12 March, 2019. The Australian Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston has announced a visit to Tonga and Samoa from 11 to 14 March 2019, “to further strengthen relationships with our Pacific neighbours and partners, and continue the Government’s commitment to stepping-up Australia’s engagement in the region”.
In a press release, the Aiatralian Assistamt Minister says, “In Tonga, I will see first-hand the progress achieved with Australian-funded recovery efforts in disaster-struck areas, one year on from Cyclone Gita;
“During my discussions with the Tongan Government I will highlight new Australian initiatives, including the Pacific Labour Scheme”.
The Pacific Labour Scheme aims provide more Tongan workers with access to income, generating opportunities whilst also helping to fill labour shortages in rural and regional Australia.
“I also look forward to holding discussions with the Samoan Government on the implementation of Australia’s Pacific Step-Up agenda”, added Hon Anne Ruston.
The Assistant Minister will visit Samoa’s new parliament house, constructed with Australian development support and the construction site of an Australian-funded infrastructure project, the Lotosamasoni Bridge.
Hon Anne Ruston says that that visit will provide an opportunity to consolidate important partnerships in the Pacific, as Australia works to support a stronger and more resilient region;
“When the Pacific is strong, so too is Australia.”