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Implement or improve government services to bring them in line with those available in comparable mainland communities in order to meet non self-governing territory needs

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Implement or improve government services to bring them in line with those available in comparable mainland communities in order to meet non self-governing territory needs.
(Contributing division: Territories and Local Government)
Relevant government services meeting acceptable standards of comparability. Substantially achieved

Key achievements

The department continued to work to advance Australian Government initiatives that align the administrative, legislative and institutional frameworks in the IOTs (Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands) and provide their communities with the same opportunities and responsibilities enjoyed by comparable remote communities on the mainland. Key achievements follow.

Public Housing

In 2002-03, the Commonwealth reviewed welfare-housing needs in the IOTs with the assistance of the WA Department of Housing and Works (Homeswest). The aim is to apply mainland public housing policies and practices to the territories.

In line with WA housing policy, the department implemented a Rental Sales Scheme that will provide tenants with the opportunity to purchase their property or another available property. Tenants are able to register their interest in purchasing a property from 1 April to 31 December 2003.

New disposal arrangements were also agreed to support the disposal of surplus housing properties. This will assist in promoting private sector growth in the territories, and give IOT residents access to normal asset accumulation opportunities available to comparable communities in the rest of Australia.

It is anticipated that the review of welfare housing and the implementation of the disposal arrangements will be concluded in 2003-04.

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Health

A new general manager was appointed on 27 January 2003 to the Indian Ocean Territories Health Service. A key focus for the general manager is to reconfigure current services to a more integrated model of delivery, with greater emphasis on community health programmes tailored to the context and needs of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The department will ensure that this small, isolated health service has access to appropriate support and expertise in meeting the challenges faced by remote health care providers. The department has a service delivery arrangement with the WA Health Department for the provision of limited services advice.

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Quarantine

Legislative amendments are currently before parliament in the area of quarantine. These will transfer quarantine functions from the department to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), which has the specialised expertise in this area. The department is also working with AQIS on establishing an export regime for the IOTs.

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Fisheries

Legislative amendments have also been made in regard to fisheries, so that all waters surrounding the IOTs are managed under a single jurisdiction. This is more in line with mainland practices.

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Renewal of territories infrastructure

During 2002-03 around $39.9 million was spent on capital works in the IOTs. Projects undertaken during this time include the provision of demountable classrooms at the Christmas Island High School and the major infrastructure investments to support the government's construction of an Immigration Reception and Processing Centre on Christmas Island.

The department's five year strategic asset management plan 1999-00 to 2003-04 was also updated as part of the department's asset management planning process. Ninety-three per cent of departmental assets are for providing services to the non self-governing territories.

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Service Delivery Agreements

The department has in place 29 Service Delivery Agreements (SDAs) with various Western Australian Government agencies to provide state-type services (including regulatory services) to the IOTs.

During the year the department also continued negotiations with the Western Australian Office of Energy and with the Western Australian Department of Planning and Infrastructure (formerly the Department of Transport) for future SDAs.

The department provided $520 000 in funding towards the conservation, stabilisation, maintenance and interpretation of heritage buildings, and other heritage values, located within the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) on Norfolk Island. The department also continued to provide representation on the KAVHA Management Board. In addition, funding was provided for an ongoing programme of restoration for Norfolk Island Government House, the residence of the Administrator.

The department delivered a wide range of state and local government type services to the Jervis Bay Territory community. Those services ranged from the provision of health and education to the issuing of dog licences.

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