The Memorandums of Understanding that we’re signing today, signify the very close and productive relationships we share and which we develop, including through the PIF.
They will help prepare us to address our shared and contemporary challenges. These MOUs demonstrate my personal commitment and that of my Government, to step up our engagement with the Pacific.
They support our ambition, which I know my fellow leaders here today share, for regional stability and prosperity.
The expanded security partnership MOU’s emphasise the importance of working together to combat current security challenges, and we’re entering into those today with Nauru and Tuvalu.
The challenges are complex and difficult. They must be addressed in partnership. They’re called security partnerships because we recognise that efforts to address the current security challenges we all face must be a common and shared endeavor.
Likewise to ensure our mutual economic growth and prosperity, we need to integrate our economies more closely.
So the Pacific Labour Scheme MOU’s we’ll sign today will enhance the existing Labour Mobility Programs for citizens from Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu.
Ensuring priority access for our friends in the region who can most benefit from integration with the Australian labour market and economy.
The Pacific Labour Scheme will provide more opportunities for work experience and skills development through regional and rural Australia, and at the same time it will enable us in Australia to effectively address existing labour shortages in our towns and farms. It’ll boost our regional activity and bring our economic benefits to our regional economy – so again this is a partnership.
Finally, the MOUs on the Pacific Pharmaceutical Laboratory Testing Program, this is a pilot, it will link PIF countries into our testing regime for medicines. Offering the services of the Therapeutic Goods Administration to lower the cost of drugs and make them safer and more effective and classes of drugs will be able to be presented by Pacific Island countries to our TGA for testing, so that they know that what they’re buying, what they’re procuring, is what they need and what is being represented.
Our friends in the Pacific face very serious health challenges and rely on imported medicines and these MOUs are a very practical illustration of how we can integrate our systems to address the challenges in the region.
So we’re determined to work very closely with our partners in the Pacific Island Forum to ensure that we continue to step up our engagement in very practical and collaborative ways.
We’ve had some very good discussions since we got together this morning and I want to thank my fellow leaders for being here and joining us in these partnerships.