Foreign Minister Bob Carr this week concluded a regional tour to the Pacific with a two-day visit to Vanuatu (Feb 12-13). The visit was an opportunity to reaffirm the close ties between the two countries.
Senator Carr held talks with Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman and Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot to discuss issues including economic development, relations with Fiji, infrastructure and urban renewal.
Together with Prime Minister Kilman, Senator Carr launched the $39 million Port Vila Urban Development Project. The project is funded by the Australian and Vanuatu Governments and the Asian Development Bank, to upgrade Port Vila infrastructure including key roads, drainage and sanitation.
Senator Carr said that investing in Port Vila was important for economic growth in Vanuatu as a whole. Port Vila is the gateway to the country for tourists entering Vanuatu, 60 per cent of whom are Australian.
“We have much to be proud of in the partnership between Australia and Vanuatu and we look forward to strengthening our ties in years to come,” said Senator Carr.
In Port Vila, Senator Carr took the opportunity to visit the Vanuatu Women’s Centre and the Wan Smolbag Theatre group – a local disability group which performed a play describing the daily prejudices faced by people living with disability.
Senator Carr congratulated the actors on their performance, saying that it demonstrated the power of theatre to touch people’s lives.