Australia and Fiji have renewed commitment to build stronger Vuvale Partnership which signifies the strong bonds of friendship and collaboration between the two nations.
In line with this commitment, the Australian Government has announced an additional $10 million assistance for the rebuilding of schools in Fiji’s northern division that were devastated by tropical cyclones in 2020 and 2021. This announcement was made yesterday, following a meeting between the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Honourable Penny Wong. Minister Wong is visiting Fiji this week to attend the Special Pacific Forum Leaders’ Meeting, held in Nadi from Thursday 23 to Friday 24, 2023.
A bilateral meeting between Fiji and Australia coincided with the launch of the 2023 Women’s Rugby Campaign, which symbolizes Fiji and Australia’s commitment to women empowerment.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Prime Minister Rabuka said the Government of Fiji is committed to seeing the Vuvale partnership grow as an enabler for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “In commemorating the journey, let us continue to reflect on the lessons and achievements we have experienced together as Vuvale. Let us also make the time to renew our commitment to our Pacific Vuvale.
“Let us recognize that our unique cultures and traditions are what binds us, and today we come together to mark and celebrate together that which unites us and makes us strong,” Prime Minister Rabuka said. He extended his sincere appreciation to Minister Wong for her visit to Fiji, which symbolises the warm relations and collaboration between the two nations.
He emphasised on the importance of supporting women’s empowerment in sports and every aspects of our national development.
The Prime Minister thanked women in sports for their great dedication in representing our country at regional and global sports events.
In her remarks, Minister Wong congratulated Prime Minister Rabuka for the recent elections and also commended his strong leadership in reuniting the Pacific family.
She also reaffirmed the Australian Government’s support for the People’s Coalition Government, led by Prime Minister Rabuka.
“We have an enduring relationship, we have a longstanding relationship that covers many aspects from sports to education to climate to defence and security and that as it should be.
“I thank you for your words of wisdom about the meaning of Vuvale-one home family and your expression of hope for renewal and strengthening the relationships,” Minister Wong said.
“I hope we can work to that objectives in the weeks and months ahead. We are committed to building on our shared priorities, one of those obviously is climate.
“I did want to take the opportunity to have the first announcement in relation to that strengthening and renewal which is an additional of $10 million from Australia to help rebuild schools in Fiji’s northern division that were devastated by the Tropical cyclones 2020 and 2021.
“This is additional funding on top of an existing program which will enable us to rebuild all 9 schools, which were destroyed or damaged. Most importantly not just only to rebuild them but rebuild them to a higher standards so they are category 5 cyclone proof and we will also work to ensure they are sustainable using renewable energy and local resources,” Minister Wong highlighted.
She said women empowerment and sports development is an important area of cooperation between Fiji and Australia. “Australia wants to support the full participation of women in society, because we believe the community benefits from that.
“It’s actually about stronger community- full participation of women and empowerment of women through sports is important,” Minister Wong emphasised.