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Business envoy November 2021

PacificAus Sports

About PacificAus Sports

Australia and the Pacific share a rich history and deep love of sport. PacificAus Sports is working with partners to unlock this potential further and create new opportunities for our athletes to train and compete together.

Since 2019, PacificAus Sports has reached 850 players and officials, attracting crowds of over 47,000 people at 120 unique sports diplomacy matches, events, and training camps.

The $52m program primarily operates in Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, PNG, Fiji, and Samoa.


Fiji Women’s Rugby 7s players at the 2021 PacificAus Sports Oceania 7s tournament in Townsville
Fiji Women’s Rugby 7s players at the 2021 PacificAus Sports Oceania 7s tournament in Townsville (Photo credit: PacificAus Sports)

A new era for Pacific Sport

Fiji's Medal Winning Men and Women's Rugby 7s players inspire the region, paving the way for Super Rugby Pacific 2022.

Fiji has cemented its status as the spiritual home of rugby sevens, winning an historic two Olympic medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July.

This includes the first Olympic medal for a Pacific women's team – the Fijiana - proving that Pacific women and girls have what it takes to compete against the world's best, and win.

In a major boost for the Pacific economy, in 2022 Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby will also host Super Rugby Pacific – a new 12-team competition – featuring two new teams, the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika.

The two Pacific teams will join five Australian and five New Zealand sides, delivered via a joint venture partnership between RA and NZR.

This is a game-changer for Rugby in the Pacific, and indeed, the rest of the Rugby world,”

We have seen the brilliant rugby that Fiji play, and their inclusion will make this new competition one of the toughest in the world.

Andy Marinos,

Rugby Australia CEO

Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said DFAT's investment in the Fijian Drua would build careers for generations of talent and attract investment to support Fiji's economic recovery from COVID-19.

Fiji Rugby thanked the Australian Government's PacificAus Sports program for providing seed funding for the club's inclusion in Super Rugby Pacific.

The Fijian Drua will bring a new level of excitement to the competition, promising to play with high octane flair and skills that are uniquely Fijian.

The world has long known what our players are capable of. Our 7s teams have been doing it for years at the Olympics and World Rugby 7s Series. We now get the opportunity to do this week in, week out, in Super Rugby Pacific.

John O'Connor,

Fiji Rugby Union President

Q+A with Josephine Sukkar

Josephine Sukkar AM is an Australian business executive and Principal at Buildcorp. In 2021, she was appointed the first female Chair of Sport Australia. Here, she speaks with staff from DFAT's PacificAus Sports program about the future of sport in the region.

Josephine Sukkar AM

Q1: What contribution do Pacific players make to the Australian sports industry?

As a large Pacific nation, Australia has always taken pride in the participation of Pacific Islanders in the Australian sport ecosystem. The sense of family and community, the innate ability and skill of Pacific players, the warmth and participation. All of these factors help evolve the Australian sports industry and the community it serves. Through sport, Australians have come to better know and understand our Pacific neighbours.

Q2: Where do you see opportunities for growth?

Australia is keen to see the increased independence of Pacific sports and their participation on the global stage. I would love to see a Pacific sports tourism industry develop with visiting national teams and matches broadcast to the world. The secondary benefit to each country - restaurant visits, hotel bed nights - the broader economic benefit would be fabulous.

Q3: What advice do you have for Pacific sports companies seeking investment?

Assisting athletes and teams build their personal and collective ‘brand' will go a long way in attracting sponsors and investors. This makes them commercially valuable and sponsors will come. We see this all around the world with well-known athletes.

A cohesive marketing strategy for each team and athlete will help create “products” for executives of global brands. However, to be financially viable, everyone, both the team, athlete and sponsor will need to benefit for it to be sustainable.

Q4: How can Pacific teams and players best prepare for careers in sport internationally?

While athletes are still competing, they ought to consider what life after sport looks like. If they would like to remain in sport, they should reach out to the coaches, managers, administrators, medical staff to make a time to meet with them and discuss the type of roles that are possible.

Countdown to 2032:2021 Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors' Forum Special Edition

DFAT's Queensland State Office has again joined forces with the Office of the Pacific to participate in this year's Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors' Forum Special Edition. Pacific leaders from South Tarawa, Apia and Betio participated virtually from 8-10 September, joining over 700 physical and virtual delegates from 74 cities across the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Summit participants discussed challenges facing cities today and possible solutions. Keynote speakers included the Governor of Maryland and former Mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley, and Australia's three-time Paralympic gold medallist Kurt Fearnley AO.

The Summit provided a unique platform for city leaders to reconnect with business and industry leaders and discuss COVID-19 recovery and shared experiences. This included city tourism, as well as exchanges on how the urban landscape has been redefined. Brisbane also used the summit to showcase opportunities that will stem from hosting the 2032 Olympics.


2021APCS Special Edition Project Showcase on Olympic Legacy and Opportunities
2021APCS Special Edition Project Showcase on Olympic Legacy and Opportunities (Photo credit APCS Secretariat, Brisbane City Council)
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