Today senior officials and defence representatives from Australia, France and New Zealand are meeting in Sydney to discuss the France, Australia and New Zealand (FRANZ) humanitarian partnership.

The FRANZ partnership has been supporting coordination between the three partners and with Pacific governments on humanitarian responses to natural disasters in the region for 25 years. 

I witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of the partnership following Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji in 2016, when Australia, France and New Zealand delivered significant defence and aid support to the Government of Fiji which helped restore services, rebuild infrastructure and repair livelihoods.

The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper commits Australia to step up our efforts to support a more resilient Pacific.  This includes working with Pacific countries to strengthen their capacity to effectively lead and coordinate disaster preparedness and response efforts.  We also remain committed to assisting Pacific Governments and communities when required.

Today FRANZ partners are discussing practical ways to support Pacific governments as they strengthen their disaster preparedness and response systems.  They will also discuss a set of guiding principles that reflect growing national capacities within the region to lead disaster responses.

Australia is chairing the FRANZ partnership for the next two years.  I thank the Government of France for its leadership during its tenure as chair.

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