Update on reforms and Australian Government visitors

Media release

06 July 2017

Progress continues to be made on the implementation of reforms. There have been a range of Australian Government visitors to the island over the past couple of months that reaffirms a commitment to normalising the delivery of a range of services for the Norfolk Island community.

Department of Human Services staff were on island this week, offering a face to face opportunity to assist anyone who may have questions about their services. Similarly, the Australian Tax Office will be available to answer questions from individuals or businesses during their visit later this month.

Representatives from Emergency Management Australia visited Norfolk Island three weeks ago and met with a range of relevant stakeholders as part of their review of the NORDISPLAN (Norfolk Island Disaster Plan). I await with interest their observations, understanding the adage that holds true in being able to respond effectively remains to: “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst”.

Last week senior representatives from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) met with a range of stakeholders and I would particularly like to thank the many individuals, community leaders and service providers who engaged so positively with Lin and Janet.

There were many constructive conversations that discussed the Whole-of-Australian Government commitment to Norfolk Island, while seeking input from stakeholders to help understand the specific needs and interests of Norfolk Islanders as part of their key role in advising Government on social policy. As they willingly noted, there is much that can be learnt from the resourcefulness of the community on Norfolk Island that can guide development of social policy in other parts of Australia.

PM&C will continue to closely work with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and other agencies to ensure the best outcome for the people of Norfolk Island.

New website brings KAVHA into the digital age

A dedicated new website showcasing the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) is now available to the public.

The website includes information on the year-round activities at KAVHA, the wonderful museums on site, the incredible history of the site and practical advice on navigating the area.

The website is a great resource that emphasises the culture, heritage and historic values of KAVHA and acts as a central point of information for tourists and visitors.

The KAVHA Advisory Committee and Norfolk Island Regional Council have had the opportunity to provide input during the development of the website.

The website is accessible at kavha.gov.au– all comments and feedback from the Norfolk Island community are welcome through the ‘contact us’ page on the website.

Update on the Cemetery Bay retaining wall

Some preliminary scoping work on restoring the retaining wall at Cemetery Bay has been undertaken in recent weeks by Advisian structural engineers.

The retaining wall has deteriorated, particularly in one section, and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is keen to progress repairs to ensure the safety of people using the beach.

The project is currently only in the concept planning stage. The scope of any works will be limited to restoring the retaining wall so that it remains stable. No other additions or changes to the wall are planned.

Citizenship Ceremony

It was an enormous honour and privilege for me to officiate recently at a Citizenship Ceremony for five people who have chosen to become Australian citizens. Citizenship brings with it both privileges and responsibilities and it proved to be a very emotional experience for both the participants and myself. It is worth contemplating how lucky we are to live in a country that, no matter where in the world we come from, no matter how long we have lived in Australia, as Citizens of Australia we are joined by a common bond that treats us all equally under the law.

Administrator on leave

Finally, I wanted to let you know that I am off on leave from Monday 17 July to Monday 31 July inclusive. The office is still contactable during my absence and enquiries can be sent to office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au or by calling 22152.

Eric Hutchinson