Stepping-up Australia’s engagement in the Pacific

Group photo of Pacific nation leaders.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull MP (front row, far left) with fellow-leaders at the 2017 Pacific Islands Forum in Apia, Samoa on 8 September 2017.

At the 2016 Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting in Pohnpei, the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, committed to a 'step-change' in Australia's engagement with the Pacific. At this year's Forum Leaders' Meeting on 8 September in Apia, Samoa, the Prime Minister delivered on that promise, announcing a range of measures to strengthen Australia's engagement with the Pacific, including through:

  • stronger partnerships for economic growth
  • stronger partnerships for security
  • stronger relationships between our people.

Read more: Stepping-up Australia's engagement in the Pacific

As the Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, said during a speech in Suva on 12 August 2017, "Together these goals are one of Australia's highest priorities, and will be a central feature of our foreign policy white paper, which will be released later this year".

Malcolm Turnbull and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells walking on grass.
The Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, and the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, pictured at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting, in Apia, Samoa on 8 September 2017.

The step-up responds to the significant long-term challenges faced by our partners in the Pacific, including: climate change and responding to natural disasters; sustaining economic growth and boosting education, skills and jobs for growing populations; gender equality and recognising the essential role of women in achieving better development outcomes; and the threat of major disease outbreak and tackling transnational crime. Australia's step up in engagement builds on and leverages our development assistance to the region of $1.1 billion in the Pacific in 2017–18.

Malcolm Turnbull and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells speaking outside.

During a press conference with the Prime Minister at this year’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Apia, Samoa on 8 September, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Minister for International Development and the Pacific said, “Australia's highest priority … is the stability, security and prosperity of the Pacific. After the defence of Australia, that is our highest priority”.

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Last Updated: 21 September 2017