Australian High Commission
Kingdom of Tonga

Media Release

 

MEDIA RELEASE

30 September 2021

New Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, Rachael Moore, presents her   credentials to His Majesty King Tupou VI

 

On 29 September, Australia’s High Commissioner designate Rachael Moore presented her credentials to His Majesty King Tupou VI, formalising her appointment as the Australian High Commissioner to Tonga.

Australia and Tonga have a shared vision of a secure, prosperous and resilient Tonga. In her capacity has High Commissioner to Tonga, Her Excellency Rachael Moore will prioritise areas of mutual bilateral importance including health, economic recovery from COVID-19, security cooperation, climate change and disaster resilience, gender equality and social inclusion.

"The close and enduring relationship between Australia and Tonga is underpinned by deep historical and cultural ties. This year is the 51st year of diplomatic relations between our nations. My family and I are delighted to be here, and I look forward to building on the partnership between our two countries during my tenure." - HE Rachael Moore, Australian High Commissioner to Tonga

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Australian High Commission, Nuku’alofa
Salote Rd, Nuku’alofa

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MEDIA RELEASE

12 August 2021

Australia supports Tongan businesses through Tonga’s Ministry of Trade and     Economic Development.

Australia remains committed to working alongside Tonga, through the economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A further AUD 5 million has been directed to support Tonga’s COVID-19 Business Recovery Assistance Program, which aims to improve the well-being and living standards of Tongans in the formal and informal business sectors.

This funding is part of the Australian Government’s AUD 304.7 million Pacific COVID-19 Response Package, specifically targeting Tonga’s tourism, agriculture, fisheries, retail and wholesale, and manufacturing industries. The COVID-19 Business Recovery Assistance Program is being delivered by Tonga’s Ministry of Trade and Economic Development (MTED) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

The Honourable Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Mr Tatafu Moeaki, acknowledges Australia’s support, stating that “… the depth and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic is now more certain.” The Tongan Government in response has included extended assistance to support business recovery including those in the informal sector. Honourable Moeaki believes that a resilient private sector will help minimise the negative impacts of the global pandemic.

Australia’s Acting High Commissioner, Mr Nicholas Murphy, sees this support as a necessary financing that will see assistance go directly to Tongan business owners, both formal and informal.

Through ongoing support and assistance measures, Australia is working alongside Tonga as it recovers from the pandemic with a focus on building together a bigger, brighter and more stable future for the region. 

Australian High Commission, Nuku’alofa
Salote Rd, Nuku’alofa

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MEDIA RELEASE

8 August 2021

Second shipment of Australian-made AstraZeneca arrives in Tonga

Additional Australian-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines arrive in Tonga today, 10 August, as part of Australia's regional commitment to provide vital support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia had committed to providing 45,000 Australian-made AstraZeneca vaccines to Tonga this year. Today’s consignment of 10,000 doses enables Tonga to offer comprehensive coverage for the outer islands of Ha’apai and the Niuas. It supports efforts of an international coalition in Tonga including New Zealand and Japan, that is ensuring comprehensive national vaccine coverage by the end of 2021. This shipment follows the 9,000 Australian-manufactured doses which arrived on 20 July for the people of Vava’u.
“The arrival of these Australian made vaccines in Tonga today is one of the key solutions to a return to normal life, and to stemming the social and economic impact of the pandemic. With upcoming potential help from the people of New Zealand and Japan, with whom Australia has enjoyed helpful cooperation and collaboration on vaccine distribution, I see great opportunities for Tonga to meet its target of substantial community immunity before the end of 2021. This can give us all hope of resuming a more normal life and putting an end to several years of separation, restrictions, and sacrifice,” said Australia’s Acting Head of Mission Nicholas Murphy.  
In addition to the supply of vaccine doses, Australia has committed through the regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative (VAHSI), to provide AUD 2.3 million for the purchase waste management equipment, including a safe and environmentally friendly ‘Ecosteryl’ unit which produces less toxic emissions than traditional incinerator units and limits waste by-products by up to 80%. This will be the first Ecosteryl unit in use in Tonga, and the second for the Pacific. Through VAHSI, Australia has also offered technical advice to Tonga from some of the world's leading immunisation experts via Australia's Therapeutic Goods Association and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance to support Tonga’s overall COVID-19 response and vaccine campaigns.
In 2020, Australia had also supported Tonga with pandemic preparedness including through the provision of GeneExpert and PCR testing equipment, PPE and the purchase of additional supplies through an additional AUD 1 million in COVID support through the Tonga Health Systems Support Program.
This assistance package is in addition to Australia's AUD 130 million contribution to the COVAX Facility's Advance Market Commitment, of which Tonga is an eligible country. Through COVAX, 48,000 vaccines have arrived in Tonga to since 31 March 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of a coordinated regional vaccination effort to protect the health and safety of Australia’s Pacific neighbours.
Australian High Commission, Nuku’alofa
Salote Rd, Nuku’alofa

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MEDIA RELEASE

20 July 2021

9,000 Australian-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses arrived in Tonga.

The Australian-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines arrived from Australia on 20 July (today) as part of Australia's commitment to Tonga and the region to provide vital support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia is pleased to advise that these doses will be used to vaccinate vulnerable peoples in the island of Vava’u.

Australia's sharing of vaccines with the Pacific and Timor-Leste is part of our broader partnership response to the virus. "Australia is proud to stand by the people of Tonga and the region to fight this global crisis," said Australian acting Head of Mission Nicholas Murphy at a ceremony held to celebrate the arrival of the doses and their handover from Australia to Tonga.
"The arrival of the Australian-made vaccine in Tonga today is one of the key solutions to stem the social and economic impact of the pandemic. This is why Australia is so proud to be sharing its precious resources with Tonga. It is a scientifically sound thing to do, and it is the act of a good neighbour and friend," Mr Murphy ended.  
This week's delivery to Tonga, and others in the Pacific, brings the total number of vaccines shared from Australia across the Pacific and Timor-Leste to almost 750,000.
In addition, through the regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative (the Intitative), Australia has committed AUD 2.3 million to purchase waste management equipment, including an environmentally friendlier Ecosteryl unit which does not produce greenhouse gases and toxic emissions like the traditional incincerator units. This will be the first Ecosteryl unit in use in Tonga, and the second for the Pacific. Through the Initiative,  technical advice from some of the world's leading immunisation experts via Australia's Therapeutic Goods Association and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance is also available to support Tonga’s COVID-19 response and vaccine campaigns.   
Australia has also supported the provision of GeneExpert and PCR testing equipment, PPE and the purchase of additional supplies through an additional AUD 1 million in COVID support through our Health Systems Support program.   
This assistance comes on top of Australia's AUD130 million contribution to the COVAX Facility's Advance Market Commitment, of which Tonga is a an eligible country. Through COVAX 48,000 vaccines have arrived in Tonga to date.
Australia congratulates the Tongan Ministry of Health on its success in avoiding community transmissions of COVID-19. It is evident, that despite this, Tonga is being impacted by the pandemic, and the vaccine is a crucial part of our collective recovery.
Australian High Commission, Nuku’alofa
Salote Rd, Nuku’alofa