Stepping up relationships with Pacific leaders

Stepping up relationships with Pacific leaders

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Australia is committed to stepping up engagement with our Pacific family to deepen our longstanding ties and ensure the region’s stability, security and prosperity.

As part of this effort, over the last month Australia hosted two Guests of Government.

On 7 to 12 November, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, the Hon Manasseh Sogavare MP, visited Australia as a Guest of Government.

Prime Minister Sogavare visited Perth to attend the handover ceremony of Solomon Islands’ new Guardian-class Patrol Boat with the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP.

Australia is providing the Patrol Boat to Solomon Islands as part of our $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program, which strengthens the maritime security capabilities of Pacific island nations.

During the visit, Prime Minister Sogavare and Prime Minister Morrison explored opportunities to deepen our economy and security partnership, enhance infrastructure cooperation, and strengthen people-to-people links between Australia and Solomon Islands.

Australia was also honoured to host the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, the Hon Henry Puna, during his visit from 11 to 15 November.

Prime Minister Morrison met Prime Minister Puna to discuss ways to strengthen our bilateral relationship, with Prime Minister Morrison committing to opening an Australian High Commission in Rarotonga by the end of 2019.

The visit was an opportunity to strengthen the Australia-Cook Islands partnership and identify areas for expanded economic and security cooperation.

Prime Minister Puna met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC. He also toured the Maritime Border Command Operations Centre and gave a public lecture at the Australian National University.