New Minister brings momentum to Norfolk Island reforms

Media Release

PF010/2015

23 October 2015

Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects Paul Fletcher said today that he is working to progress the Norfolk Island reform process— with the aim of stimulating growth in Norfolk Island's economy.

"Today I am acting to respond to concerns in the Norfolk Island community, by announcing that Australian capital gains tax (CGT) will not apply to assets held by Norfolk Island residents prior to today," Mr Fletcher said.

"The government intends to bring forward legislation to make the CGT change which provides relief for residents who have long-term asset holdings on Norfolk Island.

"The change will mean that CGT will only apply to assets acquired by Norfolk Island residents after today and provides additional flexibility addressing cultural legacy issues such as inheritance assets. However, this change will not apply to CGT assets held by Norfolk Island residents which would not have been exempt from CGT before Norfolk Island was incorporated into Australia's mainstream taxation system.

"To assist small businesses on Norfolk Island, tax concessions are also available for businesses which can mean an immediate deduction for business assets which cost less than $20,000.  Small businesses on Norfolk Island will be able to access this concession from when they join the Australian taxation system on 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2017 at which time the limit will reduce to $1,000."

Mr Fletcher said change of this nature takes considerable planning across governments and while a number of decisions have already been taken, more work remains to be done.

"My priority is to see the effective implementation and extension of programs and services to Norfolk Island.

To inform the future delivery of services and economic development for Norfolk Island, the Australian Government commissioned reports on roads, mobile telecommunications, economic development, Government Business Enterprises, and pests and diseases. The Norfolk Island Administrator, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, will be sharing these reports with the Norfolk Island community in the coming month and will engage with the community about the findings.

In addition, the Government has commissioned a report about the health system on Norfolk Island. Mr Fletcher said the Government will consider the recommendations of this report, once received, and draw on the report in determining the provision of future health services to best meet the needs of the community.