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Effectiveness indicators for key strategies

Territory residents receiving appropriate and effective governance

Key strategy: Develop effective and appropriate governance for each Territory.

Norfolk Island - Substantially achieved

The Territories and Local Government Division provided policy advice on the Norfolk Island Act 1979 and liaised with other Commonwealth Departments and agencies on the extension of Commonwealth legislation to Norfolk Island. The Division also provided administrative and policy support to the Norfolk Island Administrator.

The Division provided the Minister with advice on Norfolk Island legislation requiring the Governor-General's assent and on legislation where the Minister issues instructions to the Administrator in relation to assent. In one instance the Administrator was instructed to withhold assent on the basis that the Norfolk Island legislation was not consistent with Commonwealth policy objectives and mainland practices. The Division provided advice to the Minister to enable him to fulfil his responsibilities in relation to the Norfolk Island immigration appeal mechanism. This type of advice ensures effective governance practices in the Territories.

In addition to the policy and administrative advice provided, the Department also supports the governance infrastructure of Norfolk Island through funding and support initiatives, including the following:

  • The Department provided $75,000 to the Norfolk Island Legal Aid Fund to ensure all Norfolk Islanders have access to appropriate legal representation.
  • The Department has committed to providing assistance to the Norfolk Island Government's Focus 2002 Financial Review.
  • Through the Department, $496,000 in funding was provided to the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) for restoration works. In addition the Division provided the Chair to the KAVHA Management Board (Chair alternates between the Commonwealth and Norfolk Island representatives on a financial year basis).
  • In cooperation with the Norfolk Island Government the Division continued to progress the Norfolk Island Crown Land Initiative. A public exhibition of the draft Norfolk Island Plan and Plans of Management for 12 reserves was completed and other land initiative prerequisites-including heritage regime implementation, building code and other land management regulations-are nearing completion. The general terms of the possible freehold offer have been announced to the rural, residential and rural residential Crown
    leaseholders outside of KAVHA that are subject to the land initiative.

The effect of the abovementioned activities was to bring Norfolk Island closer to the arrangements prevailing in other Australian communities.

Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory - Achieved

The Territories and Local Government Division provided advice to the Minister in relation to policy issues associated with the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988, including appointments to the National Capital Authority.

The Division administered both the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory Self-Government Acts and provided policy advice on governance issues related to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly and statehood for the Northern Territory.

The Division managed two administered programmes and six departmental programmes to compensate the Australian Capital Territory Government for costs incurred as a result of Canberra being the National Capital. These administered programmes are detailed in the next few pages under 'Report on administered programmes'.

Jervis Bay Territory-Achieved

Community issues in the Jervis Bay Territory associated with good governance as enjoyed by other Australians continued to be addressed through the Justice Issues Group, comprising both public officials and representatives of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and chaired by the Department. This group addresses legal issues according to the Australian Capital Territory's legal framework and results in the fair and reasonable application of the law for the Jervis Bay community.

Indian Ocean Territories-Achieved

During the year under review, the Territories and Local Government Division progressed effective and appropriate governance for the IOTs. It monitored and applied Western Australian legislation, tabled lists in Parliament as required and provided explanatory material to island communities.

The Division provided advice to the Minister on:

  • the repeal of a number of outdated regulations and ordinances relating to the IOTs
  • the transfer of responsibility for customs and immigration functions in the IOTs to the Australian Customs Service
  • amendments (introduced into Parliament on 29 May 2002) to extend the Quarantine Act 1908 to Christmas Islan
  • the extension of the appointment of the Indian Ocean Territories Administrator for a further 12 months.
The effect of this activity was to align the governance of the IOTs more closely with that of comparable mainland communities.

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Relevant government services meeting acceptable standards of comparability

Key strategy: Implement or improve government services to bring them in line with those available in comparable mainland communities and in order to meet non-self-governing Territories' community needs.


Services in the IOTs (Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands) are being provided to the level enjoyed by comparable communities on the mainland. The two Territories are geographically and demographically quite different and this provides a challenge to deliver services to the desired level.

During the past year, State-type government services were delivered through 28 Service Delivery Arrangements (SDAs) currently in place with various Western Australian State Government agencies. Education, electricity and a host of local government and State-type services are delivered to the residents.

The SDAs provide services to the Territories at levels equivalent with those available to comparable mainland communities. During 2001-02 new SDAs with the Western Australian Department of Fisheries and Department of Training were implemented, further broadening the scope of services available to the Territories. Negotiations for future SDAs were commenced with the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts and the Western Australian Office of Energy.

The Indian Ocean Territories State-type Grants programme provides an equivalent level of access for the Territories' residents and groups to State Government grant funding programmes as is available to Western Australia's residents and groups.

Government services were improved through:

  • streamlining of the management and operation of water and waste water functions and the port on Christmas Island to bring them into line with comparable mainland communities
  • the approval of a Town Planning Scheme for Christmas Island and the advancement of a Town Planning Scheme for Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

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Improved employment levels and economic activity in the non-self-governing Territories

Key strategy: Facilitate economic and infrastructure development in the non-self-governing Territories.

During the past year, the Non-Self-Governing Territories Branch of the Territories and Local Government Division worked vigorously to advance government initiatives that will improve economic and infrastructure development in the IOTs.

Economic Development Committees-Achieved

During 2001-02 Economic Development Committees were established on Christmas Island and on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to promote economic development and enhance business opportunities.

Permanent immigration reception and processing centre- Achieved

The Government announced on 12 March 2002 that a purpose-built permanent immigration reception and processing centre would be constructed on Christmas Island. The purpose-built facility is part of the Government's
management of unauthorised boat arrivals.

The successful contractors for essential infrastructure for the centre and the 160 units and 12 staff houses being built have provided local employment opportunities and sourced skilled and unskilled labour on the Island to the extent available.

Asia Pacific Space Centre-Partially achieved

During 2001-02 the Territories and Local Government Division continued to work with the Asia Pacific Space Centre to facilitate the development of a space facility on Christmas Island. The facility is expected to generate 300-400 jobs in construction and up to 550 jobs in operation, including for 300 Russians on a temporary basis for launch operations. The Asia Pacific Space Centre expects the facility to be operational in 2004.

These initiatives-the Asia Pacific Space Centre, the permanent immigration reception and processing centre and the Economic Development Committees- will lead to improved employment levels and economic activity in the IOTs.

Border control and Australias Territories

The Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands) and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands have been entry points to Australia for unauthorised boat arrivals. Until August 2001, illegal arrivals were temporarily accommodated on Christmas and Cocos Islands until such time as arrangements could be made to bring them to Immigration reception and processing centres on the mainland.

Following the 'Tampa situation' off Christmas Island and changes to the Migration Act 1958 that excised the Islands from the Australian migration zone for all unauthorised arrivals, the role of these Territories is now significantly changed.

The Department has had a major role in providing accommodation and infrastructure on Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands for processing and detention of unauthorised boat arrivals. This included development of an interim centre at Phosphate Hill on Christmas Island and contingency accommodation at the former Quarantine Station on Cocos West Island. In March 2002, the Government announced that a permanent purpose-built immigration reception and processing centre is to be built on Christmas Island. The Department has responsibility for providing infrastructure and associated works and staff housing for the operation of the centre.

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