The Territory was surrendered to the Commonwealth by the State of New South Wales in 1915. The Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 (the Acceptance Act) and Jervis Bay Territory Ordinances made by the Governor-General are administered by the Minister with responsibility for Territories.
The Aboriginal Land Grant (Jervis Bay Territory) Act 1986 allowed for an initial grant of 403 ha of the Territory, including Wreck Bay Village, to the local Indigenous community. In 1995 the existing Jervis Bay National Park and the Jervis Bay Botanic Gardens (now known as Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens) were granted to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community.
Although the Jervis Bay Territory is not part of the Australian Capital Territory, the laws of the ACT apply, in so far as they are applicable and, providing they are not inconsistent with an Ordinance, in the Territory by virtue of the Jervis Bay Acceptance Act 1915.
The Governor-General has the power to make ordinances for the peace, order and good government of the Territory. Ordinances made under this power include the Administration Ordinance 1990 and the Leases Ordinance 1992.
Each court of the Australian Capital Territory has jurisdiction in, and in relation to, the Territory as if the Territory formed part of the Australian Capital Territory. In 1995 the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council was given a limited by-law-making power for by-laws that apply to the 403 hectares in and around Wreck Bay Village.
The Jervis Bay Territory is in the Commonwealth Electoral Division of Fenner (ACT). Jervis Bay Territory residents are not represented at the local or State government level but have access to the decision-making process through community organisations.
The department has overall responsibility for the provision of local and state government-type services. A range of shop-front services are provided directly by the Jervis Bay Territory Administration office, located in Jervis Bay Village, including:
- registration of motor vehicles;
- driver license testing and renewals;
- domestic animal registration and control; and
- connection/disconnection and payment of electricity.
Located on Village Road, the Administration Office can be contacted on
(02) 4442 1217 during business hours.
Other services are carried out under arrangements with ACT government agencies, NSW government agencies, Shoalhaven City Council and commercial contractors.
The Commonwealth pays for these arrangements which include:
- ACT—Courts, Education and Welfare
- NSW—Rural Fires Service and Community Health
- Shoalhaven City Council—Waste Collection and Library Services
- Commercial—Maintenance of utilities infrastructure such as water and electricity.
The Australian Federal Police provide policing services to the Territory.
Parks Australia is responsible for the Booderee National Park and the Botanic Gardens in joint management with the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community.