Australia and Fiji have reaffirmed the two nations’ commitment to an enduring defence relationship during a five-day visit to Australia by Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama as a guest of government.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the visit highlights the strength of the two nations’ security cooperation, which is a key pillar of the Fiji-Australia Vuvale partnership signed by Prime Ministers Morrison and Bainimarama in Canberra.
“This continued partnership demonstrates our enduring relationship, which is strengthened through enhanced interoperability and the ability to work together to tackle security challenges in our region and globally,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister Reynolds added, “During the visit, both nations announced the next phase of the Blackrock Camp redevelopment as well as cooperation on the design of a new Fiji Maritime Essential Services Centre, which will incorporate the Republic of Fiji Navy Headquarters, the Fiji Maritime Surveillance and Rescue Coordination Centre, Coastal Radio and Fiji’s Navy Hydrographic Service.”
Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke welcomed Prime Minister Bainimarama to the Australian War College, where Minister Hawke announced the next phase of the Blackrock Camp redevelopment in Nadi.
“The Blackrock Camp redevelopment project is key to the continued advancement of Fiji’s security and military forces as they prepare for policing duties, peacekeeping exercises and deployments,” Minister Hawke said.
Fijian Minister for National Security and Defence and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu, who is also in Australia as part of the guest of government visit, congratulated CC Pines on the contract for main works.
“CC Pines is an experienced construction industry partner, and I am confident they will deliver on a tailored solution to meet the needs of our forces, as well as our environment,” Minister Seruiratu stated.
The project will create 555 skilled and unskilled construction jobs in Fiji, with the redevelopment including a new headquarters, logistics precinct, classroom facilities and living-in accommodation.
During his visit, Prime Minister Bainimarama also visited Garden Island and toured HMAS Adelaide.
Mr Bainimarama also met with Australian Defence Force members who have trained alongside Fijian peacekeeping forces at the Blackrock Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Camp. Alongside Minister Reynolds, he also laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial in acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of Australian service men and women.