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PM Bainimarama hits out at Australian MP

May 9, 2019 6:50 am
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the Australian Emission Reduction Summit in Melbourne.

The Prime Minister has made an appeal to Australian leaders to visit the communities facing the impact of climate change in Fiji.

Voreqe Bainimarama made the comment at the Australian Emission Reduction Summit in Melbourne.

During his opening speech, Bainimarama slammed Liberal MP John Alexander for suggesting Australia should prioritise helping Pacific Islanders move to higher ground to avoid sea-level rise over reducing its use of coal.

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The Prime Minister hit out at the Australian leader for proposing solutions that are blatantly out of touch with the reality on the ground.

But I do feel entitled to give a return serve to a former tennis great turned politician who mentioned me by name at an election meeting the other day. It was in the context of my calls for Australia to stop burning coal, halt the development of new coal mines and do more to embrace clean energy sources. None of that is new, but I guess it has particular resonance at the present time.

Bainimarama says three Fijian communities have moved to safer territory, while a further 40 are awaiting for relocation.

“Relocation is enormously complex. New resources and space must be allocated. New forms of livelihood must be identified and cultivated. That is why Fiji has developed the world’s first relocation guidelines and is in the process of establishing a Relocation Trust Fund dedicated to this purpose.”

He also criticised a suggestion by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that Australia should offer citizenship to Pacific Islanders in exchange for control of their fisheries.

The Prime Minister stressed that while Fiji no longer presides over the climate negotiations, she will not take one step back where this climate crisis is concerned.

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