The Federal Government has committed to delivering a $2 billion infrastructure initiative to the Pacific.
The government said it would establish the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, a $2 billion infrastructure initiative to significantly boost Australia’s support for infrastructure development in Pacific countries and Timor-Leste.
In addition, it will deliver an extra $1 billion in callable capital to Efic, Australia’s export financing agency. This will complement a new, more flexible infrastructure financing power to support investments in the region that the government said will have a broad national benefit for Australia.
The announcement comes amid concerns about China’s influence in the Pacific. This week, the Victorian Government also released the details of an infrastructure deal it signed with China, relating to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Other initiatives in the Pacific funding announced include the Seasonal Workers Programme, and Pacific Labour Scheme to the support for Lombrum Naval Base and new Pacific Patrol Boats.
The government said it wants to partner with Pacific islands to build a Pacific region that is secure strategically, stable economically and sovereign politically.
Building on a long history of Australian defence, police and border management cooperation across the region, and in line with the Boe Declaration adopted by Pacific leaders at the 2018 Pacific Islands Forum, the government said it would also enhance its security cooperation.
In addition to the government’s Australia Pacific Security College and Fusion Centre, which will address gaps in training and information sharing in the Pacific, a new Pacific faculty at the Australian Institute of Police Management will train the next generation of police leadership in the Pacific.
The Defence Force will work with partners to build interoperability to respond together to common security challenges, including through the establishment of a new ADF Pacific Mobile Training Team.
This government has also made an agreement with Fiji to redevelop the Blackrock Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Camp into a regional hub for police and peacekeeping training and pre-deployment preparation.
Better economic infrastructure in Pacific nations is also expected to contribute to stronger growth, not only in their countries but across our region, including in Australia.