New partnership for Norfolk Island services

Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Michael McCormack MP and the Premier of Queensland and Minister for Trade, the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, along with the Hon Nola Marino MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, today announced an intention to develop an enduring partnership between the Australian and Queensland governments for the provision of state services to Norfolk Island.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Premier signed a Heads of Agreement to support the delivery of critical services including health and school education to one of Australia’s most remote communities.

“This is a great outcome for the Norfolk Island community,” Mr McCormack said.

“It provides Norfolk Island with access to the extensive experience and capability of Queensland in delivering high quality state services in remote and island settings and builds on the strong connections between Norfolk Islanders and the people of Queensland through family, community, work and services.

“Consistent with agreements regarding service delivery in other external territories, the Federal Government has committed to fully funding all costs associated with service delivery to Norfolk Island, ensuring no cost is borne by Queensland.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the agreement recognised Queensland’s ability to overcome the challenges of distance to deliver high-quality, essential services like health and education.

“Queensland’s effective health management and expertise has been lauded in Australia and abroad during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

“And we continue to demonstrate excellence in education, offering inclusive learning experiences for students at more than 600 state schools throughout rural and remote Queensland.

“Working with the Commonwealth, we look forward to tailoring these essential services to meet the unique needs of the Norfolk Island community, inspiring favourable outcomes for the more than 1,700 people who call the island home.”

The governments will develop arrangements for essential school education delivery and health services support on Norfolk Island as the first priority, working closely with the New South Wales Government.

The agreement also provides for the Australian and Queensland governments to continue to consider other state services progressively over time to provide Norfolk Islanders with comparable services and regulatory support to similar mainland communities.

“The Australian Government has been working hard on behalf of the Norfolk Island community to secure an enduring partnership that will deliver continuity of essential services and provide opportunity to extend further state services in the future.” Mrs Marino said.

“We appreciate Queensland’s willingness to partner with us and will continue to work closely with Queensland to develop service and transitional arrangements.”

Education Minister Grace Grace led a Queensland Government delegation in April where she met Norfolk Island locals and community leaders.

“The clear message was that locals are very proud of the island’s education and health services and they want to be closely engaged in the transition and ongoing delivery of those services," Minister Grace said.

“Our government understands this and we will work closely with the Norfolk Island community to deliver the first class health and education services that Queensland is recognised for."

The Norfolk Island community will continue to be informed and engaged as this work progresses.

“This agreement will provide certainty and stability for the community and demonstrates the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the Norfolk Island community have access to the high quality services they need,” Mr McCormack said.

Media Contact

Deputy Prime Minister – Brooke Hargraves 0458 002 462

Premier Palaszczuk – Zoe Russell 0439 982 347

Assistant Minister Marino – Sophie Beeton (02) 6277 429