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Stepping-up in Tonga

Stepping-up in Tonga

Australia's relationship with Tonga is strong, reflecting our longstanding development, security and people-to-people links, and becoming strong under our Pacific Step-up.

The Hon Alex Hawke MP, Assistant Minister for Defence and Minister for International Development and the Pacific and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto'a at the handover of the first of two new Guardian Class Patrol Boats, delivered to Tonga under Australia's Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP). Photo: Defence.

Australia has a significant Tongan community, with over 32,000 people living in Australia identifying as having Tongan ancestry.

Fifty years of partnership

In 2020, Australia and Tonga will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations, illustrating the strength and endurance of our relationship.

Australia and Tonga have a broad relationship that includes security cooperation, people-to-people links and economic and human development.

Their Late Majesties King Taufa'ahau and Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho with first resident Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Her Excellency Maris King at the opening ceremony of the Australian Funded Fire Service Headquarters in Nuku'alofa, 16 July 1982. Photo: Isi Fonua and Jørdâň Langi

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Supporting Tonga's sustainable growth

Australia will provide an estimated $26.6 million in ODA to Tonga in 2019-20. We work closely with the Government of Tonga to support economic growth, improved health outcomes and skills development. We also support Tonga's resilience to climate and disaster impacts.

More about Australia's development assistance program in Tonga

A safe and stable Tonga

Australia is committed to supporting Tonga's security, including through the Defence Cooperation Program, the Pacific Maritime Support Program, and the Tonga Police Development Program.

Australian Defence Advisor South Pacific Lt Col Matthew Quinn helping to unload Australian relief supplies following Cyclone Gita in February 2018. Photo: DFAT

More about shared security in the Pacific

Linking Australian employers and Tongan workers

Labour mobility is a key driver of growth and opportunity for Pacific communities and economies. We are expanding connections with Tongans through labour mobility – 16,717 Tongan workers have participated in the Seasonal Workers Programme since 2012, and 100 Tongans have been matched with jobs under the Pacific Labour Scheme.

Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, Adrian Morrison, meeting with a Tongan participant of the Seasonal Workers Program in Mundubbera. Photo: DFAT

Deepening people-to-people links

Australia continues to deepen social, educational and cultural links with Tonga through a range of new initiatives including Australia Awards Scholarships, the Australian Volunteer Program, and the PacificAus Sports Program.

Australian volunteer Raina Stella Reyes (far left) working together with her colleagues at Ma'a Fafine Mo e Famili Inc. to provide early intervention services for children with disabilities. Photo: DFAT

More about Australian volunteers in Tonga

More about Australian Awards in Tonga

Last Updated: 14 October 2019
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