30 Apr 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific

4:13 pm on 30 April 2021

Canberra boost for Pacific women's initiatives; trade commission reopening in Suva, and Samoa sends more workers to Australia.

Australia to support Pacific gender equality initiatives

The Australian government has announced it is providing 132 million dollars to strengthen gender equality initiatives in the Pacific over the next five years.

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Marise Payne.

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Marise Payne. Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The commitment was revealed at the Triennial Conference of Pacific Women on Tuesday.

The University of South Pacific student newspaper Wansolwara reports the Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne saying Australia wants to strengthen women's leadership and to complement the work they're already engaged in.

She said that ensure women's economic security means ensure women's safety.

Ms Payne also said promoting health and wellbeing is not only of benefit to women and girls, it benefits their communities.

Meanwhile, Fiji's Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, said the conference and next week's Women's Ministerial Meeting are opportunities to be inspired, learn and recommit efforts towards achieving gender equality.

She said "this is about reaffirming leadership, commitment, along with concrete actions to prevent male violence against all women and girls before it starts."

Fiji minister delighted at reopening of NZ trade commission

New Zealand's decision to reopen its trade commission in Fiji has been welcomed by the Suva government.

Fiji's Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya said he's pleased New Zealand has realised this important milestone.

Mr Koya said the move also reaffirms New Zealand's commitment to Fiji and the Pacific.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted trade flows and disrupted supply chains in the region.

Mr Koya said maintaining trade connectivity is critical to enable Fiji to respond effectively and efficiently to the pandemic and to ensure a sustainable economic recovery.

More Samoan workers heading to Australia

Samoa will send another 189 workers to Australia on May the 25th as part of the seasonal workers scheme.

TV1 Samoa reports the group will join the more than 300 workers already in Australia working in the meat industry.

Assistant chief executive of the Ministry of Commerce and Labour, Lemalu Nele, said the office is not taking new applicants for seasonal work saying they are only taking applicants from 2018.

The Australian scheme gives work to Samoans on nine-month stints and are contracted to return for up to three years.

Lemalu said more than 700 workers are already employed in New Zealand since they resumed sending workers at the beginning of the year.