Strengthening Australia’s relationships with Pacific Islands

Chair of the Committee’s Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-Committee Dave Sharma. Picture: AUST GOVT

CANBERRA, 20 FEBRUARY 2020 (AUST GOVT) – The Parliament’s Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade has launched a new inquiry into strengthening Australia’s relationships with Pacific region countries to meet current and emerging opportunities and challenges facing the region.

Chair of the JSCFADT, Senator David Fawcett noted that the Committee was considering Australia’s engagement in the Pacific through the lens of Defence, Trade and Human Rights, in addition to this inquiry.

Chair of the Committee’s Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-Committee, Dave Sharma, said the inquiry will seek to inform and shape the next chapter of Australia’s strengthened engagement with its Pacific neighbours.

“Australia’s relations with our Pacific neighbours are of fundamental importance and vital interest to Australia,” Sharma said.

“This inquiry will provide the Committee with an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of initiatives undertaken to support the ‘Step-Up’, and explore mechanisms to support increased engagement with our neighbours, including through greater involvement of non-government and community organisations.”

The Committee will be seeking ideas on how Australia can build on the momentum of the Pacific Step-Up to increase engagement and linkages with Pacific Island neighbours, in support of our collective interests.

The Committee welcomes submissions from any person or organisation with an interest in these issues. It especially seeks views from within Pacific island countries, those who have participated in labour mobility schemes, and those who have made Australia their permanent home, yet maintain current connections with their islands of origin. The views of those from non-Pacific island countries with development partnerships and interests in the region are also welcomed.

Submissions addressing all or some of the terms of reference should be lodged by Friday, 03 April 2020; overseas submissions due by 17 Friday, April 2020.

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