"January 26 marks Australia's National Day, when Australians everywhere celebrate our achievements as a stable, democratic, multicultural society with a skilled and innovative population and a strong, competitive trading economy, and when we also reflect on the values we hold dear such as freedom, equality, tolerance, mateship and a "fair go" for all.
My wife Debra and I are celebrating our third Australia Day in Micronesia and, along with all at the Australian Embassy, we send our best wishes to the Australian community and the people of the region who have links with Australia through government, maritime surveillance, business, tourism, education, sporting and voluntary activity.
In a fluid and uncertain international security environment, Australia continues to work to promote law and order and stability, good governance and sustainable development in the Pacific Islands and to help partner governments manage borders and protect resources, and to counter the threat from weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, people smuggling, and other criminal activity. 2003 has seen strengthened regional cooperation and better pooling of resources through the Pacific Islands Forum to address good governance and security challenges. Examples include the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands and the Pacific Regional Police Training Initiative. While our own region is our primary concern, Australians and Micronesians are also putting their lives on the line with US and other allies to advance global security, including in Iraq.
To protect Australians travelling or resident overseas, the Australian government has introduced a new "M series" passport with improved security features that will facilitate travel and counter identity fraud, and continues proactively to disseminate travel advice ( See www.smartraveller.gov.au ). Australians are also encouraged to register their presence in Micronesia via the same website or by contacting the Embassy.
In the FSM, the Embassy is celebrating its 15th year of operations with a major modernization to enhance service delivery and working conditions for our staff. Patrol boat support under Defence Cooperation is ongoing. With AusAID funding, Australia continues to provide scholarships and small grants and, in 2004, will assist the FSM Government install a computerized Border Management System at all four international airports. Through regional projects, we will also maintain the environmental partnership in monitoring Climate Change and Sea Level Rise and removing PCB pollutants. Trade and tourism may also be boosted by outcomes from the Pacific Regional Transport Study.
I reiterate to all Australians in the Micronesian region and everyone with some connection with Australia, my best wishes for Australia Day 2004."
Ambassador Brendan Doran is the Australian Ambassador to the FSM, Marshall Islands and Palau and has concurrent accreditation as the Australian Consul General to Guam and the CNMI.
For more information, please contact: Australian Embassy, Pohnpei Embassy E-Mail: Australia@mail.fm; Embassy Website: www.australianembassy.fm