Speech given in the Senate on 2 August 2022.
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the good people on Norfolk Island. It is a beautiful part of the world, some 2,000 kilometres out in the Pacific Ocean. There's an amazing, generous community spirit, with families who have been there since 1856. If something is broken, the community will come together to fix it—and there's not much on that island that can't be fixed with the community spirit and elbow grease of the locals.
However, one of the challenges that they desperately need the Commonwealth's support with is the cargo crisis unfolding on the island. The supermarket shelves are running bare. They're low on stock, and, being so reliant on tourism, tourist operators are struggling to have enough food to ensure that they can actually serve meals to their customers. It's a worrying set of conditions, given how reliant they are on tourism.
Whilst I commend the government for increasing the number of air freight trips, the community have told me that they are still struggling to get supplies. Major investments are needed to support a modern and safe shipping delivery system for the island, particularly as some products cannot travel via air freight, such as medical oxygen cylinders. Norfolk Islanders want to help, and I hope the government will reach out and consult with locals on how to overcome these challenges.
I want to thank the Norfolk Islanders for their hospitality and generosity. I hope to return soon and explore more of your amazing island. I was lucky enough to get across to Phillip Island and see some of the amazing work that Parks Australia are doing over there.