As close neighbours, New Caledonia and Australia share a special relationship, based on our longstanding historical friendship, indigenous linkages, our considerable mineral wealth, and our unique biodiversity and marine reserves.
2020 will mark the 80th anniversary of official relations (Noumea was Australia's fourth diplomatic mission to open, after London, Washington and Ottawa), as well as the important role Australia played, through the presence of HMAS Adelaide, in the installation of a pro-Free France Governor in New Caledonia during World War II.
New Caledonia became a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum in 2017. Australia strongly supports the territory's regional integration.
Facing growing regional challenges, and in the spirit of the Boe Declaration on regional security, we are working with New Caledonia (and France) to identify and respond to threats, such as illegal fishing, environmental protection and trafficking.
New Caledonia is participating in the recently established Pacific Fusion Centre, which will fuse information from multiple sources to strengthen the ability of Pacific Governments to enforce their laws and protect their sovereignty. New Caledonia has recently seconded an analyst to the centre.
We work closely with the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia through the FRANZ Agreement on humanitarian and disaster response in the Pacific, including through our significant regular participation in Exercise Croix du Sud, held every two years in New Caledonia.
Education is at the heart of our relationship with New Caledonia. Studying in Australia provides young New Caledonians with the opportunity to learn English and study topics of direct relevance to their region. We also work with local schools on issues of common interest such as gender equality and environmental protection.
Since 2016, New Caledonia has also welcomed New Colombo Plan students for invaluable internships and discovery of the French Pacific.
New Caledonians and Australians share a passion for rugby and football, and we have been able to utilise the Pacific Sports Partnerships Program to develop linkages and promote sports for development.
In 2018, Australia joined France's Pacific Initiative for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Resilience, along with other donors (European Union, Canada and New Zealand). The initiative, which is expected to commence in 2020, will be managed from New Caledonia.
Australia and France are also working together to protect of the Pacific's coral reef ecosystems, combat plastic pollution, and develop solar energy in small island states.
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