Richard Marles: Can I start by saying what a pleasure it is to be here in Samoa as the Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs. This is a trip to demonstrate how much Samoa matters to Australia. We have a very close partnership with this country and of course with this region. We are very pleased with the way we are working with the Government of Samoa, particularly in relation to the way in which aid is put to work and this is a great example of it with the launch today of the Volunteer Emergency Response Team.
When you think about foreign relations, there are various trade negotiations that will occur around the world, there will be various conflicts, there will be powers that will emerge and others that will fade away, but your neighbourhood is your neighbourhood and that is why Samoa is so important to Australia. And we're very pleased to be here to emphasise that, with the new Government led by Julia Gillard, and our new Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.
Journalist: Is this part of your visit to Samoa to look at how Samoa has been able to use the funds from the Australian Government? If you did, are you satisfied?
Richard Marles: We couldn't be more satisfied with the way in which aid is put to work here in Samoa and can I take this opportunity to thank the Samoan Government in terms of the Partnership that they played with us in the point. This really is one of the great examples around the world, from Australia’s point of view, of the way Aid is put to work and where we see really good results from it. Of course we're here almost a year after the devastating Tsunami and there was much Aid that was committed to that and fantastic things have come since that time, out of what was a very tragic event. We really are seeing that Aid put to great work of course here with the Volunteer Response team; it’s a fantastic example of it.
Journalist: Do you think the John Campbell report might have a negative impact on Commonwealth countries.......donors, would you like to comment on that?
Richard Marles: Look we've got a.....we're very committed to this region, in terms of our bilateral relationship and in terms of the Aid that forms part of that relationship. Our focus is on maintaining the Partnership with this Government in terms of the deployment of that Aid. We're happy with the way that is occurring. In fact from our point of view, we see Samoa as one of the really shining examples, not just in this region but globally, in terms of the way Aid is deployed and that is what informs us in terms of the decisions we are making in and around how to put forward our Aid in the future.
Journalist: Thank you.
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