Regional Development Organisation

The Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation (IOT RDO) is one of 50 organisations located across Australia that are part of the Regional Development Australia (RDA) network. The IOT RDO team is comprised of local leaders and passionate advocates working to facilitate sustainable development in the IOT, and to build strong and confident local economies on both Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

World map showing Christmas and Cocos Islands

Indian Ocean Territories

Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) are comprised of Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) and located 2,600 kilometres from Perth, Western Australia. Located closer to Asia than the Australian mainland and surrounded by the third-largest ocean in the world, this remarkable region is full of possibilities for world travellers and inspired investors, with extraordinary natural treasures to be found both above and below the water.

About the region

The IOTs are a spectacular part of Australia’s diverse natural world and have a short, yet fascinating, history of settlement beginning in the early 1800s. The history of the region offers gripping tales of discovery, indentured labour, wartime occupation and shipwrecks.

Small island with coconut trees at Indian Ocean Cocos Keeling Islands. Photo: Karen Willshaw.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located 2,750 kilometres from Perth and consist of 27 low-lying islands. The 500 residents of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located on two of the islands: Home Island and West Island. The population is 80% Malay with the remaining population identifying as of European descent. The CKI is a pristine environment that encircles turquoise lagoon waters. North Keeling Island is a World Heritage Reserve and is home to a large variety of bird life, including the endemic Cocos Buff-Banded Rail.

Crab migration in Christmas Island. Photo: Kirsty Faulkner.

Christmas Island

Christmas Island is the tip of a 5,000-metre submarine volcano that is roughly 60-million years old. Rising to a peak of 361 metres above sea level, the island has extraordinary access to the depths of the ocean and its marine creatures, as well as world-class Ramsar rainforests. The island’s 1800 residents are a world-class example of a respectful and tolerant community with Chinese, Malay, European and other cultures. This island is a treasure of Australian egalitarianism and fairness with Muslim, Christian, Taoist and Buddhist faiths celebrating together throughout the year.

The annual red crab migration is an internationally renowned natural event on Christmas Island, where millions of crabs travel through the jungle to the ocean, where they mate and then spawn by moonlight between October and January each year.

Photo of Cocos Island from the ocean with sunset behind. Photo: Kirsty Faulkner.


Find out more about grant funding opportunities in the Indian Ocean Territories.

Underwater photo of people snorkelling with a whale shark. Photo: Kirsty Faulkner.


Find out more about the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation.

Photo of a red crab.


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