Stepping up trade and cultural ties in the Pacific

Media release
11 Oct 2019
Prime Minister

Recognising the strong cultural and economic significance that kava has for Pacific communities, including those living in Australia, the Australian Government is stepping up its commitment to the Pacific by launching a kava pilot program. 

During my visit to Vanuatu in January, I agreed to examine if and how Australia might ease some of the limitations on importation of kava into Australia. I also discussed this issue in Fiji earlier this year.

Today I was pleased to inform Prime Minister Bainimarama that as part of a pilot program, Australia will double the amount of kava that can be imported for personal use from two kilograms to four kilograms by the end of 2019.

Australia will also commence a pilot program for the commercial importation of kava by the end of 2020.

Australian officials have also advised Vanuatu and other Pacific partners of this discussion today.

This is a win for both Australia and our Pacific family.

In addition to greater access to kava in Australia, particularly for ceremonial and cultural purposes, the Pacific can soon expect new export opportunities to further maximise the growth potential of their own natural resources.

The Australian Government is committed to implementing a pilot that is respectful of states and territories’ regulatory role regarding domestic supply and use of kava and will work closely with state and territory governments on a pilot design that maximises the benefits for our Pacific family while securing strong social, cultural and health outcomes across Australia.

This will include consultation on robust monitoring and evaluation arrangements to be put in place.

The Australian Government is also committed to seeking input from communities, including Australia’s Pacific Islander communities, and businesses wishing to participate in the pilot.

The pilot program will be evaluated at its conclusion at the end of 2022.