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Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Next steps with state services for Norfolk Island

Transition planning for state services is progressing well, following the recent signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Australian and Queensland governments to support the provision of state services to Norfolk Island.

Under the IGA, the Queensland Government will provide support and oversight for Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS) and operate the Norfolk Island Central School (NICS), when current arrangements with the New South Wales Government cease on 31 December 2021.

Transitional planning for NICS is well under way. The Australian Government’s contract with the NSW Education Standards Association (NESA) to license the NSW curriculum for 2022 to 2023 is close to being finalised. Students have been advised to proceed with subject selection for 2022, based on current offerings and subjects.

An intention to enrol form is also now available to support the usual planning process at NICS.

Following an earlier visit in October for scoping and information-gathering, Queensland Department of Education officials are on Norfolk Island this week to continue conversations with teaching staff at NICS on possible employment options and to commence induction planning for 2022. We are exploring options for teachers who wish to remain at the Norfolk Island Central School.

Transitional planning for NIHRACS is also well under way. The facility will continue to operate as an independent entity, funded and supported by the Australian Government. It will be supported by the Metro North Hospital and Health Service, who will take on responsibility for services currently provided by the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. Metro North is the largest Hospital and Health Service in Queensland and has a wealth of experience in commissioning new services and infrastructure.

Metro North officials visited Norfolk Island in late October to meet with NIHRACS representatives. During this visit they met with key staff, sought further detail on NIHRACS services, facilities and operations and learned about the operational features of the service unique to Norfolk Island. It is expected that there will be further visits from Metro North staff to NIHRACS as transition planning progresses.

Negotiations between the Australian and Queensland governments to finalise associated Service Delivery Schedules are ongoing and are being informed by the engagements with the NICS and NIHRACS communities. Further details will be made available as operational arrangements are finalised.

I will continue to lead engagement, provide information and work with the Norfolk Island community as transition planning progresses, with the aim to ensure minimal disruption to students and those accessing health services as we move to the new arrangements.

Further information and FAQs are available at https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories-regions-cities/territories/norfolk_island/norfolk-island-state-services-transition

In the meantime, please contact me if you have further queries.

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island
11 November 2021