Media Statement - Perth

Media statement
22 Oct 2022
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Australia; bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Kishida; Australia’s relationship with Japan; floods on the East Coast of Australia; Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation; critical minerals; net zero by 2050; Japanes

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Well, thanks very much, Prime Minister Kishida. Once again, welcome to Australia.

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet. I pay my respects to be elders past, present and emerging.

I have also asked permission from the Prime Minister to make initial comments about the tragic events that are unfolding on the East Coast of Australia.

Flood warnings now stretch continuously from Queensland to Victoria and extend into Tasmania. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the five people who have died in flood waters in Victoria and in New South Wales.

From tonight, three helicopters are on standby for night search and rescue in New South Wales, and a further 150 Australian Defence Force personnel will be on helping. 100 of them in northern New South Wales and 50 on standby in the Hunter. 350 ADF personnel are now on the ground helping in Victoria.

My Government will continue to work with the states and territories. And we stand ready to support those Australians who are suffering the most.

From next week, additional help will be available for Tasmanian small business and producers. Grants of up to $25,000 will be available in 17 local government areas, including an upfront payment of $2,500.

I will continue to work with Premier Rockliff in Tasmania as well as the premiers of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland as we deal with the challenging times ahead.

Information about eligibility and how to apply will be available in the coming days through ourselves and the Tasmanian Government.

As of Friday, more than $14.6 million in disaster assistance has been provided to some 18,000 people impacted by floods in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

Can I give my heartfelt thanks to Defence Force personnel, to the emergency service workers and to the volunteers, who are showing once again that at the worst of times, we see the best of the Australian character.

We see Australians helping each other out in a time of crisis. And we see, in some examples as well, Australians putting themselves at risk in order to help their fellow Australians.

I do say to Australians in these areas – please follow the advice.

If you are asked to evacuate, please do so. Do not drive through flood waters. It is dangerous. You do not know what is below what you can't see.

So, I ask people to continue to take the advice of the experts and to please stay safe. That is the most important thing. Nothing is worth the risk involved.

And I again reiterate my thanks, my praise and my gratitude to those people who are providing that assistance on the ground on such a large area of Australia.

Can I say that it is a great honour to welcome the Prime Minister here to Australia.

It is our fourth meeting in just my five months as Prime Minister. It is the first time that a Prime Minister of Japan has visited Australia since His Excellency Shinzo Abe was here in 2018.

I was grateful to pay my respects at Mr Abe’s funeral held last month along with the three former Australian Prime Ministers – Prime Minister Howard, Prime Minister Turnbull, Prime Minister Abbott. It said a lot about Shinzo Abe's stature, but also the depth of Australia’s friendship with Japan.

So too does our relationship that we are very much developing a close friendship between us.

I will never forget winning an election on the 21 May and I was in Tokyo on the 23 May for the Quad Meeting that was so successful. It was fitting that my first overseas visit was to Japan.

Australia’s relationship with Japan is one of our most mature and enduring.

Our Special Strategic Partnership with Japan is unique. Our trade, investment and travel links are strong. Our cooperation goes from strength to strength, on everything from education, to climate, to defence, to space exploration.

As well as stability and solidarity, there is warmth and trust and respect in this relationship. Our affinity is in our common desire for a peaceful, prosperous, resilient and secure Indo-Pacific. Where democracy and human rights are upheld, the rule of law prevails, and disputes are settled peaceably, without coercion.

Australian people and Japanese people hold these values dearly and they were at the heart of our Annual Leaders’ Meeting this morning.

This shared vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is peaceful, prosperous, resilient and free is why today we have signed a renewed Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation.

Following our Reciprocal Access Agreement in 2022, this landmark Declaration sends a strong signal to the region of our strategic alignment.

Our commitment to consult each other on contingencies is a natural step in our efforts to support the security and stability of our region. It shows the responsibility we share for security in our region and towards one another.

As part of our increased security partnership, we also welcome today the announcement that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will train and exercise in northern Australia with the Australian Defence Force.

One of the greatest security challenges for our region – and our world - is climate change.

But it also presents an extraordinary opportunity to shape our future by seizing the opportunity of renewable energy, and the possibilities it opens up for new jobs and industries.

Both our countries are committed to net zero by 2050, and to working with the Quad and other groups to advance renewable energy technologies.

I know Prime Minister Kishida is as hopeful as I am about what we can achieve together.

This morning, we spoke at length about how Australia and Japan can do more to ensure access to affordable, reliable and secure energy in the Indo-Pacific as we move to a net zero world.

I expressed Australia’s support for Prime Minister Kishida’s personal initiative, the Asia Zero Emissions Community - AZEC.

AZEC will be a great galvanising force in the region: promoting decarbonisation in Southeast Asia, and uniting all of our efforts towards net zero.

When it comes to taking action on climate change, we are all part of a bigger community, and we can do more together than we can do as individual countries.

We talked this morning about Australia’s special role in supporting Japan’s energy security, which we’ve had since the first Commerce Agreement was signed in 1957.

We have a long history of supplying resources – such as LNG – to Japan, and this trade will continue, with West Australian playing a key role.

But as we look to the future, we see real opportunity in the export of renewables, including hydrogen, to Japan, helping both our nations achieve our emissions reduction goals. 

Today, we have also signed a Critical Minerals Partnership.

We’ve committed to more cooperation to strengthen the supply chain of critical minerals, including those that are required for building the green technologies of the future.

This Partnership will mean we build secure supply chains, promote investment, develop Australia’s domestic sector and make sure Japan’s advanced manufacturers have the critical minerals they need.

We are also looking further afield – about as far afield as you can go.

Japan has asked for our cooperation in one of the most daring space missions ever attempted.

JAXA, Japan’s space agency, is planning to touch down on Phobos, one of the moons of Mars, and collect samples that might tell us more than we’ve ever known about the birth of our solar system.

The request from Japan is for the spacecraft, nicknamed MMX, to land in Woomera in South Australia with its precious samples when it returns to Earth in 2029.

I am pleased to confirm that Australia has, once again, said yes.

We’re proud to take part in this world-first mission

To me it’s an extraordinary example of how far Australia and Japan have come, and how far we can go.

Prime Minister Kishida, welcome once again to Australia.

It’s such an enormous personal pleasure to return your hospitality and express in person Australia’s deep and sincere regard for Japan and its people

Thank you.

HIS EXCELLENCY FUMIO KISHIDA, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN (TRANSLATION): First of all, at the beginning, on the East Coast of Australia, that there has been major disaster damage. I do express my condolences to these disasters, many have lost their lives. I expressed my deepest condolences. And to all the people by the disaster, I do pray for their safety. With the effort of people, I sincerely hope that there will be the recovery as quickly as possible.

Having said that, I am very grateful for the kind invitation by Prime Minister Albanese to the beautiful city of Perth.

Perth is the place that symbolises the history of Japan-Australia relationship that started with our trade in iron ore, and has been the cornerstone of our ties since then.

On the passing of the former Prime Minister Abe in July, messages of condolence have poured in from your country, there were light-ups across the country and such exceptional kindness and consideration were expressed by the people of Australia.

At the state funeral last month, Anthony and three former Prime Ministers kindly attended.

On behalf of the people of Japan, I express my heartfelt gratitude.

Today, before the Leader’s Meeting, I had a tête-à-tête meeting with Anthony in terms of security and defence cooperation, collaboration towards a free and open Indo-Pacific, on our cooperation in the areas of resources and energy.

In view of such unparalleled close ties and bonds between Japan and Australia, we concurred that our Special Strategic Partnership has risen to a new and higher level.

As one of the largest achievements of this visit, together with Anthony, I have just signed the renewed Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation.

Japan and Australia sharing fundamental values and strategic interest have come under the increasingly harsh strategic environment. We have developed a framework of cooperation, logistical support and operation, and have expanded our security and defence cooperation.

This renewed Declaration, based on the above-mentioned firm foundation, will charge the direction of our security and defence cooperation in the next 10 years.

This Declaration confirms that in the event of emergencies that may influence interest in terms of regional security, we will consult and study possible responses, and is of significant substance that will further deepen our security and defence cooperation.

Furthermore, I expressed my determination that all necessary options for the defence of our country, including the so-called counterstrike capability would become contemplated and Japan's defence capability will be fundamentally reinforced in the next five years, which is supported by Anthony.

We, once again, reaffirmed our agreement that Japan and Australia will service the core of like-minded countries collaboration in the Indo-Pacific, that we will leverage the endeavour such as the Quad in a multilayered manner, and indeed, the efforts towards a free and open Indo-Pacific.

I expressed my firm support and cooperation for the Quad Summit meeting to be hosted by Anthony next year.

Furthermore, on the issues such as the situation in Ukraine, North Korea, that continues provocations, East and South China Seas that are becoming increasingly harsh, the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, support for the Pacific Island nations or the CPTPP, we had in-depth discussions.

The common recognitions shared between ourselves are indicated in the joint statement.

Anthony and I are deeply committed to nuclear disarmament.

Russia's recent rhetoric of possible use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine is deeply concerning. Russia's act of threatening the use of nuclear weapons is a serious threat to the peace and security of the international community and absolutely unacceptable.

It goes without saying that its use should never occur under any circumstances.

The 77 years of history since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, during which no nuclear weapons have been used must not be ended.

If nuclear weapons were ever used, that would be an act of hostility against humanity.

I once again stress that the international community will never allow such an act.

Australia is Japan's largest supplier of energy, including LNG and coal. And Western Australia is of particular importance to Japan's energy security.

The importance of resources and energy security has increased due to the situation in Ukraine and other factors.

And I have agreed with Anthony to further develop cooperation in this area between Australia and Japan.

As part of this, we welcome the progress being made between our two countries in the decarbonisation sector, which is a frontier for Australia-Japan economic cooperation.

And in particular, a number of related projects such as hydrogen, ammonia critical minerals, stable supply of critical minerals is also an agenda for strategic cooperation between like-minded countries.

What was signed earlier, the partnership concerning critical minerals, through this, I look forward to further strengthening our relationship in this area.

The strengthening of Australia Japan Special Strategic Partnership will play an important role in promoting peace and stability, not only between our two countries, but also in the region and the international community.

From such a perspective, I am determined to work hand-in-hand with Anthony to further strengthen the bonds of the Australia-Japan relationship.

Finally, I am very pleased to see that the friendship between our two countries' private sector is growing much stronger in Japan.

We have eased entry restrictions and resumed visa waivers with respective countries, including Australia from this month.

I hope that Australians will come to demand and enjoy the delicacies of the Japanese winter and skiing in the beautiful snow-capped mountains.

Thank you very much.