20 Dec 2006

Australia abandons plan to change Norfolk governance

1:20 pm on 20 December 2006

Australia says Norfolk Island's governance will remain unchanged despite months of tense negotiations between Australia and the island leadership.

The Australian territories minister, Jim Lloyd. has just made the announcement, saying any changes to the Norfolk government could harm the fragile economy.

This comes only months after Mr Lloyd said Norfolk Island could not govern itself.

But now he says the Australian government has accepted the assurances of the Norfolk Island government that it will continue its programme of economic and financial reform.

He says it will seek to improve the transparency and accountability of governance on the island.

Mr Lloyd now says any changes would not be in the interests of Norfolk Islanders.