Last week I was on Norfolk Island, which is in my electorate, for my second visit this year and my last for 2017.
Fifteen months into the reform process, it was great to see the new pathology lab and the new kitchen at the hospital—everyone has been sweating on the kitchen. There are new learning spaces, an upgraded library and a new technology centre at the school. All of these improvements are very much appreciated by the community and have been very much needed.
However, I'm concerned by the fact that we still have a whole range of issues that are impacting accessibility and equity for Norfolk Islanders. Since my visit in April last year, we are still dealing with the same issues. I've written not once but twice to the minister and government agencies to get these issues fixed, but they are still not fixed. My messages seem to be falling on deaf ears. The community still can't call the mainland without being charged for an international call; they still can't fly to the mainland without taking an international flight. Mail takes two weeks or longer to arrive. Centrelink won't accept Norfolk Island driver licences as ID and the systems won't accept the Norfolk Island phone numbers or addresses. People are being asked to attend meetings in Gunnedah from Norfolk Island! Norfolk Island is over it, and I'm over it. I've been calling for these basic issues to be resolved for 15 months. Some of them needed to be dealt with yesterday. These are impediments to the equity of the community of Norfolk Island.