Australia and Fiji have an enduring relationship, underpinned by strong people-to-people links and longstanding trade and investment ties. Up to 50,000 Fijians live and work in Australia and over 300,000 Australians visit Fiji each year. Australia is one of Fiji’s largest trade and investment partners, with Australian investment in Fiji worth $1.7 billion in 2013. Two-way trade is worth over $1.8 billion annually.
Australia’s national interest is in a stable and prosperous Fiji that is an active member of the Pacific community.
From late 2013, the Australian Government announced a new policy of enhanced engagement with Fiji centered on increased cooperation and stronger political and economic relations. Since then, there has been growing momentum in the bilateral relationship and a steady stream of high level contact over the course of 2014 and 2015.
Foreign Minister Bishop visited Fiji from 31 October to 1 November 2014 and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Steven Ciobo, visited Fiji three times in 2015 (in April, November and December). A number of Fijian Ministers visited Australia in 2015, including Prime Minister Bainimarama who attended the Australia Fiji Business Council and Fiji Australia Business Council Joint Forum in Sydney in late October.
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji: Margaret Twomey
Tropical Cyclone Winston - Australia's humanitarian assistance to Fiji
To date, the Australian Government has provided FJD 53 million (AUD 35 million) of assistance to Fiji in response to Tropical Cyclone Winston. This includes an assistance package of AUD 20 million to provide ongoing reconstruction support to Fiji, aimed at returning life to normal, giving Fijians back their schools, medical clinics and livelihoods.
Australian support will be underpinned by the principle of 'building back better' which will rebuild infrastructure and communities that are more resilient to natural disasters. This support will focus on developing skills and maximising employment through the rebuilding of schools and health facilities destroyed by the cyclone, replacing damaged medical equipment and restoring water and sanitation services. Australian support will also repair damaged markets, including building accommodation facilities for women vendors, enabling farmers and market vendors to return to work.
This early recovery support builds on Australia's already committed humanitarian support of AUD 15 million. This support reached over 200,000 people affected by the cyclone, including by providing life-saving supples such as clean water and hygiene, and shelter, access to education and medical facilities and protection services for those most vulnerable. This assistance was complemented by extensive Australian Defence Force support.