Foreign Minister of Australia, Penny Wong.
Newly elected Foreign Minister of Australia, Penny Wong, spent her fourth day in office in Fiji advancing the Pacific Vuvale Partnership.
Her visit to the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat tonight marks her first bilateral engagement with the region and demonstrates the new Australian government’s commitment to regional prosperity.
Wong made many political commitments for her government to listen to and hear ideas on how to counter shared challenges.
She promises that her government stands ready to work with Pacific Island countries to build a stronger region.
The list of political commitments included a goal to boost renewable energy in Australia by 2030, but there was no mention of any plan to phase out fossil fuels.
“We re-affirm that climate change remains a single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of peoples of the Pacific. You’ve been saying this for a long time. You’ve been crystal clear and consistent. You’ve led the global debate. “
Wong adds that the election of her party signifies a shift in Australian politics.
She reassures that Australia will remain a critical development partner for the Pacific family with no strings attached. Her government is committed to avoiding an unsustainable financial burden.
“And I understand that in the past government, Australia has neglected its responsibility to act on climate, ignoring the call of our Pacific family to act, disrespecting the Pacific nation and their struggles to adapt to what is an existential threat. Climate change is happening across the Pacific family so I assure you – We have heard”
Wong says that the Pacific is facing a triple threat. She claims these threats include climate change, COVID, and strategy context.
There was no mention of any direct plan on how her office proposes to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific region.