Update on reforms and Australian Government visitors

Media release

15 September 2017

Progress continues to be made on the implementation of reforms. The Australian Government is committed to normalising the delivery of a range of services for the Norfolk Island community.

Last week, I travelled to Canberra and participated in an Australian Government Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) meeting. This meeting was attended by senior representatives from the Departments of: Infrastructure and Regional Development; Agriculture and Water Resources, the Attorney-General's; Austrade; Australia Post; Australian Border Force; Australian Bureau of Statistics; Comcare; Communications and the Arts; Education and Training; Employment; Environment and Energy; Finance; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Health; Human Services; Immigration and Border Protection; Industry, Innovation and Science; Parks Australia; Prime Minister and Cabinet; Social Services; Taxation; Treasury and Veteran's Affairs.

There were many constructive conversations that discussed the Whole-of-Australian Government commitment to Norfolk Island, while also looking to the future about how agencies can continue to provide normalised Commonwealth services on the island. This ongoing engagement and support of all Australian Government agencies will continue, as we continue this long term and important work on Norfolk Island.

I also met with representatives for Norfolk Island in the Federal Parliament, Gai Brodtmann MP, Senator Katy Gallagher and Senator Zed Seselja, all of whom discussed issues that members of this community had raised with them over the weeks and months. Additionally I met with Minister for Environment and Energy the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, to update him on KAVHA and the Convict Sites Steering Committee meetings held on Norfolk Island recently. Finally, Assistant Minister for Education the Hon Karen Andrews MP, who has responsibility for Vocational Education and Training, has shown continued interest in improving access to Commonwealth funding for both Apprentices and Employers on Norfolk Island.

As announced by the Mayor last week, this weekend will see a visit from Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Local Government and Territories. She will meet with some stakeholders involved in the capital works progress at the Norfolk Island Central School, Cascade Pier and the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service. In addition, she will meet with the Banyan Park Committee who were successful in the recent Building Better Regions Fund; as well as meeting with the Norfolk Island Regional Council to discuss several issues, including the extension of the Regional Development Australia programme to Norfolk Island, which is indeed a great opportunity for all residents on Norfolk Island, given its focus on attracting investment and jobs to regions.

Personal thanks

As some of you are aware, over a few weeks in August/September, my mother Mary was on the island. She had a most wonderful visit, and on behalf of my mother, and myself, I would like to thank many of you across the community who took time to talk to her on the street, at church, at cafés, on her many tours around the island etc. Many of you made a special effort to show her the true beauty and generosity of spirit that this community displays, and for that, I thank you. She will, I feel certain, become a great advocate for Norfolk Island and in turn encourage her family and friends to plan a visit.

Eric Hutchinson