We wish to pay our respects to the Muslim community for the recent Hari Raya Haji celebration. The day celebrates the faith and trust that Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) had in God when God commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael). It also marks the end of the sacred Muslim pilgrimage which is commonly known as the Haj. According to the fifth pillar of Islam, all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so are obliged to undertake this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
Equally, we would like to pay our respects to the Chinese Community who in August will celebrate the Hungry Ghost festival. The Hungry Ghost Festival is one of several important festival days of Ghost Month (鬼月) – the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival opens on the 8th of August at the Sheng Wong Temple in Drumsite. The celebration to mark the start of Hungry Ghost is always held at this temple. It is the deity Sheng Wong who opens the gates of hell to allow the souls of those with no families to care for them in the afterlife to wander free for a month. Subsequent events are held at various locations throughout the month, including many within our work areas.
PRL Group finished the year well with Christmas Island Phosphates (CIP) producing a total of 460,000MT, recording an improvement on last year’s 326,000Mt. This was despite the prolonged wet and swell season due to the LA Nina weather event. Both Christmas Island Maintenance Services (CIMS) and Indian Ocean Oil Company (IOOC) performed well throughout the year. It’s also pleasing to see an improvement in our safety statistics over the past year. Our thanks go to all our employees for a great effort and continued focus on safety and meeting customer requirements. This was particularly evident for our CIP employees who faced ongoing production challenges resulting from adverse weather conditions. The outlook for this year looks positive, however, we need to remain cautious with the global COVID situation evolving on a daily basis.
On the 1st of July, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) advised Christmas Island Maintenance Services (CIMS) of its decision to reinstate the operational facilities management services of Serco, at the North West Point Immigration Detention Centre (NWPIDC). The reason given was the alignment of the NWPIDC to their mainland operating model. It was stressed that the change was not related to CIMS’ performance.
Twelve months ago, CIMS was requested by the Department to stand up the NWPIDC to an ‘operational setting’. We have worked hard to build a competent and reliable organisation, investing in training, delivering quality services, and building a local workforce to service the Commonwealth’s operational requirements.
We are disappointed by the news but are continuing to work closely with the Department, Australian Border Force and Serco in the transition process. Our objective is to maximise local jobs and retain the local capability we have built over the past few years.
On a positive note, it is great to see the response from the community towards the COVID vaccination rollout on Christmas Island. With over 70% getting their first vaccination we are up there with the best in Australia, if not the world. Across PRL Group we are very pleased to see the IOOC team setting the standard with a 90% vaccination rate. This could be a bigger race (and more important or not) than the annual Cove Day raft race. We would like to recognise the work of the Minister Hon. Nola Marino, Administrator Natasha Griggs and the Department for Infrastructure, Regional Development and Territories in prioritising this important issue.