12 November 2015
As we progress the changes which commence from 1 July 2016, there is increasing focus on what is meant by strengthening and growing the Norfolk Island economy and how this can be achieved.
The recent release of reform reports highlights opportunities, areas of improvement and a range of options which can drive positive change for Norfolk Island and the future Regional Council.
The Administration of Norfolk Island's (ANI) 2014/15 Final Budget Outcome Report has also demonstrated the ability to achieve effective results with good governance, structure and processes.
While the financial status of the ANI is better than forecast, driven by expenditure control and a range of operating improvements, it remains critical to develop a sustainable funding model for the future Norfolk Island Regional Council.
The time is right to foster growth and shape our future.
Building on the findings in the SGS Economic Development Strategy Report and reform progress made to date, we now have opportunities to diversify and adopt broader concepts of economic advancement.
Tourism is one of the obvious key sectors where growth and prosperity for Norfolk Island is possible. We live in an enviable island environment with a strong cultural heritage.
In coming weeks, positive changes to governance arrangements for tourism and a review of the tourism strategy are expected to better support broader economic development for Norfolk Island as well as help inform a long-term plan for the Island.
It is imperative we capitalise on investments and financial opportunities through planning and implementing realistic strategies for broad economic development to support the elected Norfolk Island Regional Council, commencing 1 July 2016.
Importantly, we need to start making decisions which will provide a secure and more prosperous future for businesses and residents.
As decisions are taken, engagement and dialogue with the people of Norfolk Island will continue.
The Hon Gary Hardgrave