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Fiji and Australia Set new ‘Vuvale’ Partnership

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison yesterday renewed ties and dubbed a new Fiji-Australia “Vuvale” partnership. The partnership aims to consolidate the two countries’ relations to
18 Jan 2019 10:05
Fiji and Australia Set new ‘Vuvale’ Partnership
Photo: Fiji Police Media Unit

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison yesterday renewed ties and dubbed a new Fiji-Australia “Vuvale” partnership.

The partnership aims to consolidate the two countries’ relations to leverage new opportunities and address common challenges.

In the indigenous iTaukei language “Vuvale” means family.

“I cannot think of a more appropriate name as we reset our relationship with the nation that has more than 70,000 Fijians now call home,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“I am confident to say that today’s bilateral meeting was not only a clear success, it truly marks the new chapter in the Fijian-Australian relationship.

“The Fijian economy is in the midst of a record growth, our people are welcoming unprecedented opportunity and our voice has been amplified around the world.”

He said it was refreshing to see that with Mr Morrison, Fijian achievements was finally been given the attention it deserved leaving all the past behind.

“As our diplomatic relationship deepens from this meeting it is my hope that our economies, our people and our partnership will rise to new heights,” Mr Bainimarama said.

With the establishment of a relationship based on trust and mutual respect, Mr Bainimarama said that they would no longer see diplomacy through headlines and phone calls and he looked forward to building progress with a more open candid and direct line of communication with Canberra.

“It is important to recognise that our partnerships today broadening far beyond security with Australia, offering technical assistance and capacity building to reshape and modernise Fijian institutions,” he said.

“Nowhere will this be more evident than in the Fijian classroom as we continue to build upon our ongoing education revolution that is transforming the way Fijians teach and learn using lessons from the Aussies along the way to make a more efficient and effective education sector.”

Welcome to Fiji, PM Morrison … Visiting Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison is accompanied by Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday. There has been a push for the Pacific to be a priority in Australia’s foreign policy White Paper and more of Australia’s overseas development assistance to be redirected to the Pacific. Photo : DEPTFO NEWS

Welcome to Fiji, PM Morrison … Visiting Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison is accompanied by Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday. There has been a push for the Pacific to be a priority in Australia’s foreign policy White Paper and more of Australia’s overseas development assistance to be redirected to the Pacific. Photo : DEPTFO NEWS

He added that they were committed to further deepening trade and investment between Australia and Fiji.

Mr Bainimarama also thanked Mr Morrison for his announcement on easing restrictions of Kava imports, “a move that will undoubtedly enrich the lives of Fijian yaqona farmers for generations to come”.

Also easing visa applications to enacting the Pacific labour scheme for the benefit of Fijian workers in Australia.

Mr Morrison said the Vuvale partnership was a centrepiece partnership in the Pacific which spoke volumes about the type of relationship Australian was now looking to establish across the region.

“We share a very strong commitment to understanding that unless our countries have strong economies, then we cannot achieve what we want to achieve for our people,” he said.

“A strong economy is what delivers our health services, our education services, our schools our nurses our doctors, disability support all of these things and I want to commend the Prime Minster for the work that he has done here in Fiji to strengthen the economy.”

Mr Morrison highlighted that there were also discussions on the new trade and economic scoping study that would assist both parties through the PacerPlus programme and to deal with any double tax treaty arrangement.

He added that Australia has major demands particularly in the agricultural sector, hospitality sector, age care and disability sector, which could provide the opportunity for Fijians to work in Australian and learn skills.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (second from right) during the dinner reception at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on January 17, 2019.  Photo: DEPTFO News

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (second from right) during the dinner reception at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on January 17, 2019. Photo: DEPTFO News

Other initiatives:

  • Fiji will receive two replacement Guardian- class patrol boats under the Pacific Maritime security programme;
  • Beginning work on Fiji’s entry into the Australian Pacific Labour Scheme;
  • Welcome Fiji into the Pacific Medicines Testing programme, Fiji will join other Pacific Island countries participating in the programme;
  • The Australia-University of the South Pacific partnership will be worth more than $84 million over the next six years and that is Australia’s investment ensuring the tertiary education system that has been provide here will be up to future needs;
  • Australian Government in partnership with free TV in Australia, “we commit some $17.1m to provide a 1000 hours of new Australian television content each year for three years to Pacific broadcasters across the region”.

 

In Sports:

Mr Morrison said the Australian government would provide support for travel cost associated with Fiji entering a team to compete in the NSW rugby league Intrust Super premiership in 2020.

And in celebrating women in sports, their Government work with netball Australia would help assist the Fijian national team prepare for the Netball World Cup in the UK in July 2019.

 

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedbackselita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

 

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