Immigration Detention Centre Moving Into Contingency

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Number: A67/2017

Date: 22 November 2017

Following confirmation by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that use of the North West Point Immigration Detention Centre will transition to ‘hot contingency’ from 30 June 2018, I wanted to update the community on broader actions being taken to support our local economy on Christmas Island.

The Government released the Christmas Island Crown Land Management Plan in March 2017 and is finalising a Registration of Interest (RoI) process for the purchase or lease of Crown land. Provision of land will support commercial activity and economic development. I understand that announcements about the outcome of the RoI process are expected to be made before the end of the year.

I am working with the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation (IOTRDO) to develop a new Strategic Plan for Christmas Island. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has provided a grant to the IOTRDO to support the development of the Strategic Plan. Members of the IOTRDO and I will be consulting extensively with the community to develop the Strategic Plan and look forward to hearing your views.

The Regional Development Australia program is being extended to Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Funding will be provided for an on-island Regional Investment Officer to help identify economic development opportunities, leverage investment, and support stronger and more competitive project proposals and grant applications. I expect the Regional Investment Officer to commence in 2018.

To assist in attracting investment to the Territories, I am working with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to prepare an Investment Prospectus. I will continue to host potential investors to the islands, and to promote economic and tourism opportunities.

Funding continues to be provided to the local tourism associations for promotion and marketing activities, and to Murdoch University to support the Mining to Plant Enterprise Project which is trialling local production of fresh fruit, vegetables and legumes.

Work is underway with Vocus Limited to support the implementation of high-speed internet services via the Australia-Singapore cable. Once operational (around mid-2018), the service is expected to be capable of supporting a remote IT-based operating environment and create new business opportunities with high-data needs, such as graphic or web-site design.

The changes to the Immigration Detention Centre are likely to impact on our community and economy. My priority is to work with you and the Government to ensure these impacts are minimised and we focus on the future of Christmas Island.

Natasha Griggs
Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands