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

The Government of Tonga said it was pleased to welcome Australia’s Head of the Office of the Pacific, Ewen McDonald.

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.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku and McDonald celebrated Australia and Tonga’s enduring partnership and reaffirmed our cooperation in economic recovery, security, infrastructure, regional affairs and people-to-people links.

They discussed the critical role the aviation sector plays in Tonga’s economic recovery, and ensuring friends and family remain connected.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku and McDonald agreed to Australia’s support for Fiji Airways to fly domestic routes in Tonga until June to assure immediate and ongoing domestic connectivity, and long-term work with Lulutai Airlines to support Tonga’s aviation sector.

They also discussed their longstanding policing partnership between the Australian Federal Police and Tonga Police and Australia agreed to provide support for Tonga Police’s capabilities and infrastructure.

Australia also announced support for Tonga Police’s critical maritime capabilities. Australia and Tonga are committed to working together to ensure the Kingdom is well equipped to meet security challenges including transnational crime and drug trafficking.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku and McDonald discussed Australia and Tonga’s shared priorities for the region as the Pacific family faces an evolving security environment, including climate change.

McDonald congratulated Tonga on its upcoming chairmanship of the Pacific Islands Forum and new role as host of the Pacific Community’s first Polynesian Sub-Regional Office Australia has offered to support Tonga as it takes on these leading roles.

A joint statement said discussions emphasised the importance of supporting the Pacific’s economic recovery and climate resilience with high quality infrastructure, “Greening the Blue Pacific”.

Australia and Tonga agreed the new Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative offers a welcome opportunity to bring in greater resources to support Pacific priorities in line with the Pacific Islands Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

Australia recommitted to working with Tonga and New Zealand,

along with other partners, to bolster critical infrastructure including telecommunications redundancy.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku and McDonald agreed on the importance of people-to-people links between the two countries, including through the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme and

Australia Awards.

Australia and Tonga will continue working closely together in pursuit of our shared goal for a secure, prosperous and resilient Pacific.


Photo PM Press