End of year message - Indian Ocean Territories
As the end of the year rapidly approaches, I wanted to share some reflections with you on my first six months as the Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories.
In this time, I have been working to understand both the challenges facing the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) and the opportunities ahead for your communities.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with a number of representatives from IOT in Canberra, and while I wasn’t able to make it into your beautiful part of the world thus far, rest assured it is high on my priority list for 2023.
I want to continue to build strong, collaborative partnerships, and have ‘one voice’ representing and advocating for the IOT, so as to best realise the long-lasting opportunities for the region.
Already in my time since becoming Minister, significant progress has been made on critical work to support the ongoing sustainability of the region.
Development of the Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaption Plan (CHRMAP) for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) and the waste management strategy for the IOT are continuing apace.
Following my announcement in September of the successful applicants on Christmas Island (CI) and CKI under the Innovative Agricultural Trials grants program, I look forward to seeing the progress made to increase local production of fresh produce.
While there have been a number of achievements to note this year, I am upfront that there are still challenges to tackle. I acknowledge more work is needed on long-term solutions for freight and air services, and I look forward to hearing community-led solutions on this issue in 2023.
I will also be focused on finalising the appointment of the next Administrator. I know how important it is to the community to have the right person in the role, and assure you that through the current merit‑based process, the next Administrator will be an advocate and passionate supporter of the diverse Indian Ocean Territories region.
As a firm believer in cross-government collaboration, I look forward to continuing to work closely with my fellow Ministers, the Western Australian Government along with the Shires of CI and CKI to support the continued delivery of essential services, find tailored local solutions and make sure the IOT remains a natural and cultural wonder.
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge and support during my first months as your Minister.
Wishing you and your families a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.