Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will go to a forum for Pacific nations in Fiji as Australia can’t afford to “drop the ball”, despite flooding ravaging NSW. 

Speaking from Perth on Tuesday afternoon after arriving in Australia following a week-long Europe trip, Mr Albanese confirmed he would still attend the meeting with his regional counterparts. 

The prime minister said the Pacific Islands Forum, to be held in Suva next week, was an important event. 

“Australia cannot remain isolated from our national interests,” he said. 

He said his ministers were “doing their job” as he fulfilled duties overseas.

“This isn’t a one-person show. I have a very strong team that I am very proud of and will continue to do all of our jobs to the best of our capacity.” 

Mr Albanese said the security pact signed between China and the Solomon Islands in April showed what could happen when “Australia dropped the ball with engagement in the Pacific”. 

It follows criticism that Mr Albanese has spent too much time abroad, and has been missing in action since NSW began flooding. 

Mr Albanese will visit devastated communities on Wednesday. 

“For those people who might like to say of the events I have attended on behalf of Australia, that I should not have attended, I have not had a day off a very long period of time,” he said. 

He has spent the past week in Europe, and made his first stop in Spain for the NATO summit, where Australia was invited for the first time in a group called the “Asia-Pacific Four” alongside New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

Mr Albanese then visited French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to repair the relationship between the two nations, before travelling to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Touring Ukraine on Sunday, Mr Albanese announced Australia would boost its military aid by $100 million in support of the war-torn country.

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor was critical of the prime minister’s focus.

“Whilst Anthony Albanese has been circumnavigating the globe he hasn’t been able to deliver an economic plan,” Mr Taylor told reporters in Canberra.