Thank you Steve for your positive remarks and the ADB’s invaluable contribution to the Port Vila Urban Development Project. Please pass my sincere thanks and warm regards to your President and we look forward to working closely with your office, now that we have a more active presence locally.

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Good afternoon all.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Port Vila. And particularly to Prime Minister Morrison, your good wife and your travelling party – Bienvenue for the first ever official visit by an Australian Prime Minister.

Firstly, on behalf of my Cabinet and the people of Vanuatu, I wish to congratulate you on your election last August as the 30th Prime Minister of Australia.

Secondly, I wish to sincerely thank you for accepting my invitation which I extended to you during the recent APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea to come to Vanuatu, straight from your Christmas and New Year’s break, as I understand it.  

Vanuatu and Australia have a relationship that spans almost 38 years. Over the course of that period much have been achieved. That is course for great celebration.

Your coming says a lot about how much value your Government places on our relationship. Vanuatu would not be what it is today without Australia positive contributions to economic growth. As such we are committed to ensuring that this relationship is strengthened and expanded further into the future. Once again, thank you for choosing to come here today.

Prime Minister Morrison, and distinguished delegates, today marks yet again another great achievement not only in what we will jointly launch after this formalities, but also the history of Port Vila town and Vanuatu since independence, as we witness and participate in the Official Opening of the completed Port Vila Urban Development Project (PVUDP) on this 16th Day of January 2019.

The total cost of Port Vila Urban Development Project is equivalent to USD $39.056 million of which Australian assistance covered approximately 67.85% (percent) as Grant Funding Assistance. 

I wish to convey my Government and the People of Vanuatu’s deepest appreciation and acknowledgement to the Government of Australia, its good peoples, and the Asian Development Bank for working with us in delivering on one of our key priority needs laid out in our National Sustainable Plan.

Although the project has experienced challenges during the course of implementation we have endured collaboratively and cooperatively. There are so many good stories to tell, which we do not have time for.

I salute you all for the support. 

I remind all pedestrians and road users to uphold the PVUDP Road safety slogan: “TINGTING ROD SEFTI”. That is vitally important. There is no use building roads that place more risks on people’s livelihood and wellbeing.

It would be remiss of me not to mention our NGO partners and private businesses, many of whom come from Australia for providing all necessary support. Many thanks for seeing the project through.

As a result PVUDP has added so much positive impact and value life in our small city. Once again thank you all 

Prime Minister Morrison and Mrs Morrison,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you for your attention and May God bless you all. 

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