During her day visit to Niue on Wednesday last week Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Penny Wong announced the 2.4 million Australian dollars critical infrastructure support to replace and repair Niue’s existing water supply infrastructure.
In an interview with BCN News Minister Wong said that Australia is now looking towards a new chapter of engagement with Niue and this water and sanitation project is an example of this new chapter.
“We want to partner with Niue with things that matter to you. One of the projects that we are really pleased we managed to finalise is the sanitation and water project to deliver safe drinking water cause I know people have had to boil water alot lately.”
“We have finalised today in terms of the delivery of that funding with the Premier and the Cabinet. I think that is an example of this sort of practical operation in accordance with your priorities that the Australian government wants to engage,” says Minister Wong.
The water sanitation project will contribute to increasing operational efficiencies, reducing costs, and ensuring Niueans have access to safe drinking water.
The sanitation component will involve the construction of a treatment system, protecting the groundwater lens and nearshore fisheries.
In a press release Premier Tagelagi says the people of Niue are very grateful for Australia’s support to provide a world class water and sanitation system.
“Water is life and improving water quality and the means to better treat waste on our island which will enhance and improve the wellbeing for every person on Niue.”
Premier Tagelagi says that “this support from Australia will make a significant difference and everyone on Niue says thank you.”
While on the island, Minister Penny Wong also officially commissioned BCN’s new ABC satellite dish bringing ABC content back to TV Niue.
The minister was also able to see first hand the damages to the BCN studios destroyed by fire in May 2020. The BCN station was built with funding from the Australian government and officially opened 27 years ago.
Minister Penny Wong was also able to briefly see the near complete new power station at Tuila before joining Premier Dalton Tagelagi at the soft opening of the Niue Waste management and recycling plant at Hikufenoga in Tamakautoga.
“It’s really genuinely a great pleasure to be here for the soft opening of this recycling facility. Australians are practical people. So we want to work with Niue on your priorities. Some people might think waste is not such a glamorous issue but we all know what happens if you don’t do well with waste. Waste management is critical to community health, it’s critical to making sure that you don’t spoil your beautiful country but it’s also so important for our oceans,” says Minister Wong.
Australia’s Foreign minister said that the discussions on waste management has been an on-going between the two countries since 2016 and shows Australia’s commitment to contributing to the practical needs of Niue and the ultimate protection of the environment and the ocean.