Today we are pleased to have met in Suva to reaffirm our mutual commitment to taking the bilateral relationship forward to a new era of partnership and prosperity.

This is the first visit to Fiji by a Foreign Minister since the election and the first bilateral visit by an Australian Foreign Minister since 2008. It demonstrates our commitment to normalise our bilateral relations. We are laying the foundations for strong linkages in diverse spheres: government-government and parliamentary, defence and security, economic and trade, and people-to-people links.

We are pleased to announce the exchange of High Commissioners. Reflecting our return to a normal bilateral relationship, Fiji will conclude its selection of a High Commissioner to Australia shortly, while Ms Margaret Twomey will soon take up the position of Australian High Commissioner to Fiji.

We are also pleased to announce the establishment of regular bilateral senior officials’talks. These will be an opportunity for Fiji and Australia to work together to address global security challenges, regional issues and strengthen the bilateral trade and investment relationship.

We look forward to Fiji and Australia resuming a full defence and regional security relationship.

We also agreed to discuss regional architecture to ensure it remains relevant to political, economic and social needs.

Beyond our strong pledge to continue to work more closely at the Government to Government level, we reaffirmed our commitment to the continued strengthening of people-to-people links. Australia also invited Fiji to join the Seasonal Worker Program and a Memorandum of Understanding will put the necessary arrangements in place for this Program to begin. Fiji’s inclusion in the Work and Holiday Visa program is progressing.

We welcome Fiji’s participation in the New Colombo Plan, which will see Australian undergraduates studying in Fiji. Australia has announced the first group of successful students. This will be a transformational experience for young people– and help deepen the already strong people-people relationship between Australia and Fiji.

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