Chapter 6: Services to Territories

Outcome 4—Good governance in the Australian territories through the maintenance and improvement of the overarching legislative framework for self-governing territories, and laws and services for non-self-governing territories

Programme 4.1 Services to Territories contributes to Outcome 4 through activities which seek to improve the quality of services provided to the residents of non-self-governing territories and provide targeted support to the self-governing territories.

Programme 4.1—Services to Territories

In Focus

The Non-Self-Governing Territories

  • The Department evaluated and renegotiated key service delivery arrangements, updating services to bring them into line with those provided to the rest of Australia.
  • New financial arrangements were introduced to meet the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Norfolk Island

  • The Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 and associated Acts were passed on 14 May 2015 by Parliament and received Royal Assent on 26 May 2015. This legislation will introduce the Australian taxation and social security systems to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016, and provide for the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly to be replaced with a regional council model.
  • The Department facilitated the establishment, from 1 July 2015, of a five member advisory council drawn from the Norfolk Island community. The advisory council will enable the local community to provide feedback to the Hon Jamie Briggs MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, on the reform process and transitional year prior to the establishment of a regional council on 1 July 2016.
  • On 9 June 2015 the Department established the Australian Government Information Centre on Norfolk Island to support residents accessing information about tax, social security systems and other Australian Government programmes.
  • The Department contributed to celebrations and formal recognition of the 225th anniversary of the wrecking of the HMS Sirius on Norfolk Island, the flagship of the first fleet, on 19 March 2015.
  • The Department continued its support for the Norfolk Island Government to ensure the continued delivery of essential services to the Norfolk Island community.

Indian Ocean Territories

  • The Department continued to improve community consultation mechanisms and transparency through the introduction of a new online community feedback form and consultation on service delivery arrangements with Western Australia.
  • The Department worked on several issue-specific projects to improve the delivery of state-type services. In particular the management of diesel supply which is a primary source of energy for the community.
  • New arrangements for the administration of the motor vehicle registry were introduced from 1 October 2014 and the management of the recreation centre from 1 January 2015. Feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.
  • An open tender procurement process was developed to market test the provision of air services.

Jervis Bay Territory

  • The Department drafted the Jervis Bay Territory Emergency Management Ordinance 2015.
  • The Options for Future Services Delivery Arrangements report was completed and released for public comment on 12 December 2014.
  • The Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council received $208,719 from the Department to perform a range of local government and local council activities on its own land.

Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory

  • The Department provided a $1.0 billion concessional loan to the Australian Capital Territory Government to deliver its remediation programme for houses in the Australian Capital Territory affected by loose-fill asbestos, of which $750.0 million was provided in 2014–15.
  • The functions and programmes relating to the Australian Government's interests in the Australian Capital Territory were administered, including service delivery by the Australian Capital Territory Government and the National Capital Authority, and the upgrade of Constitution Avenue as part of the 2013 Centenary of Canberra.
  • The Department continued to support the activities of the Office of the Administrator, His Honour the Honourable John Hardy OAM, in his role as the Australian Government representative in the Northern Territory.

Did you know

The fastest-growing cities in Australia since 2004 (in percentage terms) are the capital cities of Perth and Darwin, as well as the regional major cities of Cairns and Townsville. Each of these cities grew by at least 20 per cent over the decade, while Perth grew by more than 30 per cent.

State of Australian Cities 2014-15

Summary of Performance

Table 6.1 Programme 4.1 key performance indicators

Key performance indicatorTargetResult
Frameworks are in place in the territories to provide the comparable rights and protections to citizens as the rest of Australia. Ongoing provision of appropriate frameworks. 2014–15
Achieved
2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Achieved
2011–12
Achieved
The Department has continued to manage the legal frameworks within the non-self-governing territories to ensure the rights and protections of residents are comparable to equivalent state communities. New legislation was developed to improve emergency management arrangements in the Jervis Bay Territory.

The Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 and associated Acts were passed on 14 May 2015 by the Australian Parliament and received Royal Assent on 26 May 2015. The package of Acts extend mainland taxation and social security to Norfolk Island, amongst a range of other Australian Government laws, and also make changes to governance arrangements to improve the sustainability of Norfolk Island. The reforms outlined in the Acts are significant and important for a strong future of Norfolk Island. These reforms will ensure Australian citizens residing on Norfolk Island will have the same rights and obligations as other Australians.
State-type services and grants are delivered efficiently and effectively to residents of the non-self-governing territories. Provision of efficient effective state-type services and grants with deliverables achieved. 2014–15
Achieved
2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Achieved
2011–12
Achieved
The Department delivered state-type services to the residents of the non-self-governing territories to a standard comparable with equivalent state communities. These services were delivered through various arrangements with the governments of Western Australia, the Australia Capital Territory and New South Wales, the Shoalhaven City Council, direct service provision and through commercial contracts. The second round of the Indian Ocean Territories Community Development Grants programme was opened for applications from the communities of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Essential infrastructure meets the needs of communities. Provision of appropriate infrastructure within the available budget. 2014–15
Achieved
2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Partially achieved
2011–12
Achieved
The Department provided public infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, ports and airports for residents of the non-self-governing territories. Improvements to infrastructure included better internet access, greater fuel storage, improved recreational facilities, seawall and rock fall protection, and coastal erosion mitigation.

As part of the Australian Government's decision to implement the Norfolk Island reforms, the Department was allocated responsibility for the upgrade of the Cascade Pier, a vital infrastructure project for Norfolk Island. The Department commissioned expert advice to develop a Norfolk Island road strategy, health services plan, economic development strategy and review of the mobile phone network.

The Department continued to support heritage interests on Norfolk Island with funding of $0.6 million for the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area, a vital tourism asset for the local community and a significant piece of convict history. The Department supported the Office of the Administrator and engaged an on-island Commonwealth Heritage Manager.
Service delivery arrangements and contracts meet value-for-money criteria and deliver appropriate levels of services to the territories. Service delivery arrangements and contracts are managed and reviewed regularly to provide efficient and effective services to the community. 2014–15
Achieved
2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Achieved
2011–12
Achieved
The template for new multi-year arrangements was agreed by the Department and the Western Australian Government. The Department agreed a three year plan with the Western Australian Government to review and renegotiate all current arrangements for services to the Indian Ocean Territories. The first group of arrangements were reviewed and agreed in 2014–15 and the remaining service delivery arrangements were extended for future renegotiation.
The Territories Law Reform Act 2010 is implemented to provide a sustainable financial governance and accountability framework for Norfolk Island. Add remaining issues as part of the 2014–15 Norfolk Island reform process. 2014–15
Achieved
2013–14
Substantially achieved
2012–13
Partially achieved
2011–12
Achieved
The Commonwealth Ombudsman is providing services on Norfolk Island. The Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 was passed on 14 May 2015 by the Australian Parliament. This legislation further strengthens financial governance and accountability on Norfolk Island.
Long term financial and governance reform for Norfolk Island is achieved through constructive partnerships with the Norfolk Island Government and the community. Manage effective implementation of Road Map for Norfolk Island.

Manage funding agreement in accordance with milestones and deliverables.

Effectively manage air services agreement contract.
2014–15
Achieved
2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Partially achieved
2011–12
Achieved
The Department managed the effective implementation of the road map for Norfolk Island. The Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 and associated Acts have allowed the Australian Government to begin financial and governance reform on Norfolk Island.

The Australian Government provides support to the Office of the Administrator. As part of a community engagement strategy, on 9 June 2015 the Australian Government Information Centre was established on Norfolk Island to make it easier for residents to access information about the tax and social security systems and other Australian Government programmes commencing in July 2016.

The Department has worked together with the Norfolk Island Government and Administration of Norfolk Island to achieve the outcomes specified in the 2014–15 funding agreement.

The Department made payments to Air New Zealand under the air services agreement which underwrites commercial flights to the island and concludes 31 July 2016.
The roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the Australian Capital Territory Government in the national capital are clarified. Shared understanding of respective roles and responsibilities. 2014–15
Achieved
2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Achieved
2011–12
Achieved
The exposure draft of the revised National Capital Plan was released for consultation on 30 April 2015.

Result Key
Achieved All targets for 2014–15 were met or exceeded.
Substantially achieved Targets were mostly met, and any issues are being managed.
Partially achieved Some targets were met, and any issues are being managed.
Not achieved None or minimal progress was made against targets in 2014–15.

Did you know

Despite a fall in the rate of home ownership nationally, from 68.5 per cent in 2001 to 67 per cent in 2011, home ownership rates increased in Cairns, Gold Coast–Tweed Heads and Darwin.

Progress in Australian Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015

Table 6.2 Programme 4.1 deliverables

DeliverableTargetResult
Community services, infrastructure, and legal frameworks and processes in the territories are similar to comparable mainland communities. Ongoing provision of appropriate services, essential infrastructure and legal frameworks and processes. The Department continued to manage the administrative and governance frameworks for the territories to ensure the rights and protections of residents are comparable to equivalent mainland communities. The majority of services provided to territory communities are through arrangements with state governments. This ensures services are delivered to a comparable mainland standard. New legislation was developed to improve emergency management arrangements in the Jervis Bay Territory.

The Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 and associated Acts have allowed the Australian Government to begin financial and governance reform on Norfolk Island.

The Australian Government provides support to the Office of the Administrator.
Reforms to promote long term financial sustainability and improved governance are progressed on Norfolk Island. Manage the effective implementation of the Road Map for Norfolk Island. Manage funding agreements and contracts in accordance with milestones and deliverables. The Department managed the effective implementation of the Road Map for Norfolk Island, which is now superseded by the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015.

The Department is working to strengthen the Norfolk Island economy further through the implementation of legislative reforms.

As part of the Australian Government's decision to implement the Norfolk Island reforms, the Department has allocated responsibility for the upgrade of the Cascade Pier, a vital infrastructure project for Norfolk Island. The Department commissioned expert advice to develop a Norfolk Island road strategy, health services plan, economic development strategy and review of the mobile phone network.

The Department continued to support heritage interests on Norfolk Island with funding of $0.6 million for the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area, a vital tourism asset for the local community and a significant piece of convict history. The Department supported the Office of the Administrator and engaged an on-island heritage manager.

The Department facilitated the establishment, from 1 July 2015, of a five member advisory council drawn from the Norfolk Island community. The advisory council enables the local community to provide feedback to the administrator on the reform process and transitional year prior to the establishment of a regional council on 1 July 2016.

The Department recruited an executive director to support the administration of Norfolk Island and to improve governance and capacity in transitioning to a regional council.
Delivery and management of loan to the ACT Government for the ACT Government to implement a programme to remediate the contamination by loose fill asbestos of properties in the ACT and related activities. Signing of agreement and first drawdown made. The loan agreement was signed on 27 January 2015. The first drawdown of $750.0 million of the $1.0 billion concessional loan to deliver its loose-fill asbestos remediation programme was made on 29 January 2015.

Did you know

Northern Australia, covering those parts of Western Australia and Queensland above the tropic of Capricorn as well as all of the Northern Territory, is a region of over three million square kilometres, with a population of over one million people.

White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, 2015

Table 6.3 Programme 4.1 administered items

Administered ItemResult
ACT Government—national capital functions Funding of $1.8 million was provided to the Australian Capital Territory Government for the provision of services on behalf of the Australian Government. This included for the French Australia School, distance education for lessons for children of Australian Government officials working overseas, International Baccalaureate, curatorial services to the Nolan Collection, registration and licensing of diplomatic vehicles, and registration of overseas births, deaths and marriages.
Centenary of Canberra 2013—a gift to the national capital The Department worked with the Australian Capital Territory Government to deliver the upgrade of Constitution Avenue, which is the remaining project of the $67.7 million contribution to the 2013 Centenary of Canberra. A total of $2.0 million was paid to progress the upgrade in 2014–15.
Loan to the Australian Capital Territory Government—loose fill asbestos A total of $750.0 million was provided to the Australian Capital Territory Government as part of the $1.0 billion concessional loan to deliver its remediation programme for houses in the Australian Capital Territory affected by loose-fill asbestos.
Christmas Island
Phosphate Mining Rehabilitation
The Department provided $1.7 million to Parks Australia from the Christmas Island Phosphate Mining Rehabilitation Special Account in 2014–15 to restore rainforest on relinquished mine sites. Activities included continuation of field maintenance work across 130 hectares, biophysical monitoring, propagation and maintenance of plants and earthworks plus new plantings across six hectares.

Phosphate mining is carried out on Christmas Island under the terms of a mining lease. The Christmas Island Mine Site to Forest Rehabilitation Program has been established to restore rainforest on abandoned minefields and to create biodiverse, resilient and self-sustaining ecosystems that provide or enhance habitat for native flora and fauna.
Norfolk Island—Commonwealth administration The Department administered $0.9 million in 2014–15 for the Office of the Norfolk Island Administrator, including for running and maintaining Government House, the oldest functioning Government House in the nation dating back to the 1800s.
Norfolk Island—Kingston and Arthur's Vale historic area The Department contributed $0.6 million for the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area, a World Heritage Australian Convict site.
Norfolk Island—reforms and services Funding was provided to progress financial and governance reform on Norfolk Island. All activities, including elements of the tenders for microeconomic activities and the Australian National Audit Office financial audit, were completed prior to 30 June 2015.

The Department continued its support to the Norfolk Island Government through a funding agreement with the Administration of Norfolk Island to ensure essential services continued to be provided to the Norfolk Island community.
Office of Administrator, Northern Territory Funding of $0.4 million was allocated to support the activities of the Office of the Administrator, His Honour the Honourable John Hardy OAM, who represents the Australian Government in the Northern Territory.
Services to Indian Ocean Territories A total of $125.6 million was provided in 2014–15 for operational expenses relating to the Indian Ocean Territories. In administering the territories, the Department develops policy advice and legislation to maintain effective systems of governance, administers service delivery agreements, delivers and supports state and local government services including health, power and grant funding, and manages a capital works programme to maintain, replace and modernise the Indian Ocean Territories' infrastructure.
Services to Jervis Bay Territory Funding of $6.3 million was provided in 2014–15 for services to the Jervis Bay Territory. The Department facilitated and funded—either directly or through a range of service delivery arrangements—a range of state and local government-type services including education, health, welfare and essential utilities (electricity, water and wastewater). In administering the Jervis Bay Territory the Department provided shopfront customer services, supported the work of the local committees in environmental health and emergency management, managed the capital and operational administered budgets, provided policy advice and progressed legislation to maintain effective systems of governance, and continued funding support to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council to carry out local government and land council functions on its land.

Note: The budget and actual expenditure for each administered item is listed in Appendix A.

Case Studies

New Port Barges Delivered to Christmas Island

Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean, 380 kilometres south of Java and 2,650 kilometres north-west of Perth. It has an area of 135 square kilometres and a resident population of approximately 2,072 (2011). Phosphate mining has been one of the main economic activities on Christmas Island since the 19th century and the mine remains the biggest direct employer of local residents.

Container and phosphate vessels are worked at Flying Fish Cove, where wharf facilities and a jetty are located. The mining company, Phosphate Resources Limited, is the main user of the Flying Fish Cove Port and exports phosphate to South East Asia and Australia.

The Smith Point fuel facility, located near Flying Fish Cove, is used to transfer fuel. Tankers carrying distillate and medium fuel oil are discharged at Smith Point and vessels such as trading ships, visiting yachts and the Australian Navy refuel from the facility. The Australian Government owns all of the on-shore and off-shore port assets and vessels including mooring buoys.

In 2014 the Department appointed ship building company Kay Marine to build two new barges. These multipurpose barges were needed to improve the efficiency and safety of port operations and replace existing port vessels that had reached the end of their useful life.

The new multi-purpose barges are used for:

  • line handling and helping to moor larger vessels
  • transporting cargo from larger vessels to the shore cranes
  • providing short duration transfers (capacity for 15 passengers) from border protection and military vessels to the Flying Fish Cove Jetty, and
  • towing the fuel hose required to offload and load fuel at Smith Point.

The Department's Jervis Bay and Indian Ocean Territories Branch oversaw the design and construction of two new barges, which were delivered to the Christmas Island Port in January 2015 at a total cost of $2.4 million over two years. The barges were based on an existing design operating at Christmas Island Port, but modified to remedy known deficiencies and to meet current and future operational requirements.

The Christmas Island community was asked to name the two replacement barges. The names selected were Berani, meaning brave, and Percaya, meaning believe.

Norfolk Island Reform

Norfolk Island is located in the South Pacific Ocean and has a population of around 1,800. Since 1979 the community has managed its own local, state and federal-type responsibilities under self government; however discussion on the need to reform these arrangements have been ongoing over many years.

In October 2014 the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories published its report, Same Country: different world, The future of Norfolk Island. It highlighted in its eight recommendations the urgent need to address critical governance, infrastructure and economic issues facing the remote island community. In particular, it recommended that the Norfolk Island Act 1979 be repealed and an interim administration be established to transition to a local government-type body. In November 2014 the Norfolk Island Reform Taskforce was established in the Department to plan for and implement the reforms.

Broad consultation with the Norfolk Island community found strong support for governance, taxation and social security reform to address declining living standards and protect the most vulnerable members of the community.

In line with the committee's recommendations, the Australian Government passed legislation in June 2015 that abolished the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and Executive Council. The Norfolk Island Advisory Council was established with local membership as an interim consultative body to represent community views during the transition process, and to consider how the island could best transition to the planned regional council model from 1 July 2016.

To support residents during this process, the Department established an Australian Government Information Centre in June 2015. Ahead of the centre's opening, representatives from the Department and other Australian Government agencies conducted a number of information sessions and appointments with residents. From mid-April 2015 until the end of June 2015, more than 600 contacts were made with residents through these sessions and appointments.

As the changes progress, residents will have further opportunities to speak with representatives from Australian Government agencies responsible for the various elements of the reform, such as immigration, taxation and social services. Residents will also continue to be informed through updates published on the Department's website, as well as through newsletters from the Administrator of Norfolk Island.

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Last Updated: 7 December, 2015