Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Norfolk Island Reform Update Issue 11—April 2016

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If you have any questions about child support, staff from the Department of Human Services will be on Norfolk Island from 9 May 2016 to answer your questions.

Regional Council Elections

Key date for the Election
18 April 2016 Electoral Roll closed
18 April 2016 Nomination of Candidates commenced
20 April 2016 Candidate awareness training
27 April 2016 Candidate nominations close
16–27 May 2016 Postal Voting
28 May 2016 Election Day
By 22 June 2016 Declaration of the Poll
28 June 2016 Nominee Training
1 July 2016 Councillors commence

Further details will be distributed by radio, newspaper and social media.

It is important to have your say

Councillor Training

To assist candidates and elected nominees prepare for the Norfolk Island Regional Council, awareness training has been arranged. Training will be presented by Local Government NSW, the Association which represents Councils and Councillors in New South Wales.

One session was conducted on 20 April 2016 for those considering standing for election. A further session is scheduled for 28 June 2016 for the five nominees elected to become Councillors on 1 July 2016.

Information about LGNSW and their training programs is available from their website www.lgnsw.org.au Details about attending candidate awareness sessions will be advertised shortly.

Implementation of the Biosecurity Act 2015 to Norfolk Island

As you may be aware, on 1 July 2016 responsibility for delivering biosecurity services on Norfolk Island will transfer to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the Department). From this date the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Biosecurity Act) will provide the legislative means and regulatory framework for the management of biosecurity risk and movement of animals, plants, people and cargo on Norfolk Island and in other Australian Territories.

Norfolk Island, mainland Australia, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands will all be governed by the Biosecurity Act 2015. However, due to the different pest and diseases that occur in each location, specific import requirements will be developed for each Territory, including Norfolk Island. Import requirements for all Australian Territories will be based on scientific evidence and government policy. This will ensure the distinct biosecurity differences of each Territory are managed accordingly.

To manage the biosecurity risks associated with imported goods, a legislative instrument called a Goods Determination is currently being drafted to control the movement of goods into Norfolk Island from mainland Australia and other countries. This instrument will list classes of goods as prohibited or conditionally non-prohibited (meaning that certain import conditions must be met). Import conditions will be based on Norfolk Island's unique pest and disease status, scientific evidence and whether the biosecurity risk associated with the importation of goods is able to be managed. Determining import conditions will take some time and the department is currently focused on developing the conditions for goods that are currently imported into Norfolk Island to enable existing trade to continue.

The Department will organise an information session to be held on Norfolk Island about the new biosecurity legislation sometime in June 2016 which will be advertised in local media. The Department encourages all people and businesses with an interest in biosecurity management on Norfolk Island to attend.

More information about the Biosecurity Act 2015 can be viewed on the Department's website: www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/legislation/new-biosecurity-legislation

Please note that Norfolk Island will have different requirements to mainland Australia for ‘pre-arrival reports and notices".

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources via email NorfolkIsland.Transition@agriculture.gov.au

Visa transitional arrangements

Between 8–15 March, staff from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) visited Norfolk Island to conduct community consultations about the proposed visa transition arrangements for foreign nationals on Norfolk Island.

Over 100 members of the Norfolk Island community attended information sessions hosted by DIBP at Governor's Lodge. These meetings provided an outline of the planned transition for existing permit holders and residents, as well as information for business owners seeking to engage foreign workers under Australia's existing immigration arrangements.

DIBP staff met with a further 100 individuals and business owners to discuss their personal circumstances, and how they might be affected by the transition.

Information packages outlining the proposed visa transition arrangements were distributed to the community at the information sessions and during individual consultations.

Copies of these information packages are still available from the Australian Government Information Centre.

The DIBP would like to thank all members of the community who took the time to attend the information sessions, made individual appointments, or provided verbal or written feedback about the proposed visa transition arrangements. Your feedback on our presentations was positive and informative.

If you have any questions regarding the 1 July 2016 changes in relation to Australian immigration, or information contained in the information package, please direct them to the Department's representative on Norfolk Island, Australian Border Force Inspector Mr Neale Turner, at the Australian Government Information Centre.

Australian Tax Office (ATO) visit from 9 to 13 May

The ATO will be back on Norfolk Island from Monday 9 to Friday 13 May to assist you with your tax and super questions.

Bookings are essential and places are limited, so please call the Australian Government Information Centre on 23465 to book for a seminar, one-on-one appointment, or ATO visit.

Employer essentials seminar

When: 5pm Monday 9 May
Where: Governor's Lodge

The ATO will be repeating their small business Employer essentials seminar for anyone who may have missed the last one. If you"re in business, or thinking of starting a business, this is a good overview of all the tax and super information you"ll need to know.

One-on-one appointments

When: Monday 9—Friday 13 May

Personal assistance will be available for both businesses and individuals, to help with:

  • registering for tax file numbers, Australian business numbers (ABNs) and pay as you go (PAYG) withholding
  • business tax—including deductions, concessions and record keeping
  • employer obligations—tax and super for workers, and
  • personal tax—including what to do if you work multiple jobs.

ATO visit to your business

When: Tuesday 10—Friday 13 May

For convenience the ATO can come to you to discuss your business tax and super questions.

New infrastructure works continue

Taylors Road footpath and associated road works underway

Works on the footpath linking Queen Elizabeth Avenue and Taylors Road are well underway. The work is currently on schedule to be completed by 30 June 2016. The project provides a much needed asset to the community.

Cascade Pier extension and refurbishment

As announced in Minister Fletchers" media release in March 2016, Waterway Constructions, one of Australia's largest specialist marine structures contractors, will deliver the $13 million upgrade to Cascade Pier.

In early April 2016, representatives from Waterway Constructions visited Norfolk Island to meet with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the work plan for the extension and refurbishment project. Stakeholder meetings were held with fishing organisations, local businesses, individuals, and officers from the Norfolk Island Administration. The meetings provided an opportunity to discuss the work program, identify opportunities for local businesses to be involved in the project, and to consult with stakeholders.

The works program is expected to commence May/June 2016 and be completed by late 2017. At times during the construction phases there will be limited access to the pier, for work health and safety.

Regular project updates will be included in the ‘Norfolk Island Reform Update" newsletter and on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/administrator/index.aspx#anc_news

Parenting and family support

Norfolk Islanders will soon have access to social security payments and family support services aimed at building strong families and communities.

The Commonwealth Government is in the process of selecting a service provider to regularly visit the island to deliver Family and Relationship Services, Children and Parenting Support, and Emergency Relief on Norfolk Island from 1 July onwards.

Family and Relationship Services provide help for people with relationship difficulties, counselling for children through the provision of broad-based counselling and education to families of different forms and sizes.

Children and Parenting Support services focus on supporting families with children in their younger years (up to 12 years) to improve children's development and wellbeing, with a focus on early intervention and prevention before issues escalate.

Emergency Relief helps people in financial crisis, including through vouchers for food, transport or medicine, help with paying outstanding accounts, providing household goods, food parcels, or clothing, or help with budgeting.

Further down the track, the 24-hour counselling helpline 1800 RESPECT will become available for people experiencing sexual assault or domestic and family violence to access support and advice. Some technical issues have to be resolved to ensure this can be provided as a free number.

The timing of the rollout of each service will be confirmed closer to the time.

And from 1 July, Norfolk Island residents will also be able to access social security payments, including Newstart Allowance, Family Tax Benefit, Disability Support Pension, and the Age Pension.

For more information, go to www.dss.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform

Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area aerial survey

In November 2015, RCS Group Australia undertook a survey providing high resolution aerial imagery of the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).

The survey encompassed 120 hectares and took ten days to complete. Along with conventional methods, the survey utilised a drone to capture data essential to forming highly accurate digital surface models capable of being converted to three dimensional formats.

On completion approximately 3,000 aerial photos were captured delivering 1.75 gigabytes of ground spot data to create several Computer Aided Design (CAD) models of the KAVHA terrain and structures. The models were later merged with graphical data and survey reports to form a precise blueprint depicting existing infrastructure including cadastral boundaries, roadways, tracks, watercourses, power lines, communications, and topographical contours. Historic maps were also incorporated to show changes of the site's use over time.

The information provided by the survey and associated models will reduce potential impacts from future works as the exact position of underground services and features are known. We will also be able to detect any underground subsidence of structures at an early stage and take preventative action.

During a run over the south eastern section of the golf course a curious swarm of bees came to investigate the high pitched sound coming from the drone's electric motor.

Using superior numbers they confronted the drone in an attempt to discourage it from its flight path. After many casualties the swarm slowly dispersed however they forced operations to close for the day.

Continence Aids Payment Scheme

The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) provides an annual payment to assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of their incontinence products. The CAPS provides greater choice and flexibility for clients to allow them to purchase their incontinence products from the supplier of their choice. The current payment amount is $558.90 each year.

Applicants must complete a CAPS Application Form, which includes a health report. Applicants and their health professional should read the CAPS Application Guidelines prior to completing the application form and health report. A health professional must complete the health report component.

Once approved, the CAPS payment is made by Medicare directly to the client's nominated bank account.

The CAPS will be available to eligible Australian residents living on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016. Application guidelines and forms will be available from the Department of Human Services on Norfolk Island during their visit in May 2016.

More information about the CAPS, including application guidelines and forms, is available from the Australian Government website www.bladderbowel.gov.au or by emailing continence@health.gov.au

Norfolk Island Hospital and Central School

Minister Fletcher and New South Wales Premier Baird recently announced NSW will be the provider of both hospital and school services on Norfolk Island.

In preparation for this, facility audits have been undertaken at both sites. This has included:

  • Detailed site surveys;
  • Building dilapidation assessments;
  • Workplace health and safety compliance;
  • Fire safety compliance;
  • Disability access compliance;
  • Mechanical/electrical condition, and
  • Equipment condition.

As a result:

  • A program of works is being developed to address the issues identified;
  • A Project Manager is being engaged to co-ordinate a range of skills to undertake priority works;
  • Funding will be provided by the Commonwealth to fund priority works.

Medicare Safety Net

People who require regular tests or doctor visits can often experience high medical costs. Visiting a doctor or having tests may cost less once a Medicare Safety Net threshold is reached.

Once the relevant threshold is met, the Medicare Safety Net may provide a higher Medicare benefit for all eligible services for the rest of the calendar year. This may mean that visits to the doctor or having tests could cost less. For example, once the relevant threshold is met, the same amount is paid upfront to the doctor, however a higher Medicare benefit may be paid, making the out of pocket expenses much less.

Services that may be covered under the Medicare Safety Net include healthcare professional consultations, blood tests, CT scans, pap smears, psychiatry, radiotherapy, tissue biopsies, ultrasounds and x-rays.

Only services on the Medicare Benefits Schedule count towards the Medicare Safety Net. Services provided in a hospital, such as surgery, consulting a health physician or undertaking tests do not count towards the Medicare Safety Net.

The Medicare Safety Net is available for all Medicare eligible people. Individuals don"t need to register for the Medicare Safety Net, but families and couples do. Families and couples will need to register their family for the Medicare Safety Net on the Department of Human Services website. The form can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms/ms016

For Medicare Safety Net purposes, a family consists of:

  • a couple who are legally married and not separated, or a couple in a de facto relationship, with or without dependent children
  • a single person with dependent children

A dependant is someone who the family contact or spouse supports financially and is either a:

  • child dependant aged under 16 years, or
  • student dependant aged between 16 and 25 who is in full time education

Dependants may be a member of two Medicare Safety Net families, for example because of separation or divorce. The out of pocket expenses will count towards the Medicare Safety Net of the family whose Medicare card is used to claim the Medicare benefit.

Further information on the Medicare Safety Net can be found on the Department of Health's website www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/EMSN_Landing_Page

You may have heard…

The nbn™ network is coming to Norfolk Island in 2016

The national broadband network (nbn) is coming to Norfolk Island and will soon be available via Sky Muster™ satellite. Sky Muster™ is the newest satellite service to deliver fast, reliable internet services to regional Australia and Norfolk Island. The delivery of nbn services to Norfolk Island is an Australian Government initiative and is expected to be available to homes and businesses in the coming months.

NBN Logo

Getting connected to the nbn is as easy as placing an order with a Retail Service Provider. There are a number of Retail Service Providers offering internet services to Norfolk Island and can be found by googling Sky Muster Satellite plans. Then it's as easy as selecting an internet plan that suits your home or business. The Retail Service Provider you select will order the installation of your equipment through nbn and turn on your service; some Retail Service Providers may need to ship a modem to your house or business before your connection is complete. nbn has engaged a local, qualified installer on Norfolk Island to undertake the installations.

Access to fast, reliable internet services presents opportunities to the Norfolk Island community in education, business, tourism, entertainment, health care and social networking, giving residents the potential to be more productive, more creative, more efficient and more importantly more connected, so stay tuned!

More information about Sky Muster™ and Retail Service Providers go to: www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/information-for-home/satellite.html

Australian Government agency visits to Norfolk Island

Who? When? How they can help you?
May to July 2016
Australian Taxation Office 9 to 14 May Ensure employers are ready for 1 July 2016.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 10 to 14 May Prepare on island resources for Biosecurity officers on 1 July 2016
Department of Human Services Early May to July Staff will be available to help you lodge an early payment claim or child support assessment.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources June

Exact date to be confirmed

Community engagement regarding the Biosecurity Act 2015 and import conditions for goods

Please note this schedule contains the visits known to date as at 27 April 2016, and is subject to change. Visits might be added as agencies confirm arrangements and dates below might change. This schedule will be updated regularly.

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Last Updated: 21 June, 2018