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Norfolk Island Reform Update Issue 11—April 2016

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Message from Administrator

This edition of the Newsletter contains important reform information about child support, parenting and family support services, employment services, taxation and business readiness, immigration and an update on the Taylors Road Footpath and Cascade Pier upgrade.

The contract for the construction of the Cascade Pier upgrade is an enormous win for the Norfolk Island economy and the community, with opportunities for local businesses to be involved throughout the construction phase. The works are due to commence in May /June 2016 and be complete by the end of 2017.

The strong response from the Norfolk Island business community shows so many are getting ready for change on 1 July. Recent visits from the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Human Services have allowed many direct consultations, the Australian Tax Office returns soon and so does Human Services. This is a valuable opportunity for business owners and other residents to speak with officials and gain information relevant to their personal circumstances.

Many others have also been attending small business workshops and training courses. The sessions have focused on supporting and preparing small businesses for the implementation of the reforms and furthering professional and vocational development. I commend those who recognise the value in investing in people and have already taken advantage of the training and development opportunities, and encourage those who haven't to book into any additional sessions scheduled over the coming weeks.

Finally and perhaps most significantly, the new arrangements for Norfolk Island residential aged care and health services are being finely developed following a visit from health and ageing officials from both New South Wales and the Australian Government last week. The services and standards will be an enormous positive for our community.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave

You may have heard

Department of Human Services on Island to help you lodge an early claim for our payments and services.

Department of Human Services staff will be on Norfolk Island to help you lodge an early claim for our payments and services before 1 July 2016.

Financial Information Service Officers will be on Norfolk Island from 2 May 2016 to help you prepare to lodge an early claim for a payment, a claim for Family Tax Benefit or to request a child support assessment. Staff will also be available to answer questions and provide information about Department of Human Services payments and services.

You can book an appointment to see Financial Information Service Officers from 2 May 2015 by visiting the Australian Government Information Centre or calling 23465.

From 9 May, you'll be able to lodge an early paper claim for payments. The forms are available at the Australian Government Information Centre.

If you want to get ready now, fill out the relevant form, depending on your circumstances, and get any supporting documents ready that you'll need to support your claim. You can download the forms from our website at www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms

You can then lodge your claim in person when we're on the island from 9 May.

If you haven't already done so, create a myGov account at www.my.gov.au or ask our staff to help you create an account. For more information about myGov, go to www.humanservices.gov.au/mygov

For more information about our payments and services, go to www.humanservices.gov.au

New book released—Government House, Norfolk Island

Government House on Norfolk Island is of outstanding national significance as it is one of the earliest and most intact remaining government house buildings, and the oldest working government house in Australia.

The Australian Government has produced a new book about Government House that captures the rich history of Norfolk Island since the first European settlement in 1788. The present building, built in 1829, is the fourth Government House built on Norfolk Island, and was re-built directly over the remains of the third (1803) house following the re-establishment of the second penal settlement. The first two houses were constructed near the original land place prior to 1800.

While much of the content of the book is based on previous guides to Government House, including a 1995 publication by Jane Wesley, the new book includes several historic illustrations and photographs and stunning contemporary photographs by Robin Nisbet. The book also contains interesting anecdotes from several local residents that provide insight into the history, restoration and the evolution of Government House through the settlement phases to today.

The book was prepared on island by the Administrator's wife Lorraine Hardgrave, past and present Commonwealth Heritage Managers Matt Alexander and John Petersen with research from Judith Davidson and Angie Andresen. Plus off Island support provided by officers from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Copies of the book will be provided to local charities and service organisations for sale at Government House open days. Sales of the book will assist the charities in raising much needed funds. The book will also raise awareness and appreciation of the heritage values of Government House and its part in the history of our nation.

Support for separated parents

The Department of Human Services can help separated parents and non-parent carers with child support. Child support helps separated parents meet the costs of raising children.

Having a child support assessment and working out your child support payments can help your family circumstances. You can ask us to work out how much child support should be paid using the Child Support formula. You can also make a child support agreement with the other parent and register it with us.

You can choose whether child support is paid privately with the other parent, or you can ask us to collect and transfer the payments. This is a free service.

You may be eligible for a payment called Family Tax Benefit if you have a child in your care. If you or your partner have a child in your care from a previous relationship, you or your partner will need to take reasonable steps to obtain child support to be eligible for more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A. This is known as the Maintenance Action Test. You can meet this test by applying for a child support assessment. You can apply for a child support assessment online from 9 May 2016. If you apply for a child support assessment between 9 May 2016 and 1 July 2016, it will start on 1 July 2016.

For more information:

If you have any questions about child support, staff from the Department of Human Services will be on Norfolk Island from 9 May 2016 to answer your questions.

Regional Council Elections

Key date for the Election
18 April 2016 Electoral Roll closed
18 April 2016 Nomination of Candidates commenced
20 April 2016 Candidate awareness training
27 April 2016 Candidate nominations close
16–27 May 2016 Postal Voting
28 May 2016 Election Day
By 22 June 2016 Declaration of the Poll
28 June 2016 Nominee Training
1 July 2016 Councillors commence

Further details will be distributed by radio, newspaper and social media.

It is important to have your say

Councillor Training

To assist candidates and elected nominees prepare for the Norfolk Island Regional Council, awareness training has been arranged. Training will be presented by Local Government NSW, the Association which represents Councils and Councillors in New South Wales.

One session was conducted on 20 April 2016 for those considering standing for election. A further session is scheduled for 28 June 2016 for the five nominees elected to become Councillors on 1 July 2016.

Information about LGNSW and their training programs is available from their website www.lgnsw.org.au Details about attending candidate awareness sessions will be advertised shortly.

Implementation of the Biosecurity Act 2015 to Norfolk Island

As you may be aware, on 1 July 2016 responsibility for delivering biosecurity services on Norfolk Island will transfer to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the Department). From this date the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Biosecurity Act) will provide the legislative means and regulatory framework for the management of biosecurity risk and movement of animals, plants, people and cargo on Norfolk Island and in other Australian Territories.

Norfolk Island, mainland Australia, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands will all be governed by the Biosecurity Act 2015. However, due to the different pest and diseases that occur in each location, specific import requirements will be developed for each Territory, including Norfolk Island. Import requirements for all Australian Territories will be based on scientific evidence and government policy. This will ensure the distinct biosecurity differences of each Territory are managed accordingly.

To manage the biosecurity risks associated with imported goods, a legislative instrument called a Goods Determination is currently being drafted to control the movement of goods into Norfolk Island from mainland Australia and other countries. This instrument will list classes of goods as prohibited or conditionally non-prohibited (meaning that certain import conditions must be met). Import conditions will be based on Norfolk Island's unique pest and disease status, scientific evidence and whether the biosecurity risk associated with the importation of goods is able to be managed. Determining import conditions will take some time and the department is currently focused on developing the conditions for goods that are currently imported into Norfolk Island to enable existing trade to continue.

The Department will organise an information session to be held on Norfolk Island about the new biosecurity legislation sometime in June 2016 which will be advertised in local media. The Department encourages all people and businesses with an interest in biosecurity management on Norfolk Island to attend.

More information about the Biosecurity Act 2015 can be viewed on the Department's website: www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/legislation/new-biosecurity-legislation

Please note that Norfolk Island will have different requirements to mainland Australia for ‘pre-arrival reports and notices'.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources via email NorfolkIsland.Transition@agriculture.gov.au

Visa transitional arrangements

Between 8–15 March, staff from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) visited Norfolk Island to conduct community consultations about the proposed visa transition arrangements for foreign nationals on Norfolk Island.

Over 100 members of the Norfolk Island community attended information sessions hosted by DIBP at Governor's Lodge. These meetings provided an outline of the planned transition for existing permit holders and residents, as well as information for business owners seeking to engage foreign workers under Australia's existing immigration arrangements.

DIBP staff met with a further 100 individuals and business owners to discuss their personal circumstances, and how they might be affected by the transition.

Information packages outlining the proposed visa transition arrangements were distributed to the community at the information sessions and during individual consultations.

Copies of these information packages are still available from the Australian Government Information Centre.

The DIBP would like to thank all members of the community who took the time to attend the information sessions, made individual appointments, or provided verbal or written feedback about the proposed visa transition arrangements. Your feedback on our presentations was positive and informative.

If you have any questions regarding the 1 July 2016 changes in relation to Australian immigration, or information contained in the information package, please direct them to the Department's representative on Norfolk Island, Australian Border Force Inspector Mr Neale Turner, at the Australian Government Information Centre.

Australian Tax Office (ATO) visit from 9 to 13 May

The ATO will be back on Norfolk Island from Monday 9 to Friday 13 May to assist you with your tax and super questions.

Bookings are essential and places are limited, so please call the Australian Government Information Centre on 23465 to book for a seminar, one-on-one appointment, or ATO visit.

Employer essentials seminar

When: 5pm Monday 9 May
Where: Governor's Lodge

The ATO will be repeating their small business Employer essentials seminar for anyone who may have missed the last one. If you're in business, or thinking of starting a business, this is a good overview of all the tax and super information you'll need to know.

One-on-one appointments

When: Monday 9—Friday 13 May

Personal assistance will be available for both businesses and individuals, to help with:

  • registering for tax file numbers, Australian business numbers (ABNs) and pay as you go (PAYG) withholding
  • business tax—including deductions, concessions and record keeping
  • employer obligations—tax and super for workers, and
  • personal tax—including what to do if you work multiple jobs.

ATO visit to your business

When: Tuesday 10—Friday 13 May

For convenience the ATO can come to you to discuss your business tax and super questions.

New infrastructure works continue

Taylors Road footpath and associated road works underway

Works on the footpath linking Queen Elizabeth Avenue and Taylors Road are well underway. The work is currently on schedule to be completed by 30 June 2016. The project provides a much needed asset to the community.

Cascade Pier extension and refurbishment

As announced in Minister Fletchers' media release in March 2016, Waterway Constructions, one of Australia's largest specialist marine structures contractors, will deliver the $13 million upgrade to Cascade Pier.

In early April 2016, representatives from Waterway Constructions visited Norfolk Island to meet with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the work plan for the extension and refurbishment project. Stakeholder meetings were held with fishing organisations, local businesses, individuals, and officers from the Norfolk Island Administration. The meetings provided an opportunity to discuss the work program, identify opportunities for local businesses to be involved in the project, and to consult with stakeholders.

The works program is expected to commence May/June 2016 and be completed by late 2017. At times during the construction phases there will be limited access to the pier, for work health and safety.

Regular project updates will be included in the ‘Norfolk Island Reform Update' newsletter and on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/administrator/index.aspx#anc_news

Parenting and family support

Norfolk Islanders will soon have access to social security payments and family support services aimed at building strong families and communities.

The Commonwealth Government is in the process of selecting a service provider to regularly visit the island to deliver Family and Relationship Services, Children and Parenting Support, and Emergency Relief on Norfolk Island from 1 July onwards.

Family and Relationship Services provide help for people with relationship difficulties, counselling for children through the provision of broad-based counselling and education to families of different forms and sizes.

Children and Parenting Support services focus on supporting families with children in their younger years (up to 12 years) to improve children's development and wellbeing, with a focus on early intervention and prevention before issues escalate.

Emergency Relief helps people in financial crisis, including through vouchers for food, transport or medicine, help with paying outstanding accounts, providing household goods, food parcels, or clothing, or help with budgeting.

Further down the track, the 24-hour counselling helpline 1800 RESPECT will become available for people experiencing sexual assault or domestic and family violence to access support and advice. Some technical issues have to be resolved to ensure this can be provided as a free number.

The timing of the rollout of each service will be confirmed closer to the time.

And from 1 July, Norfolk Island residents will also be able to access social security payments, including Newstart Allowance, Family Tax Benefit, Disability Support Pension, and the Age Pension.

For more information, go to www.dss.gov.au/norfolk-island-reform

Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area aerial survey

In November 2015, RCS Group Australia undertook a survey providing high resolution aerial imagery of the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).

The survey encompassed 120 hectares and took ten days to complete. Along with conventional methods, the survey utilised a drone to capture data essential to forming highly accurate digital surface models capable of being converted to three dimensional formats.

On completion approximately 3,000 aerial photos were captured delivering 1.75 gigabytes of ground spot data to create several Computer Aided Design (CAD) models of the KAVHA terrain and structures. The models were later merged with graphical data and survey reports to form a precise blueprint depicting existing infrastructure including cadastral boundaries, roadways, tracks, watercourses, power lines, communications, and topographical contours. Historic maps were also incorporated to show changes of the site's use over time.

The information provided by the survey and associated models will reduce potential impacts from future works as the exact position of underground services and features are known. We will also be able to detect any underground subsidence of structures at an early stage and take preventative action.

During a run over the south eastern section of the golf course a curious swarm of bees came to investigate the high pitched sound coming from the drone's electric motor.

Using superior numbers they confronted the drone in an attempt to discourage it from its flight path. After many casualties the swarm slowly dispersed however they forced operations to close for the day.

Continence Aids Payment Scheme

The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) provides an annual payment to assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of their incontinence products. The CAPS provides greater choice and flexibility for clients to allow them to purchase their incontinence products from the supplier of their choice. The current payment amount is $558.90 each year.

Applicants must complete a CAPS Application Form, which includes a health report. Applicants and their health professional should read the CAPS Application Guidelines prior to completing the application form and health report. A health professional must complete the health report component.

Once approved, the CAPS payment is made by Medicare directly to the client's nominated bank account.

The CAPS will be available to eligible Australian residents living on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016. Application guidelines and forms will be available from the Department of Human Services on Norfolk Island during their visit in May 2016.

More information about the CAPS, including application guidelines and forms, is available from the Australian Government website www.bladderbowel.gov.au or by emailing continence@health.gov.au

Norfolk Island Hospital and Central School

Minister Fletcher and New South Wales Premier Baird recently announced NSW will be the provider of both hospital and school services on Norfolk Island.

In preparation for this, facility audits have been undertaken at both sites. This has included:

  • Detailed site surveys;
  • Building dilapidation assessments;
  • Workplace health and safety compliance;
  • Fire safety compliance;
  • Disability access compliance;
  • Mechanical/electrical condition, and
  • Equipment condition.

As a result:

  • A program of works is being developed to address the issues identified;
  • A Project Manager is being engaged to co-ordinate a range of skills to undertake priority works;
  • Funding will be provided by the Commonwealth to fund priority works.

Medicare Safety Net

People who require regular tests or doctor visits can often experience high medical costs. Visiting a doctor or having tests may cost less once a Medicare Safety Net threshold is reached.

Once the relevant threshold is met, the Medicare Safety Net may provide a higher Medicare benefit for all eligible services for the rest of the calendar year. This may mean that visits to the doctor or having tests could cost less. For example, once the relevant threshold is met, the same amount is paid upfront to the doctor, however a higher Medicare benefit may be paid, making the out of pocket expenses much less.

Services that may be covered under the Medicare Safety Net include healthcare professional consultations, blood tests, CT scans, pap smears, psychiatry, radiotherapy, tissue biopsies, ultrasounds and x-rays.

Only services on the Medicare Benefits Schedule count towards the Medicare Safety Net. Services provided in a hospital, such as surgery, consulting a health physician or undertaking tests do not count towards the Medicare Safety Net.

The Medicare Safety Net is available for all Medicare eligible people. Individuals don't need to register for the Medicare Safety Net, but families and couples do. Families and couples will need to register their family for the Medicare Safety Net on the Department of Human Services website. The form can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms/ms016

For Medicare Safety Net purposes, a family consists of:

  • a couple who are legally married and not separated, or a couple in a de facto relationship, with or without dependent children
  • a single person with dependent children

A dependant is someone who the family contact or spouse supports financially and is either a:

  • child dependant aged under 16 years, or
  • student dependant aged between 16 and 25 who is in full time education

Dependants may be a member of two Medicare Safety Net families, for example because of separation or divorce. The out of pocket expenses will count towards the Medicare Safety Net of the family whose Medicare card is used to claim the Medicare benefit.

Further information on the Medicare Safety Net can be found on the Department of Health's website www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/EMSN_Landing_Page

You may have heard…

The nbn™ network is coming to Norfolk Island in 2016

The national broadband network (nbn) is coming to Norfolk Island and will soon be available via Sky Muster™ satellite. Sky Muster™ is the newest satellite service to deliver fast, reliable internet services to regional Australia and Norfolk Island. The delivery of nbn services to Norfolk Island is an Australian Government initiative and is expected to be available to homes and businesses in the coming months.

NBN Logo

Getting connected to the nbn is as easy as placing an order with a Retail Service Provider. There are a number of Retail Service Providers offering internet services to Norfolk Island and can be found by googling Sky Muster Satellite plans. Then it's as easy as selecting an internet plan that suits your home or business. The Retail Service Provider you select will order the installation of your equipment through nbn and turn on your service; some Retail Service Providers may need to ship a modem to your house or business before your connection is complete. nbn has engaged a local, qualified installer on Norfolk Island to undertake the installations.

Access to fast, reliable internet services presents opportunities to the Norfolk Island community in education, business, tourism, entertainment, health care and social networking, giving residents the potential to be more productive, more creative, more efficient and more importantly more connected, so stay tuned!

More information about Sky Muster™ and Retail Service Providers go to: www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/information-for-home/satellite.html

Australian Government agency visits to Norfolk Island

Who? When? How they can help you?
May to July 2016
Australian Taxation Office 9 to 14 May Ensure employers are ready for 1 July 2016.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 10 to 14 May Prepare on island resources for Biosecurity officers on 1 July 2016
Department of Human Services Early May to July Staff will be available to help you lodge an early payment claim or child support assessment.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources June

Exact date to be confirmed

Community engagement regarding the Biosecurity Act 2015 and import conditions for goods

Please note this schedule contains the visits known to date as at 27 April 2016, and is subject to change. Visits might be added as agencies confirm arrangements and dates below might change. This schedule will be updated regularly.


Last Updated: 21 June, 2018