The Administrator of the Territories of Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) is the most senior Australian Government representative residing in the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT). The Administrator is a statutory appointee of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, made on the recommendation of the Government.
The Administrator has three key functions:
- Representative of the Minister
- The Administrator carries out formal and ceremonial duties on behalf of the Minister, including attending or hosting community events, commemorations and receptions, and receiving visiting Members of Parliament and Senators, dignitaries, business representatives and government officials.
- The Administrator engages with local communities, including businesses, sporting and charitable organisations and cultural groups to discuss and propose solutions to key issues.
- The Administrator exercises delegated decision-making powers and functions on behalf of the Minister (where delegated). These powers and functions derive from applied laws of Western Australia and Commonwealth Ordinances and delegation instruments. Matters on which the Administrator takes decisions include emergency management, certain land transactions, policing and costs of utilities and services.
- Communication and Advocacy
- The Administrator is a key point of communication between the Government and the CI and CKI communities. The Administrator meets with community representatives, arranges information sessions and consultations, and issues community bulletins on matters of community, strategic and operational importance. Areas of focus include economic, social, cultural and environmental issues.
- The Administrator provides advice to the Minister on key issues and concerns of the community, including emerging issues to facilitate early consideration and resolution.
- The Administrator plays a co-ordination role between agencies with an on-island presence, particularly during an emergency.
- The Administrator chairs the IOT Regional Development Organisation, Emergency Management Committees, the Interagency Co-ordination Committee and the newly established Health Advisory Groups.
The Australian Government announced the appointment of Ms Farzian Zainal as Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on 11 May 2023, following a merit selection and appointment process. Ms Zainal was sworn in as Administrator by the Governor General on 26 May 2023, for a three-year term commencing from 19 June 2023.