The Pacific


Stepping-up Australia’s Pacific engagement

Australia’s step-up in engagement with the Pacific is one of the highest priorities of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, launched on 23 November 2017.

The White Paper commits Australia to a more ambitious and intensified engagement in the Pacific to support a more resilient region, recognising that closer cooperation among Pacific countries is essential to the long-term economic and security prospects of the region.

Reflecting the White Paper’s ambition, Australia committed at the 2017 and 2018 Pacific Island Forum Leaders' Meetings to a range of measures which will strengthen Australia's engagement with the Pacific, including:

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

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, developing skills and jobs for growing populations; pursuing gender equality and recognising the essential role of women in achieving better development outcomes; preventing major disease outbreak and tackling transnational crime. Australia’s Step up in engagement builds on our development assistance to the region of $1.3 billion.

On 8 November, Prime Minister Morrison announced Australia would be “taking our engagement to a new level” in what would be a “new chapter in relations with our Pacific family”. In line with this, he announced Australia would establish five new diplomatic missions in the Pacific, extending our presence to every Pacific Islands Forum member.

To support our deepening engagement with the Pacific, the Foreign Minister announced on 15 November the establishment of the Office of the Pacific within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Office will enhance whole-of-government coordination and support Australia’s efforts to develop even closer ties with the Pacific.

Response of the Australian Government to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee Report

Response of the Australian Government to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee Report (Volumes I and II) on the Economic and Security Challenges facing Papua New Guinea and the island states of the south west Pacific. (May 2011)

Pacific Islands regional organisations

Australia is a founding member and major donor to the principal regional organisations in the Pacific.

Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus

PACER Plus is a development focussed, trade agreement signed by Australia, Cook islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Ratification by eight signatory countries is required for the agreement to enter into force (expected in 2019).

Last Updated: 4 December 2018