Indian Ocean Territories
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.
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.
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.
Regional Development Organisation
The Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation (RDO) is made up of local leaders from the communities of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island. The role of this important group is to work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the economic development of this beautiful region.
The recently approved Strategic Plans for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands provide a strategic framework to build Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories with strong economies through jobs growth, economic growth and capable people.
Led by the Administrator of the IOT, Natasha Griggs, the senior Australian Government representative in the IOT, the RDO committee is a dedicated group of community volunteers who represent a range of groups and interests. The RDO engages with IOT businesses, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders to investigate new opportunities to grow local jobs and industries. It has a clear focus on developing strong and confident island economies to sustain and build the future of this special part of Australia
The close proximity of the IOTs to Asia creates incredible opportunities for the RDO to make strong connections with international trade partners and prospective investors.
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