Australian Minister visits

By Ilia L. Likou 22 August 2016, 12:00AM

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, is in Samoa.

The Minister touched down at Faleolo yesterday for a three-day visit, her first in Samoa. 

Ms. Fierravanti-Wells hits the ground running, with one of her first official engagements being to attend the official opening of the Vaitele Street widening project.

The project which has seen vast improvement to the road infrastructure is supported by Australia’s aid programme as part of the World Bank’s Enhanced Road Access Project.

The Minister is also scheduled to attend the opening of Samoa’s National Pharmaceutical Warehouse funded by Australia, New Zealand and the World Bank at Moto’otua.

Later today, she will tour the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S.) at Vailima.

Her programme tomorrow starts with a tour of the Australia Pacific Technical College (A.P.T.C). 

She is scheduled to meet with representatives of Rugby League during an activity with students from Vailima Primary School at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.

The Australian Minister is also scheduled to meet with her Samoan Cabinet counterparts as well as other senior government officials.

Ms. Fierravanti-Wells was sworn in as Minister for International Development and the Pacific in February 2016. 

Prior to this, she was the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, with responsibilities in the Attorney-General, Immigration and Border Protection, and Social Services portfolios. 

She also served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services, with special responsibility for multicultural affairs and settlement services.

The Minister has previously served in the roles of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Citizenship, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader in the Senate, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Shadow Minister for Mental Health.

Before entering politics, Minister Fierravanti-Wells worked as a lawyer with the Australian Government Solicitor, as a policy advisor to the Federal Opposition in the early 1990s, and Senior Private Secretary to former New South Wales Premier John Fahey.

For 25 years before entering the Senate, the Minister was involved in many different community organisations, including on the Board of Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets organisation for four years, with two years as Chairman. At age 23, she was a founding board director of a nursing home in Wollongong.

The Minister is a strong advocate for the Australian-Italian community, including through her work with the General Council of Italians Abroad (CGIE) and General Committee of Italians Abroad (Com.It.Es.). 

In 1995 she was made a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

Minister Fierravanti-Wells was the Ministerial Adviser to the Global Diversity Conference in 1995, and served as a member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee for SOCOG, Australia’s coordinating body for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and European Languages, and a Bachelor of Laws. 

She was born in Wollongong, New South Wales and is the daughter of Italian migrants. She is married to Commander John Wells.

By Ilia L. Likou 22 August 2016, 12:00AM

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