JULIE BISHOP I'm delighted to be here today with my delegation from Canberra; the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Fierravanti‐Wells, the Opposition Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Wong and the Opposition Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Moore. We are delighted to be here in Samoa, Australia has no closer friend in the Pacific than Samoa and this afternoon I signed a new Australia‐Samoa aid partnership agreement with your Prime Minister.
A few years ago, Senator Brett Mason, who was then the Minister for the Pacific, announced that Australia would provide $20 million in infrastructure funding with $13 million set aside for rebuilding bridges that had been damaged in recent cyclonic events and flooding and the like and I know that Leone Bridge is one of the bridges that was funded under that announcement back in 2014. So I do pay tribute to the Land Transport Authority, I know it took a little time to get the design right, but the work is underway and this will be an important connection for the people of Samoa.
The fact that you do experience extreme climate events and the annual flooding and cyclones and heavy rains means that from time to time the basic infrastructure here in Samoa is damaged and Australia is very keen to continue to support you because this is vital infrastructure that connects communities, that enables economic growth to continue and ensures that communities remain in touch with each other particularly during emergencies.
So that's why I'm pleased to announce today that Australia will provide new funding of $1.4 million to provide these Bailey bridges ‐ now that's a little pedestrian Bailey bridge ‐ but the ones that we will be providing are for vehicles and cars, and these Bailey bridges will be used in times of emergency. Apparently they're very easy to put up, they don't need any specialist tools and they can be put over affected flooded areas without delay so that people can immediately access much needed services.
So this kind of response will be vital. I'm very pleased to confirm that we'll be working with the Land Transport Authority to identify the locations for the five emergency Bailey bridges. I can tell you your Prime Minister has already suggested two locations where he thinks the bridges will be very useful now.
So this is another example of Australia and Samoa together with the World Bank working in partnership together for the betterment of the communities here in Samoa. So I'm pleased to make this announcement and look forward to visiting at a time when the Bailey bridges are in operation.
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