Australia and Vanuatu have a strong and enduring bilateral relationship, based on shared values and interests in a prosperous and stable region.
"[Our] relationship is based on common values, shared aspirations, respect and friendship, and our shared interest in the peace and prosperity of our home, the Pacific…We work together to support economic and human development, national security and regional stability, climate and disaster resilience and response, and other areas important to our relationship…"
Joint Statement, Prime Ministers' Morrison and Salwai – 16 January 2019
Australia established a presence in Vanuatu in 1978 and championed the case for Vanuatu's independence in the United Nations and Pacific Forums in the lead up to independence in 1980. We continue to work closely with Vanuatu, including as a major economic partner, and principal security partner. Australia's engagement aligns with Vanuatu's National Sustainable Development Plan 2030 and Australia's 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper and Pacific Step-up. Engagement in 2018-19 demonstrated Australia's strengthened strategic partnership with Vanuatu.
Australia is Vanuatu's largest bilateral development partner, providing $63 million in grant-based Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Vanuatu in 2018-19. The focus of Australia's aid program is to support the development of effective governance systems and institutions facilitate economic growth and enable better-educated, healthier and resilient ni-Vanuatu people.
Australia targeted the economic empowerment of women by working with the Vanuatu Skills Partnership and Ministry of Tourism, Trades, Industry, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business to strengthen the Malampa Handicraft Centre, the first community company established in Vanuatu. Australia supported the centre and its 330 registered female members to introduce improved governance processes, source equipment and resources, and expand production.
Australia funded a number of innovative projects in the health sector. CARE International trialled community score cards as a way to bring communities and health workers together to solve local health problems. A science innovation by Monash University introduced Wolbachia bacteria into Port Vila's wild mosquito population which will help combat dengue. Vanuatu won the Pacific Islands Food Revolution, a reality television series that delivered healthy eating messages across the Pacific.
More about Australia's aid program to Vanuatu
Australia and Vanuatu continue to deepen our security partnership driven by a shared interest in a safe and secure Pacific region. We are working together to build police capability and improve community safety and reslience. Guided by the Boe Declaration on regional security, we are working together to address the Pacific's unique security interests including transnational crime, human, environmental and cyber security.
Vanuatu will receive a replacement Guardian patrol boat under the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP). The $2 billion (over 30 years) program consists of replacement Guardian patrol boats, integrated aerial surveillance, and enhancements to regional cooperation.
Australia and Vanuatu share strong people-to-people links across government, business and community.
Vanuatu is the largest source of workers for the Seasonal Worker Programme and engages strongly in the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme. Labour mobility is a win-win for Australia and Vanuatu, helping to fill labour shortages in Australia and provide additional opportunities for workers to earn income and develop skills.
Vanuatu receives around 50 Australian Volunteers for International Development each year. These volunteers work in a wide range of sectors to contribute to Vanuatu's development and to build enduring people-to-people links between Australia and Vanuatu.
Australia Awards offer the next generation of Vanuatu's leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and the Pacific region. Australia Awards complement development assistance to Vanuatu by building human resources in priority sectors. Through these prestigious scholarships, Australia is supporting ni-Vanuatu students to build the skills and knowledge to drive change and influence economic and social development.