Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific visits; Supreme Court ruling in conspiracy case due

Australian Senator Fierravanti-Wells visited the Malampa handicraft centre in Lakatoro today and saw how Australian aid has assisted women in small business on Malekula. Photo: Australian Govt/Twitter

Australian Senator Fierravanti-Wells visited the Malampa handicraft centre in Lakatoro today to view how Australian aid is assisting women in small business on Malekula. Photo: Australian Govt/Twitter

The Australian High Commission has announced the visit of the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells to Vanuatu this week. The Minister will see first-hand the impact of Australia’s response to Cyclone Pam which has provided a commitment of A$35 million for long-term recovery supporting livelihoods, rebuilding critical infrastructure and restoring health and educational facilities. Minister Fierravanti-Wells is on Malekula today meeting with organisations concerned with addressing gender-based violence in the community.

The Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling in the conspiracy case later today. Lawyers have been making their final submissions this morning. Among the former MPs already serving three-year-plus sentences for bribery, only Moana Carcasses, Serge Vohor and Steven Kalsakau are not implicated in the conspiracy case. The penalty for conspiracy is seven years. (Vanuatu Indigenous Watch)

The Government has been critical of the sales of Chinese items which are sold by vendors to tourists on holidays. Governments have in the past expressed their concern, and the present administration is looking at ways in which stakeholders could stop the outwards flow of vatu from such sales. Director of Tourism George Borugu told Radio Vanuatu that every year a considerable amount of money which could be spent on local artefacts is being lost to Vanuatu. (Radio Vanuatu)

The Vanuatu Opposition wants to study more closely the Australian “shadow cabinet” system. They are intending to submit a proposal for the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, together with the Opposition Whip and the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, to study the role of the “shadow cabinet” in Australia. (Daily Post)

Vanuatu is hosting a conference of regional archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Churches of the Pacific and especially Melanesia. Head of State, the Rev Fr Baldwin Lonsdale, attended a welcome service at the Tagabe Anglican Church on Sunday. (Daily Post)

Vanuatu has released its first survey report on disability fulfilling UN and local policies concerned with persons with disability. The survey details the extent to which persons with disability are marginalised. Sites in Shefa and Tafea provided the evidence. Justice Minister Warsal saw a particular need for the survey at this time. He said “The links between diabetes and disability are strong. NCDs can lead to disability and people with disabilities have also been shown to be at a higher risk of becoming infected with other health issues such as HIV.” (Daily Post)