09 June 2018
This week I am hosting three very important events, either organised and driven by the community, or in response to community-initiated success.
On Tuesday morning I will be hosting a breakfast meeting at Government House to support the work of the Women's Advocacy Group Norfolk Island (WAGNI) who have partnered with the Wesley Mission to deliver a financial literacy program “In Charge of My Money” to Norfolk Island's women and girls.
This is important because understanding how to budget is the first step towards achieving financial security. This program will empower women and girls to make better financial decisions and increase their ability to start making their money work for them.
Later that day, I"ll be hosting a Freight Round Table at my Office. This forum will bring together a cross-section of the Norfolk Island business community to start developing a strategy to improve air freight services. Kerry Grace, Director of Regional Development, RDA Mid North Coast, will facilitate the meeting, supported by Jan Johnson, Norfolk Island's Regional Investment Officer.
If there has been one issue that has been raised constantly with me over many months it is freight. My strong belief is that long term, any ‘sustainable’ solution must involve a commercially viable private sector service. Yes, there are challenges in achieving this, such as how we build a bigger product base that could be back-loaded freight from Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island Regional Council can play a role in this with e-waste, but potential must also exist for ‘value-added’ agricultural products. It is so encouraging for me to hear from local people, the ideas they have for expanding production of some of the amazing food products available here. The ‘tyranny of distance’ will inevitably demand that exports be essentially low volume and high value, but I can envisage a day when Norfolk Island food products are commanding premium prices in Sydney delicatessens.
Finally, and now that the dust has settled a little, I have invited the members of the very successful Norfolk Island Commonwealth Games Team along with representatives of the Island's various sporting clubs to a function at Government House on Thursday.
This is a chance to reflect on both the individual success of the Men's Triples Bowls Team, but more broadly recognise the contribution so many individuals and clubs make to this community. For me it was something of a revelation when first arriving on Norfolk Island to see the variety of different sporting and social clubs that are active on the island. As many would perhaps appreciate, often being part of a club is less about the sport itself and more about the social networking and companionship that being part of such an entity provides.
These are perhaps good examples of where the community is driving change in response to community need and as Administrator it is most appropriate for me to do whatever I can to provide my support.
Obviously my role as Administrator is primarily to represent the Australian Government here on Norfolk Island. But, as a part of your community, I can also be an advocate for and on behalf of Norfolk Island for your many positive initiatives such as those listed above.