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Reception to recognise 'Change Makers' - Samoa

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Talofa lava and good evening, everyone.

It is a great delight for Linda and me to be in Samoa and to experience the incredible warmth of Samoan hospitality.

The ties that bind our nations are more than just diplomatic and economic; they are rooted in deep and abiding bonds between our peoples.

The Samoan community in Australia has enriched our society in countless ways, bringing with them a vibrant culture, a strong work ethic and an unwavering commitment to community.

Similarly, I know that Australians who live and work in Samoa have made equally valuable contributions to Samoan society.

Tonight's theme, ‘Change-makers’ is particularly apt.

The theme both acknowledges the many extraordinary contributions of Samoans and underscores the enduring people-to-people connections between Samoa and Australia.

Our two nations have a long history of friendship and cooperation, built on shared values, mutual respect, and a common vision for a better future.

‘Change-makers’ — the very phrase resonates with a profound sense of possibility and purpose. It reminds us that each of us has the power to make a difference.

We all have the ability to leave a positive impact through our work, our actions in the community and our aspirations.

We all have within us the potential to be change-makers.

While watching the videos earlier, I was reminded that change-makers are not limited by borders or boundaries.

They transcend the confines of geography and reach out to embrace the world.

Australia is proud to invest in supporting local change-makers in telling their remarkable stories.

So, I am pleased to say that you will be seeing more of these videos on local free-to-air television in the coming months.

I want to recognise the Australia Awards alumni here with us tonight — change-makers who are making a mark in our collective efforts to respond to climate change.

Their efforts to protect and preserve our planet remind us that the fight against climate change knows no borders.

It is a global challenge that requires collaboration and collective action.

The knowledge and experiences gained by them through the Australia Awards program have empowered them to become leaders in their respective fields, advocating for sustainable practices, developing innovative solutions, and inspiring others to join the cause.

That said, it is important to remember that we also need to look to traditional knowledge for solutions to address the profound challenges of today.

The traditional owners of our lands and oceans have long been its custodians, so we must look to them for their insights and guidance — for their leadership — as we navigate a future filled with uncertainty.

In this spirit of collaboration and change, I’d like to highlight the artworks that the Australian Government and people of Australia gifted to Samoa a few weeks ago to celebrate your nation’s journey of Independence.

These remarkable artworks are the result of a collaboration between First Nations Australians and Samoan artists, a true celebration of the power of unity and creative exchange.

Each piece is a testament to the deep connection between First Nations Australian and Samoan cultures.

This collaboration between artists from different lands reminds us of the strength and transformative power of working together.

It is through collaboration that we can truly become change-makers, transcending boundaries and making a lasting impact on the world around us.

As we honour the change-makers amongst us tonight, let us remember that the power to affect change resides in each of us.

Let us strive to leave a positive impact through our actions, no matter how big or small.

Let us cherish and nurture the enduring bonds between Samoa and Australia.

Fa'afetai tele lava [Thank you very much.]