Non self-governing territories
The Territories Minister has responsibility for state and local government matters in the non self-governing territories. In relation to the Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs) and the Jervis Bay Territory, the department administers arrangements for the provision of state and local government equivalent services and regulation. The other non self-governing territories, the Coral Sea Islands Territory and the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, are largely uninhabited.
The services and regulation provided range from health and education utilities, such as sewerage and water services, to the issuing of dog licences. The funding for many of these services would be the responsibility of state governments in most other areas of Australia. These services are provided through a mix of direct service provision, creation of local councils, contracting of state and territory authorities to provide services, or by contracting private companies and providers.
In 2002-03, the Commonwealth 'adopted' the West Australian (WA) legal regime for the IOTs to provide a body of state equivalent laws in Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. These WA laws when applied in the territories are Commonwealth laws. In the Jervis Bay Territory the ACT's legal framework applies.
Jervis Bay Territory
The department delivered a wide range of state and local government type services to the Jervis Bay Territory community. These services ranged from health and education provision to the issuing of dog licences. Community and social issues in the Jervis Bay Territory are addressed through consultation between public officials and representatives of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council.
Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs)
The department delivered a wide range of services to the IOTs, including public utilities, education, health, and transport. The Australian Government is attempting to provide IOT communities with the same opportunities and responsibilities as enjoyed by comparable remote communities on the mainland.
The establishment of local government shires on the islands has provided the basis for the provision of local services to the communities and work continues to develop their capital structure and resources to allow them to take on the full range of local government services.
Significant progress was made in improving government services. Many of the services to the IOTs are delivered through service delivery agreements (SDAs) with WA state government agencies. The department has in place 29 SDAs with various WA Government agencies to provide state-type services (including regulatory services) to the IOTs. During the year a new SDA was agreed to increase the range of services delivered to the IOTs and further SDAs are under negotiation.
The day-to-day activities associated with service delivery and the provision of public utilities (such as water, electricity and sewerage) is provided by the on-island administrations. Review and market testing of these service provision arrangements is being progressively undertaken to ensure efficient and effective service provision.
In 2002-03 IOT operating expenses totalled $69.8 million. In addition, approximately $39.9 million was directed to capital projects.