Australia

Canberra helping Solomons host PacGames athletes

The Solomon Islands 2023 Steering Committee has met for the second time to discuss preparations for the Games since Australia signed a formal agreement to provide funding last December.

Inside the Games reports the main portion of Australia's $US11 million commitment is to assist with the refurbishment of school dormitories which will serve as athletes' accommodation.

Solomon Islands 2023 has also received financial support from China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Japan and South Korea to aid preparations for the Games, which are set to begin in November.

 

Australia shark attack victim identified as schoolgirl Stella Berry

The schoolgirl was pronounced dead after being pulled from the Swan River in Perth on Saturday.

Stella was riding jet skis with friends when she jumped into the water to swim with dolphins and was attacked, police say.

In a statement, her parents said they were "devastated and deeply shocked".

Matt and Sophie Berry said their daughter was a "vibrant and happy girl" who loved the water and art.

"She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many... a beautiful and loving big sister and the best daughter we could have hoped for."

Key partnership areas discussed during visit of Australia’s Head of the Office of the Pacific to Tonga

During his visit, McDonald had the honour to meet with key partners including Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, Hu’akavameiliku, Prime Minister of Tonga, Samiu Vaipulu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Tourism, Tiofilusi Tiueti, Minister for Finance, and Lord Speaker, Lord Fakafanua.

Australia supports Tonga’s domestic connectivity with Lulutai

Australia will provide financial assurances for Lulutai to partner with Fiji Airways to operate up to seven flights a week between Vava’u and Tongatapu during the month of February.

The Australian Government plans to continue these arrangements for this critical connectivity until

at least 30 June 2023, while Lulutai’s fleet undergoes maintenance.

Last week Australia and Tonga worked quickly on a similar arrangement which enabled the restoration of flights between Tongatapu and Vava’u on 30 January.

Australia partners with Digicel to boost agricultural productivity in Fiji

Traditionally, farmers have relied heavily on inherited farming knowledge and practices to establish and manage their farms. A major challenge for the industry remains timely access to the latest farming advice.

This innovative project hopes to connect farmers to the latest information and advisory services to help boost their productivity. The project will first undertake market research to determine the information needs of farmers across several regions in the country.

Diamonds edge Silver Ferns in final

The Silver Ferns were unable to reverse the result of round-robin play when they lost to the same opponents by two goals, Australia going on to clinch a seventh title since the inception of the Quad Series in 2016.

RNZ reports the Silver Ferns couldn't have asked for a better start but struggled to maintain that impressive early form when ground down by a more consistent and accurate Diamonds.

Shark attack on dolphin in Sydney closes popular beaches

At least two bull sharks were spotted in the Shelly Beach area, in northern Sydney, after the attack and authorities closed all nearby beaches as a precaution.

BBC reports the injured dolphin circled the shallow waters but eventually beached and died.

Manly Open Surf, a carnival taking place at the beach over the weekend, has been suspended.

Lifeguards cleared people from the water after the attack, which happened at around 07:00 local time on Saturday (20:00 GMT on Friday).

Hundreds of people had been about to compete in the festival.

Australia flood crisis: 'Once in a century'

An emergency services minister said it was "the worst flooding Western Australia has had in its history".

The crisis in the Kimberley region started last week after the severe weather system Ellie, a former tropical cyclone, brought heavy rain.

     

Pacific Kava expert to work closely with Australia’s stakeholders to improve its market niche

As the export market grows, kava consultant Tanuvasa Semy Siakimotu has been helping kava growers around the Pacific to meet Australia’s demands, ABC Pacific reports.

He says part of the work is getting Australians to learn about the cultural complexities of kava, while catering to their tastes.

"For us to grow this market we have to find a way to introduce kava to those consumers,"

"We really want to stay away from this terminology of 'muddy water' ... I'm sure no one likes to drink muddy water."

     

Australian PM issues warning after citizen dies fighting in Ukraine

The call comes after Victorian man, Sage O'Donnell, was killed fighting for Ukraine.

Albanese advised against taking up arms: "The way that Australians can give support is to give money, to give support to charities and others who are acting in Ukraine - not to go and participate in fighting there."

Albanese said his government could not confirm how many Australians had travelled to, or were fighting in, Ukraine, as families and authorities were not always notified.