At the 2001 census, Norfolk Island 's total population (excluding visitors or tourists) was 2,037. Of these 1,574 people live permanently on Norfolk Island. The remainder are mostly workers from mainland Australia and New Zealand allowed on the Island under short term entry permits issued by the Norfolk Island Government.
Eighty two percent of Norfolk Island's permanent population are Australian citizens and 14% hold New Zealand citizenship. Nearly half of Norfolk Island's permanent population are descendants of the Pitcairn Islanders who settled on Norfolk Island in 1856. Permanent population includes people who are either residents or holders of a General Entry Permit as defined in the Norfolk Island Immigration Act.
As elsewhere in Australia a person born on Norfolk Island is entitled to Australian citizenship under the Citizenship Act 1948 (Cth) as long as one parent is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia (including Norfolk Island). See the Citizenship website for further information on Australian citizenship.
Norfolk Island has had its own Legislative Assembly since 1979 and has enacted a separate body of laws to govern activities on the Island. Federal legislation does not automatically extend to the Territory unless expressed to do so (see the section on Governance and Administration). Federal Government Agencies are required to consult with the Norfolk Island Government prior to the extension of Federal laws to the Territory.
The Norfolk Island Government operates its own social security system under the Social Services Act 1980 (NI). Aged pensioners who are already in receipt of a pension from the Federal Government can continue receiving benefits if they move to Norfolk Island. However other Centrelink benefits are generally not available on the Island. For further information contact Centrelink.
Pensions and benefits paid by the Department of Veterans' Affairs to eligible veterans and their dependents do extend to Norfolk Island. For further information contact the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
The Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) which established the Medicare system in other Australian States and Territories does not extend to Norfolk Island. Therefore Medicare cannot be used to claim reimbursement for health and medical expenses incurred by tourists or residents on the Island.
The Norfolk Island Government operates its own public health insurance scheme. For information see the Norfolk Island Government website and click on the healthcare link.
Hospital patients are treated on the Island whenever possible. In a medical emergency, where doctors on Norfolk Island decide that the required treatment cannot be provided locally, patients are transported to the mainland or New Zealand by medivac (medical evacuation). Medivacs may be carried out by either commercial passenger flights or by commercial air ambulance, depending on the seriousness of the patient's condition. Commercial medivacs can cost up to $40,000. This cost may have to be borne by the patient unless they are an eligible veteran or have health or travel insurance that covers medical evacuation costs.
The Royal Australian Air Force provides an emergency medivac service to the Island community in life threatening situations where there is no commercial means of transporting the patient from the Island for medical treatment.
The Norfolk Island Government provides free infant, primary and secondary schooling to Year 12 on the Island.
The Norfolk Island school follows the New South Wales curriculum and relies on teachers, educational services and assistance provided by the New South Wales Department of Education. These are provided in accordance with Memorandums of Understanding between the Norfolk Island and New South Wales Governments and between the Federal and Norfolk Island Governments.
Local telephone calls made on Norfolk Island are free. However Norfolk Telecom charges international rates for calls from Norfolk Island to the Australian mainland and elsewhere. This means to phone out from Norfolk Island the international access code 00 must be dialled followed by the relevant Country Code (61 in the case of the Australian mainland). To contact Norfolk Island from the Australian mainland 0011 + 6723 (Norfolk Island's Code) must be dialled.
In addition to the major Australian public holidays Norfolk Island celebrates: