Senate debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Pacific Islands

3:01 pm

Photo of Marise PayneMarise Payne (NSW, Liberal Party, Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

We were very pleased to endorse an important set of regional protocols for deploying personnel, for customs and biosecurity, for immigration and for repatriations. That will help a lot with clearance of aircraft and clearance of ships that are transporting medical, humanitarian and technical assistance. The protocols are also going to support the safety of technical personnel for critical responses. That might include Australian medical and logistics experts, for example, in Solomon Islands, in Papua New Guinea and in Fiji. The pathway chair, who is Tuvalu's foreign minister, Simon Kofe, recognised Australia's support to the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization Pacific joint incident management team, which are both central to the regional response to COVID-19. I understand the joint team has received over 350 assistance requests and deployed 40 technical experts across the Pacific to support the collaborative effort in addressing COVID-19.

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