21 Aug 2006

Norfolk gives in to Australian pressure

6:26 pm on 21 August 2006

The Norfolk Island government has given in to Australia's demand for major reforms of the Pacific territory's governance and taxation systems.

After eight months of negotiations, Territories Minister Jim Lloyd announced Norfolk had accepted one of two models for reform put forward by Australia.

According to the news agency AAP, Mr Lloyd says the move to pursue territory status similar to that of the Northern Territory and ACT is a big step foward.

Norfolk is a self-governing territory with a status similar to that of mainland territories, but its government currently has greater legislative powers and responsibilities in areas such as immigration, customs and quarantine.

Mr Lloyd says Canberra has an obligation to ensure all parts of Australia receive the benefits of economic reform.

He says that the island's taxation and welfare systems would be reformed as part of the changes.