Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has welcomed Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to Australia from 16 – 21 October for an official guest of Government visit.
Australia and Fiji have a close and longstanding relationship that is underpinned by mutual respect and trust.
The Prime Ministers will renew and elevate the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership, which has set out the shared principles and priorities of our relationship since 2019 – and work together to strengthen peace, prosperity and resilience in the Pacific.
Australia and Fiji acknowledge that climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of our region. Both countries are committed to taking ambitious climate action and boosting disaster resilience.
This will be the first official visit to Australia by a Prime Minister of Fiji since 2019.
The Prime Ministers last met in Nadi on 15 March where they held bilateral talks at the Blackrock Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief Camp.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: “I am delighted to welcome Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to Australia.
“Australia and Fiji are natural partners and we deeply value our close and longstanding relationship.
“I look forward to strengthening our partnership with Fiji on economic recovery, promoting people-to-people links, security and cyber cooperation,” he said
Meanwhile, the Australian Government will continue its support to enable Fiji to participate in Super Rugby Pacific and Australia’s Super W Competition for the next four years.
The announcement is being made on the first day of a visit to Australia by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Sitiveni Rabuka, as a guest of the Government.
Australia and Fiji have a long-standing rugby history and the unique rugby bond that unites the two countries is stronger than ever.
Australia’s partnership will help the Fijian and Fijiana Drua teams to create on-island pathways to professional rugby for Fijian players.
The Fijiana Drua’s participation in Super W has had a significant social impact on women’s and girls’ sports in the Pacific. The Fijiana’s success as back-to-back Super W champions in 2022 and 2023 has inspired young girls across the region to get involved in rugby and encouraged women and girls to continue to be champions both on and off the field.
The investment is being delivered through PacificAus Sports, the Australian Government’s $15.6 million high performance sport program in the Pacific.
Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy said:”Australia and Fiji share a deep love of rugby. Rugby doesn’t just build mutual respect and pride. It brings our nations together through shared goals, sporting heroes and achievements.
“This funding commitment builds on our partnership with Rugby Australia through PacificAus Sports which helped with the establishment of the Fijian and Fijiana Drua and their entry into the Super Rugby Pacific and Super W competition.
“Australia’s support will focus on the Fijiana to enable the continued growth and success of women’s rugby in Fiji, inspiring a new generation of girls across the region to play professional rugby.”
Mark Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Fijian Drua said:”We are very grateful for the generous support of the Australian Government. Today’s signing is a real demonstration of Australia’s commitment to Fiji and rugby.
“This generous funding allows us to sustain Fiji’s only professional sports franchise, the Fijian Drua, enabling us to participate in Super Rugby Pacific and Super W competitions.
“Since the Fijian Drua’s inception, we have fast become a real pathway for young Fijian women and men to pursue a professional career in their favourite sport (rugby) in Fiji itself, whereas previously they would have had to move ashore for these opportunities.
“The Drua are indebted to the Australian Government for helping make dreams come through for our players.”
Phil Waugh, Chief Executive Officer, Rugby Australia said: “Rugby is the sport of choice for the people of Fiji, and the Fijian teams have lit up our Super W competition and Super Rugby Pacific, creating new rivalries with Australian teams and captivating new and old rugby fans with their exciting approach to the game.
“Rugby Australia looks forward to working with the Australian Government and our rugby partners across the Pacific over the next four years to continue bringing our region and people closer together through rugby,” he said.
SOURCE: AUST GOVT/PACNEWS