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Annual Report 2007-08 Output 3.1

Services to Territories and advice on their administration

Summary

The Department has a range of administrative responsibilities for the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, Norfolk Island, the Jervis Bay Territory, the Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands), the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands and the Coral Sea Territory.

Our role is to manage the Australian Government’s interests in the Territories and, in the absence of a State or Territory Government, ensure that appropriate services are effectively delivered to non–self governing Territories.

We are responsible for developing and providing policy advice and legislation to maintain effective systems of governance and to support the Australian Government’s role in the Territories. Through the establishment and administration of intergovernmental agreements and direct-sourced service delivery, we ensure the delivery of State and local government services to the Territories. We are responsible for grant funding, recurring funding for providing essential services, and funding and managing capital works to maintain, replace or modernise Territory infrastructure.

Major achievements

To provide essential services to the communities of the Indian Ocean Territories a number of staff are employed under the Administration Ordinance 1968 of the Territory of Christmas Island. During the year the Christmas Island Union Collective Agreement 2007 was successfully negotiated, establishing the terms and conditions of employment for these staff until 2010.

A major capital works project on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands commenced, with the appointment of a project manager for the Rumah Baru Freight and Passenger facility.

This year also saw the commencement of the accelerated removal of asbestos from Commonwealth-owned buildings in the Indian Ocean Territories. The asbestos material will be removed and securely disposed of and the buildings will be refurbished with asbestos-free materials.

Purchaser–provider arrangements

The Department has a number of purchaser–provider arrangements in place for the delivery of services to Australian Territories.

For the Indian Ocean Territories, we have service delivery arrangements with Western Australian Government agencies to deliver community health, education, justice, small business development, infrastructure and other regulatory services. Contracts are in place with commercial providers for airport, marine port services, airline operations, power and water supplies.

For the Jervis Bay Territory, similar purchaser–provider arrangements are in place with both the ACT Government and with agencies of the NSW Government.

There is no open market for most of these services—the only available provider is a State or Territory Government. The overriding performance indicator is the delivery of equivalent mainland remote community levels of services, which is fully met by those agencies contracted for the tasks.

Evaluations and reviews

The Commonwealth Grants Commission Report on Indian Ocean Territories 2007

The Commonwealth Grants Commission Report on Indian Ocean Territories 2007 was tabled in Parliament on 20 March 2008. It provides a detailed examination of the current arrangements for the delivery of services to the Indian Ocean Territories. The Commission’s initial report on the Indian Ocean Territories in 1999 established the mechanism for the program funding appropriated for this function. The 2007 report revisited the appropriateness of this funding model.

The Commission concluded that current arrangements, with only minor adjustments, provided a level of service consistent with those in comparable communities in Western Australia. The Commission also concluded that for comparable State-type service provision, annual budget costs could be expected to grow at about the same rate as the cost of service provision in Western Australia.

Outlook

In 2008–09, the Department will:

  • review all service delivery arrangements to the Jervis Bay Territory
  • prepare the Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories report on the National Capital Authority
  • advise the Australian Government on its contribution to the centenary of Canberra in 2013
  • review the management arrangements for the Sir Sidney Nolan art collection
  • boost economic activity and employment opportunities in the Indian Ocean Territories through major capital projects
  • explore initiatives for Indian Ocean Territory’s economic sustainability
  • prepare for the 50th anniversary, commemoration and celebration of Christmas Island becoming a territory of Australia, and
  • review the management, operation and administration of the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), Norfolk Island.

Performance indicators
Quantitative and qualitative

Output 3.1

Services to Territories and advice on their administration
Activity Performance indicator Result
Territories are assisted to manage their own futures

 

Quality

 

Australian Government interests in all Territories are managed

In the absence of a State or Territory Government, non–self governing Territories are provided with a range of infrastructure and services:

– at a reasonable standard and cost compared to similar mainland communities

– in a way which recognises the cultural and linguistic diversity of territory residents

 

Achieved

The Department maintains representation in the Territories to monitor the delivery of services and to safeguard the Australian Government’s interests.

Contracted arrangements ensure both cost and standard of delivered services remains comparable to mainland standards.

Community consultation and a presence in the community assist the Department in assessing community needs.

 

 

Performance information for Output 3.1—administered items
Administered item Performance indicator Result
Christmas Island phosphate mining rehabilitation—a robust rehabilitation program targeting high conservation areas within the Christmas Island National Park

 

 

Quality

Rehabilitation of old mine sites on Christmas Island to an agreed standard

 

Achieved

This program is governed under an MOU between the Department and Parks Australia which establishes that the standard of rehabilitation shall meet the specifications outlined in the Christmas Island Rainforest Rehabilitation Program.

Parks Australia has overriding responsibility for the rehabilitation work. Funds are sourced from a conservation levy charged on the phosphate mining tonnage and are held in trust for rehabilitation.

 

Budget price: $3.576 million

 

Actual price: $0.598 million

 

Norfolk Island—preservation and maintenance of Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA)—Australian Government–owned assets and land within the KAVHA precinct preserved and maintained in accordance with its heritage values

 

Quality

 

Australian Government funding is managed in accordance with the Memora

ndum of Understanding with the Norfolk Island Government

 

 

 

 

Achieved

The membership of the KAVHA Management Board includes senior officers from the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, as well as the Norfolk Island Administrator. This representation provides a safeguard for the Australian Government’s interests and oversights the management of the KAVHA precinct.

 

Budget price: nil

 

Actual price: nil

 

Norfolk Island—refurbishment of Kingston Pier—the safety and functionality of the pier is restored in keeping with its heritage values

 

Quantity Payments are administered in line with project progress

 

Achieved

This program was completed during 2007, the final payment being made at the expiry of the contract warranty period.

 

Budget price: $0.010 million

 

Actual price: $0.003 million

 

Norfolk Island Memorial for Minister Buffet (environment trust fund)—community groups and individuals are assisted to improve environmental and land management on Norfolk Island

 

Quality

 

Payments are administered in line with project progress

 

Achieved

Funds collected from the sale of Crown land are made available to the Trust Board, appointed by the Norfolk Island Government, to fund grants for improved environmental and land management projects.

Grant funding applications are scrutinised by the Australian Government Natural Resources Management Team prior to approval under established criteria.

 

Budget price: $0.011 million

 

Actual price: $0.001 million

 

Office of Administrator in Northern Territory—Australian Government funding meets the Administrator’s salary entitlements and relevant travel costs

 

Quality

 

Salary paid in accordance with relevant Remuneration Tribunal Determination

 

Achieved

The Administrator’s salary is paid fortnightly at the rate established by the Remuneration Tribunal.

 

Travel costs associated with Australian Government requirements are paid

 

Achieved

When the Administrator travels on behalf of the Australian Government, the related travel costs are paid by the Department by way of reimbursement within the limits set by the budget.

 

Budget price: $0.132 million

 

Actual price: $0.119 million

 

Office of Administrator on Norfolk Island—Australian Government funding meets the Administrator’s salary entitlements and relevant travel and other costs

 

Quality

 

Salary paid in accordance with relevant Remuneration Tribunal Determination

 

Achieved

The Administrator’s salary is paid fortnightly at the rate established by the Remuneration Tribunal.

 

Other costs managed within budget

 

Achieved

Expenses incurred by the Administrator in performing duties on behalf of the Australian Government are paid as incurred by the Department within the limits set by the budget.

 

Budget price: $0.327 million

 

Actual price: $0.215 million

 

Payment to the ACT—assistance for National Capital type functions—the ACT Government provides specialised services on behalf of the Australian Government in the ACT

 

Quality

 

Payments are made in line with the agreed schedule

 

Achieved

The full, assessed amount of the grant is paid by regular instalments throughout the year, as agreed with the ACT Government.

 

Budget price: $0.654 million

 

Actual price: $0.637 million

 

Payment to the ACT—assistance for water and sewerage services—the ACT Government is compensated for extra costs resulting from national capital influences on the provision of water and sewerage services

 

Quality

 

Payments are made in line with the agreed schedule

 

Achieved

The full, assessed amount of the grant is paid by regular instalments throughout the year, as agreed with the ACT Government.

 

Budget price: $5.187 million

 

Actual price: $5.187 million

 

Payment to the ACT—compensation for the effects of National Capital influence on the cost of providing municipal services

 

Quality

 

Payments are made in line with the agreed schedule

 

Achieved

The full, assessed amount of the grant is paid by regular instalments throughout the year, as agreed with the ACT Government.

 

Budget price: $12.899 million

 

Actual price: $12.899 million

 

Services provided to Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs) to assist them to manage their own futures Quantity

 

  2006–07

 

2007–08

 

Approximately 2,100 people live in the IOTs—Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands 2,100

 

2,100

 

Quality

 

In the absence of a State or Territory Government, IOTs residents and visitors are provided with a range of infrastructure and services:

– at a reasonable standard and cost compared to similar mainland communities

– in a way which recognises the cultural and linguistic diversity of Territory residents
Achieved

The Department has staff on Christmas Island and in Perth to deal with the ongoing service delivery arrangements that ensure infrastructure and services levels are maintained.

Costs and standards are regularly reviewed by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

On-Island community organisations consulted regularly on services and in relation to future economic development in the Territory.

 

Budget price: $35.989 million

 

Actual price: $37.063 million

 

Accountable governance, administration and provision of services to Jervis Bay Territory (JBT) Quantity

 

  2006–07

 

2007–08

 

Approximately 611 people live in the JBT

 

611
(Fluctuations occur with HMAS Creswell staff/cadet intakes)

 

611
(Fluctuations occur with HMAS Creswell staff/cadet intakes)

 

Quality

 

In the absence of a State or Territory Government, JBT residents and visitors are provided with a range of infrastructure and services:

– at a reasonable standard and cost compared to similar mainland communities

– in a way which recognises the cultural and linguistic diversity of Territory residents and visitors

 

Achieved

Services are provided on an ongoing basis through contractual arrangements with suitable service delivery agencies and organisations.

Contract renewal and service delivery standards are a key focus in establishing the ongoing arrangements.

Community forums and regular consultation with key community groups ensures recognition of the unique nature of the JBT community.

 

Budget price: $4.726 million

 

Actual price: $3.174 million

 


Our people

Assisting the Indian Ocean Territories become economically sustainable

Karenn Singer, Territories and Native Title Division.

Karenn Singer, Territories and Native
Title Division.

The Territories of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are undiscovered tropical tourist destinations offering amazing natural and cultural experiences. These small remote islands lie in the Indian Ocean and are the western most areas of Australia. The Department plays an important role in administering these Territories, providing a range of key services such as schools, the hospital, electricity and water supply, waste water, police, and airport and port operations, and is working with local groups to reduce the community’s economic reliance on phosphate mining.

The Department, together with the Shire of Christmas Island, Christmas Island National Park and the Christmas Island Tourism Association, held a community workshop to focus on the opportunities for building tourism on Christmas Island.

‘It was exciting to have so many people involved and to be part of the discussion,’ Karenn Singer, the project officer, said.

‘The importance of hearing everyone’s point of view, enabling all ideas to be collated into one report can not be understated.’

She also observed that ‘the most positive outcomes were a realisation that local action is needed if tourism is to grow, and that armed with the Destination: Christmas Island report the local community is ready for the challenge’.

Julian Yates, Assistant Secretary, Territories West, also attended the workshop and commented: ‘Two things impressed me about the workshop. Firstly, the depth of commitment from the very diverse community. Secondly, their willingness to be part of some hard-edged discussion about the problems that need to be resolved within their community.

‘These two things make me confident that together we can build a good future.’

Both Karenn and Julian enjoyed being involved in the workshop and look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to grow tourism in order to provide jobs and economic opportunities for the community.