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Annual Report 2008-09 Output 3.1

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Services to Territories

Summary

The Department administers the non-self-governing Territories of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands and Jervis Bay. We are also responsible for managing the Australian Government’s interests in the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island.

The Department’s role in administering the Territories includes developing policy advice and legislation to maintain effective systems of governance; administering intergovernmental agreements; delivering State and local government-type services, including grant funding; and managing a capital works program to maintain, replace and modernise Territory infrastructure for which the Australian Government is responsible.

The underlying principle of service delivery, funding support and capital works is to ensure the Territories’ communities are provided with services and infrastructure comparable with those provided to equivalent State communities.

Major achievements

Indian Ocean Territories

To mark the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary (in October 2008) of Christmas Island being an Australian Territory, the Department in partnership with the Shire of Christmas Island, commissioned a permanent historical exhibition to be mounted at Tai Jin House on Christmas Island. The exhibition celebrates the colourful, multi-cultural and everyday aspects of the history of Christmas Island. It contains a range of artefacts, photographs and audio-visual items, many of which have been generously donated by local residents. Funding assistance was also given to the Shire of Christmas Island to support community celebrations in October.

In April 2009, the Department oversaw commencement of construction of the Rumah Baru passenger and freight facility on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (see Figure 7). This major capital works project was awarded to Wylie and Skene Pty Ltd in December 2008. Construction of the new facility will:

  • ensure safer freight handling and passenger transfers on West Island
  • meet current and long-term needs of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands community, and
  • provide flexible infrastructure, capable of upgrade, to handle increasing volumes of freight and passenger movements.

Figure 7: Rumah Baru passenger and freight facility, Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Figure 7: Rumah Baru passenger and freight facility, Cocos (Keeling) Islands 

Norfolk Island

The Department provided advice to the Government on reforms to improve the accountability and transparency of the Norfolk Island Government and Administration. The Government has announced significant reforms to governance on Norfolk Island. The Department consulted widely across government in developing proposals and options.

The Department conducted a major review of the management, operation and administration of the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island. The review included extensive consultations with the Norfolk Island Government, the Norfolk Island community and the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Review recommendations will enable the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area to maintain its important place in Australia’s convict heritage.

Australian Capital Territory

The Department negotiated an intergovernmental agreement between the Australian Government and the Australian Capital Territory Government on planning and delivering the Centenary of Canberra celebrations in 2013.

As well, the Department negotiated an intergovernmental agreement between the Australian Government, and the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales Governments on supply of water to Queanbeyan (New South Wales) from the Googong Dam.

Jervis Bay

In June 2009 the Department executed a new agreement with Transelect to manage and maintain the Jervis Bay Territory’s electricity infrastructure. Signing this agreement was the culmination of 12 months work that included a comprehensive audit of the electricity infrastructure owned by the Australian Government. This new agreement will ensure Commonwealth assets managed by the Department are maintained to the required standard.

On behalf of the Minister for Home Affairs, the Department is finalising an agreement to establish a bus service to connect residents in the Jervis Bay Territory to Vincentia and therefore the wider Shoalhaven Region and beyond.

Purchaser/provider arrangements

The Department has a number of purchaser/provider arrangements in place for delivery of services to Australia’s Territories.

State-type services are provided to the Indian Ocean Territories either directly by the Department, through 36 service delivery arrangements with the Western Australian Government or through contracted service providers. These arrangements deliver services in the areas of education, justice, small business development, infrastructure and regulatory services. As well, contracts are in place with commercial providers for airport and marine port services, and airline operations.

Similar purchaser/provider arrangements are in place for the Jervis Bay Territory with both the Australian Capital Territory Government and with agencies of the New South Wales Government.

Evaluations and reviews

Review of the airlines services procurement process

In May 2009, the Department engaged Deloitte to review procurement of air services for the Indian Ocean Territories. Deloitte was asked to consider whether the Department had complied with internal procurement procedures and the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines when it tendered a contract to provide air services to the Indian Ocean Territories in September 2008.

Deloitte reported that the air services procurement complied with all relevant requirements.

Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories

The former Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Bob Debus MP, referred an inquiry into the National Capital Authority to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories on 15 February 2008. The Committee presented its report The Way Forward—Inquiry into the National Capital Authority on 16 July 2008. The report made 22 recommendations about the Authority’s governance and developing a single integrated document between the Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth for planning the Australian Capital Territory.

The Government responded to the report on 12 December 2008; it accepted completely, in part or in-principle 13 of the Committee’s 22 recommendations.

Services to the Jervis Bay Territory

In July 2008, the Department provided funding through its State-type service arrangements with the Australian Capital Territory Government, for a 12-month placement of a Family Support Worker in the Jervis Bay Territory. The placement is under review to determine whether this service is of benefit to the community and should be continued for a further term.

The Department contracted an independent review of existing electricity infrastructure. Review recommendations will enhance future asset management and assist future planning of a maintenance program on the distribution network within the Territory.

Outlook

The Department is pursuing major objectives relating to the Indian Ocean Territories in 2009–10. We will oversee an upgrade of port infrastructure to facilitate mooring of large ships at Christmas Island. In consultation with the Department of Climate Change, the Department will develop an adaptation strategy for the Indian Ocean Territories in line with the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework. We will conduct an open tender for airline services to the Indian Ocean Territories. In relation to the other Territories, the Department will:

  • convene an intergovernmental committee on planning in the Australian Capital Territory
  • convene the National Capital Consultative Council
  • manage legislative change to implement 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 contributions to the 2013 Centenary of Canberra
  • implement reforms on Norfolk Island to improve governance and strengthen accountability
  • advise the Australian Government on the recommendations of the review of the management, operation, and administration of the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island
  • complete improvements to Jervis Bay Territory School as a result of the Department liaising with the ACT Department of Education on federal funding available under the Building the Education Revolution program, and
  • in conjunction with the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, conduct a joint workshop with the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council to examine good governance and develop clear reporting guidelines and frameworks to help Council meet the reporting requirements of Commonwealth funding agreements.

Performance indicators

Table 21: Performance indicators, Output 3.1—Services to Territories

Key performance indicators

2008–09 target

Result

Grants funding provided to an agreed timetable and on the basis of key criteria for funding being met

100% compliance

Achieved

In the Indian Ocean Territories, grants are made in accordance with the criteria of the relevant Western Australian program terms and conditions, following ministerial approval. The Department managed funding agreements with help from the Western Australian agency responsible for administering the equivalent Western Australian program.

Investments in capital works are managed effectively to ensure providers meet contractual targets

100% compliance

Achieved

The Department received approval for the second rolling five-year capital works program for the Indian Ocean Territories in July 2008. The program aims to strengthen capital works planning and implementation, and provide the foundation for future capital investment by early exposure to the funding requirements over the coming five years.

Capital works projects are delivered either directly by the Department, through service delivery arrangements with the Western Australian Government, or through contracted service providers, such as the Indian Ocean Territories Ports Management Services or the Airports Management Services contractors.

Intergovernmental agreements and service delivery agreements are managed effectively and the requirements of the agreements are met

100% compliance

Achieved

36 service delivery arrangements were managed between the Australian Government and the Western Australian Government to provide State-level services to the Indian Ocean Territories.

Payments under three programs from the Commonwealth to ACT for national capital influences were made within the agreed timeframes.

Legal and policy advice is provided within agreed timeframes and to the satisfaction of ministers and client agencies

Ministers and key agencies express a high degree of satisfaction as to the quality, effectiveness and timeliness of advice, as measured by periodic feedback

Achieved

Administered item

Results

Territories grants—Indian Ocean Territories

Achieved

The Indian Ocean Territories consist of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Due to their remoteness and small populations, their economies rely heavily on ongoing support from the Australian Government. The Department administered $67.0 million of funding through services to the Indian Ocean Territories Administered Program.

In 2008–09, on behalf of the Australian Government, the Department:

  • commissioned a major climate change risk assessment
  • helped provide support services to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s clients on Christmas Island, with funding from DIAC
  • established the second rolling five-year capital works program for the Indian Ocean Territories
  • lodged legislative instruments for the first home owner concessional rate of duty—from 1 July 2008, first home buyers in the Indian Ocean Territories have been able to access concessional rates of duty when purchasing homes
  • continued the asbestos removal program
  • coordinated delivery of equivalent regional and local community infrastructure program payments
  • facilitated alternative management techniques for yellow crazy ants and supported rehabilitation of the rainforest on Christmas Island, and
  • commissioned a Crown land management plan to help with strategic land planning and development in the Indian Ocean Territories.
The Department continued to deliver a number of State-type services directly in the Indian Ocean Territories on behalf of the Australian Government. In 2008–09 it provided:
  • health services including purchasing a mammography machine to improve health screenings for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands community
  • heritage services, including finalising the Department’s Heritage Strategy, and
  • support to on-island capability development through delivering funding for construction of dual user pathways on Christmas Island.
The Department progressed economic development initiatives, including administering the Economic Development Funding program for the Indian Ocean Territories. This fund increases employment opportunities, improves skills, expands and/or upgrades infrastructure and increases community capacity to become economically more sustainable.

The Department also managed the State-type grants program that provides the Indian Ocean Territories communities with access to a wide range of Western Australian Government grant funding programs.

Budget price: $80.198 million

Actual price: $75.523 million

Indian Ocean Territories—freight and passenger capital works

Achieved

The head contract for constructing the new passenger and freight facility on Cocos (Keeling) Islands was awarded to Wylie and Skene Pty Ltd in December 2008. All approvals and permits have been obtained and construction started in May 2009. The project is on track for completion by the end of April 2010.

Budget price: $30.526 million

Actual price: $6.213 million

Norfolk Island environment trust

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. Using established criteria, the Australian Government’s Natural Resources Management Team scrutinises grant funding applications before approval.

Budget price: $(0.001) million

Actual price: $(0.001) million

Norfolk Island—Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA)

Achieved

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 oversees management of the KAVHA precinct.

Budget price: $0.564 million

Actual price: $0.565 million

Norfolk Island—Kingston Pier

Achieved

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

Budget price: Nil

Actual price: Nil

Jervis Bay Territory—depreciation

Achieved

All Territory infrastructure including essential services was maintained.

Budget price: $0.519 million

Actual price: $0.462 million

Christmas Island Administration—depreciation

Achieved

The Administrator’s residence and related assets were maintained.

Budget price: $0.155 million

Actual price: $0.160 million

Office of the Administrator, Norfolk Island

Achieved

Australian Government funding met the Administrator’s salary entitlements, and relevant travel and other costs.

Budget price: $0.609 million

Actual price: $0.594 million

Services to Jervis Bay Territory

Achieved

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Department delivers State and municipal type services to the residents of the Territory. These services include basic and essential services, such as power and water, to homes in the Territory. They also include services in the Territory that are available to other residents in the surrounding Shoalhaven region, including primary education and health services. These services are delivered through both service delivery agreements with the ACT Government for basic welfare and community services and contracts with private organisations.

Budget price: $7.093 million

Actual price: $5.501 million

Indian Ocean Territories—depreciation

Achieved

All Island infrastructure, including essential services, was maintained.

Budget price: $16.091 million

Actual price: $15.130 million

ACT Government—National Capital influences

Achieved

The Commonwealth compensates the ACT Government for the effects on its expenditure and revenue resulting from the unique design of Canberra and the location of the large number of national institutions in the Territory.

Budget price: $24.435 million

Actual price: $24.434 million

ACT Government—National Capital function

Achieved

This payment supports delivery of specialised services by the ACT Government on behalf of the Australian Government in the ACT, including managing the Nolan Collection and inspecting and registering diplomatic vehicles.

Budget price: $1.398 million

Actual price: $1.369 million

ACT Government—water and sewerage

Achieved

The Commonwealth compensates the ACT Government for the high maintenance and operational costs associated with the excess length of water and sewerage mains necessitated by the dispersed nature of urban development in the ACT in its open space setting.

Budget price: $9.827 million

Actual price: $9.827 million

Norfolk Island administration

Achieved

The Administrator’s residence and related assets were maintained.

Budget price: $0.582 million

Actual price: $0.578 million

Office of the Administrator, Northern Territory

Achieved

Australian Government funding met the Administrator’s salary entitlements and relevant travel costs.

Budget price: $0.250 million

Actual price: $0.189 million

Administered assets and liabilities

Partially achieved

Head contract has been awarded and construction of the passenger and freight handling facility on Cocos (Keeling) Islands is underway.

Budget price: $30.526 million

Actual price: $6.213 million

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