22 Aug 2006

Norfolk chief minister says status talks with Canberra continue

3:15 pm on 22 August 2006

The Chief Minister of Norfolk Island, David Buffett, says talks will continue with Australia over proposed changes to the island's governance and taxation system.

Reports from Australia say the Territories Minister, Jim Lloyd, has announced that Norfolk Island had accepted a model for reform that would see it adopt a status similar to that of the Northern Territory or the ACT.

At present, Norfolk has greater legislative powers in areas such as immigration, customs and quarantine.

The Speaker of Norfolk's legislative Assembly, Geoff Gardiner, says any changes to these extra territorial powers could have a huge impact on the island:

"At the moment there's pretty much a fifty- fifty balance between the people who are directly descended from Bounty mutineers. With the opening of the doors as far as immigration is concerned, that has the serious potential to dilute significantly that part of our culture and heritage which is something that assists in underpinning our tourism industry in Norfolk Island."

The Norfolk Island Speaker, Geoff Gardiner.

The Chief Minister says no agreement of any sort has been made over what model of reform will be adopted.