The approach of the end of 2022 is a valuable opportunity to reflect on the year that was, a chance for all of us to look to the future and 2023 with optimism and positivity.
Since being honoured with the role of the Minister for Territories in June this year, I have had to learn quickly about the distinct needs and experiences of your remarkable community. I thank all of you who have shared your views, expertise and knowledge with me throughout this time.
Since June, I have been able to visit Norfolk Island twice, to experience first-hand the strong community spirit which makes Norfolk such a wonderful place to live and visit. I was also able to better understand the challenges you face, and hear from you directly on the issues which matter most to you which will inform our work together moving forward. Open and transparent communication has been key to building a shared pathway forward and delivering real and tangible short-term solutions to significant challenges such as freight and shipping.
Moving forward into 2023, I am looking forward to understanding community expectations on realising opportunities to strengthen cultural recognition and civic participation – a matter which I know is of great importance to the entire Norfolk Island community.
I know more needs to be done in this space, including working with the broader community to reinstate a preamble to the Norfolk Island Act recognising the relationship between the Pitcairn Island descendants and their traditions, culture and rich history.
I will also be focused on progressing the establishment of the Norfolk Island governance committee – which will include community-elected representatives – to have input into government services and governance matters on island, supporting a partnership of true collaboration moving forward.
The appointment of the next Administrator is another key priority for early 2023. I know how important it is to the community to have the right person in the role. The current merit-based process will support the selection of the next Administrator, to be an advocate and passionate supporter of the Norfolk Island community.
I look forward to continuing to work with the Queensland Government in state services delivery, supporting the best outcomes for Norfolk Island’s community.
It has been an honour serving as your Minister these past months, and as you come together to celebrate the holidays, I hope that you reflect with pride on what we have achieved over the past months, and join me in looking forward with hope for what 2023 will bring.
Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.