- COVID-19 and Cyclone Harold have both hit the Pacific region hard in recent months.
- The economic and social impact of these events on the region will be significant and long lasting.
- Australia needs to strengthen its engagement and play a greater role as an ally in partnership with Pacific nations.
Standards Australia has called for Australia to deepen its engagement and work closer with our nearest neighbours. The call was made in a recent submission to a parliamentary inquiry into strengthening Australia’s relationships with Pacific countries.
Countries across the globe are grappling with the challenges of COVID-19, but some countries in the Pacific are dealing with these while recovering from the destruction of Cyclone Harold which hit the region in April 2020.
“The impact of COVID-19 is shaping industries and requiring economic adjustment by Governments in hundreds of nations, however, it is a handful of countries in the Pacific - Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga - that suffered from a cyclone and COVID-19 within such a short timeframe,” said CEO of Standards Australia, Adrian O’Connell.
Standards Australia has recently made a submission to an inquiry into strengthening Australia’s relationships with Pacific countries to meet current and emerging opportunities and challenges facing the region. In its submission, Standards Australia called for:
- Standards to be fully incorporated into any strategy to drive economic, social and environmental progress within the Pacific region.
- Institutional strengthening of the standards infrastructure be supported as a means of connecting our nations and opening doors for engagement within the global trading system.
- Priority be given to projects leveraging the strength of Australia’s standards infrastructure to position Australia as a leader and ally in the Pacific.
“Standards have been helping countries facilitate trade and foster good relations for many years, and Australia has not only an obligation but a strategic imperative in ensuring the prosperity of the Pacific region,” said Mr O’Connell.
“The submission we have put forward is about the economic success of the Pacific and ensuring Australia is doing all it can to make sure each nation is well-equipped to bounce back from COVID-19, Cyclone Harold, and other challenges faced by these countries.”
“Given the Joint Committee conducting the inquiry has called for greater involvement of non-government organisations in any increased engagement in the Pacific, we look forward to offering our network and trusted relationships with these nations to ensure Australia remains an ally among our nearest neighbours,” concluded Mr O’Connell.
A copy of the submission can be found here.