Historic visit to the Pacific by the Prime Minister

Historic visit to the Pacific by the Prime Minister

International Policy International Engagement
Monday, 21 January 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison along with his wife Jenny greets locals during a visit to the National Archives and Library in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Wednesday, January 16, 2019. The prime minister will discuss Australian infrastructure investment, the Pacific labour hire scheme, and building cultural, economic and social ties between the two countries. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

From 16 to 18 January, the Prime Minister and his wife, accompanied by Senator Anne Ruston (the Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) made an historic visit to Vanuatu and Fiji, reaffirming Australia’s strong relationships with our Pacific neighbours.

The Prime Minister and Mrs Morrison were welcomed into Vanuatu with a Guard of Honour before meeting the President of Vanuatu and the First Lady.

The Prime Minister then met Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas. The two leaders reinforced the importance of our strong, enduring and multifaceted partnership and announced a number of initiatives that further deepen that relationship, including Australian support for the Port Vila Central Market House, a new police station, sport and Vanuatu’s national television and radio broadcaster. Read the full statement on the the Prime Minister’s website.

The Prime Minister found time to greet locals outside of the National Archives and Library building before he was joined by Prime Minister Salwai to open the Lini Highway upgrade. The upgrade has transformed Port Vila’s road and drainage network, improving the everyday lives of those living in the city.

In Fiji, the Prime Minister continued to enjoy traditional Pacific hospitality with a welcome ceremony hosted by Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and a meeting with the President of Fiji.

Following that, the two Prime Ministers met and announced an elevation of the bilateral relationship through the Fiji-Australia ‘Vuvale Partnership’ and a number of new bilateral initiatives.

The Prime Minister was honoured to pay his respects to Fijian servicemen who laid down their lives in the cause of peace by laying a wreath at the Suva War Memorial. He also participated in a ground-breaking ceremony at Blackrock Camp, and announced initiatives on border security, labour mobility, the Pacific Medicines Testing Program and sport. Read the full statement on the Prime Minister’s website.

And of course, our shared love of sport was a key theme in both countries. In Vanuatu, the Prime Minister announced that the Young Matildas would visit the Pacific in the second half of 2019. And in Suva, there was time to play some rugby with local children. The Prime Minister tended to a breakfast BBQ before kicking the ball around, saying “it’s a great way to bring communities together.” He announced that Australia would provide support for Fiji to compete in the New South Wales Rugby League Intrust Super Premiership in 2020 and pre-trial matches in the Pacific.