Administrator Update 21 June

Administrator's Update

Modern Awards

Firstly may I take this opportunity to congratulate the Norfolk Island Chamber of Commerce for the proactive and practical way in which they have supported the local business community, in the lead up to the 1st of July 2018 as employers and employees transition into the new world of Modern Awards.

It is a big change, but as expected and it comes as no surprise to learn the overwhelming majority of employers want to and will do the right thing by their employees under these new arrangements. Naturally some employers are well advanced and prepared, others still have some work to do, but the point being is that help is at hand for those that need it.

The Chamber organised meetings with representatives from the NSW Business Chamber and advice was provided to help employers restructure their businesses in order to minimise the impacts of these changes. In addition the feedback they receive from local businesses in the coming months may in time lead to advocacy to the Fair Work Commission about any specific impacts of these changes on the Norfolk Island economy. In addition to the Chambers positive initiatives, representatives from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) were on the island again this week holding one on one meetings with employers.

My message to the FWO is to make sure that the support for the employers and employees here on Norfolk Island is ongoing and does not just become directions to a website after July the 1st. This as I said earlier is a big change and support is justified and should be easily accessible.

Freight Roundtable

Thank you to the business representatives, Norfolk Island Regional Investment Officer Jan Johnston (RIO), NIRC representatives, DIRDC representatives and facilitator Kerry Grace from the Mid North Coast RDA for their attendance at a freight roundtable I hosted last week.

By way of an update, all those in attendance agreed to participate in a ‘process',  that aims to bring all the necessary information and data together to build a prospectus.  Such a document will articulate the freight task here on Norfolk Island, in order to attract prospective operators. The community will have a chance to provide input during this process.

There is no silver bullet here, other than by doing this work described above, collectively growing the economy and supporting local business to grow, in particular those that are focussed on producing value added products that might have export market potential. I firmly believe those people are here on Norfolk Island and part of my job and that of the RIO is to find ways of supporting these entrepreneurs to expand their enterprises. If we do this they will employ more local Norfolk Islanders and importantly grow ‘Brand Norfolk Island'.

As Walt Disney described ‘a brand is a thousand small gestures', therefore the more ways in which we can positively raise the profile of Norfolk Island, in addition to the new revenue generated, the dividend that will flow can benefit everyone.

Eric Hutchinson

21 June 2018