Visit to Luganville, Vanuatu - Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women
Today I visited Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, marking the first official visit there by an Australian Foreign Minister.
The visit provided the opportunity to see the Government’s Pacific Step-up in action outside of Port Vila and to witness the breadth of Australia’s partnership with Vanuatu.
During my visit, I opened the newly refurbished Luganville Market House, which plays a vital role in supporting women’s economic empowerment. I was impressed to learn that the market will support over 3,000 vendors who are mostly women.
I also visited the Vanuatu Police Force Northern Command Headquarters to hand over keys to two new police vehicles that will enhance police capability. Australia has a strong history of supporting the police and justice sector in Vanuatu. We are building on that as part of our Pacific Step-up.
I had the privilege to visit Banban Primary School, where Australia has supported the construction of new classrooms that provide shelter for children displaced by volcanic eruptions on the nearby Ambae and Ambrym islands.
I also visited an innovative kava processing factory that is employing more than 130 ni-Vanuatu, and improving the nation’s agricultural and economic performance.
My visit underscored Australia’s shared commitment with its Pacific neighbours to a secure, stable and prosperous region.
I will visit Solomon Islands on 30 October and Vanuatu from 31 October to 1 November to progress key initiatives under Australia’s Pacific Step-up and reaffirm Australia’s longstanding partnerships with both countries.
My visits will provide an opportunity to reiterate Australia’s commitment to supporting security, stability and prosperity in the Pacific. I will be meeting with both Prime Minister Sogavare and Prime Minister Salwai. I look forward to deepening Australia’s engagement as we discuss our strong collaboration on infrastructure, labour mobility and joint security projects.
I will also engage on women’s policy issues across government and the private sector, particularly to discuss women’s economic security and the safety of women and their families, two important focuses of our gender equality engagement in the region.
The Australian Government is stepping up its renewable energy investment and climate and disaster resilience support in the Pacific by partnering with our nearest neighbours to protect their security and livelihoods. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia recognised the specific climate change challenges the Pacific faced.
The Prime Minister said he would detail a climate change and oceans package at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu this week that included $500 million over five years from 2020 from existing aid funds to help Pacific nations invest in renewable energy and climate and disaster resilience.
In partnership with the Australian Government and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade as part of the ‘Pacific Step-Up’ and the Australia Pacific Sports Linkages Program, the Westfield Junior Matildas will visit Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands and play a match against the under 19 women’s national team in each country.
The Australian Government’s signature initiative to boost long-term economic growth in the Pacific region, the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), is now open for business.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator the Hon Marise Payne said this $2 billion facility will support vital infrastructure projects to underpin sustainable economic growth in Pacific island countries and Timor‑Leste.
The 2019-20 Budget continues the Morrison Government’s commitment to advancing Australia’s national interests by protecting our security and prosperity and providing more opportunities for Australian exporters in an increasingly contested and competitive world.
The Morrison Government is deepening its engagement with partners and allies across the Indo-Pacific region, including through our signature Pacific Step-Up which is taking our relationship with our Pacific neighbours to new levels.
Joint statement from Vanuatu\'s Prime Minister, The Hon. Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, and Australia\'s Prime Minister, The Hon. Scott Morrison MP
The Prime Ministers of Australia and Vanuatu have today reaffirmed the strong, enduring and multifaceted relationship between our countries. This relationship is based on common values, shared aspirations, respect and friendship, and our shared interest in the peace and prosperity of our home, the Pacific.
The Australian Prime Minister’s historic and first official visit to Vanuatu reinforces the importance of this relationship for both our countries, following on from the Prime Minister of Vanuatu’s official visit to Australia in June last year.
On 1 November, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the Asia Briefing Live that the Pacific is one of his highest foreign policy priorities, because the Pacific is where we live and Pacific Island Countries are our family. Prime Minister Morrison wants to see Australia’s relationships in the Pacific rise to a new level of respect, partnership, familiarity and appreciation. Australia will take steps with Vanuatu to further strengthen our partnership, including on security.
On 19 September 2018, the Minister of Education and Training, Jean Pierre Nirua, Parliamentary Secretaries, Johnny Koanapo Rasu and Tomker Netvunei, and Australia’s Chargée d’affaires, Susan Ryle officially launched ten classrooms, two offices and one library in four primary schools on Erromango including in Dillons Bay Port Melo, Ivu Alam and Port Narvin.
Vanuatu has joined Samoa and Solomon Islands to become the next group of countries to join Australia\'s Pacific Labour Scheme. Vanuatu signed the agreement with Australia in the margins of the 49th Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, paving the way for ni-Vanuatu workers to undertake non-seasonal work in rural and regional Australia. The new labour mobility scheme is an integral part of Australia\'s efforts to promote greater economic cooperation with the Pacific.
Australia has welcomed Vanuatu and Samoa into Australia\'s Pacific Medicines Testing Program, following the signing of agreements in the margins of the 49th Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. The agreement enables Vanuatu to have up to five medicines including commonly used antibiotics and medicines to treat non-communicable diseases tested each year, at no cost, in Australia\'s world-class testing facilities at the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
On Friday 8 June, the Australian Government announced that Joint Task Group Indo-Pacific Endeavour 18 would provide further assistance to support the Government of Vanuatu in response to the ongoing impact of volcanic activity on Ambae Island. Australia delivered emergency supplies to the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) warehouse in Luganville to support those affected. The Australian Defence Force vessel HMAS Success delivered community tents, solar street lighting, solar lanterns for personal use, bed nets, jerry cans and water tanks. These supplies will help meet the immediate needs of people displaced by the volcano and their host communities. The Vanuatu Government, through the NDMO, will manage the distribution of supplies. Australia will continue to assist the distribution with funding and technical assistance...
2018 is a special year for Australia in Vanuatu. Forty years ago, on 28 January 1978, Australia first established an office in the (then) New Hebrides. The Australian High Commissioner, Jenny Da Rin, hosted an official reception at the Australian High Commission’s Chancery on Thursday 25 January to celebrate Australia Day 2018 and the enduring bonds between our two countries over the last 40 years. With Vanuatu’s Acting President, Hon Esmon Simon, as the guest of honour, and the Prime Minister, Hon Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, the reception brought together Australians in Vanuatu, members of the Vanuatu Government, business, civil society and the diplomatic corps to reflect on Australia’s success as a diverse, peaceful and vibrant country...
Notarial services and passport fees increased from January 2018 in line with the Consumer Price Index published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The Australian Government has released a Foreign Policy White Paper to forge a path forward for Australia’s overseas engagement in the next decade...