Part 4: Activities
Service to Territories Program
Through the Services to Territories Program (Program 4.1), the department:
- delivered essential infrastructure, services and legal frameworks to the external territories and Jervis Bay Territory
- progressed financial and governance reform for Norfolk Island
- managed the world heritage Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island
- administered a loan to the Australian Capital Territory Government to implement its Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme
- advised the Australian Government to effectively administer its interest in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory
The program contributed to one of our purposes: providing good governance in the territories.
External territories and Jervis Bay Territory
The department is responsible for delivering essential infrastructure, services and legal frameworks to the external territories and Jervis Bay Territory. While we deliver some services directly, the majority of service delivery and infrastructure tasks are negotiated and managed though agreements with service providers.
The department is also responsible for delivering legal frameworks to ensure comparable rights and protections for local citizens.
Financial and governance reform
The department has continued progressing financial and governance reform for Norfolk Island through constructive community partnerships.
The department has entered into agreements with:
- the Norfolk Island Regional Council to deliver a range of services
- the Australian Federal Police for local policing
- the NSW Government to provide governance and operational support for health, education and local government
Local residents are now receiving the vast majority of federal services that mainland Australians receive. Work continues to increase the range and quality of state level services so they are consistent with those provided to similar sized communities.
In 2017–18 the department continued to progress legislative reform for Norfolk Island in accordance with the Legislation Consultation Framework. This focused on the priority areas of criminal justice reform and improvements to local government operations. Some of the key laws and legislative changes made during the year have:
- improved functioning of the criminal justice system
- introduced community title on the island to support more effective land use
- established a new legal framework for the Norfolk Island Central School
Norfolk Island Commonwealth administration
In 2017–18 the department managed $987,000 for Norfolk Island Commonwealth administration. These funds were used to support the Norfolk Island administrator exercise statutory and on-island community engagement duties.
Services to Norfolk Island
In 2017–18 the department administered $32.7 million for services to Norfolk Island. To ensure the delivery of essential services, we have agreements with service providers including with the:
- Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, to provide policing and prosecution services
- Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service, to deliver health and child wellbeing services
- NSW Government for the provision of teachers and the NSW curriculum at the Norfolk Island Central School, and to oversee health services and some local government support services
- Norfolk Island Regional Council for the delivery of other community services
The department also underwrites air services to Norfolk Island, to ensure reliable access for the community to the mainland, and to support tourism.
A key change to service delivery on the Island in 2017–18 was establishing a child and family wellbeing unit, which will work with the community and other service providers on Norfolk Island to improve services to families and children.
The department also worked on initiatives to improve local infrastructure, including upgrading port facilities at Cascade Pier and refurbishing health and education assets.
Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area
The department is responsible for the world heritage Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island, including ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and agreements to sustainably protect heritage values. Our focus is on developing the site's potential to provide a positive contribution to the community's social and economic wellbeing.
In 2017–18 the department administered $737,000 for the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area. These funds were used for essential heritage conservation works, scoping priority work, health and public safety priorities, and to support an advisory committee with expert and local community members.
Estimated expenditure for the program was $632,000. A variance of $109,000 was due to scoping work, health and public safety priorities.
Convict built hospital ruins on Norfolk Island
Indian Ocean Terriories
Services to Indian Ocean Territories
In 2017–18 the department administered $114.8 million for services to the Indian Ocean Territories. This was used to:
- support delivery of state-type services by the Western Australia government
- contract private sector providers to deliver services, such as port and airport management, air services, and bus and ferry services
- fund the Indian Ocean Territories Administration to provide services and maintain community infrastructure, including public housing, emergency management services, health and power services
- support the functions of the Office of the Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- support community organisations to provide training activities and promote tourism
- fund the shires of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to provide local government services, and the Australian Federal Police to provide community policing
- upgrade and replace assets, including priority stormwater works, a crawler crane for the Christmas Island port, and upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Indian Ocean Territories Special Account 2014
The Australian Government provided $21.7 million during the year through the Indian Ocean Territories Special Account 2014. The funds were used to deliver essential services (such as power, water, healthcare and medical supplies) and infrastructure (such as ports, airports and public housing).
Christmas Island Phosphate Mining Rehabilitation Special Account 2016
In 2017–18 the Australian Government provided $1.5 million through the Christmas Island Phosphate Mining Rehabilitation Special Account 2016. The funds were provided to Parks Australia to restore rainforest on relinquished mine sites on Christmas Island.
Jervis Bay Territory
Services to Jervis Bay Territory
In 2017–18 the department administered $6.8 million for services to the Jervis Bay Territory. These were used for a range of essential services, including education, justice, welfare, emergency services, water, electricity and health services.
Jervis Bay Territory Special Account 2014
A number of projects were undertaken during the year to improve infrastructure and service delivery in the Jervis Bay Territory. This included sewerage and stormwater works, and road maintenance. In 2017–18, the Australian Government provided $1.1 million through the Jervis Bay Territory Special Account 2014. These funds were used for a number of projects to improve infrastructure and service delivery, including sewerage and stormwater works and road maintenance.
Administering the Australian Government's interest in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory
The department provides advice on administering the Australian Government's interests in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
This work has included facilitating ministerial appointments, managing the overarching legislative framework for self-government, supporting reforms to the National Capital Authority and providing policy advice on the ACT Government's proposal for Stage 2 Light Rail.
Loan to the ACT Government for loose-fill asbestos insulation eradication
The department continued to administer a loan to the ACT Government to implement its Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme. The ACT Government has made three annual interest payments since 30 June 2015. The first principal repayment of $50.0 million was paid by 30 June 2018.
Australian Capital Territory Government—national capital functions
The department administered $1.9 million to the ACT Government during the year for national capital functions. This includes services to fulfil diplomatic, treaty and other obligations.
Estimated expenditure for the program was $1.9 million. The variance of $40,000 was due to negotiated service agreements being less than the budgeted amount.
Office of the Administrator, Northern Territory
A total of $334,000 was administered by the department or the Office of the Administrator, Northern Territory, during the year. These funds were used for costs associated with the Office of the Administrator.
Summary of expenses
For a summary of expenses please refer to Services to Territories Program (Program 4.1) at Appendix A.