Well thank you very, very much Ambassador.

And welcome to you all, to what has become an annual event hosted by Australia.

This is the 8th Pacific Reception, and it is great to see so many of you here in this room called the Starboard Room!

And of course you can just look around, it is a very nautical theme and I think very much in keeping with the seafaring nature of so many of the countries that are here today.

Can I start by thanking all of you for coming, and of course this is [ADB's] 50th Anniversary.

Ambassador, thank you to you, and to Mrs Court for joining us here this evening.

Since I was at this event last year, I have really had the enormous privilege of visiting so many parts of the wonderful Pacific Ocean.

It is just amazing, and for those countries where I have not had the opportunity yet to visit - I look forward to doing so in the coming months.

We had a very successful Pacific Island Forum in September last year, in Pohnpei.

I think that that meeting, and meetings like we are here at the ADB, really highlight the strength, not only our friendships, but of the commitment that we have to the stability and the economic progress and growth in our region.

The ADB certainly has an important presence in the Pacific.

We also look forward to not only the work that we are doing here, but I think that the merger that has occurred from the Fund and the OCR, will mean that there will be considerable more funding available to the Pacific which I think is very important, particularly given the challenges that so many of our Pacific Island nations play.

So I think it is really good that they will have a greater role in the Pacific, and for those of you who participated in the constituency meeting today, I think that as we drill down to the nuts and bolts of what that presence means, I think it is going to all go very, very well for all of us here.

Australia has a very strong commitment to the ADB.

We are the fifth largest shareholder, we are the third largest donor to the Asian Development Fund, and we have been there since its inception.

I think the increased allocations will translate into tangible benefits, and certainly improve the standard of living for so many more people in the Pacific.

We encourage the ADB to forge stronger and greater relationships with so many people here in this room, and I am really pleased that so many representatives of the Pacific - to my Pacific ministerial colleagues, to the representatives from different countries - really important to participate at this meeting and I am really pleased that you could join us here tonight.

We have a shared objective.

We want a stronger, we want a secure, and we want a stable Pacific Ocean, where the prosperity of the people of the Pacific is paramount.

I am very pleased to be, not just Minister for International Development, Minister for the Pacific.

And can I on a personal note thank the many of you, whom I have got to know over this year, and for your friendship and for the hospitality and the warmth that you have extended to me as I have visited.

And also I look forward to welcoming you to Australia as you come through, and as I have said to many of you, please, even if it is only just dropping in for a cup of coffee at the airport, very, very happy to catch up!

So again, thank you and please enjoy the hospitality.

Thank you very much.

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