The Australian Government is completing a Strategic Assessment of Christmas Island to provide certainty for future development, and balance economic activity with environmental protection.
The Strategic Assessment will produce two documents: a Plan for future land uses and development opportunities, and an environmental impact assessment Report of the development activities proposed in the Plan. Once approved, the Strategic Assessment will remove the need for individual assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 where proposed projects align with the Plan.
To address community feedback provided during the public consultation period, the Terms of Reference for the Christmas Island Strategic Assessment provides for an on-island Reference Group including community members and stakeholders. The Reference Group’s input will ensure the Strategic Assessment Plan is consistent with community aspirations, is practical and economically viable.
Mrs Natasha Griggs, Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, will chair the Group which will include up to eight members. The Administrator is seeking Expressions of Interest from community members who are willing to volunteer their time and are committed to supporting economic development and protecting the environment on Christmas Island.
The General Manager, Indian Ocean Territories Branch of the Department, and the Manager of the Christmas Island National Park will act as technical advisors. The Reference Group will meet every three months with additional meetings to be held as required.
I look forward to progressing this important initiative.