Federal Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon welcomed the Budget announcement to replace and upgrade the wharf crane and mooring systems at Flying Fish Gove on Christmas Island.
The necessity of upgrading this important infrastructure to ensure safety and efficiency on the wharf has been an issue of concern for the islands major employer Phosphate Resources Ltd and the Shire of Christmas Island for over 10 years not only for its economic importance but also the social wellbeing of the islanders who rely on shipping for nearly all supplies from the mainland.
Last year I wrote to then Territories Minister Fiona Nash to give urgent consideration to replacing the crane and refurbishing the moorings, noting:
- The current crane being the sole utility capable of dealing with container and break bulk supplies to the island is unreliable, often in need of repair and has never been fit for purpose. It is a construction crane not a wharf crane. There is a need for a replacement marine crane set further off the wharf.
- For safety reasons there is also a need for a reconfiguration and refurbishment of the current moorings especially those at the Smith Point fuelling site. The replacement crane is vital to the economic and food security of the island.
Whilst the infrastructure for Christmas Island is welcomed, the Budget Papers don’t appear to have any reference to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The Cocos airstrip is in need of a significant upgrade and despite its importance not only for domestic aircraft, it is also a strategic defence asset.
The Budget has failed to deliver infrastructure on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The Budget continues the commitment to improve the state-level and local government services delivered on Norfolk Island, including $2.4 million in capital funding) to support service delivery on Norfolk Island and enable critical maintenance of Commonwealth assets.