Protecting Australia's interests abroad

Joint media release

  • Senator the Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP, Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

14 May 2013

Measures announced today in the 2013-14 Budget for the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio reinforce the Gillard Government's commitment to protect and advance Australia's interests abroad.

The Government will invest $52.6 million over three years to construct secure, purpose-built residential accommodation in Kabul to provide a more manageable security environment for Australian staff working in Afghanistan.

The Government will also allocate $50.6 million over seven years to construct a new, more secure High Commission in Kenya.

The new High Commission building reflects Australia's expanding trade and investment links with Kenya and East Africa.

In 2011-12, Australia's two-way trade with Africa was valued at $11.6 billion with it growing at an average annual rate of 9.5 per cent over the last five years. Australia's commercial relationship with Africa is focused on mining. Estimates suggest there are well over 200 Australian mining companies active in around 42 countries in Africa with current and prospective investments estimated to be approximately US$50 billion.

The Government will provide $215.9 million over seven years to upgrade and replace the government's secure international communications network. This new international communications network will support greater information sharing across government agencies, and will ensure classified information is better protected.

The Government will also commit $14.1 million over four years to continue DFAT's coordination role for the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

RAMSI has been one of the most successful security and development operations anywhere in the world.

This funding will allow DFAT to continue coordinating Australia's leadership of RAMSI as Solomon Islands continues the transition towards long-term stability, security and prosperity.

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