PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi acknowledges the various development assistance programs by Australia in his Australia Day address.
“We are gathered here once again to celebrate Australia Day and to reflect on ways by which we can continue to build on and strengthen our bilateral relations that are underpinned by development and security programs and strong people to people links. These connections have helped to enhance and deepen our understanding of each other and strengthen our relationship to our mutual benefit.
This year particularly significant in this regard. Soon the doors of our unique Parliament Building will be opened-we are indeed pleased with the representation of our culture in the finishing touches as well as the recognition of the impacts of the climate change through a climate proof structure. We will also be receiving bigger and more technologically advanced patrol boat as well as begin operations of one of the maritime air surveillance planes out of Samoa to cover our Pacific neighbourhood. These are measures to enhance the security of our ocean resources.
We are appreciative of the number of programs that promote people to people links through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition, the scholarships program, the volunteer schemes, the Pacific labour and seasonal works schemes to name some of them.
Australia has also shown commitment to assist economic development in Samoa through the Australia Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific. We continue to rely on technical assistance from counterpart ministries in the federal government to help us plan for appropriate disaster risk reduction initiatives particularly in anticipation of the cyclone season each year. In terms of our trade relations, Samoa is committed to the ratification of the PACER Plus agreement by June this year.
We certainly look forward to the delivery of Australia’s aid program to Samoa in the coming financial year, to support the pursuit of economic reforms which will improve the performance of state-owned enterprises; promote private sector growth; investing in climate resilient roads and bridges; improving the quality of teaching standards with a view to further improving numeracy and literacy outcomes; providing support to Samoa’s health care system and delivering flagship programs that benefit people with disabilities and promote gender equality, particularly women’s economic empowerment, such as the Women in Leadership Project, led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Let me now propose a toast – “to the Government and the people of Australia on the commemoration of Australia Day”