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Release of Commonwealth Grants Commission report

The Australian Government welcomes the release of the Commonwealth Grants Commission's report on its 2019 Norfolk Island Inquiry.

As announced in May, the Department asked the Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC) to undertake a costing of Norfolk Island services and its capacity to raise state and local government revenue.

A purpose of the Inquiry was to support the Government to make informed decisions about the provision of state-type and local government services. It also provides the Council with valuable benchmark data to inform its processes and approach to delivering services.

The Inquiry used 2017–18 costs and revenue for Norfolk Island state-type and local government services and measured these against the cost of delivering services in comparable communities. The Inquiry also gave regard to Norfolk Island's unique circumstances, including geographical location.

The Government thanks the Norfolk Island Regional Council for its support and cooperation in the inquiry process.

CGC inquiries into the external territories are routine practice, with CGC staff last conducting inquiries for Norfolk Island in 2011, 2006 and 1998. The inquiry found that the level of spending for state-type and local government expenses in 2017–18 was broadly comparable to that amount required to provide comparable services to other communities.

Importantly, the inquiry's purpose was not to provide advice on what services should be delivered on Norfolk Island or offer specific recommendations or actions for the Government or Council.

I would also note the assessment does not include or estimate revenues and expenses related to non-state-type services provided by the Commonwealth (such as KAVHA and airline underwriting), nor infrastructure costs (for example, major capital works such as the airport runway upgrade).

The assessment will assist in consideration of future funding requirements to ensure services continue to be provided at a comparable level to similar communities.

In line with our commitment to keeping the community informed, this inquiry and its outcomes—along with the reports from the 2006 and 2011 enquiries—is available on the CGC website at www.cgc.gov.au/inquiries/norfolk-island and on the Department's website at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/norfolk-island-economy/index.aspx

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island