Opening remarks - 2nd Pacific Exposition

  • Speech, check against delivery
28 October 2021

Excellencies and distinguished delegates, it is a pleasure to join you today.

I want to thank the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for organising the 2nd Pacific Exposition.

This event comes at a time that cooperation to boost trade and investment is more important than ever.

COVID-19 has had a deep and profound impact on health and economies across the region.

From a health perspective, many lives and communities have been hit hard. 

It's been an incredibly tough year for businesses and industries – navigating the uncertainty of lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, declines in revenue, and loss of clients.

and it's been a huge public policy task for governments to respond to – keeping health systems operating, ensuring people are safe and secure, supporting businesses and the economy, and rolling out vaccines.

Australia is committed to working cooperatively with the countries in the Pacific to address the trade and economic challenges of COVID-19.

This pandemic has shown us that we are only as healthy, prosperous, safe, and secure as our region.

As a region, we must get our health, economic, security and development settings right, so we can create the environment that fosters integration, engagement, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

That is why Australia is taking a holistic approach to supporting our region to be strong, secure, and prosperous.

We pivoted our development program to address the full spectrum of impacts from this pandemic.

From sharing vaccines and critical medical equipment, to supporting governments to continue social sector expenditure and avert fiscal crises, helping the most vulnerable including women, girls and the poorest communities, Australia's Partnerships for Recovery strategy is making a difference.

Australia has already shared more than 1.9 million vaccine with the Pacific nations, 2.2 million with Indonesia, and in June we pledged to share up to 15 million vaccine does with the Pacific and Timor Leste.

Despite the challenges, there is a lot of upside and opportunity in our region.

One of the best ways we can do that is to strengthen economic integration, empower business to create jobs, and get our economies growing again.

We are using every tool we have to encourage trade, investment, and business to flourish.

The entry into force of PACER Plus in December last year was a big step forward.

It provides a platform for greater economic integration, and to bolster more trade and investment in the Pacific.

PACER Plus complements existing Australian activities geared to assisting Pacific countries increase trade and attract investment.

I also welcome stronger cooperation between Australia and Indonesia, including to boost trade and investment in the Pacific.

The MOU between Indonesia and Australia on Trilateral Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries signed in September, reaffirms Australia's and Indonesia's commitment to develop trilateral cooperation between our two countries and Pacific partners in areas of mutual interest, to further support the development and economic prosperity of the region.

This forum – focussing on trade, investment, and creative economy – is an important opportunity to explore further cooperation to promote stronger trade and investment between our economies and support economic recovery.

I would like to thank all participants today and look forward to hearing the conclusions from your discussions on how we can work together on trade, investment, and creative economy issues to build a more resilient region.

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