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Wednesday, 5 May 1993
Page: 187


Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia) (6.49 p.m.) —I rise to speak on the Christmas Island Services Corporation's last report. I have taken over responsibility for the shadow territories portfolio which includes Christmas Island, Norfolk Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. I have visited Christmas Island; it is a very beautiful spot, and I look forward as part of my responsibilities to revisiting the island when I can make those arrangements.

  The island has a population of around 1,200 to 1,300 Malays and is dependent on the phosphate mine which, I suppose, has provided almost all the employment on the island. Now, on 8 August, a casino will be opened which will create a great many jobs. I believe that almost full employment will be realised, taking into account the people who are employed on the mine and those who will be employed in the casino and its associated service industries. But I well remember about three years ago when that casino might never have reached the drawing board stage; when there was a very close debate in this chamber within the parties as to whether the casino should go ahead. I believe that now the casino has almost reached the point where it will be opened on 8 August—a lucky day for the Chinese, I understand, which is why that day has been selected for its opening—and I look forward to being there.

  The Government is also spending a huge amount of money on revitalising, renewing and upgrading the houses that have been left vacant, as a number of people have removed themselves from the island and set up their homes in Western Australia. The report says that the island will be governed by a local government council. The laws of the island will be the same laws which are current in Western Australia and the islanders will have to adapt to those Western Australia laws. I wish the islanders all the best and look forward to seeing them in August.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.