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Community matters—24 March

The Australian Government provides regular updates to the community on the development and progress of programs and services for Norfolk Island.

Tourism numbers are improving

Norfolk Island tourism numbers have increased in recent years. The 2016–17 financial year had the highest number of overnight visitors to Norfolk Island since 2007–08 and the 2017–18 financial year is projected to have strong tourism numbers.

The graph below shows yearly visitor numbers to Norfolk Island since the Australian Government commenced underwriting the service between the mainland and Norfolk Island in 2012. As you can see numbers are steadily increasing. These numbers do not include cruise ship visitors.

Air New Zealand flights are increasing

In 2018, Air New Zealand will provide more flights between Norfolk Island and the mainland than were provided in 2017. An additional two flights have been added in August from Brisbane. The decision to commence these additional flights was due to strong forward bookings in that period.

Over the last three years Air New Zealand has increased the number of flights it operates between Norfolk Island and the mainland in response to improved passenger demand from the mainland (208 flights in 2015–16 to 232 flights in 2017–18).

There are now 43 weeks of the year where four or more flights per week are going to Norfolk Island. The Australian Government will continue to work with Air New Zealand and increase services to Norfolk Island where demand supports additional capacity.

Flights from New Zealand to Norfolk Island have previously been provided by Air New Zealand and Norfolk Island Airlines. Both ceased providing services when they determined that it was not commercially viable to continue.

Freight backlog addressed

Air freight has been constrained over the last six weeks due to the weather conditions experienced in the cyclone season which created a backlog of general freight in Brisbane and Sydney. The Department continues to work with Air New Zealand and freight forwarders to monitor the freight situation to ensure that critical freight arrives. Air New Zealand will continue to work with its supply chain partners to implement procedures to ensure life-saving medicines and blood products are clearly identified as priority freight and are loaded onto the next available flight.

Aircraft are required to carry sufficient fuel to ensure they can travel to an alternative destination if conditions are not suitable for landing in Norfolk Island. The amount of additional fuel carried will impact the volume of freight that can be carried on each flight. Once the amount of fuel required is confirmed, pilots will determine the amount of freight that can be loaded. During periods where weather conditions are challenging, freight capacity can be affected. If freight it urgently required it is recommended that you work with your freight forwarder to ensure it is clearly marked and consider sending these goods as priority freight.

As passenger loads on aircraft will be high over March, April and May we encourage people to work with their freight forwarders to determine the best method and timing for getting their general goods to Norfolk Island over the coming months. If you experience an issue with freight please contact your freight forwarder in the first instance. If the problem persists please advise the Office of the Administrator at office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au of your experience.

UN Human Rights Commission

The Australian Government notes media reports that a complaint has been lodged with the UN Human Rights Committee by a group of people from Norfolk Island alleging breaches by Australia of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Human Rights Committee has not yet transmitted the text of any such complaint to Australia.