Fiji-Australia Ties Have Changed Lives


Prashila Devi
Fiji and Australia have had each other’s back during times of disasters and have changed lives.
During the four day State visit by the Governor General of Australian, General David Hurley, the relationship between the two countries, especially during times of disasters, was acknowledged.
Governor General Hurley, while visiting the National Disaster Management Office Warehouse in Walu Bay last week, spoke on the importance of having strategies and logistics to deal with disasters.
He said Australia had given monetary assistance to Fiji during times of disasters but more important than that was the interface between personnel in the two countries while responding to natural disasters.
“For the engine of the response- that’s where the dollars are spent- and for each of you who works in the headquarters in the mainstream hands on – the logistics are critical,” Governor General Hurley said.
“This warehouse- absolutely critical to the flow through to the people who are in need- we can’t deposit it if we don’t have a logistics system and we cannot respond without a logistics system so you know better than me how all this ties together.” 
Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management Office, Inia Seruiratu highlighted that in Fiji’s time of need, Australia has stood with Fiji not only during times of disaster but also the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Seruiratu said Fiji has also benefitted from Australia’s support in the provision of technical expertise in emergency telecommunications, the upgrading of the information technology capacities of the National Emergency Operations Centre and business continuity support during the height of COVID-19 in the country.
“We hope to further progress our ‘Vuvale partnership’ through the development of projects and other areas of co-operation that will ultimately strengthen our mutual resilience to disasters and ensure the sustainable development of our respective nations and people,” he said.
Minister Seruiratu said that in the last 10 years Tropical Cyclones alone have caused over $3 billion in damage and 67 deaths in total.
“We are grateful that the Australian Government, in recognising the importance of disaster risk reduction and preparedness, has supported the establishment of the Preparedness and Response Fund under the Fiji Program Support Facility.”
For Fiji’s part, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces had stepped in to assist their Australian counterpart’s response to the bushfires in 2019 and in the following years with the floods in parts of Australia.