$304m response package
24 July, 2021, 8:00 pm
In response to the COVID crisis in the Pacific, the Australian government will deliver a package of $304 million as a Pacific Response Package over two years.
Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said this package would support the Pacific and Timor-Leste to maintain essential services and increase social spending to protect the most vulnerable and to contribute to economic recovery.
“Clearly the Covid-19 pandemic has caused, of course, severe economic shocks as well as some of the health shocks that are being experienced by some countries,” he said.
“So, the scale of that economic impact is of course unprecedented and the road to recovery will be difficult.
“But I want to assure everyone, as I have on a number of occasions, that Australia stands absolutely with our Pacific family as we face the pandemic together.”
He said the assistance goes absolutely to the heart of their Pacific step-up, built on the long history of support for their region in both good times and bad.
“And, of course, the FEMM and the FTMM which I won’t go into today, I’ll leave the Trade Ministers Meeting for the chair to speak to in the coming hours,” Mr Seselja said.
“But they are both important annual standing meetings for the Pacific Islands Forum and they are about enhancing regional cooperation on economic issues, boosting trade and addressing development challenges.
“Australia is really pleased with the FEMM statement and it acknowledges vulnerable people and the importance of social protection measures, and the need to address debt and the importance of continued international engagement with the Pacific banking sector.”
The FEMM meeting, he said, reaffirmed the importance of Australia’s efforts to support the Pacific to address the economic impacts of COVID, including through our support for vaccines, our economic and social aid program activities and our labour mobility programs.