Making Australia stronger and more influential in a contested world
- Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Albanese Government is boosting Pacific security and defence, supporting critical infrastructure across our region, expanding the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme, and increasing Australia's Official Development Assistance to the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
The comprehensive suite of measures deliver and build on what Australians voted for, and will significantly bolster the nation's competitiveness, security and relationships at a time of global uncertainty.
Investments include $900 million over four years from 2022-23 to increase support to the Pacific family's development and resilience.
More than $147 million over four years will advance Pacific security and engagement priorities including the continuing AFP deployment in Solomon Islands, an Australia- Pacific Defence School and training for defence and security forces, and upgrading aerial surveillance. The Government will expand the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's services and partnerships in the region, to ensure more Australian voices are heard across the region.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will also be funded to support the development of key economic sectors.
There will be more support for infrastructure investment in the Pacific and Timor- Leste through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific. This increases the Facility from $3.5 billion to $4 billion to support grant and loan packages, and additional funding to DFAT to strengthen project and risk management capabilities.
Financing packages will also be provided through the Facility for the Timor-Leste Airport Facilities project to support construction of airport related infrastructure, and for the Fiji Transport Infrastructure Restoration project to maintain and rehabilitate major bridges and roads in Fiji.
The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme is being expanded and improved, and a new Pacific Engagement Visa will be created for up to 3,000 nationals of Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste each year to permanently migrate to Australia.
Additionally, the Government is increasing ODA for Southeast Asia by $470 million, as well as deepening Australia's Southeast Asia capability by establishing an Office of Southeast Asia within DFAT.
This will ensure whole-of-government coordination of Australian efforts in the region, and develop a Southeast Asia economic strategy to 2040.
Quotes attributable to Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs:
The Albanese Government is working to make Australia a partner of choice for the countries of our region, to ensure our shared security, our shared economic strength and to shape the world for the better.
“The Budget is a major step towards the goal of making Australia stronger and more influential in the world.
“Our assistance will help our regional partners become more economically resilient, develop critical infrastructure and provide their own security so there is less need to call on others.”
Attributable to the Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific:
“The Albanese Government is bringing new energy and resources to the Pacific to help build a stronger and more united Pacific family, and a more secure region.
“Our additional investment in Australia's Official Development Assistance will be the biggest increase over four years since 2011-12 and follows a decade of Liberal cuts.
“It will advance Australia's interests by tackling poverty and supporting stability, prosperity and security in our region.
“And by improving and expanding Pacific labour mobility we will support Australian employers facing skills shortages and Pacific economies still struggling with the aftermath of COVID.”
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