health, building and quarantine


The Health, Building & Quarantine Service protects the island’s environment through its quarantine services and the community through the operation of health and building inspections.

Building and Planning Office

The Planning Office is responsible for controlling the use and development of land on Norfolk Island.  Land uses and developments include buildings, earthworks, signage and subdivisions.  They work with the legislature to decide what types of developments and land uses are allowed in different parts of the island.  They assess applications for permission to develop and use land to make sure that the uses and developments are legal and they stop developments and land uses that have not been approved.  These functions are important to Norfolk Island because without the Planning Office, development would be haphazard and unplanned.

Health Office

The Health Office is responsible for issuing licenses to shops and restaurants that sell food.  They also do inspections to make sure that food preparation areas are kept clean and the food is kept under correct conditions so people do not become sick.


The Quarantine Service is very important to our island because they keep out new pests and try to control pests that have already become established. 

When ships arrive

The Quarantine Officer meets every ship when it arrives and inspects it looking for any plant seeds or animals that might have “stowed away”.  The officer especially looks for things like animal droppings, spiders’ webs or actual insects or larger animals.  A thorough inspection is most important because in the past lizards, spiders, ants and mosquitoes have been found.  Anything they find is removed and killed humanely.  If an infestation is too bad to be treated at Norfolk Island, the boat is sent to Australia or New Zealand to be fumigated. 

All cargo is inspected and crates are opened and checked.

When planes arrive

Passengers fill in a quarantine declaration card before they land on Norfolk Island.  After collecting luggage, all passengers must speak to a Customs or Quarantine Officer who checks their card and may open and inspect their luggage.  They look for dirty shoes and equipment that might carry soil diseases or plants, fungi, fruit, vegetables, seeds and any live animals.  Air freight is checked too.  Planes are fumigated either before they leave Australia or New Zealand or when they arrive on Norfolk Island.  This ensures that mosquitoes which may carry malaria or dengue fever do not get here.

What happens when something gets loose?

Sometimes, despite all the work of the Quarantine Service, a new plant or animal escapes and becomes a problem.  The service then works hard to isolate the threat and stop it spreading, treat the organism to kill the colony and then monitor the treated area over a long period to make sure it has been eradicated.  Argentine ants and Asian house geckoes are two species that Quarantine is working to eradicate.

What can you do?

NEVER bring anything illegal to the island.  ALWAYS follow the quarantine laws.


The Administration of Norfolk Island