I am pleased to announce an Australian partnership in the Pacific, with a specific focus on Papua New Guinea and Fiji, to increase access to finance and support the private sector.

Today I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Westpac Banking Corporation Chief Executive Officer Gail Kelly which will see the Australian Government work together with Westpac to substantially improve livelihoods in these countries by:

  • embracing innovative solutions for increasing financial inclusion;
  • exploring options to reduce the difficulty and cost of Pacific Islanders sending money home and between islands;
  • exploring key infrastructure projects via commercial loans and grant funding;
  • developing initiatives to support the economic empowerment of women;
  • evaluating avenues to extend microfinance to local businesses; and
  • leveraging commercial finance for formal sector businesses.

The agreement forms part of the Coalition Government’s economic diplomacy agenda, which aims to more closely engage with the private sector, the business community and non-government organisations to promote prosperity in our region.

The private sector has the power to boost economic activity and reduce poverty. It helps establish businesses, creates jobs and stimulates new economic opportunities.

Increasing Pacific women’s access to finance is a key aspect of the MOU. Greater financial inclusion is vital to ensuring women can fully and freely participate in economic, political and social life. I welcome the opportunity to work with Australian companies including Westpac to address the constraints that are holding Pacific women back from being able to access credit, save money and improve their lives.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555