Yesterday, I issued to the Norfolk Island Regional Council, a notice of my intention to suspend the Council for a period of three months.
This has been done in line with the requirements, and my powers, under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) (NI) (applied Local Government Act).
It follows the findings and recommendations of the independent audit of Norfolk Island Regional Council (NIRC) operations, on the financial viability and long-term sustainability of the Council.
In accordance with the applied Local Government Act, I have invited NIRC to make submissions to me within 28 days with respect to the proposed suspension.
I will consider all submissions made to me by NIRC during this period before deciding whether to suspend NIRC.
The community will be kept informed of decisions as matters proceed.
In this next period before a decision is made, the Australian Government will provide immediate financial support to NIRC for payment of immediate critical priorities, such as staff salaries.
The findings and recommendations of the audit are detailed and complex. They cover a wide range of issues, across more than 100 recommendations, relating to Australian Government responsibilities, as well as those of NIRC. The recommendations go to NIRC governance, financial performance, financial sustainability, and operations, including the need for improvements to systems and processes.
A short fact sheet on the temporary suspension process, along with the independent audit reports, can be found on the department’s website at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/governance/nirc.aspx