Today I was delighted to host my Fijian counterpart, the Hon Inia Seruiratu, Minister for National Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs, in Perth for the first official Australia-Fiji Defence Ministers’ meeting.
At the meeting we re-affirmed our mutual commitment to maritime security and to strengthening Defence cooperation in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping, engineering initiatives and land forces.
This dialogue, which will now be held annually, underscores the strength of our security cooperation, which is a fundamental pillar of the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership signed by Prime Ministers Morrison and Bainimarama in Canberra in September.
The Vuvale Partnership marks a new era of elevated cooperation based on trust, respect and understanding, and the inaugural Defence Ministers’ Meeting provides us with a forum to engage as partners and family.
Our maritime cooperation will be further enhanced by the delivery of Fiji’s Guardian-class Patrol Boat in March 2020, under the Morrison Government’s $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program, as well as major upgrades to the Stanley Brown Wharf in Suva to support this new vessel.
Australia is also supporting Fiji’s defence facilities through the redevelopment of Blackrock Camp in Nadi and the design of the Maritime Essential Services Centre in Suva.
I accompanied Minister Seruiratu to Austal Shipyard in Henderson to inspect Fiji’s new Guardian-class Patrol Boat, the RFNS Savenaca, which is under construction.
We also visited Campbell Barracks for an Australian Defence Force capability demonstration and multi-agency briefing.
Imagery will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20193327