PRIME MINISTER: Good afternoon, everyone, and a very warm welcome to you, Prime Minister Kishida.
I want to thank you for joining us today.
It’s a great privilege to hold today’s Australia-Japan Annual Leaders’ Meeting with you, Prime Minister.
And in doing so, I acknowledge, of course, your predecessors, with whom I’ve also enjoyed a very good relationship, which has led to us together signing this important agreement today.
I’m sorry we could not be doing this in person, as I’m sure you are also, here in Australia, but I very much respect and understand the need for us both to be also very focused on the challenges that we are facing domestically to deal with the Omicron variant of COVID.
Japan is our closest partner in Asia, as demonstrated by our Special Strategic Partnership - Australia’s only such partnership.
An equal partnership of shared trust between two great democracies, committed to the rule of law, human rights, free trade, and a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister, today we demonstrate the strength of our bonds as we sign our Reciprocal Access Agreement, the first of its kind for Japan.
The RAA is a landmark treaty which opens a new chapter for advanced defence and security cooperation, in what is a complex and rapidly changing world, something you and I both understand very well.
This treaty, Prime Minister, will form an important part of Australia’s and Japan’s response to the uncertainty that we now face.
It will underpin greater and more complex engagement, interoperability and cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the Japanese Self-Defence Forces.
But we know our relationship is much more and much deeper than just about security issues.
And today I’m delighted to announce a $150 million AUD investment in clean hydrogen energy supply chain projects under the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation through Technology.
This will accelerate the development of an Australian export hydrogen industry which can be a supplier of choice for Japan and the region.
And when Osaka hosts the World Expo in 2025, Australia will be there to showcase the best of Australian ingenuity and innovation.
So Prime Minister, this is a pivotal moment for Australia and Japan and the prosperity and security of our two nations, our peoples and indeed our region, as well as that beacon of stability that our region requires - a free and open Indo-Pacific.
I thank you and invite you to make some opening remarks.