Samoa and Australia strengthen friendship at Australia Day celebrations
Australia Day was celebrated on Wednesday evening at the residence of the High Commissioner at Tiapapata and with this the Governments of Samoa and Australia highlighted shared commitments and toasted to future endeavours.
Head of State of Samoa, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, Acting and Deputy Prime Minister, Tuala Tevaga Ponifasio, Deputy HOS, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, members of the Diplomatic Corp, and friends of the High Commission joined the Australian High Commissioner, Emily Luck in celebrating this special day.
Tuala on behalf of the government and Samoa wished the Australian government and its' High Commission a momentous Australian Day and expressed his sincere appreciation to Australia in enhancing its' engagement with the Pacific especially in combating climate change issues and ensuring good governance of the oceans and resources.
"Samoa and Australia have worked closely as partners in the region to achieve shared goals in economic development and regional security," he said.
"The close relations between our two countries through cooperation in the areas of health, education, environment, sports, infrastructure and employment."
Tuala added that the partnership between the two governments is an ongoing development for Samoa's aspirations and priorities as outlined in the "Pathway for the Development of Samoa".
"The focus is to be on capacity building in order to fill the skills gaps that are proving to be challenges in our quest for sustainable development," he added.
In proposing a congratulatory toast, the Acting PM said "To the good health and wealth of Australia and its people. May the friendship and enduring partnership between Samoa and Australia continue to prosper."
Ms. Luck highlighted key points such as multiculturalism, indigenous voice to parliament, religionism, climate change, and Samoa-Australia partnership.
With climate change, Ms. Luck said whether its rising sea levels and regular and extreme cyclones in the Pacific, or in disastrous bushfires and catastrophic flooding in Australia, the defining challenge for this generation may perhaps be the threats of climate change and how people collectively respond to it.
"We acknowledge Samoa and the Pacific’s stewardship of the oceans and lands, with the wisdom that we are only custodians of these natural treasures and that they must be protected for those who come after us," she added.
Ms. Luck highlighted that with the two governments' partnership, Australia has reformed the delivery of its development program to reflect the needs identified by the Government of Samoa especially as outlined in its Pathway for the Development of Samoa.
"We do, and always will, respect Samoa’s sovereignty and will continue to work together to support its aspirations," she said.
"We know this is a shared sense of identity across the Pacific. In recognition of this the PacificAus Sports Hub is providing opportunities for athletes across the region to learn, grow and compete together. I’d also like to take the opportunity to welcome the Australian volunteers and New Colombo Plan Scholars who are here this evening. We hope you enjoy your time here in Samoa, including through your contribution to the Samoa-Australia partnership."
Both national anthems of Australia and Samoa were sung to celebrate and mark the Australian Day.
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