It is my great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Honourable Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas to Australia.
Australia and Vanuatu share a long history of close cooperation and today Prime Minister Salwai and I reinforced our commitment to this deep and enduring economic and security partnership.
We agreed to commence negotiations on a Bilateral Security Treaty on common security interests, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime surveillance and border security, police and defence cooperation.
Australia will provide technical assistance to support Vanuatu to develop its first National Security Strategy. This strategy will support Vanuatu’s vision for a ‘stable, sustainable and prosperous Vanuatu’, in line with its National Sustainable Development Plan.
We agreed to enhance official police-to-police cooperation. Australia will provide assistance to recruit and train 200 new police officers by 2020, to refurbish the existing Police College in Port Vila and to support executive leadership capacity in the Vanuatu Police Force.
We are furthering our cyber security partnership with $400,000 in support to strengthen the capacity of Vanuatu’s Computer Emergency Response Team and develop Vanuatu’s cyber policy and legislation.
We also agreed to deepen our cooperation on labour mobility. This will increase employment opportunities for Vanuatu’s workers in Australia and help fill critical labour gaps in Australia’s rural and regional areas.
Lastly, we will continue our long-standing support for Vanuatu’s education sector with up to $19.5 million to promote better education outcomes for ni-Vanuatu boys and girls. The funding package will help improve school enrolment, literacy and numeracy rates, strengthen teacher training, provide scholarships and develop and roll out a new curriculum.
Vanuatu is one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific. I look forward to continuing our work together to foster stability and prosperity through the implementation of Australia’s stepped-up engagement in the region.