Continued work on investments for a strong future
15 March 2019
Further to my update earlier this month, this bulletin is to ensure you are aware of the work the Coalition Government is doing to support a strong and diverse economy on Christmas Island (Cl).
While there is a lot of focus on the re-opening of the detention centre I understand that, from a local perspective, your interest lies in the work we are doing on a range of fronts to attract investment for the future.
To this end, I am working closely with the Administrator and my Department on how best to attract tourism opportunities and investment to the Island. Tourism is a key plank in growing and diversifying local economies, supporting entrepreneurship, creating jobs, and ensuring a strong and strategic vision for Cl. The Administrator and I have discussed with the Prime Minister the need to diversify the Cl economy and I hope to make some announcements regarding tourism soon.
We also want to support the community by ensuring that important locations like the Island's Flying Fish Cove continue to meet the needs of the local community, local businesses and tourists alike.
Consideration of the re-issuing of a licence for an integrated resort, with casino license, also continues. In December and January we undertook market sounding, and considerable work on how a licence might be structured. In February I met with the WA Premier to discuss potential regulatory arrangements. The response from WA was receptive and, while there is still work to do, we are getting closer to a decision on this matter.
The Government is also progressing the Strategic Assessment of Cl under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conversation Act 1999 to consider future land uses and opportunities, and provide greater certainty to investors, while protecting the unique environment on Cl. I am pleased to hear that the community actively participated in the consultations on the Terms of Reference this week.
The Government will continue to support initiatives in the Our Christmas Island 2030 Strategic Plan, released last year. I am also very pleased the Cocos Strategic Plan is likely to be completed by the end of March. Both plans will provide an important roadmap for a bright and sustainable future. We will also continue to invest in regional and community development and are committed to ensuring economic growth, liveability and a strong sense of community on Cl.
I understand my colleague, Senator Nigel Scullion, will soon provide an update on successful projects from the most recent round of the Building Better Regions Fund. I will continue to work with my colleagues and keep you informed.