I will visit the Cook Islands from 23 to 25 October 2017.
Australia and the Cook Islands enjoy a close relationship, including our work together in the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Community. My visit will reinforce the strong connection between our two countries and the importance that Australia places on boosting ties with our neighbours in the region.
During the visit, I will meet Prime Minister Henry Puna to discuss our common interests in the region, including economic resilience, regional security and climate change.
Australia is committed to working in partnership with the Cook Islands as it approaches possible graduation to developed nation status in 2018.
The PACER Plus regional trade agreement, which Australia and the Cook Islands have both signed, will play an important role in boosting economic development in the Pacific. I will discuss with Finance Minister Mark Brown and members of the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce business opportunities created by PACER Plus and our strong people-to-people links.
Australia and Cook Islands share a common goal to advance women’s economic empowerment and eliminate domestic violence in our region. I look forward to meeting women across government and the private sector and learn about the experience of the Cook Islands in implementing its National Gender Equality Policy, which Australia has supported.
My visit will also focus on the growing people-to-people links between Australia and the Cook Islands, including through sporting and cultural ties.
The Pacific Maritime Security Program is central to Australia’s commitment towards strengthening regional security. The Cook Islands is a key partner for Australia in furthering this goal and I plan to visit the patrol boat Te Kukupa, operated by the Cook Islands Police.
I will also visit the Nikao cemetery, where a number of Cook Island ANZACs and Australian nationals lie at rest, to pay my respects to the long history of cooperation between our countries.
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