| Radio New Zealand Pacific | Asia Pacific Report
AUCKLAND - Australia’s new foreign minister, Penny Wong, says the Labor government “will be a generous, respectful and reliable member of the Pacific family”.
In a message to the region, Wong set the tone for Australia’s renewed priorities for its island neighbours.
She said Australia recognised climate change was “central to the security and well-being of the Pacific”.
The Labor government had heard the Pacific and would act to address the climate crisis.
Australia will also boost assistance to support the region’s pandemic recovery, enhance defence and maritime cooperation, and expand opportunities and improve the working conditions for more than 24,000 Pacific workers in Australia.
“I’ve become foreign minister at a time when our region faces unprecedented challenges, Wong said.
“But we will face these challenges together, and we will achieve our shared aspirations together.
“We want to help build a stronger Pacific family. That is why we will do more, but we will also do it better. We will listen because we care what the Pacific has to say.”
The Australian Labor Party’s win in Saturday’s general election brought it to government after almost a decade.
While the count continues, Labor currently has 74 seats, the Liberal National Coalition 56 and Independents 15.
With six seats still in doubt Labor needs just two more for a 76 seat outright majority.