Norfolk Islanders react to new life under Qld rule
Queensland's bid to offer support for residents on the remote tourist haven of Norfolk Island has been met with mixed reaction.
Several islanders raised fears about life under a Queensland regimen after The Courier Mail revealed the state was in talks with the federal government about providing health and education services to the island.
An existing deal between Norfolk Island and New South Wales is due to expire in June.
Despite little change expected to services and laws on the island, residents have taken to social media to raise concerns about Queensland's proposed service takeover.
"What little autonomy Norfolk Island may enjoy will be further eroded," one man wrote.
"NSW walked away after five years as there wasn't enough money in it," another said.
"The only people not consulted are the Norfolk Islanders."
Island resident Saxon Snell said there were "naysayers" everywhere and dismissed concerns about Queensland offering services.
"It's nothing off my back and I think it would be good no matter where we go," he said.
"I went to school in Queensland a while ago and I thought it was pretty good."
Mr Snell, who works for the island's council, said the lifestyle was paradise.
"The freedom is amazing because you can do pretty much anything you want," he said.
Tourism bosses say the island, located 1500km off Queensland's coast, would be another jewel in the state's tourism crown.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday broke her silence about the proposal to insist talks were in their infancy.
"We're having very early preliminary discussions with the federal government," she said.
"We've heard that NSW wants to abandon their responsibilities there so we are very keen to have those further discussions."
Ms Palaszczuk said there were no projections on the economic benefits, but said it could provide a boost to the state's destination offering.
"I'm going to have further discussions with the tourism minister as well but it's something we're giving careful consideration to," she said.
The secluded island was considered a self-governing Australian territory for 36 years before its legislative assembly was abolished by the federal government after going broke in 2015.
It became part of New South Wales, with the Norfolk Island Regional Council established to provide services despite almost unanimous opposition from the island's 1800 residents.
Mayor Robin Adams yesterday declined to comment on Queensland's proposal.
Originally published as Norfolk Islanders react to new life under Qld rule