Consultation paper on changes to criminal laws on Norfolk Island

Media Release
24 March

The Australian Government has been working in consultation with the community to help strengthen child and family support services as part of its commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of children and families on Norfolk Island.

To complement these efforts, the Australian Government has also been working to modernise laws on Norfolk Island. This will better protect children, women and other residents against criminal violence and other illegal acts.

Our aim is to provide services and have laws on Island that are broadly comparable to those in similar communities on mainland Australia.

We have already made several changes to Norfolk Island laws, including changes to the Child Welfare Act 2009 (NI) and the Criminal Code 2007 (NI).

Two measures are currently progressing through the Australian Parliament, in a Bill known as the Investigations and Prosecution Measures Bill 2017. If passed, these changes will mean that:

  • time limits for the prosecution of sex offences, including historical offences, in Norfolk Island criminal law will be removed, along with any immunity for accused people arising from these time limits
  • in the interests of justice and to ensure accused people receive a fair trial, the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island will be able to hold trials on the mainland, in other Australian States and Territories.

We have identified a further 12 legislative measures to improve protections for women and children. A summary of these changes is attached: PDF: 265 KB ReadSpeaker

A longer consultation paper: Proposed changes to Norfolk Island laws to enhance the protection of women, children and young people PDF: 759 KB ReadSpeaker is now available online. Printed copies of the paper are also available at the Administrator's Office. The consultation paper outlines these measures that will modernise Norfolk Island laws to enhance the wellbeing of children and their families.

The Australian Government invites families, the community, service providers and other stakeholders to comment on the proposed changes outlined in the consultation paper.

Feedback can be provided in writing or at a community consultation meeting. Consultation meetings will be held at Governor's Lodge on:

  • 4 April (5:30pm-7:00pm)
  • 5 April (12:30pm-2:00pm)

I will convene the meetings and the Hon Anthony Whealy QC, a former NSW Supreme Court Judge and NSW Law Reform Commissioner, will be available to provide expert advice.

I encourage those who would like to discuss changes to these laws or would like further information to attend one of these consultations.

You can also send in written comments by 9 April 2018 to the Office of the Administrator office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au. Information in written comments is collected in accordance with the Privacy Act. For a copy of the Privacy Collection Notice please email privacy@infrastructure.gov.au.

Printed copies are also available from the Administrator's office.

Eric Hutchinson