Australia and Samoa are set to sign a new agreement on education and health as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomes Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa to Canberra.
Ms. Fiamē will receive a welcome ceremony in Parliament and sign a bilateral agreement.
It has put action against climate change and the need for more regional consultations on the agenda.
Ms. Fiamē has pushed for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and more funding for climate resiliency projects in the Pacific. She also raised the idea of a European-style free movement in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific island nations.
“This whole concept of the European common market, we’ve been talking about it in the Pacific for a long time,” he told a Lowy Institute event ahead of his talks with Albanese on Wednesday.
“I think we have to explore that.”
Ms Fiamē said it was difficult for people to travel to Australia or New Zealand to visit family or go on holiday.
Albanese said his government’s record on climate action had helped bolster relations in the region.
“The entry fee for good relations in the Pacific is action on climate change,” he told parliament.
“They take that issue more seriously than any other because it is a threat to their very existence. That’s why these relationships are so important.”
Ms Fiamē will be the eighth Pacific leader the government has welcomed as it works to build Australia’s position in the region.
Mr. Albanese will also be inviting his counterpart to dinner at The Lodge on Wednesday night.
“These relationships are very important to Australia’s future. They are important to the region and will continue to work constructively,” she said.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said Ms Fiamē’s visit and speech calling for more action on climate change underscored the need for global cooperation to tackle the problem.
“Globally, countries working together can turn the tide when it comes to climate change projections and the voices of the leaders of Pacific Island nations are perhaps the most powerful voices,” he said.