Economic development on Christmas Island remains a priority
01 March 2019
In light of the recent focus on the reopening of the detention centre, I wish to reassure you that the Coalition Government remains committed to supporting a strong, sustainable and diverse economy.
My Department is working closely with the Administrator, Mrs Natasha Griggs, and the Department of Home Affairs to manage the impact of increased activity on the island. As discussed with the Administrator during her recent visit to Canberra, the Government will continue to support the delivery of initiatives in the Our Christmas Island 2030 Strategic Plan, released on 19 December 2018. This plan provides an important roadmap for a bright and sustainable future.
The Coalition Government is also progressing the Strategic Assessment of CI under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The assessment has come about in response to requests made during my visit to CI last year. The assessment will consider future land uses and opportunities, and provide greater certainty to investors. At the same time, it aims to protect the unique environment on CI. Importantly, the assessment will not affect existing approvals in place under the EPBC Act. Draft terms of reference were released for public consultation on 15 February 2019 and are available at minister.infrastructure.gov.au/ley/releases/2019/february/sl002_2019.aspx.
The Coalition Government is also continuing to fund an on-island Regional Investment Officer to identify economic development opportunities, attract investment and support stronger project proposals and grant applications.
I wish to assure you that consideration of the proposal to re-establish an integrated resort, with casino license on CI is continuing. I will provide another update soon. The Government is also providing funding for marketing and promotion activities to build tourism and to support training and skills development. Development of an agricultural industry is being supported through grant funding to the Mining to Plant Enterprise Project, which is trialling local cultivation of fresh produce and other crops on former mine sites.
I am working closely with the Administrator to ensure that you receive regular updates about the reopening of the detention centre. These updates will include information about arrangements being put in place for a smooth transition. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of the Administrator.