1 Dec 2010

Norfolk strikes finance deal with Canberra

4:05 pm on 1 December 2010

Norfolk Island and the Australian government have signed a memorandum of understanding to resolve the territory's financial crisis.

Norfolk is self-governing but Canberra has been pushing for some years to extend all federal regulations to the island.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Norfolk Island's chief minister David Buffett has told the territory's assembly he and the island's finance minister, Craig Anderson, had a productive meeting with the minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, in Canberra last Thursday. It had been reported a month ago that the island's government had less than a quarter of a million dollars available for its services. Mr Buffett says they requested financial assistance and Mr Crean has approved nearly four million US dollars for urgent and unforeseen economic and social issues on Norfolk. Canberra has also sent an official, for the second time in as many weeks, to familiarise himself with how the island works. One change is certain to be in taxation. Currently Norfolk Islanders pay no federal taxes but Canberra requires that that change, though no details have been revealed. Mr Buffett told the assembly it is early days but he's confident both governments can work together to provide Norfolk Island with a sustainable future."