Thank you very, very much, and it’s wonderful to be here.
How could it not be amazing when you have this just stunning view.
We spent the morning trekking across - we went to North Tarawa, so we’ve, Minister, seen quite a bit of your beautiful country, and there is a lot to see.
Can I start by acknowledging you, Minister, and thanking you, Minister Redfern for your kind remarks; can I also acknowledge my Senatorial colleague, Claire Moore - Claire is the Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and this is a bipartisan visit to show our joint support for Kiribati and the development of Kiribati; our High Commissioner Bruce Cowled; to you, Sarah, and to all your team here at KIT.
It's very, very good to be here and thank you for your very, very warm welcome.
We’re very, very pleased to hear about the successes of the workers that have gone to Australia under the Northern Australia Worker Pilot Program.
We know that by all accounts, the employers are happy, the workers are happy, and the overall performances of the workers are excellent.
They are very well regarded, Minister, they are steady and reliable workers with an easy-going approach that has enabled them to fit in very, very well into the various teams where they are working. And the workers are feeling very well supported, and they’re learning a lot of new skills.
And can I say to you all, when you do take up these jobs, you are doing so as ambassadors for Kiribati.
And so, in so doing the work that you do, the standard of the work that you do, and the impressions that you make on prospective employers will also pave the way for other students to go to Australia and to take up opportunities.
We are very impressed by the high standard here at the Kiribati Institute of Technology, the new facilities and the equipment that you have here at the campus, and I’m looking forward to a tour.
It is, for Australia, a visible commitment. This technical institute is a visible commitment to excellence in training for the people of Kiribati.
We want to continue to invest in the Kiribati Institute of Technology - we want to increase the quality, we want to increase the relevance of the training, so that you can not only meet local standards, but you can meet regional and international labour market demand, and labour market standards.
And the investment that we expect and that we are bringing to KIT, we hope will deliver more capable, qualified and a much more mobile I-Kiribati workforce.
It is part of our broader investment in education and in the tertiary sector, through scholarships here in Kiribati.
For Australia, labour mobility is very important.
We are stepping up our engagement in the Pacific and a very important component of that is labour mobility.
Minister, we recognise the challenges that you and your Government face, and so, therefore, labour mobility and workers from Kiribati are very welcome in Australia. We know that they are good workers and we know that they feel... not just temporary workers as part of the Seasonal Worker Programme, but as part of the Pilot that we are now doing.
Yes, we are learning, and we’re learning valuable lessons, but we are partners in this, because we know that the lessons that we learn from our partnership with you will not just benefit Kiribati, but will also benefit other workers in the broader Pacific.
So thank you for your very, very warm welcome.
And thank you very, very much for you kind blessings of health, prosperity and peace.
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