23 Nov 2017

Canberra rejects claim it's wrecked Norfolk economy

3:09 pm on 23 November 2017

The Australian government has dismissed a report saying the Norfolk Island economy is heading for disaster.

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island Photo: Wikipedia

Retired economist Dr Chris Nobbs, who lives on Norfolk, said the changes brought in after Canberra assumed direct control of the island in July last year, were destroying the economy and leaving the community in despair.

But The Australian newspaper reported the acting minister of local government and territories, Darren Chester, said the analysis was flawed because Norfolk's main industry, tourism, has just enjoyed its best year.

In 2000 Norfolk Island recorded 40,000 visitors but in the past year numbers got to 30,000 - the best since the global financial crisis.

The minister claimed the the government had "hugely" boosted the island's potential visitor pool by scrapping passport requirements for Australians, and had invested millions of dollars in subsidies to keep flights to Norfolk Island operating.

Mr Chester wants Norfolk to raise more money by charging appropriate municipal rates but there is significant opposition on the island to this.