Today I visit Rarotonga to advance Australia’s close relationship with and interest in the Cook Islands. I am delighted to be making the first visit to the Cook Islands by an Australian Foreign Minister and to be able to congratulate the Cook Islands Government and its people on this year’s 50th anniversary of self-government.
I will hold a series of talks with Prime Minister Puna and the Cook Islands’ Cabinet, and will also meet with the Queen’s Representative to the Cook Islands, HE Tom Marsters.
I will meet the Speaker of the House and representatives from the National Council of Women to discuss women’s economic empowerment and political participation in the Cook Islands.
During my visit I will launch the Cook Islands’ participation in the New Colombo Plan, which will bring 20 University of Melbourne students to the Cook Islands in October 2015. Students will work on a collaborative music composition project at the University of the South Pacific.
My visit is an opportunity to highlight the 2015 Australia Awards Fellowships program. This year, 12 fellows were selected from the Cook Islands (10 women and two men) to study in Australia in areas as diverse as coral reef management, nursing, midwifery, fisheries and basketball.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555