I will visit Vanuatu and Fiji from 15 to 19 August 2016. These will be my first visits to Vanuatu and Fiji as Minister.
I will meet with senior government ministers to discuss ways to advance our strong bilateral relationship, including through economic cooperation, infrastructure development and links between our people.
In Vanuatu, I will see first-hand the impact of Australia’s response to Tropical Cyclone Pam. Australia has committed $35 million for long-term recovery activities focused on supporting livelihoods, repairing and rebuilding critical infrastructure, restoring health and education facilities and building resilience.
Gender equality is a high priority for Australia and our region. While in Vanuatu, I will meet with organisations working to address gender-based violence at the community level, and will visit a women’s rural handicraft centre to see how Australian aid funding is supporting women’s economic empowerment.
In Fiji, I will meet government ministers and reaffirm Australia’s strong and enduring friendship with Fiji, which is based on extensive people-to-people links and important trade and investment ties. I will also reaffirm Australia’s commitment to supporting Fiji’s longer-term recovery and reconstruction following Tropical Cyclone Winston.
HMAS Canberra, which was deployed to Fiji as part of Operation FIJI ASSIST 2016, will conduct a port visit to Suva from 17 to 20 August. I look forward to meeting both Australian Defence Force and Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel to discuss their experiences working together to support Fiji’s immediate response to the cyclone.
I will also travel to Ra, one of the worst-affected provinces of Fiji, where I will meet members of the local community and see how Australia’s assistance is supporting Fiji’s recovery and reconstruction work, and helping people get back on their feet.
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