Pacific partnership moves to next stage
14 August 2022
A visit to Fiji by Victoria’s Legislative Council President has heralded the next stage of the twinning partnership between the Victorian and Fiji Parliaments.
Established in 2014, the parliamentary partnership initially focused on capacity building to support Fiji’s return to democracy.
Eight years on and the two parliaments are gearing up for a program of professional exchanges and development activities aimed at enhancing skills and processes across a range of parliamentary work. Funding from the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will support this next stage of the twinning program.
During his visit, Legislative Council President Nazih Elasmar held discussions with Fiji Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Secretary-General Jeannette Emberson on the future plans for joint initiatives between the two parliaments. He also met with members of Fijian parliamentary committees.
With both parliaments heading to elections later this year, induction of new members of parliament is likely to feature in planned activities, along with programs to support the work of committees.
Community engagement is also high on the agenda, with Victorian parliamentary staff recently coordinating a workshop in Fiji to assist with the development of the Fiji Parliament’s next four-year engagement strategy.
While in Fiji, Mr Elasmar met with representatives of the Australian High Commission and the United Nations Development Programme.
He also visited two significant projects that demonstrate the wide-ranging collaboration between Australia and Fiji.
At the Australia Pacific Training Coalition, Australia’s flagship skills investment initiative in the Pacific region, Mr Elasmar saw firsthand the training being undertaken by automotive and diesel fitting students. The coalition undertakes technical and further education in 10 Pacific countries.
At Kaybee Farm, he saw Fiji’s only woman-owned and operated tilapia fish hatchery, supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
Mr Elasmar said the Victorian Parliament’s twinning program with the Fiji Parliament complemented the important work that the Australian High Commission and other Australian organisations are doing in Fiji to forge stronger relations with a significant Pacific partner.