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Productive forum between Tongan Government delegation and Tongan Community ushers in the Holy Week

15 April 2019 | Sulien Layt | Pasifika Media

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA: Holy Week 2019 was ushered in with a productive forum between members of the Brisbane Tongan Community and a Tongan Government delegation.

Tongan Prime Minister Hon. Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva was represented by Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet from the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Edgar Cocker, together with Deputy Secretary Ms ‘Ofa Finau.

Members of the Tongan community in Brisbane with Chief Secretary to Cabinet from the Office of the Prime Minister in the Kingdom of Tonga, Mr Edgar Cocker and Deputy Secretary, Ms 'Ofa Finau

Both delegates were in the Sunshine State capital to attend a meeting of regional Cabinet Secretaries from throughout the Pacific and utilised the opportunity to engage with the diaspora in Queensland.

The agenda set by the delegates comprised of:

  1. Public sector system reform;

  2. Informal Sector Development;

  3. Combat and address the impacts of illicit drugs;

  4. Improve beautification programme;

  5. Support Energy Sector;

  6. Digital Government Framework (e-Government);

  7. Health, Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), communicable diseases (CDs) and universal health coverage;

  8. Quality education;

  9. Land Administration.

Held at the Tongan Uniting Church at Highgate Hill, Brisbane Tongan Community (BTC) Vice President Rev. Suli Helu opened the forum, acknowledging the beginning of Holy Week and thanking the delegation for wanting to meet with the growing Tongan community in South-East Queensland.

“Drugs continues to be a huge problem back home and we need to be reassured that the government has a tactical plan to deal with not only the drug syndicates, but the root of the problem causing our people to turn to drug abuse in the first place,” said community member, Mrs Toakase Layt.

Mrs Sela Fonua added, “the Tongan economy never seems to grow and businesses come and go. It’s good to know that the government are encouraging investment in Tonga’s small economy.”

The delegation departed Brisbane the following day en route to New Zealand to pay a courtesy visit to the Honourable Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva who is receiving medical treatment in Auckland before continuing onto the Kingdom of Tonga later in the week.

For more information regarding the Tongan Government’s agenda for economic development, visit their website at

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