Fiji’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sitiveni Rabuka and the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) on Port infrastructure and Services and Cyber Security Cooperation.

The MOUs were signed by the two Governments through our Vuvale Partnership.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Port Infrastructure and Services will provide the framework for cooperation on future investments to support Fiji’s current and future maritime needs.

Bringing immediate effect to this MoU, Fiji Ports Corporation Limited and Australia also signed a grant agreement on the development of a Lautoka Port Masterplan. This will upgrade Lautoka port and enhance the international and domestic port operations, to meet ongoing and changing customer needs.

Australia will also support Fiji’s ambitions to revitalise its shipbuilding and ship repair sector through the MOU signed by Prime Minister Rabuka and Minister Conroy on Tuesday.

They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cyber Security.

This will strengthen our cyber security cooperation and support a more cyber-resilient region.

Fiji and Australia share a commitment to a rules-based cyberspace and strong cyber standards.

These rules and standards provide stability for our countries to protect our sovereignty whilst harnessing the economic benefits to be derived from the digital economy.

Our increased connectedness and the introduction of critical technology present opportunities and challenges that require us to work more closely together than ever.

Both countries have experienced a series of significant cyber incidents in recent times, which impact our governments, our economies, and our communities.

The areas of cooperation identified in the MOU include support for Fiji’s computer emergency response team capability, support for combatting cyber incidents, workforce upskilling, and strengthening governance arrangements.

The MOU also affirms our joint commitment to promote international law and norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.

At the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Rabuka reaffirmed Fiji’s unwavering commitment to work closely with Australia to achieve tangible outcomes for the improvement of livelihoods for the people of Fiji.

Prime Minister Rabuka said that Australia’s commitment to assist in upgrading of Fiji’s ports is in line with the Ocean of Peace concept proposed as a vision for the Pacific region.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the tremendous support provided by the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), to help Fiji revitalise its shipbuilding industry and realise his vision for Fiji to become the hub of the Pacific as a major port of entry and transshipment, with the potential for increased job opportunities, specialised skillsets and ultimately stimulation of investment and economic activities.

Additionally, the Prime Minister said the impact of Australia’s assistance will advance shipping services for Fiji as a major port of entry and thereby enhance the overall regional shipping service, an initiative we all are proud to undertake with our Vuvale.

On the Cyber Security MOU, Prime Minister Rabuka acknowledged that the MOU establishes a critical framework of cooperation on existing cybersecurity and critical technologies.

The MOU will facilitate the identification and protection of critical infrastructure and information infrastructure. This MOU is a stepping stone to protecting Fiji’s information systems.

Minister Conroy remarked that under the Vuvale Partnership, Fiji and Australia were working together to deliver on their shared priorities.

He said he was delighted to join Prime Minister Rabuka in signing an MOU on Port Infrastructure and Services.

The MOU will enhance cooperation in the maritime sector and demonstrate Australia’s commitment to work together on port infrastructure and services, including in shipbuilding and ship repair. Australia understands that this is of great importance to Prime Minister Rabuka and the Government of Fiji.

Minister Conroy noted that Fiji and Australia’s cooperation under the MOU for Cyber Security Cooperation will help Fiji harness opportunities associated with improved digital access and increase cyber resilience.

The MOU also affirms Fiji and Australia’s joint commitment to promote international law and norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

Minister Conroy remarked that these are tangible examples of what we can achieve – Australia is committed to supporting Fiji’s nation-building priorities under the Vuvale Partnership.