Australian Government to undertake Strategic Land Assessment of Christmas Island

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Number: A12/2019

Relevant: Christmas Island

Date: 8 February 2019

I welcome the Commonwealth Government’s decision to conduct a Strategic Assessment of Christmas Island which will protect the island’s unique environment and enhance its economic development prospects.

As the Chair of the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation (IOT RDO), I have strongly advocated for the streamlining and fast-tracking of the approval process for land development projects whilst protecting the natural environment.

It is great news that the Government has adopted another important priority of the new Christmas Island Strategic Plan commissioned by the IOT RDO, which called for the Australian Government to “complete strategic assessments under the EPBC Act with the view to clearly noting land parcels that are available for development, prior to release from the Crown”.

Once endorsed, the Strategic Assessment will remove the need for individual assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in cases where proposed land development projects align with the Strategic Assessment.

Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price and the Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Sussan Ley, are to be congratulated for agreeing to conduct a Strategic Assessment to facilitate the environmentally sustainable development of Christmas Island [see joint media release].

Natasha Griggs
Administrator – Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands