Getting urgently needed COVID-19 supplies to Fiji
- Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific
The Morrison Government has helped arrange the delivery of urgently needed stocks of medical-grade ethanol to Fiji. The ethanol is used in COVID-19 testing kits.
Working with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Australian family-owned Manildra Group has responded to an urgent request by Fijian Centre for Disease Control for ethanol.
The shipment touched down in Nadi on 22 April, with Australian officials on the ground working with Fiji Customs to ensure a smooth import process.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan congratulated Manildra Group for its quick response and said the humanitarian value of the exercise far outweighed the cost of the goods and airfreight.
“The efforts of the Morrison Government and Manildra Group to support our Pacific neighbours demonstrates the strength of the relationships between Australian exporters and international partners, especially in the agri-business space,” Mr Tehan said.
“Our Government is committed to assisting Australian exporters to diversify and expand their export markets and we are also dedicated to assisting our closest neighbours as they respond to this pandemic.”
Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said Australia is supporting Fiji as they work to contain a current rise in case numbers.
“A batch of 10,000 Australian made vaccines touched down on a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flight last night along with more than two tonnes of medical supplies to bolster Fiji's COVID-19 response,” Minister Seselja said.
“Australia and Fiji share an unbreakable bond. As vuvale, we have supported each other as we have faced great challenges, and the fight against COVID-19 is no different.”
“Partnering with Australian exporters like Manildra Group complements our ongoing support, including strengthening Fiji's COVID-19 testing capabilities, and providing $55 million in direct budget support to the Fijian Government for its COVID-19 response.”
Australian-owned Manildra Group – established in 1952 – is Australia's leading producer of ethanol, among its other diverse agribusiness operations and said they were committed to regional development, currently employing more than 1,000 people across regional Australia.
Manildra Group Managing Director John Honan said he was delighted to support the Pacific's COVID-19 response, thanks to Manildra Group's positive and productive relationship with Austrade, and a long-held company commitment to helping others.
“We were pleased to move quickly providing our Australian-made ethanol to protect the community health of Fijians, as part of our company's response to the pandemic,” Mr Honan said.
“As a major exporter of Australian made food and industrial products, Austrade has been integral in helping us expand internationally by facilitating connections, and providing exceptional market knowledge, advice and support.”
Manildra Group said it is also currently ramping up an innovative, integrated production process of ethanol at the Shoalhaven Starches site in Nowra, NSW which is poised to create jobs and positive economic outcomes for a coastal region on the path to recovery from the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on the Agri-Business Expansion Initiative, visit https://www.austrade.gov.au/news/news/agri-business-expansion-initiative