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Australia appoints acting High Commissioner

Monday 6 December 2021 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Economy, National


Australia appoints acting High Commissioner
Acting High Commissioner Jane Edquist, right, with other guests at the launching of the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Programme in the Cook Islands last week. 21120510

The decision to open our borders to Australia should be a decision of Cook Islands government, says the acting Australian High Commissioner to the Cook Islands.

Acting Australian High Commissioner, Jane Edquist says it’s wonderful to be in Rarotonga for her close to six-week stay.

Edquist who is filling in for the Cook Islands Australian High Commissioner, Dr Christopher Watkins while he is in Australia, said she will be keeping his seat warm.

“It’s wonderful to be here and I’m looking forward to head out diving and sailing when I can,” she said.

A significant part of Edquist’s background is in environmental policy and work relating to climate change.

Her most recent deployment outside of Australia ended six months ago, where she was in Port Moresby, helping the Australian government deploy a fibre optic cable.

Edquist grew up in Canberra where both of her parents worked for the Australian government.

She studied to become a Marine Biologist but changed tune after deciding spending hours in the lab by herself was not her cup of tea.

“I loved the field work, I didn’t really enjoy some of the other aspects of science,” she said.

Edquist moved into environmental policy, working in biosecurity for the Australian department of Agriculture and got a taste for international work.

“I thought this international work is fun and interesting, so I joined Aus Aid to do sustainable development.”

Edquist then moved into climate change work in Australia’s pacific programme.

“The Pacific has always been such a terrific strong voice for climate action and we saw that recently at COP.

“I know Prime Minister Brown was not able to attend but the way the pacific community comes together on climate change has always been hugely valuable in terms of creating that momentum.”

Edquist said she won’t be setting up new activities while being here, due to her short stint but said she would be keeping in touch about the Australian, Cook Islands border situation.

“From our point of view we’re definitely a little bit in Cook Islands governments hands at the moment,” she said.

“So noting that Omicron is changing everything again, Australia is working towards opening our borders to the world, meaning the travel from Cook Islands to Australia should be simplified.

“Traveling the other way should be a decision of Cook Islands government.”