Norfolk Island's Minister of Cultural Heritage says the islanders do not want to be a burden on the Australian taxpayer, but want the chance to pay their way.
Petitions from the people of Norfolk calling on Australia to allow a referendum on plans to reduce the island self governing status to that of a local shire are now in Canberra.
Australia says many on the island are in financially straitened circumstances but the Culture and Community Affairs Minister, Robin Adams, says the island can survive if Canberra allows it to diversify its economy.
She says Australia has stopped the island exploiting its EEZ or setting up an off shore banking industry.
"We do not want to be a burden on the Australian taxpayer. We want to pay our way but there are ways of going about doing business and if the Australian Government would just sit down at the negotiation table in a proper way with the Norfolk Island Parliament and the Norfolk Island Goverrnment and just find the best way forward that acknowledges the Pitcairn people - that their self government is not removed, that their Parliament is not lost, surely that is a win win solution for all people."