New Australian High Commissioner welcomed
The new Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Emily Joan Luck presented her Letters of Credentials to His Highness the Head of State of Samoa Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II on Tuesday.
Ms Luck is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia (D.F.A.T).
Ms. Luck served on two diplomatic postings as First Secretary of the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and as Second Secretary of the Australian High Commission at the Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
She stated during her speech that Australia and Samoa have a close partnership, one which spans beyond our 50 years of formal diplomatic relations.
“Australia is Samoa’s largest development partner, security partner and friend in time of need. Equally, Samoa has supported Australia in good times, and in bad, including in response to the devastating bushfires in Australia in early 2020,” she said.
“Throughout 2020, and into 2021, we have faced the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we have worked to prepare for, and respond to, the social, economic and health impacts of the pandemic, including through Australia’s commitment to improve vaccine access for the Pacific.
“Australia is also committed to supporting Samoa build resilience to its security challenges, whether this is through our long-standing defence and policing partnerships, or by strengthening climate change and disaster resilience.”
Ms. Luck stated that Australia and Samoa have deep cultural, historical and, personal ties.
“Our personal connections continue to grow on the sporting field and through church partnerships, education programs and media and cultural heritage programs,” she said.
“Australia welcomes the regional and international leadership that Samoa has demonstrated and is pleased to be working with Samoa to establish the PACER Plus Implementation Unit and PacificAus Sports regional hub here in Apia.
“As Australian High Commissioner, I look forward to working with the Government and people of Samoa. I welcome the opportunity to reinforce our strong bilateral relations, to continue our fruitful cooperation in multilateral forums and, through our development programs, to promote a healthy, educated and inclusive population.”
Tuimalealiifano stated during his speech that the occasion of receiving your Letters of Credence here today, is heartening, as this year marks the 50 years anniversary of our formal diplomatic relations demonstrating an enduring and close partnership shared between our two countries.
“In 2019, when Samoa was devastated by the measles epidemic, Australia along with 15 other countries provided much-needed assistance through specialist teams of nurses and doctors, technical personnel as well as medical equipment, supplies and mobile negative pressure units. During these unprecedented times with the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has assisted Samoa to strengthen its health sector in particular its health systems through the COVID-19 situation to strengthen preparedness and responsiveness of Samoa’s health system to mitigate effects of COVID-19 and to improve access to vaccines,” he said.
He stated that Australia’s Step-Up Strategy in Samoa provides the platform to assist Samoa’s development efforts, security cooperation and enhancing links with the communities.
According to him, Australia and Samoa’s mutual interests through security cooperation including defence and policing ties are contributing to the Pacific regional security efforts and continue to work closely on disaster risk reduction and enhancing climate resilience.
“The enhancement of our people to people connectivity has seen extensive growth in opportunities and numbers of Seasonal Workers under Australia’s Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme and Seasonal Workers Programme,” he said.
“We welcome the support of the Australian Government in establishment of the PACER PLUS Implementation Unit and the regional hub for PacificAusSports in Apia forging new pathways to assist local talented athletes in realising their full potential.
“We look forward to continued collaboration with your Government to strengthen our bilateral relations and cooperation in the multilateral for a particularly in addressing the sustainable development agenda on matters of mutual interest as well as strengthen the partnerships grounded in our common values and goals.”
Prior to her appointment as High Commissioner to Samoa, Ms Luck was the Executive Officer to the Secretary of D.F.A.T.
She holds degrees of Bachelors of Communications and Bachelors of Education from the University of Canberra and a Graduate Certificate on Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney.
Ms Luck is married with two children.