2 Apr 2015

On foreign minister's tour, Australia looks to boost initiatives

7:46 pm on 2 April 2015

Australia's foreign minister says she hopes to introduce a range of initiatives to help boost the relationship between her country and the Pacific.

Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

Speaking in the Cook Islands, the latest stop on her regional tour, Julie Bishop says most of Australia's work with Cook Islands is done through New Zealand, and she hopes to build Australia's own bilateral relations.

She says she is looking at improving labour mobility and her country's seasonal workers programme, alongside a range of other initiatives.

"We have a Pacific patrol boat programme and our patrol boat programme is being upgraded and refurbished. Also trade and investment, we are one of the countries negotiating for the PACER Plus free trade agreement and the Prime Minister and I have discussed that today."

Julie Bishop says she is the first Australian foreign minister to visit the Cook Islands, and announced that Australian students will be visiting the country as party of the newly-launched Colombo Initiative.

Ms Bishop will travel to Tonga on Thursday night.