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PM’s Australia tour financed by Aussie taxpayers

Wednesday 15 June 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in National, Politics

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PM’s Australia tour financed by Aussie taxpayers
Prime Minister Mark Brown with Senator Penny Wong. Photo: Supplied

Prime Minister Mark Brown’s four day Australia trip was bankrolled by Australia taxpayers.

As well as Brown, Tepaeru Herrmann secretary of foreign affairs and immigration confirmed the delegation included herself, Brown’s wife Daphne, Akaiti Puna, Police Commissioner Turepu James Keenan and finance and economic management secretary Garth Henderson.

“All costs relating to PM Brown’s itinerary and engagements in Australia have been covered by the Australian Government,” Herrmann said.

Cook Islands News asked how much the trip cost and why the Australian Government covered the costs, these questions were not answered by the time the newspaper went to print.

Herrmann said at the start of the trip on June 10, Brown was in Perth where he met with Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan.

He also met with the presiding officers of Western Australia Parliament and attended the handover of the Te Kukupa II which included signing an exchange agreement with Minister for Defence Matt Keogh.

On June 11, still in Perth, Brown had lunch with the crew of Te Kukupa II. Brown also attended an AFL game at Optus Stadium and met with the Cook Islands community in Western Australia.

On June 12, in Adelaide, Brown met with Foreign Minister Penny Wong and on June 13 in Sydney he met with newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Brown also met with the Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy and the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen.

Herrmann said discussions were about the Cook Islands Covid-19 recovery which included transport links, infrastructure investment, minerals development and digital transformation.

Pacific regional issues were also discussed, which included the Pacific Islands Forum unity, regional security, economic recovery, climate change and the ocean.