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Working with the Australian Government on your behalf

Norfolk Island, through the Administrator, has a direct line of communication with the Minister for Territories and other Australian Government ministers. This access is significant in comparison to other Australian communities.

As Administrator of Norfolk Island, one of the most important parts of my role is to advocate on behalf of the Norfolk Island community. I take this role very seriously. I regularly travel to Canberra for discussions across Government. Many of these conversations are driven by representations made to me by community members, so I want to provide you with an overview on the return of my most recent visit to Canberra, from 30 July to 1 August. The visit provided an opportunity to progress a number of important issues.

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories
I was fortunate to have a considerable amount of time with our Assistant Minister, Nola Marino, and we discussed a number of matters including the importance of finding a long-term partner to deliver education and health services, the proposed Road Traffic Laws changes, the widening of Cascade Road and the future economic sustainability of Norfolk Island – with a particular focus on the pressures on sea freight and the need to build and support tourism. The Minister is focused on working with and for you, the community, to achieve the best outcomes for Norfolk Island now and into the future.

I also took the opportunity to brief Assistant Minister Marino on the aspirations of the 2020 Pacific Peace Committee to commemorate Victory in the Pacific on Norfolk Island in August 2020. The Assistant Minister commended the committee on their initiative and wholeheartedly gave her support undertaking to reach out to her colleagues about this event, including the Minister for Defence.

Minister for the Environment
Most of you will remember the Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, as she was formerly Assistant Minister, Regional Development and Territories. Minister Ley, along with Jason Mundy from Marine Parks who also attended, was keen to discuss where her portfolio responsibilities intersected with Norfolk Island. Of particular interest were the heritage values of the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historical Area, our reserves and the unique situation on Norfolk Island as the only location in Australia where the Terrestrial Park meets the Marine Park.

Minister Ley also discussed ways in which she could continue to support the Norfolk Island community at a local level, identifying two eligible grant programs. I have already commenced discussing these opportunities with our KAVHA Heritage Manager and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
This was my third meeting with Veterans’ Affairs on behalf of the 2020 Pacific Peace Committee. As with previous meetings, I am encouraged with the level of interest and support provided by Minister Darren Chester. I have briefed the 2020 Pacific Peace Committee in relation to the role Norfolk Island may have in national commemorative activities and pathways to deliver on some of the larger events proposed.

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
As you know, in addition to the local team on Island, the Department has staff located in Canberra. Meetings with the Deputy Secretary, Executive Director, General Managers and Directors servicing Norfolk Island allow me to provide a local lens on the many projects and programs for which they are responsible.

My role as Administrator is to advocate on behalf of the community, but also to support the Assistant Minister’s Department, through constructive dialogue. Departmental staff are all committed to ensuring optimal outcomes for the community of Norfolk Island. and open to resolving the issues and challenges which will invariably arise when delivering on complex and significant priorities.

I hope this update was informative and I welcome any questions or further discussion you may like to have about my visit.

Eric Hutchinson
August 2019