Speech: Launch of Pacific-Aus-Sports Hub

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Samoa Prime Minister remarks at the launch of the Pacific-Aus Sports Hub that will be hosted by Samoa, on behalf of the Pacific region.

Honourable Senator Marise Payne

Excellency Sara Moriarty High Commissioner of Australia to Samoa

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am pleased to join you all from Apia for the launch of the Pacific-Aus Sports Hub which Samoa is honored to host on behalf of our Blue Pacific region.

Like all other counties of the world, sports defined by our cultures and traditions, has been a central part of our lives since time immemorial. Our histories and colonial pasts saw the gradual introduction of sports that were adapted to our natural environment and the resources they offered.

Sport has become a springboard for social transformation, as a gateway to rounded development, and as a facilitator for inclusive and responsible citizenship. And as UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova puts it, “Sport is a field of dreams and a force for fabulous positive change – we must do everything to harness this power”.

Not only is sport a bridge between individuals and nations, it can also be an active took for overcoming stereotypes, rising above exclusion, and fostering citizenship.

Numerous examples of these perceptions can be found in our small island developing states.

We value the importance of sport in Samoa; it aids to improve the health status of participants, increases skills development of our youth, reduces social problems and enhances community cohesion.

It provides the opportunities for Samoans to succeed beyond our shores – it boosts national pride when we demonstrate consistent competitiveness against teams from vastly populous and well-resourced countries.

It is also a rewarding challenge to demonstrate regional leadership as we did to launch the Pacific Games in 2019 as short notice.

For our young people it is a proven viable and successful pathway towards a better future for those that may not be able to pursue such academically.

In concluding, our hopes are for the Hub to support strengthening talent development and high performance systems in Samoa and our region and future success in sport.

There is no better way to celebrate the bilateral cooperation we have and the Step Up direction of Australia in the region than through this launch today.

We wish the Pacific-Aus Sports Hub every success in its operations and that Samoa as host country is committed to support it in every way possible.

Soifua.