2023 End of year message to the Norfolk Island community
As we speed towards the end of 2023, I would like to take a moment to wish everyone on Norfolk Island the best for the holiday season.
These coming days and weeks are a special time to not only take a break, but to also reflect on the positive year that we have had.
Looking back over the past twelve months, I am proud of what we have achieved together for the Norfolk community.
From laying the foundations for a new stage of community engagement, enhancing local representation and advocacy, and forging stronger partnerships – it has been a busy and successful 2023.
The appointment of Mr George Plant, the first local Administrator for Norfolk Island, was a significant outcome for the community.
Already off to a flying start, George has played a key role in increasing local advocacy and progressing a new phase of community-driven decision-making – work that will continue in 2024.
The establishment of the Norfolk Island Governance Committee (NIGC), including the election of three community representatives, was a huge achievement.
Thank you to everyone that nominated for a position on the Committee, and turned out in droves to vote – because when we work together, we get better outcomes.
I have said from day one that it is important we arrive at the right model of governance for Norfolk Island.
That is why I thank the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories for their inquiry and report on pathways forward, along with the contributions of the NIGC community representatives and local residents.
The Government will carefully consider the report’s recommendations in 2024.
We also strengthened relationships between the Australian Government, the Queensland Government, and the community as we moved into the second year of the tailored state service delivery through the Queensland Government.
I thank Queensland for their ongoing commitment to this partnership and look forward to it being further enhanced next year.
Of course, 2023 has not been without its challenges, including cost-of-living increases, and the lingering impacts of COVID-19 that continue to affect global and domestic freight and supply chains.
That is why we worked hard to deliver practical solutions to support Norfolk Islanders now and into the future.
This included rolling out the Energy Bill Relief Fund, saving local households and businesses hundreds of dollars on their electricity bills in November.
To help stabilise and meet sea freight needs, we are funding two new purpose-built Cargo Transfer Vessels (CTVs), being delivered in partnership with the Norfolk Island Regional Council.
Thanks to those contributing local knowledge and expertise to make sure the CTVs can meet the specific conditions of Norfolk Island’s infrastructure and landscape.
Finally, as part of our work to prioritise the delivery of quality health care on island, we announced that the Albanese Labor Government will deliver a new, 16-bed residential aged care home for the Norfolk Island community.
Expected to be completed in mid-2027, this new aged care home will allow more residents to age on island with dignity and access to high quality care.
I look forward to continuing our positive work in 2024, as we progress shared goals and build a better future for Norfolk Island.
Wishing you and your families a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.