Today marks the start of a new era in the relationship between Australia and Fiji, and a significant step toward the fulfilment of the Australian Government’s election commitment to normalise relations with this important Pacific neighbour.
As I depart for a two-day visit to Fiji, the first by any Foreign Minister since the elections in September, I announce the Australian Government has lifted all remaining sanctions against Fiji.
My visit demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to taking our relationship with Fiji into a new era of partnership and prosperity.
I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Bainimarama and other members of Fiji’s Cabinet and Parliament, and to reaffirming Australia’s undertaking to building a more dynamic, mutually beneficial relationship with Fiji.
Australia is Fiji’s largest trading and commercial partner in the region and is the biggest investor in Fiji. Two-way trade is worth over AUD1.8 billion annually. Up to 50,000 Fijians live and work in Australia and approximately 300,000 Australians visit Fiji each year, over half the number of Fiji’s total tourist numbers.
Consistent with Australia’s focus on creating jobs and boosting incomes in our region, I have invited Fiji to join Australia’s Seasonal Workers Program. I have also announced a new Institutional Partnership, worth $16 million over four years, to support economic governance and public sector linkages and reform in Fiji.
We have committed $8.8 million over four years to expand the Market Development Facility, an innovative private sector development initiative to support Fiji’s tourism and horticulture sectors.
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