Delivering high quality, climate resilient, job creating infrastructure in Tonga

  • Media Release

The Australian Government will provide AUD $31.25 million to support critical upgrades to Nuku’alofa Port in the Kingdom of Tonga. 

The AUD $138.3 million project will be financed by the Asian Development Bank and co-funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga and Australia, with construction already underway.

Nuku’alofa Port is vital to Tonga’s economic recovery and growth, with around 98% of Tonga’s imports arriving by sea. This project will rehabilitate, restore and upgrade the port, designed to ensure it will be resilient to the ongoing impacts of climate change.

Australia's grant is helping the project to deliver on Tonga’s priorities, including high quality, climate resilient construction and creating local jobs.

The project will provide more than 80 local jobs, as well as training for locals, which will boost the Tongan economy. Around three quarters of workers currently on-site are Tongan. Tongan women engineers are working in key roles local and two local female university graduates have been trained to run the site laboratory.

The project is being built by New Zealand company McConnell Dowell and is due to be completed by mid-2025.

Australia is committed to working in partnership with Tonga to support its ongoing economic recovery after the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami in January 2022.

Australia’s support is being delivered through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) which is working closely with partners in our region to deliver high quality, resilient infrastructure in the Pacific, which creates local jobs and supports long term economic growth.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy:

“I toured this port on my visit to Tonga, and learnt about its importance for Tonga’s economic recovery, and the urgent need for an upgrade to cope with the ever-increasing impacts of climate change.”

“This is an example of the Australian Government’s new development policy in action—supporting high quality, climate resilient infrastructure, that creates local jobs and leads to real economic growth.”

“We are proud to work in close partnership with the Kingdom of Tonga and the Asian Development Bank to deliver this important project which will deliver benefits and change lives in Tonga long into the future.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon Sevenitini Toumo’ua:

“Australia is an important partner and friend for Tonga, and criticial infrastructure is a key part of our broad and growing partnership.”

“We are delighted to be working with Australia and the Asian Development Bank to upgrade Nuku’alofa Port, a vital piece of infrastructure, in support of Tonga’s economic recovery and development”.

Quotes attributable to the Director-General of the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Department, Leah Gutierrez:

“The climate resilient upgrades to the Nuku’alofa Port will not only benefit the people of Tonga but the wider Pacific region, enhancing regional integration through better access to shipping and resources.”

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7840
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