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Annual Report 2009-10 Performance Reports - Outcome 3

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Chapter 8 Outcome 3 - Assisting regions to manage their own futures

Overview

The Department contributes to the achievement of Outcome 3 by providing advice and assistance to Territories in managing their own futures. This includes the self-governing Territories—the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island; the non-self governing Territories—Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands) and Jervis Bay Territory; and the uninhabited Territories of Ashmore–Cartier Islands and the Coral Sea Islands.

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

Our role in administering the non-self governing Territories includes the provision of policy advice and legislation to provide good governance to the Territories and, in the absence of a state government, delivering state-type services in these Territories, particularly those with resident populations—Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay.

State-type services cover the broad range of essential services including schools, health services, policing, power, water, ports and airports. State-type services are provided on the basis of a comparable level of service compared to similar State communities. They are provided through intergovernmental agreements with the appropriate State or Territory government: 37 agreements are in place with Western Australia for services for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Island, fully funded by the Australian Government. Contracts with private enterprise are also used where appropriate; the airports and ports of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Island are managed through specialist contractors. Certain services are delivered by the Department directly: the Indian Ocean Territories Health Service and the Indian Ocean Territories Power Authority are business units based on the Islands that deliver health and power services directly. Similar arrangements, on a smaller scale, are provided in Jervis Bay through agreements with the Australian Capital Territory Government and other providers.

Significant capital works were undertaken during the year. The Smith Point Mooring at Christmas Island was upgraded to permit cruise ships to berth at the Island. The project was completed in December 2009 and the first ship berthed on 23 December 2009. Feedback from passengers who disembarked to explore the Island was very positive. Construction of the Freight and Passenger Facility at Rumah Baru on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands continued throughout the year but due to delays from weather and other causes, could not be completed in the year. Completion is expected by the end of 2010. The Department also undertook the development of a thirty-year capital investment plan during the year; progress included identification of the age, condition and remaining life of all capital assets and incorporation in the Department’s financial management system.

The Department is managing the upgrade of essential services on Christmas Island to meet the increased demand for services consequent to the operation of the Immigration Detention Centre on the Island. During the year, the immediate focus was on provision of additional school and health capabilities.

Support for the self-governing Territories during the year focused on good governance and managing the Australian Government’s interests in these Territories. The Department progressed the Territories Law Reform Bill through to passage through the House of Representatives and continued to work with the Australian Capital Territory Government on preparations for the Centenary of Canberra in 2013.

The Department received funding of $97 million to upgrade essential services on Christmas Island. The major components of this include a substantial increase in capacity of the waste water treatment plant (completion expected in October 2010), additional power generation capability (completion in 2011) and construction of staff housing (staged completion expected over the next three years). The Department will support the resealing of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands runway by the Department of Finance and Deregulation; completion is expected within the year.

The Department will provide advice to Government on the economic and environmental sustainability of the Indian Ocean Territories before the end of 2010 and will seek to drive service delivery reform and build local capabilities to achieve greater value for money. Further work will be done to improve governance arrangements for the Territories. The World Heritage Listing for the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island will assist the Department reform the governance arrangements for the area, in conjunction with the Norfolk Island Government.

Performance reports for each program contributing to Outcome 3 are presented in this chapter.

Resource summary

Table 19: Resource summary, Outcome 3—Assisting regions to manage their own futures

  Budget*
2009–10
$’000
(a)
Actual expenses
2009–10
$’000
(b)
Variation
$’000
(a)–(b)
Program 3.1: Services to Territories
Annual departmental expenses 11,308 11,572 –264
Revenue from independent resources (S31): 495 526 –31
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 17 17
Administered Items:      
Services to Indian Ocean Territories 90,155 91,179 –1,024
Norfolk Island environment trust 10 10
Norfolk Island—Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area 578 565 13
Jervis Bay Territory—depreciation 517 474 43
Christmas Island administration—depreciation 310 150 160
Office of the Administrator, Norfolk Island 645 1,178 –533
Services to Jervis Bay Territory 6,147 6,363 –216
Office of the Administrator, Northern Territory 278 300 –22
Indian Ocean Territories—depreciation 15,918 11,973 3,945
Norfolk Island administration—depreciation 545 576 –31
Norfolk Island—disposal of land 47 47
ACT Government—National Capital function 1,562 1,415 147
ACT Government—water and sewerage      
       
Total for Program 3.1 128,532 126,286 2,246

Note:

* Full year budget, including any subsequent adjustment made to the 2009–10 Budget.

Program 3.1: Assisting regions to manage their own futures

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

The Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, established the Indian Ocean Territories Taskforce in September 2009 to develop a practical approach to economic and environmental sustainability for Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The taskforce consulted with key stakeholders interested in the future of the Indian Ocean Territories (the Territories), including community groups, the Territories’ Shire Councils and a number of Australian Government agencies. The taskforce will identify several measures the Government could take to ensure long-term sustainability of the Territories.

In October 2009, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship began expanding immigration detention facilities on Christmas Island. As this expansion would place significant pressure on the Island’s infrastructure, the Department implemented two initiatives to ensure essential services could continue to function effectively. A $50 million package to upgrade and expand the Island’s wastewater treatment plant and power generation infrastructure was announced in December 2009. The wastewater treatment plant is being constructed, with completion expected in October 2010. The contract for the additional power generation capability was signed in June 2010. An additional $47.3 million measure was announced in May 2010 for funding over four years to further support the expanding population. This measure includes funding to construct additional staff housing and continues funding for additional police, education and health services.

In December 2009, the Department finished installing an upgraded mooring system at Smith Point on Christmas Island to permit larger vessels, including cruise ships, to moor at the Island. The first cruise ship visit took place on 23 December 2009.

In April 2010, Virgin Blue commenced operations as the contracted air service provider to the Indian Ocean Territories. Initially operating modern Embraer E-190 aircraft, Virgin Blue’s service provided reduced flight times and more seats to the communities without increasing airfares. The service immediately experienced substantial growth in demand, resulting in a larger Boeing B-737-800 aircraft being deployed on the Christmas Island only service and an additional E-190 service to Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Construction of the Rumah Baru passenger and freight facility on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands continued throughout 2009–10. This facility will provide safer freight and passenger transfers on West Island and permit more efficient handling of bulk freight compared to the existing ‘over the beach’ system. Weather delays, caused by exceptionally heavy rain in the early months of 2010, resulted in the project not being completed during 2009–10. Completion is expected in late 2010.

Introduction of the Territories Law Reform Bill, Norfolk Island

During 2009–10 the Department worked closely with other Australian Government agencies, including the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to develop the Territories Law Reform Bill 2010. The Bill was introduced into the Parliament on 17 March 2010.

The Bill included measures to improve Norfolk Island’s governance arrangements, reform the electoral system and implement a contemporary financial management framework. The Bill would extend application of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988 to Norfolk Island, and make the Commonwealth Ombudsman the Ombudsman for Norfolk Island.  The Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on 21 June 2010, and at 30 June 2010 was awaiting consideration by the Senate.

Review of the management, operation and administration of Norfolk Island’s Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) was completed and the report released for public comment. KAVHA is part of the current Australian Convict Sites Nomination for World Heritage Listing and is jointly managed and funded by the Australian and Norfolk Island governments through an advisory management board. The review report contains key recommendations about the future management of Norfolk Island heritage sites.

Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory

The Minister for Home Affairs determined that the Australian Government’s Sir Sidney Nolan art collection be permanently housed at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. The Department, at the request of the owner, is negotiating return of on loan Sidney Nolan artworks to the United Kingdom.

The Department and the Australian Capital Territory Government worked together to deliver two projects recognising significant historical events leading up to the 2013 Centenary of Canberra: the Far-Sighted: the Maps that Made Canberra exhibition held at the National Library of Australia, and the surveyor’s plaque at One Tree Hill, ACT.

The Department convened two meetings of the Canberra National Memorials Committee, helping to progress a number of national memorial projects including the World War I and World War II, Australian Peacekeeping and National Boer War memorial projects.

Jervis Bay

The Department implemented a regular bus service between Jervis Bay Territory and Vincentia and the wider Shoalhaven region. The service provides residents with improved transport options to access a broader range of employment, education, training and other services.

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 37 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 Australian Capital Territory Government and New South Wales Government agencies.

Evaluations/reviews

Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories

The previous Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Bob Debus MP, referred an inquiry into the economic environment in the Indian Ocean Territories to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories on 11 February 2009. The Committee presented its report Inquiry into the Changing Economic Environment in the Indian Ocean Territories on 1 April 2010. The report made 26 recommendations about the economic environment, emerging industries, information and communication technology and transportation in the Indian Ocean Territories.

On 17 March 2010 the Territories Law Reform Bill was introduced into Parliament and on 18 March 2010 the Senate referred the Bill to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories for inquiry. The Committee presented its report, An advisory report on the Territories Law Reform Bill on 11 May 2010. The report made five recommendations, including that it be passed by the Senate.

Outlook as at 30 June 2010

In 2010–11, the Department will continue implementing the Christmas Island infrastructure package to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant and power generation project. It will also start implementing the staff housing package that will result in increased availability of housing on the Island. The Department will support finalisation of the Indian Ocean Territories Taskforce’s report on economic and environmental sustainability.

The Department will continue to advance reforms to Norfolk Island governance, accountability and financial management, including by supporting Parliamentary consideration of the Territories Law Reform Bill 2010.

In relation to the other Territories, the Department will:

  • support the work of an intergovernmental committee on planning in the Australian Capital Territory
  • advise the Australian Government on the functions and structure of the National Capital Authority
  • advise the Australian Government on the 2013 Centenary of Canberra celebrations
  • complete the Rumah Baru passenger and freight facility on Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • construct a community centre on West Island in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • support a waste management strategy for the Shire of Christmas Island
  • continue implementing a comprehensive whole-of-life asset management system for all capital assets in the Territories that are controlled by the Department, and
  • continue developing a climate change strategy to guide decision making in the Indian Ocean Territories.

Steve Clay, Territories Division 

Steve Clay, Territories Division

Our people

Upgraded port bolsters Christmas Island’s tourist income

the Department is assisting the region to manage its own future

The arrival at Flying Fish Cove of about 1,500 passengers on P&O cruise ship Pacific Sun represented an historic moment in the lives of Christmas Islanders, who treated the tourists to a warm Island welcome when they disembarked in December 2009.

Christmas Island is one of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories, located 2,600 kilometres northwest of Perth and 360 kilometres south of Jakarta. Its multi-lingual resident population of 1,400 lives on the island’s northern tip.

The Pacific Sun was able to berth at Christmas Island, as are navy and customs ships, thanks to a strategic investment by the Australian Government that has enabled an upgrade of the port infrastructure.

Tourism is considered a key component of the island’s long-term, sustainable economic future. The first visit by a cruise ship generated around $45,000 for the local economy, with the ship’s passengers enjoying the local market and other enticing attractions, like the historical exhibition at Tai Jin House and Christmas Island’s famous red crabs.

Steve Clay, Director, Strategic Policy and Projects, Territories West, said, ‘This was a good initiative to develop the local economy and introduce additional tourism infrastructure. It certainly is an example of the Department assisting regions to manage their own futures.

‘Getting the project up and running had its own set of logistical complexities. Karenn Singer, in the Canberra office, liaised with the cruise company and the local tourism association to initiate the project, and secure approval and funding.

‘Christmas Island is remote and subject to adverse weather conditions that affect delivery of infrastructure projects. Despite a tight timeframe, the port upgrade was completed on time, made possible by the expertise of Rebecca Hogben and the Perth Office team.’

P&O has already scheduled future visits to the island, and global maritime industry group Wilhelmsen is due to visit in late 2010. The Attorney-General’s Department will keep working with the Christmas Island community to augment tourism opportunities.


Performance results

Table 20: Performance results, Program 3.1: Assisting regions to manage their own futures

Key performance indicators Results
Grant funding is targeted, supported by the community and fully utilised to meet the expectations of all parties concerned 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.
Intergovernmental agreements meet value for money criteria while delivering the required level of services to the territories Achieved

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

In some instances a particular arrangement may cover a number of Western Australian agencies (mainly due to machinery-of-government changes in Western Australia) and we also have other service delivery arrangements under development or being reviewed.
Investment in capital works ensures the infrastructure is capable of supporting the objectives Achieved

The Department received approval for the third rolling five-year capital works program for the Indian Ocean Territories in July 2009.

Capital works projects are delivered either directly by the Department, through service delivery arrangements with the Western Australian Government, or through contracted services providers.
Administered Items Results
Services to 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 $90.094 million of funding through services to the Indian Ocean Territories Administered Program.

In 2009–10, on behalf of the Australian Government, the Department:

  • completed and updated a major climate change risk assessment for the Indian Ocean Territories
  • helped the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands with an expression of interest for a tourism resort at Trannies North
  • helped Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) clients on Christmas Island by providing torture and trauma counselling and other health services, with funding from DIAC
  • entered into a contract with Virgin Blue to provide air services to the Indian Ocean Territories
  • constructed a new mooring system at Smith Point to facilitate a successful cruise ship visit to Christmas Island
  • delivered an unmotorised barge to Cocos (Keeling) Islands in October 2009
  • continued the asbestos removal program
  • facilitated alternative management techniques for yellow crazy ants and supported rehabilitation of the rainforest on Christmas Island
  • published a Crown land management plan report to help with strategic land planning and development in the Indian Ocean Territories, and
  • supported on-island capability development through delivering funding for construction of walking trails on Christmas Island.

The Department continued to deliver a number of State-type services directly in the Indian Ocean Territories on behalf of the Australian Government.

The Department progressed economic development initiatives, including administering the Economic Development Funding program and employing an Economic Development Officer 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: $90.155 million Actual price: $90.094 million
Indian Ocean Territories—freight and passenger capital works Substantially Achieved

Construction continued during 2009–10 and is expected to be completed in October 2010.
Budget price: $24.980 million Actual price: $21.830 million
Administered Items Results
Norfolk Island environment trust Achieved

Funds collected from 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 Resource Management Team scrutinises grant funding applications before approval.
Budget price: $0.010 million Actual price: Nil
Norfolk Island—Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area 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 interest and oversees management of the precinct.
Budget price: $0.578 million Actual price: $0.565 million
Jervis Bay Territory—depreciation Achieved

All Territory infrastructure, including for essential services, was maintained.
Budget price: $0.517 million Actual price: $0.474 million
Christmas Island administration—depreciation Achieved

The Administrator’s residence and related assets were maintained.
Budget price: $0.310 million Actual price: $0.150 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: $0.645 million Actual price: $1.178 million
Services to Jervis Bay Territory Achieved

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Department delivers State and local government-type services to Territory residents. Services include basic and essential services, such as power and water, to homes in the Territory, as well as pre-school and primary education, community and dental health, mobile library and justice services. A range of methods is used to deliver services, either directly, through service level agreements with Australian Capital Territory or New South Wales Government agencies, agreements with Shoalhaven City Council or commercial contractors. The Department funds the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council for specific activities related to housing, land council and local government programs.
Budget price: $6.147 million Actual price: $6.363 million
Office of the Administrator, Northern Territory Achieved

Australian Government funding met the Administrator’s salary entitlements and relevant travel costs.
Budget price: $0.278 million Actual price: $0.300 million
Administered Items Results
Indian Ocean Territories—depreciation Achieved

All Island infrastructure, including essential services, was maintained.
Budget price: $15.918 million Actual price: $11.973 million
Norfolk Island administration Achieved

The Administrator’s residence and related assets were maintained.
Budget price: $0.545 million Actual price: $0.576 million
Norfolk Island—disposal of land Substantially Achieved

Disposal of three blocks of land on Norfolk Island was finalised and the remaining five are in the process of finalisation. The process should be completed by the end of 2010.
Budget price: $0.047 million Actual price: Nil
ACT Government—National Capital function Achieved

This payment supports delivery of specialised services by the Australian Capital Territory Government on behalf of the Australian Government in the Australian Capital Territory, including managing the Nolan Collection and inspecting and registering diplomatic vehicles.
Budget price: $1.562 million Actual price: $1.415 million
National specific purpose payments Results
Restoration of Albert Hall, Canberra1 Achieved

This program was a 2007 election commitment. ACT Government completed the refurbishment program and these funds have been fully expended.
Budget price: $0.500 million Actual price: $0.500 million

Note:

1 Appropriation held and payments made by the Department of the Treasury as National Partnership Payments.


Yvette Martin, Territories Division 

Yvette Martin, Territories Division

Our people

Improving management of the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area

facilitate economic development through increased tourism opportunities

Norfolk Island is a community of around 2,000 people in the South Pacific, more than 1,600 kilometres north east of Sydney.

The island was one of the first penal settlements, established in 1788 as an outpost from the settlement at Sydney Cove. It is home to the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions who relocated there from Pitcairn Island in 1856.

The area now known as the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) was the site of the penal settlement and where the Pitcairn settlers lived.

Today, however, the Island’s inhabitants and visitors use the restored Georgian buildings in many ways. For example, there are historic and commemorative sites, museums, administration and legislative buildings, a church, a sporting clubhouse and a theatre. The outdoor areas provide recreation facilities used by swimmers, snorkelers, scuba divers, glass bottom boats, wind surfers, board riders and people fishing off the reef in Emily and Slaughter Bays.

KAVHA is managed by the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Management Board, which includes representatives of the Australian and Norfolk Island governments. However, in late 2008, the Australian Government began reviewing the management arrangements for the area.

Yvette Martin, a Policy Officer in the Norfolk Island Section, has been working with the independent reviewer and outlined the benefits of the review.

‘The review provides the opportunity to strengthen the Department’s relationship with the Norfolk Island Government and the local community in relation to how KAVHA is managed into the future,’ Yvette said.

‘The outcomes of the review will help improve management of this significant heritage site and facilitate economic development through increased tourism opportunities on the island.

‘KAVHA’s importance was shown in its nomination, along with 10 other Australian Convict Sites, for World Heritage Listing. We expect a decision in July 2010.’

The Australian Government’s final report containing the review recommendations was released in May 2010, and the public had six weeks to comment.


Attorney-General's Department, 3-5 National Circuit, Barton  

Attorney-General’s Department, 3–5 National Circuit, Barton

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