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Australian Parliamentary Secretary visits Tonga

Press Release – Government of Tonga

Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Hon. Richard Marles MP, met the Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano on Friday 11th March, at his office in Nuku’alofa.Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs completes visit to Tonga

Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Hon. Richard Marles MP, met the Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano on Friday 11th March, at his office in Nuku’alofa.

It was the first major visit from Australia since the formation of the new government.

“The election held in November last year was an historic occasion. Australia is proud to have supported the democratic reform process that made it possible,” said Mr Marles.

“Australia looks forward to working with the new Government to support Tonga’s priorities for development as agreed in our Partnership for Development and to assist the Government to chart a path to economic sustainability.”

Talks with the Prime Minister discussed key areas for development assistance, with specific attention to the Pacific Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme, and expansions in the education sector.

Mr Marles also met with Cabinet ministers and members of the Tongan Parliament.

“We regard out relationship with Tonga as very important and hope we can be the very best friends we can be in this new chapter,” he said.

The delegation paid visits to key project sites assisted by the Australian Government, including the Nuku’alofa Government Primary School and the Police Training School.

Several officers were presented with identification badges, funded as part of Australian assistance to the Tonga Police Development Programme, aimed at modernising the police force.

Mr Marles’ visit to Tonga is part of a three-nation tour around the Pacific, along with stops in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands.

ENDS

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