Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Public inquiry into the Norfolk Island Regional Council

On 10 February 2021, the Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories (Minister) announced a Public Inquiry into the Norfolk Island Regional Council (NIRC). The Minister has appointed Ms Carolyn McNally as the commissioner to hold the Inquiry.

The Inquiry will inquire into whether, since 2016:

  1. the Norfolk Island Regional Council (the Council) and its governing body have managed the finances of the Council as required by the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) (NI) (the LG Act).
  2. the governing body of the Council has complied with its obligations under the LG Act relating to effective financial and asset management.

These matters were identified as a major area of concern in the recent independent audit reports by Nexia Sydney Audit and Grassroots Connections Australia.

At the conclusion of the Inquiry, the commissioner will present the Minister with a report outlining her findings in relation to the Terms of Reference for the inquiry (ToR). A copy of the ToR is available below.

The success of the Inquiry will depend on the active involvement of the community. The Inquiry will give the opportunity for different points of view to be heard and considered.

About the Commissioner

Ms McNally has held senior positions in the Australian and New South Wales (NSW) public services, including as Secretary of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment from 2014 to 2019, with responsibilities including local government. Ms McNally will have the same powers as commissioners who conduct inquiries into NSW councils.

Sharing information with the Inquiry Team

The Inquiry team visited the island on 13 to 15 April, to offer the opportunity for community members to speak informally with the Commissioner. A number of sessions were held.

In addition, there was the opportunity to speak with members of the Inquiry team one-on-one. Should you wish to speak with a member of the Inquiry team one-on-one we encourage you to send an email to NIRCpublicinquiry@infrastructure.gov.au and a team member will get back to you to arrange a time for a call or online discussion.

Call for submissions

The Inquiry called for members of the public who wanted to provide information relevant to the Terms of Reference to make a submission to the Inquiry. The period for lodging submissions closed on Friday 7 May 2021.

Submissions will not be made public, however where written submissions make allegations that affect third parties, it is likely that the substance of the allegations will be raised with those persons as a means of ensuring procedural fairness to all involved.

More information about submissions can be found in the Fact sheet and Information paper below.

Public hearings—Norfolk Island

The transcripts for the Norfolk Island public hearings are below for your reference.

Information about the public hearing process and other information about the Inquiry can be found in the Terms of Reference, Fact Sheet and Information paper documents linked below.

For any other inquiries please contact the Secretariat:

Public hearings—Sydney

The supplementary public hearings in Sydney for witnesses not residing on Norfolk Island were held on Wednesday 9 June to Friday 11 June at the: Registrar Generals Building, Level 3, Records Wing, 1 Prince Albert Road.

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Thursday 10 June 2021

Friday 11 June 2021

Evidence from the Public Inquiry

As advised in the Information Paper, please find below the evidence adduced at the public hearings for your reference.

Further information

  • Public inquiry into the Norfolk Island Regional Council Factsheet DOCX: 70 KB PDF: 781 KB 
  • Terms of reference for the public inquiry into the Norfolk Island Regional Council PDF: 62 KB 
  • NIRC public inquiry and election delay FAQ PDF: 499 KB 
  • Information Paper - public submissions and hearings process DOCX: 78 KB PDF: 517 KB 
  • General Practice Direction PDF: 260 KB 
  • NIRC public inquiry - application for authorisation to appear DOCX: 65 KB