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Nauru

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Nauru country brief

Overview

Nauru is an island republic in the Pacific Ocean, 42 kilometres south of the equator and 4,000 kilometres northeast of Sydney. A raised, fossilised coral atoll, Nauru is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean – the other two being Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia. Nauru has a total land area of 21 square kilometres.

Nauru has a population of approximately 13,000 people, most of whom are indigenous Nauruans predominantly of Micronesian origin. Non-Nauruans are principally other Pacific islanders, Chinese, Australian and Filipino expatriates.

Political overview

Nauru is one of the world's smallest independent states. Its constitution, adopted upon gaining independence in 1968, established it as a republic with a Westminster-style parliamentary system of government. The President is elected by, and responsible to, the unicameral parliament and is both head of government and head of state.

As there are no political parties in Nauru, all Members of Parliament (MPs) stand as independents. MPs are elected every three years by Nauruan citizens over the age of 20. At its first sitting, where possible, parliament chooses a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker and chairs of committees before proceeding to elect the President from among the remaining members. The President then appoints a minimum of four members of parliament to join him or her in forming a cabinet. On 30 October 2023, His Excellency, David Adeang was appointed as President. Nauru’s elections are held every three years, its next elections are due in 2025.

Bilateral relations

Australia enjoys close relations with Nauru and is its largest trade, investment, security and development assistance partner. The Australian Government upgraded its mission in Nauru from consulate-general to high commission in August 2009. In addition to its existing Brisbane Consulate-General, the Republic of Nauru formally opened a High Commission in Australia in March 2022.

In September 2017, Nauru and Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on security cooperation which affirmed Australia’s position as Nauru’s primary security partner. Australia works in close cooperation with Nauru to address domestic and transnational security challenges whilst always having regard to the sovereignty and best interests of Nauru.

In September 2012, Australia established a regional processing centre in Nauru for the purpose of processing asylum seekers' international protection claims. In October 2021, Australia and Nauru signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Enduring Regional Processing Capability in Republic of Nauru.

Nauru participates in Australia's Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme, connecting workers from Nauru and other Pacific islands with Australian employers experiencing labour shortages, typically in rural and regional Australia.

People-to-people links

Every year, a number of Australia Award and Australia Award Pacific Scholarships are offered for Nauruans to study abroad at selected Australian and Pacific regional universities.

Australia and Nauru also enjoy strong diaspora, alumni and professional linkages.

Development assistance

More information on our development assistance to Nauru.

Economic overview

Nauru's economy faces significant constraints common to other small island states. These include its small size, remoteness and limited natural resources outside of fisheries.

Pelagic fish abound in Nauruan waters, but Nauru has been unable to establish a substantial fishing industry of its own. Fees from fishing licenses issued to distant water fishing nations are an important source of revenue for Nauru.

Royalties from the declining phosphate industry currently only offer a modest revenue stream to Government. Revenue associated with the presence of the regional processing centre and its ancillary service providers represents Nauru's most significant revenue stream.

Australia contributes financially to, and takes a shared management role in, the Intergenerational Trust Fund for the People of Nauru. The fund aims to provide a future revenue stream for Nauru to supplement domestic revenue in anticipation of current revenue declining over the next 20 years.

Trade and investment

Australia is Nauru’s principal import source. Major Australian merchandise exports to Nauru include meat, motor fuel and civil engineering equipment and parts. For more information see the Nauru economic fact sheet.

High level visits

January 2024: In January 2024, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP, travelled to Nauru to attend Independence Day celebrations, and met separately with President David Adeang and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Lionel Aingimea.

November 2023: In November 2023, Nauru’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Hon Lionel Aingimea MP travelled to Canberra and met with the Minister for Home Affairs Hon Clare O’Neil MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Senator the Hon Penny Wong individually.

April 2023: In April 2023, Prime Minister of Australia the Hon Anthony Albanese MP met with then President the Hon Russ Kun MP, in Brisbane. Prime Minister Albanese and President Kun discussed Australia and Nauru’s shared priorities for regional security, climate resilience and regional connectivity.

November 2022: In November 2022, President the Hon Russ Kun MP travelled to Canberra and met with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Senator the Hon Penny Wong and Minister for International Development and the Pacific the Hon Pat Conroy MP. The President also met separately with the Governor General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd).

October 2022 In a separate visit, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Senator the Hon Penny Wong travelled to Nauru to further strengthen Australia’s ties with our Pacific family. The foreign Minister met with President the Hon Russ Kun MP and discussed shared priorities such as climate-resilient infrastructure, connectivity, economic opportunities and pandemic recovery.

October 2022: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP, visited Nauru and met with President the Hon Russ Kun MP to highlight Australia and Nauru’s close and enduring partnership. While in Nauru, the Deputy Prime Minister also met with Government of Nauru Cabinet Ministers and visited key Australian-led initiatives.

June 2022: In June 2022, then President Hon Lionel Aingimea undertook private travel to Australia, accompanied by family and senior ministers. The then President met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Hon Richard Marles MP, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific Hon Pat Conroy MP, and the Minister for Home Affairs Hon Clare O’Neil MP individually.

February-March 2022: In early 2022, then President Aingimea led a delegation of ministers and officials to Australia to held high-level meetings with the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Hon David Hurley AC DSC, then Prime Minister Hon Scott Morrison MP, then Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Senator Hon Marise Payne, then Home Affairs Minister Hon Karen Andrews MP, and then Defence Minister Hon Peter Dutton MP. On 2 March 2022, President Aingimea formally opened the new Nauru High Commission in Australia.

October 2019: President Aingimea visited Australia and met with then Prime Minister Morrison and then Foreign Minister Payne in Sydney.

Visitor information

Australians travelling to Nauru are advised to consult general Smartraveller travel advice for travellers.

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