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Develop effective and appropriate governance for each territory

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Develop effective and appropriate governance for each territory.
(Contributing division: Territories and Local Government)
Territory residents receiving appropriate and effective governance. Substantially achieved

Key achievements

The department continued its role in overseeing governance in the territories. Governance-related activities in 2002-03 focused primarily on the territories of Norfolk Island, Jervis Bay Territory and the Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs).

Norfolk Island

Over the past year there has been extensive consultation with most other Commonwealth agencies to encourage an understanding of Norfolk Island's constitutional status as part of Australia, and its unique self-government arrangements. The department also aims for a supportive and cooperative approach in its dealings with the Norfolk Island authorities.

Advice was provided to the minister on Norfolk Island legislation requiring the Governor-General's assent, and on legislation and other matters associated with the minister's responsibilities, including the appointment of a new administrator. Electoral reform legislation was further developed and advice and support was provided to the minister on his visits to Norfolk Island in November 2002 and April-May 2003.

Norfolk Island governance was assisted through funding and support initiatives, including the following:

  • Continued consultation with the Norfolk Island Government to progress the Land Initiative and bring Norfolk Island land management arrangements closer to those prevailing in other Australian communities.

  • As part of the Land Initiative, the following Bills were assented to by the Governor-General in May 2003:
    • Planning Act 2002
    • Norfolk Island Planning and Environment Board Act 2002
    • Subdivision Act 2002- Heritage Act 2002
    • Roads Act 2002
    • Land Titles Amendment Act 2002
    • Subdivision Moratorium Act 2003.
  • The remaining Land Initiative prerequisites are still being progressed and it is expected that the transfer of selected Crown leasehold land to freehold title will commence in 2003-04.

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Jervis Bay Territory

Community and social justice issues in the Jervis Bay Territory associated with good governance as enjoyed by other Australians continued to be addressed through the Justice Issues Group. This group comprises both public officials and representatives of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council (WBACC).

The WBACC, established under the Aboriginal Land Grant (Jervis Bay Territory) Act 1986, performs a range of local government functions for the Wreck Bay community including maintenance of housing, capital works programmes, town planning and community land management. Approximately 92 per cent of the Jervis Bay Territory is held in freehold title by WBACC.

The department chairs quarterly meetings of the Justice Issues Group, which deal with issues of concern to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community. Over the last year the members considered a number of issues and suggested a number of administrative changes to improve social justice in the Jervis Bay Territory.

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Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs)

The establishment of local government shires on the IOTs in the 1990s has provided the foundation for the provision of local services to the communities. Work continues to develop their capital structure and resources to allow the shires to take on the full range of local government services.

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