23 Mar 2015

Canberra claims wide support for reforms on Norfolk Island

6:35 pm on 23 March 2015
Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island Photo: AFP

The Australian government says it believes there is overwhelming support for reforms it is making in the governance of Norfolk Island.

The island, which has enjoyed some federal and state powers, is to be reduced to the level of a regional council.

There is some anger on the island over the changes but the assistant minister of regional development, Jamie Briggs, says they are about ensuring the long term sustainability of Norfolk.

He concedes there are people unhappy with what Canberra is doing but he says most have indicated this is the path the want the government to take.

"There are some on the island with certain traditional backgrounds who want to make this into an us versus them, or [that] this is some take over by the Australian government. Well I would argue right now that we have had more of a role in running the island than ever before and that is because, as I say, they are in effect in administration."