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Engagement in Kiribati

Australia and Kiribati enjoy close and longstanding relations based on regional and international cooperation, trade links, a substantial development assistance program, support for maritime surveillance and broader security operation, and people to people contacts. Australia's vision is to support Kiribati in its own efforts to strengthen its democratic institutions and economic and environmental resilience. Australia is supporting the Government of Kiribati's development strategy, KV20 and its National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.

The main road linking the islands of South Tarawa. Photo: Rob Madsen

Labour mobility

Kiribati participates in the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme, designed to help fill labour shortages in rural and regional Australia and provide employment experience, skills, and income for Kiribati workers. Kiribati is the largest participating country in the scheme. It also participates in the Seasonal Workers Programme.

i-Kiribati workers in Longreach met DFAT's Head of Mission in Kiribati, Bruce Cowled in September 2019. They are in Longreach working in aged care under Australia's Pacific Labour Scheme. Photo: Karen Young

More about Pacific Labour Mobility


Under Australia's Kiribati Education Improvement Program ($77 million, Phases I – III, 2011-20) more than 10,000 i‑Kiribati school students now study in improved classrooms, a new Year 1 – 9 curriculum has been developed and more that 1,300 teachers have been trained to teach the new curriculum. We are redesigning our support for education to take account of the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of education services.

Taaken Bairiki Primary School on South Tarawa has been refurbished under Australia's Kiribati Education Improvement Project. Photo: Rimon Rimon

Read the latest independent evaluation of the Kiribati Education Improvement Program


Building a healthier population will help improve Kiribati's economic resilience and prospects. In response to COVID-19, Australia is expanding its technical and financial support for epidemic and pandemic preparedness in Kiribati. We are also supporting Kiribati to build its critical care capacity, including essential medical infrastructure, equipment and training healthcare workers. Australia is building on our longstanding support for managing high‑burden infectious diseases (including tuberculosis and leprosy) by funding the University of Sydney to undertake work on drug resistant tuberculosis and antimicrobial resistance in the Pacific, focusing on Kiribati.

Australia supports the Kiribati health sector, focussing on disability prevention and communicable disease. Photo: Rimon Rimon
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