Update on Australian Government's initiatives
11 December 2018
During my visit to Christmas Island in October, I had the opportunity to discuss a number of initiatives being implemented by the Australian Government. At that time, I committed to provide you with regular updates on their progress.
Resort with Casino License
Thank you to those who participated in the recent consultations about the proposed re-issuing of a casino license on Christmas Island. I will shortly be releasing a Community Consultation Report which provides a summary of the outcomes of those discussions. I understand that, while many people are supportive of a casino as a means to encouraging economic development and employment, there are also concerns about the possible negative impacts on the community. All of these views are important and require careful consideration. In early 2019 the Australian Government will consider the proposal for a resort, with a casino licence. I anticipate this will occur by late February, and I will provide another update after that consideration.
The Government is funding the development of Strategic Plans for Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. I am delighted the Christmas Island Strategic Plan will be launched very soon (in mid-December). A lot of hard work has gone into this Plan, and I anticipate a Government response will be provided by mid-February, 2019. The Administrator tells me community consultations on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Strategic Plan have already commenced. I wish you well with this work. The Plans provide a community-led pathway to the future.
Release of Crown Land on Christmas Island
The Department is working closely with the Western Australian Government to prepare Crown land for release. This work includes meeting the requirements under the Land Administration Act 1997 (WA), and getting the sites valued. I expect to announce arrangements to market the sites by April 2019, with advice on successful purchasers and possible lessees towards the middle of the year.
The Government’s Regional Development Australia program is funding a Regional Investment Officer to identify potential investment opportunities and match those opportunities with investors. Mr Madi Signa has commenced in this role and has just spent two weeks on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands meeting the Shire and business leaders, and gaining an understanding of the investment potential of the area. I had the pleasure of meeting Madi recently - this is an important piece of work and I look forward to the opportunities it can deliver.
The Hon Sussan Ley MP
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories