Samoa Family Health Association

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JULIE BISHOP Thank you very much for that very warm introduction, and as Australia's Foreign Minister I am delighted to lead a delegation from Australia that also includes my ministerial colleague Senator Concetta Fierravanti‐Wells, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific and two members from the Opposition, the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong and the Shadow Minister for International Development, Senator Claire Moore, and we are very pleased to be here at the Samoa Family Health Association, to congratulate you on the wonderful work that you do, particularly in the areas of planned parenting and reproductive health services. It's particularly inspiring to see so many young volunteers here today, and we pay tribute to you for taking such an active role in advocacy and educating and informing others in your work here.

We have just visited the Prime Minister, and I was pleased to be able to sign the Australia Samoa Aid Partnership Agreement. We're focusing on four specific areas for Australian support for Samoa, on economic opportunities and economic empowerment, also governance issues, but also health and education. I was pleased to see that there's an emphasis on gender equality and the empowerment of women in our aid partnership, very much agreed by the Samoan Government.

The particular area in which you work is challenging, sensitive and requires a great deal of compassion, and I congratulate the Samoan Family Health Association for the great work that they do. There is a partnership with the International Planned Parenthood Federation over two years, and Australia has committed funding to it to focus on reproductive health and similar services in eight countries in the Pacific, and I believe that as a result of this program, there have been over 400,000 consultations.

Now, this work must continue, and Australia wants to continue to play our part, so today I'm very pleased to announce that we will provide an additional $1 million in new funding for the Samoan Family Health Association so that you can continue your work, continue access for your programs and ensure that the rural and regional parts of Samoa are also reached by your sexual and reproductive health services. This is important work; Australia is pleased to partner with you and with IPPF, and in this way, more men, women and children will lead better and healthier lives and have healthier outcomes. I wish you all the best and hope that this additional $1 million will go a long way in supporting the people of Samoa with healthy lifestyles. Thank you for being here today.

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