Norfolk Island reforms commence
01 July 2015
Today marks the beginning of a twelve month reform process to build a stronger and more prosperous future for Norfolk Island.
Yesterday I visited Norfolk Island to meet the Norfolk Island Advisory Council ahead of today's inaugural meeting. Under the leadership of Chair Melissa Ward, the Advisory Council will provide a strong local voice and work alongside the Australian Government in delivering positive change.
I also met with local business owners and community leaders brought together by the Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, to discuss the reforms in detail.
I was joined by Mr Peter Gesling, who today commences as Norfolk Island Executive Director.
Mr Gesling is an accomplished senior executive in local government and is well positioned to strengthen local service delivery and work with the community to transition the Administration of Norfolk Island to a Regional Council.
During my visit I announced the first road project to be delivered as part of the Australian Government's infrastructure strategy for Norfolk Island.
The Australian Government will construct a new footpath connecting the school and shopping village to improve safety and amenity. This vital piece of infrastructure is a community priority and is just the first of many upgrades to be implemented.
Improving Norfolk Island's road network is critical for community safety as well as economic and tourism development. The Australian Government has set aside $13.5 million for infrastructure upgrades in addition to the $13 million committed to upgrade the Cascade Pier.
The Australian Government is delivering on its election commitment to introduce taxation, social security and healthcare arrangements on Norfolk Island effective from 1 July 2016.
These significant reforms will help deliver equity and economic stability to Norfolk Island and ensure residents have access to essential services that all Australians deserve.