24 May 2016

Australian Minister mum on Norfolk disquiet

1:19 pm on 24 May 2016
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Photo: Norfolk government

Australia's Minister of Territories and Local Government is not commenting on continuing opposition in Norfolk Island to changes Canberra is ushering in.

There are growing concerns on Norfolk about Australia's absorption of the island into New South Wales at the end of next month.

A 'tent embassy' protest at the shut down Legislative Assembly is now in its fifth week, while there is also a push for Norfolk's listing with the United Nations as a non-self governing territory.

RNZ International had sought Paul Fletcher's views on these developments and concerns about job losses but he has not commented.

However earlier this month in the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Fletcher claimed the opposition to the changes was driven by the few who had done well out of the current system and do not want change.

But he said Australians on Norfolk could look forward to better welfare, higher wages and an economy that will take off once the incorporation is complete.

Push for an independent radio station

There is now a push in Norfolk Island to establish an independent radio station after the Australian administration restricted what the state owned station could run.

For several months the opposition group, Norfolk Island People for Democracy, has reportedly been denied access to Radio Norfolk, and community announcements deemed to be of a political nature have also been banned.

The island's Council of Elders has also said talkback radio had been banned, which it said leaves the island without a voice.

It has started an internet fundraising campaign for a radio station that is able to both broadcast and go online.

It said the funding would allow them to communicate during an extremely stressful time.