The Australian Government commits to the future of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
10 May 2018
I am pleased to announce new funding of $51.5 million to support the local communities and economic development of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Announced in the 2018–19 Federal Budget, this funding will deliver improved infrastructure and support for air services to the islands. It is a further demonstration of the Coalition Government's ongoing commitment to the Indian Ocean Territories.
Regular and reliable air services are crucial to maintaining links with mainland Australia, to support tourism and to ensure a consistent delivery of supplies.
The Coalition Government is investing $19.6 million over the next four years to continue the underwriting of air services, currently operated by Virgin Australia Airlines.
The communities are also dependent on reliable port facilities, particularly for access to supplies. The Coalition Government is investing $27.3 million over three years to replace the wharf crane and mooring systems on Christmas Island, and a further $1.3 million over two years to develop business cases for the replacement of other critical port assets on both islands.
A comprehensive study of storm water management systems, which will support upgrades to these systems in the long term, has also received support with $1.3 million allocated to the project. This work will be undertaken in consultation with the Shire of Christmas Island.
A further $2 million will be provided to establish robust asset management systems to better support infrastructure and assets that provide essential services to Island communities. Improving asset management capability, and better managing assets as they age, will contribute to the delivery of quality services, as well as the safety and wellbeing of communities.
To support a strong, coordinated future for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, I am also providing $100,000 for the Regional Development Organisation to develop a strategic plan—ensuring economic and community development is supported across the territories.
As part of the Coalition Government's commitment to decentralisation, I am also pleased to announce that three Australian Public Service positions in the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will move from Canberra to Perth. This will better support services to the island communities by strengthening our relationship with service providers in the Western Australian Government.
I am excited by the opportunities these Australian Government initiatives provide to the Indian Ocean Territories and look forward to seeing these initiatives progress first-hand in my role as Minister for Territories.