22 Aug 2006

Norfolk Islands still wary of change to legal status as talks continue with Canberra

6:36 pm on 22 August 2006

The Chief Minister of Norfolk Island, David Buffett, says no agreement has been finalised with the Australian government over changes to the island's governance and taxation system.

Reports from Australia say the Territories Minister, Jim Lloyd, has announced that Norfolk Island had accepted a model for reform that would see it adopt a status similar to that of the Northern Territory or the ACT.

At present, Norfolk has greater legislative powers in areas such as immigration, customs and quarantine.

The Speaker of Norfolk's legislative Assembly, Geoff Gardiner, says many on the island are still wary of any change:

"There is an acceptance, albeit reluctant, that there needs to be a change with regards to taxation reform and the like in Norfolk Island. But the proposals from the Commonwealth have been met with trepidation. there are a lot of very worried people on the island that it might change the island for good, for forever."

The Norfolk Island Speaker, Geoff Gardiner.

The Chief Minister says while productive discussions have been held in Canberra, further talks are still planned.