Today I joined my Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) ministerial colleagues in resolving to deepen intra-regional cooperation, strengthen efforts to advance the blue economy and prioritise the empowerment of women and girls. 

At the Association’s 15th Council of Ministers’ Meeting in Padang, I announced Australia would invest up to $3 million in innovations to improve the productivity and sustainability of aquaculture in Indian Ocean states.  

More sustainable aquaculture production has the potential to transform regional food supplies by addressing the growing demand for protein. It also protects delicate land and marine ecosystems. Australia will launch a global competition to uncover the best technological and scientific solutions to address this regional and worldwide challenge.

In today’s Padang Communique, Ministers reaffirmed our commitment to women’s economic empowerment. I announced Australia will hold a high level event bringing together senior women business leaders from Indian Ocean states in 2016.  

Following my announcement of Australia’s $1 million IORA Economic Diplomacy Fund at last year’s Ministers’ Meeting, projects to strengthen coastal tourism, port operations, fisheries management and ocean research are now underway.

Australia looks forward to supporting Indonesia as the new IORA Chair, and remains committed to IORA as the Indian Ocean rim’s leading regional institution.   

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