Today I met with Pacific Foreign Ministers to exchange ideas on how to grow economies and build sustainable development in our region.

A dynamic private sector, the economic empowerment of women and healthy populations are all critical elements of building prosperity in the Pacific.

I am pleased to announce two new Australian initiatives that will support this effort.

Australia will provide $15 million to a Pacific Business Investment Facility that will help businesses in the Pacific to access commercial finance for growth, diversification or consolidation. We have established this Facility in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank.

We will also provide $7 million over three years to support the United Nations’ Joint Programme for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in the Pacific.  Australia’s support will enable UN agencies to improve health outcomes for women and children.

I also look forward to working closely with my colleague The Hon Steven Ciobo MP in his new role as Minister for International Development and the Pacific. The creation of this new portfolio further highlights the Australian Government’s commitment to economic growth and development in the Pacific region.

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