The Australia Embassy here hosted its first Australia’s National Day on Tuesday, also taking the opportunity to celebrate the first year of the establishment of the embassy here.
Australia’s embassy in Palau became operational on Dec. 17, 2019, and since then, Australian Ambassador Richelle Turner said, then “ the embassy has achieved so much.”
She said Australia has worked with the Ministry of Health to bring much-needed equipment to help prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia has also supported Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to continue the removal of ERWs in Palau.
The nation is also working with Palau, the United States, Japan, and other partners as part of a multi-partner effort to reform Palau’s ICT sector and increase access to high quality, low-cost internet services.
“Australia Day is an opportunity to reflect with friends and colleagues,” she said.
“On this day, we reflect upon our nation’s history and ancient culture and contemporary contribution to our indigenous people. We connect with the diverse community that makes up modern-day Australia. It is a day marked by community and family event, reflection on Australian history, official community awards..and ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community,” she said.
President Surangel Whipps Jr. graced the event, saying the occasion marks his first official speech after his inaugural address on January 21.
Whipps said he is grateful for Australia’s presence in the country, thankful for the patrol boat PSS Remeliik II from Australia, which he said is instrumental in the apprehension of a Chinese fishing vessel and its 28 crew in December.
The capture of the vessel, he said “ sends a strong message to the world that we don’t tolerate that kind of behavior and we are grateful to our friends, Australia and the United States which helped us in the apprehension, and we need to continue to make people respect our borders.”
The fishing vessel was intercepted by an Australian-supplied Guardian-class patrol boat which was delivered to Palau in 2020.
He said he wants to continue the strong partnership with Australia, helping Palau in various areas especially in health to help face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.