Message from the Hon Nola Marino MP

Dear Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands residents,

I am very pleased to have been asked by the Prime Minister to fill the position of Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories. I look forward to working with you, the IOT communities and the Administrator, Mrs Natasha Griggs, to continue to build a strong and positive future.

To give you some background; my husband and I own a dairy farm business in Harvey, a small rural community in the South West region of Western Australia. I have worked with and for small communities, regional and agricultural organisations and groups for most of my life. Following my election as the Member for Forrest in 2007, I took on the role of Whip immediately on entering the Parliament and was appointed as the first female Chief Government Whip in 2015.

I understand that many IOT residents have strong family connections with Western Australia. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible, to hear about what is important to you and your community.

My role as Minister is to serve you, the people living in the Indian Ocean Territories, and to be your voice in Canberra. To this end, I look forward to continuing the work of my colleague the Hon Sussan Ley MP towards a strong future for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands .

My focus for Christmas Island is to work with you to diversify the local economy. Over the past few years a lot of planning work has been done, including how to tap into tourism markets. What we need now is to bring all of this work together and make it happen. I will be working closely with the Department to oversee the development of timelines and to track the delivery of milestones.

For the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island, I will work with you to deliver on your vision outlined in the Strategic Plans. I understand these documents were developed closely with the community and take into account the unique qualities of each Island. I understand planning is well underway with the Department of Defence’s runway upgrade project and I am pleased that there has been early engagement with the Cocos community. I am delighted with the proactive approach the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands has taken by developing the innovative Cocos CV project part‑funded through a grant from the Australian Government which has the aim of maximising employment and business opportunities for Cocos Islanders from the runway upgrade.

I understand the Regional Development Organisation is close to finalising priority projects that will receive funding from the $500,000 in the most recent Federal Budget. I look forward to announcing these local community and infrastructure projects soon. 

As your Ministerial representative, I am here to support you and your community to achieve what is most important to you. There is work to do, and I look forward to working with you to make it happen!