28 Mar 2015

Norfolk Island to go ahead with governance referendum

6:09 am on 28 March 2015

The cabinet in the Norfolk Island Legislature is going ahead with a referendum to ask the people what they think about Australia's plans to remove the island's autonomy.

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Norfolk Island. Photo: Supplied

Under legislation introduced this week Norfolk's administration will be reduced to a regional level government, cutting the federal and state powers it has enjoyed since 1979.

The chief minister Lisle Snell says the cabinet, parliament and the people are divided on the merits of the change.

He says the cabinet has now made a formal decision to go ahead with a referendum.

"The referendum question is 'Should the people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development, and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted upon by the Australian parliament."

Lisle Snell says they want the information to be put in front of Australian MPs before the final vote on the legislation expected in early May.