9 Jun 2006

Norfolk wary of Canberra's push

5:44 pm on 9 June 2006

Norfolk Island's new chief minister has told an Australian minister that his community will not allow Canberra to steamroll through its proposed changes to the island's governance.

The chief minister, David Buffett, spoke after meeting the visiting Australian Territories Minister, Jim Lloyd.

Mr Buffett says Canberra has vowed to consult widely but whether Australia takes into account what Norfolk Islanders say is yet to be proven.

Mr Lloyd has told Norfolk Islanders they must scrap their current self government in favour of either a state government or local government structure, with Canberra assuming greater control.

But Mr Buffett says the islanders don't want to become another part of the Canberra bureaucracy.

Mr Buffett took over as chief minister in a coup last week which ousted Geoff Gardner under whom the island's nine-member legislative assembly had little or no dialogue with Canberra.