Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Australian Senate delegation visits Vanuatu

Media Release, Monday 5 May 2014: An Australian Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee delegation visited Vanuatu from 30 April until 3 May to learn about the everyday challenges faced by ni-Vanuatu and Pacific islanders.  The visit was part of the Australian Parliament’s 2014 program of overseas visits. The delegation travelled to Santo on 1 May to meet staff and trainees of the Australian-Government-funded Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Sector Strengthening Program.  They had an opportunity to see and hear about the impact the program has on the lives of trainees, their families and their communities.
Senator Helen Kroger, Senator Anne McEwen, Senator David Fawcett and Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens with Mr Simon Flores, Australian High Commission Counsellor (Development Cooperation), Mr Zachariah Daniel, Secretary General of Sanma Province, Mr Malon William, President of Sanma Province, Mr Fremden Shadrack, TVET Deputy Team Leader, Mr Peter Sakita, Luganville Town Clerk, and staff of the Vanuatu Tourism Office and Sanma Information Centre.

The TVET program, which has trained over 6000 ni-Vanuatu since 2009, supports economic growth through targeted skills training and business development services.  TVET centres coordinate training to respond to skill needs of small business and industry, helping people increase their income and productivity.  

The delegation paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of Parliament and observed Parliament. The delegation met the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade.

In Port Vila on 2 May, the delegation met the Commissioner of Police and other members of the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) executive to discuss Australia’s assistance to the VPF.

Under the Vanuatu-Australia Police Project and the Defence Cooperation Program, the Australian Government is helping the Vanuatu Government strengthen policing services across Vanuatu and protect its borders and marine resources.

The delegation toured the facilities at Vila Central Hospital, including the maternal and neo-natal intensive care wards at the Vanuatu College of Nursing Education and viewed first-hand the new Australian-Government-funded oxygen plant.  Australia is working closely with Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health to strengthen management of the health system and improve service delivery.  

Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens and Senator David Fawcett discussing social issues with community leaders in Seaside Tongoa.

The visit ended with a tour of Seaside Paama and Seaside Tongoa where the senators had an opportunity to discuss social issues with community leaders.

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Media Contact:
Yohann Lemonnier
Public Affairs Unit Manager
Australian High Commission
Email: yohann.lemonnier@dfat.gov.au 
Tel: 22777 (extension 129)
Mob: 5550016