The Queensland government is interested in taking over Norfolk Island, to add another piece to its tourism portfolio.
Health and education services on the island, about 1400 kilometres east of NSW, are managed by that state in return for federal government funding.
However the current deal is set to expire this year and Queensland is now in talks to take over from NSW, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk interested in adding the island as a tourist destination.
“We’ve heard that NSW wants to abandon their responsibilities there, so we are very keen to have those further discussions,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Wednesday.
“As you heard today from (Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive) Daniel Gschwind, he thinks that could add to our tourism portfolio.
“I’m going to have further discussions with the tourism minister, as well, but it’s something we’re giving some careful consideration to.”
Norfolk Island was a self-governing territory for 36 years, but the federal government abolished its legislative assembly after it went broke in May 2015.
It was replaced with a local government administration, similar to a regional council, and became part of NSW.
The decision was near-unanimously opposed by about 1700 residents at the time.
Mr Gschwind supports the takeover proposal, saying the island would give Queensland a new natural environment, climate and historic destination.
“Between potentially Norfolk, the islands of southeast Queensland, the Whitsundays and the Torres Strait, I mean it’s it’s an enormous variety of island environments that we could offer,” he told AAP.
The tourism industry chief has visited Norfolk and is fascinated by its connection to the historic Mutiny on the Bounty led by Fletcher Christian in 1789.
Many descendants of the mutineers left Pitcairn Island to establish the first permanent settlement on Norfolk in 1856.
“Quite seriously, I was fascinated from a personal point of view when the tour guide that took us form the airport there, her surname was Christian,” he told AAP.
“And I said ‘Oh wow, it’s like the mutineer’ and she said ‘Oh he was my great-great-great’ but certainly a direct ancestor to this person.
“And apparently, evidently there’s many, many people with mutineer family names on the island, and it’s quite amazing really.”
Queensland and the Commonwealth are still discussing the possibility of Norfolk joining the state.
In the meantime, Mr Gschwind joked that he wouldn’t mind adding another part of NSW – Byron Bay – to Queensland as well.