Significant Investment in Christmas Island: Enhancing natural assets to boost local jobs and growth

I am pleased to announce the Australian Government is investing $4.2 million to create jobs, support local business and grow a sustainable economy on Christmas Island (CI).

This funding has been secured following my recent visit and it is for projects focussing on Christmas Island’s natural advantages of environment, tourism, science and research.

The funding boost will include $2.8 million in infrastructure upgrades in the National Park, and public spaces including a camping ground, walking trails, signage, bike and mountain bike paths and improved ocean access.

This investment will enhance tourism experiences on CI, support local tourism, business, retail and hospitality sectors, and showcase the Island’s unique heritage, culture, and environment.

A research Roundtable will be held in February 2020. The Roundtable will be held in Canberra to coincide with the Universities Australia Conference. This conference brings together world-renowned scientists and universities together with Government agencies, including the CSIRO, to identify opportunities for research and science on CI.

As suggested by a number of local residents, CI has the potential for long‑term sustainable research in a range of areas. The Roundtable will provide an opportunity for me to explore this potential with scientific experts, as a means of bringing new visitors to the Island and diversifying the local economy.

It is our commitment to support community-led initiatives to grow a sustainable local economy and boost jobs on CI by supporting local business, capability and skills development, encouraging entrepreneurship and a strong private sector, and expansion into new markets.

This is why we are investing $150,000 to establish a Business Innovator and Entrepreneur Network to develop future leaders on CI, and $40,000 for the development of a CI Curriculum Vitae modelled on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands’ (CKI’s) successful Cocos CV, showcasing local businesses and skills, including to mainland contractors and potential investors.

Annual business workshops will support innovation and business development, improve productivity and enhance marketing and market penetration.

I have written to the Administrator of CI and CKI, Mrs. Natasha Griggs, in her role as Chair of the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation, requesting she oversee the delivery of some of these initiatives. Benefits are expected to flow to local businesses, suppliers, contractors and workers.

This new funding for CI complements other Australian Government initiatives currently underway including the Review of Tourism, delivery of initiatives in the Our Christmas Island 2030 Strategic Plan, and the Strategic Assessment of CI.

There are many opportunities for you, the community, to actively progress our shared vision by working together, putting your hand up and participating as opportunities arise.

Like all strong and resilient small communities, untapped potential emerges when people support and mentor each other to contribute to a strong future, and work together on aspirational future projects.