Fiji, Australia sign port infrastructure, cybersecurity deals

May 2, 2024 | Blog, News

Fiji’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sitiveni Rabuka, and the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy, recently signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) covering crucial areas of cooperation. The agreements were inked through the Vuvale Partnership, symbolising the close familial ties between the two nations.

The first MOU focuses on Port Infrastructure and Services, aiming to provide a framework for future investments to support Fiji’s maritime needs. Immediate action follows this agreement, as Fiji Ports Corporation Limited and Australia signed a grant agreement to develop a Lautoka Port Masterplan. This plan aims to modernise Lautoka port, enhancing both international and domestic operations to meet evolving customer demands.

Another significant aspect of the partnership lies in the revitalisation of Fiji’s shipbuilding and ship repair sector. Through the MOU signed by Prime Minister Rabuka and Minister Conroy, Australia pledges support to Fiji in achieving its ambitions in this domain.

Furthermore, both nations underscored their commitment to cybersecurity cooperation through a separate MOU. This agreement seeks to strengthen cyber resilience in the region and promote responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. Identified areas of cooperation include support for Fiji’s computer emergency response team capability, combatting cyber incidents, workforce upskilling, and governance strengthening.

Prime Minister Rabuka expressed Fiji’s steadfast commitment to collaborating with Australia to improve the livelihoods of Fijians. He lauded Australia’s assistance in upgrading Fiji’s ports, aligning with the Ocean of Peace concept envisioned for the Pacific region. Additionally, he recognised the pivotal role of the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) in revitalizing Fiji’s shipbuilding industry.

Minister Conroy said that these agreements exemplify the tangible outcomes achievable through the Vuvale Partnership. He highlighted Australia’s commitment to supporting Fiji’s nation-building priorities, especially in maritime infrastructure and cybersecurity.

The signing ceremony marks a milestone in the enduring friendship between Fiji and Australia. As both nations navigate the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly connected world, these agreements underscore their shared commitment to prosperity, security, and stability in the Pacific region.