Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, will visit Vanuatu and Fiji from 15 to 19 August 2016. These will be her first visits to Vanuatu and Fiji as Minister.
In Vanuatu, she will see first-hand the impact of Australia’s response to Tropical Cyclone Pam. Australia has committed $35 million for long-term recovery activities focused on supporting livelihoods, repairing and rebuilding critical infrastructure, restoring health and education facilities and building resilience.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells will meet the Prime Minister and other senior government ministers to discuss ways to advance the strong bilateral relationship, including through economic cooperation, infrastructure development and links between Australian and Ni-Vanuatu people.
Gender equality is a high priority for Australia and our region. While in Vanuatu, Senator Fierravanti-Wells will travel to Malekula to meet organisations working to address gender-based violence at the community level, and will visit a women’s rural handicraft centre to see how Australian aid funding is supporting women’s economic empowerment.
In Fiji, she will meet government ministers and reaffirm Australia’s strong and enduring friendship with Fiji, which is based on extensive people-to-people links and important trade and investment ties. Senator Fierravanti-Wells will also reaffirm Australia’s commitment to supporting Fiji’s longer-term recovery and reconstruction following Tropical Cyclone Winston.
HMAS Canberra, which was deployed to Fiji as part of Operation FIJI ASSIST 2016, will conduct a port visit to Suva from 17 to 20 August. Senator Fierravanti-Wells looks forward to meeting both Australian Defence Force and Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel to discuss their experiences working together to support Fiji’s immediate response to the cyclone.