Penny Wong will fly to Fiji on Thursday to demonstrate the importance of engaging with the Pacific for Australia.
In a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wong said she would use the trip to build on the 2019 bilateral Vuvale partnership and meet with Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama as well as other top officials.
Wong added that she wanted to demonstrate in the first week of her new role that Australia was prepared to take real action on climate change, and meet with key contacts ahead of a Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders meeting in June.
“Australia will listen to our Pacific partners as we work together to face our shared challenges and achieve our shared goals – including tackling climate change, pandemic recovery, economic development and regional security,” Wong said.
Our countries share a deep commitment to a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific.
We look forward to strengthening the Aus-Japan Special Strategic Partnership for the challenges & opportunities we face. pic.twitter.com/P83vBlMvxD
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) May 25, 2022
The foreign minster will be making her trip to Fiji, having attended a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with Anthony Albanese in Tokyo this week.
In addition to meeting with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna, Wong said she would deliver a speech about Australia’s new energy commitments at the Forum Secretariat.
The Australian government also planned to boost its foreign aid for development assistance and security cooperation with Fiji, as well as improve the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.
“I look forward to sharing our ideas on how we seek to bring together Australia’s defence, strategic, diplomatic and economic capabilities to support our region’s priorities,” Wong said.