upon from the Nexia Report and Grassroot Report that that were adopted by the Council which resulted in the process that we have seen unfolding there.
Again, look the report by Commissioner McNally is there available for all to see. It is on the Department’s web website that it can be found, if anybody cannot find that they can contact my office we can point them in that direction. Its an extensive document. It is an opportunity though and I note also that on Wednesday for the first time the three Advisory Committees of Council went through an induction process up at the library. This was the Reserves and Conservation Committee, Sustainability Committee and the Business and Innovation and Tourism Committee.
You know, I understand, you know there is training that will be provided to all of those community members and I thank them wholeheartedly for stepping up and playing what will be a really really important role to assist Mike Colreavy, the Administrator in providing that input from the community through those committees.
There is the intention, I understand to establish a Youth Advisory Committee in the new year as well.
And I just cannot understate that that in the circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment that those committees and those individuals that have put their names forward have a very responsible and important role to play on behalf of their community over the next couple years or however long it is the Assistant Minister decides that the Council will remain in suspension.
It is an opportunity as I see it xxxxxxx
….. Also, similarly the final reports in respect of the Norfolk Island PFAS response, there is a media release that was released on the 9 December, it will be published in the usual places over the next few days. Senversa and the expert PFAS planning team are planning to return to Norfolk Island in early 2022 to present the results of the detailed site investigation that showed elevated PFAS levels at the airport related to historical use of fire fighting foam. Again I wont go through all the details other than to say all of those affected properties have been contacted, they have been, they have been walked through this process that I think has been a very comprehensive process. In particular there is a study that was undertaken, a specific Norfolk Island study was undertaken by the University of Queensland assessing the effectiveness of the PFAS exposure control in exposed community to fire fighters and all of the members of the Norfolk Island fire fighter services have been invited to take part in that study. The results of the individuals concerned wont be released and that is obviously for reasons of privacy. But it has been a very comprehensive piece of work. The final summary and workshop will be presented to the community in the new year and that will be the conclusion of that understanding and then it is about remediation over the next few years.
And look finally, and again xxxx it was a few weeks ago that listeners may recall I mentioned here on radio in relation to the locks being changed on buildings that support the Court functions down at the Old Military Barracks, amongst other things.
Look, I , I cannot, I cannot just continue to update the community to this and I thank the individuals who were involved in writing to me over the last couple of weeks – acknowledging that in the role that I have I am legally the land holder, land owner of those properties on which the buildings in Kingston reside.
Similarly though I do acknowledge that there are different positions held by different groups that are in this community and not least of all the Council of Elders and the NIPD. Can I also say though that holding a position on an issue does not make unlawful actions and behaviours acceptable and that is a reality. And I think again, most fair-minded people in this community would understand and appreciate it, appreciate this.
I have had, I have had conversation with AFP and I have received advice about them in terms of what my options might be in this matter, and I could take action that would involve the AFP. However, I don’t think that this would achieve a positive outcome, and in fact I think it could prove to be more divisive and I don’t want, and I don’t believe that this community needs more division. And this is, this is very much influencing my decision.
However, as a landowner and I am prepared to put the position, my position on hold and the current protect that exists at the Old Military Barracks aside to allow for conversation that can occur across the whole community.
There are different groups that have different opinions.
There are different individuals that have different opinions to those which are held by the Council of Elders and the NIPD on this issue. And it relates to the community’s future use of KAVHA.
I acknowledge again the letter that I received in relation to consultation.
I encourage those members of those organisations to be involved in the community advisory group that assists KAVHA. That is a committee, that is a very very functional committee, that is a mechanism by which the management of KAHVA can get input from the community and a very diverse range of views that are are representative in the community.
There is a high proportion of local people represented both on the community advisory group and the, and also the KAVHA advisory committee.
So I will be meeting with the Council of Elders representatives and the NIPD next week.
I look forward to the genuine consultations that will occur in February next year around the development of a site master plan for KAVHA. Now this is an opportunity for all of this community to have a conversation about what is appropriate and and what the look and feel of KAHVA should be going forward.
It will be a comprehensive and open consultation with the community and all the members of the community not just individual groups that hold certain positions.
So I ask the community, as we as we publicise the the work and the lead up to the consultation around the site master, the Kingston site master plan in February 2022 to consider making representations on behalf of themselves, individuals their community, of which they are apart and let this be a mechanism by which we can all move forward on this issue. Acknowledging that there are different views but acknowledging also that there are actions there that are in breach of the law whichever way you turn it around and that is simply unacceptable.
So as I say I look forward as I say to working with those individuals and I would still encourage you know the community more broadly to participate in the expression of interest that is there for the community advisory committee - the Kingston community advisory group – but more importantly then that as we go through what will be an extensive piece of consultation in respect of the development of site master plan for Kingston that all of the community have their say about what and what is not appropriate in a World Heritage site.