Penny Wong has revealed the federal budget will involve an extra $1.4 billion spend on overseas development assistance, including $900 million to help the Pacific “strengthen climate resilience”.
Bryant HevesiDigital Reporter
2 min read
October 21, 2022 – 1:58PM92 comments
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The first Albanese Government budget is set to include a $1.4 billion boost to Australia’s overseas development assistance.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong made the announcement while delivering a speech to the Pacific Way conference in Papeete, French Polynesia on Friday.
The federal budget will be handed down by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on October 25.
Ms Wong said the extra cash will go towards helping the Pacific region address “the climate emergency and achieve their development goals”.
Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong on a visit to the Cook Islands this week. Picture: Department of Foreign Affairs via NCA NewsWire
“I am pleased to announce that in the Australian Government’s budget, which will be released next Tuesday, we will increase our total Overseas Development Assistance Budget by AUD$1.4 billion over the next four years,” she said.
“This includes AUD$900m of additional development assistance to the Pacific over the next four years.
“This additional assistance will directly support action in the region to strengthen climate resilience, including on climate science and renewable energy.”
Ms Wong – visiting her 12th Pacific nation or territory since the May 25 election – said the extra funding also ensures Australia continues to provide support to “reduce fiscal distress” and enable government services like health and education to be delivered.
The Foreign Affairs Minister added Australia will restore gender-based targets on its overseas development assistance.
Grateful for the opportunity to discuss Pacific institutions and our shared priorities in the region with French High Commissioner Spitz in French Polynesia.
We are committed to working closely together, including in regional disaster response alongside NZ. pic.twitter.com/DVXzASNTaM— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) October 21, 2022
“We know investing in women and girls has a powerful effect on economic growth and wellbeing,” Ms Wong said.
“Which is why the Australian Government will restore the target of 80 per cent of all Australian ODA to address gender-based issues.”
Ms Wong went on to further detail the targeted financial support Australia is providing to the Pacific region.
She made mention of the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, which will increase from $3.5 billion to $4 billion to assist grant and loan packages.
“We are also increasing our investment in climate-related infrastructure and promoting climate-smart enhancements, through the Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership,” Ms Wong said.
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“We recognise that as a major lender in the region, we have a responsibility to ensure that Australia is a partner that won’t impose unsustainable debt burdens.
“This is why, amidst global economic headwinds and rising interest rates, Australia will offer concessional lending and grant assistance to ensure Pacific partners can continue to deliver sustainable and transparent infrastructure projects that meet international standards.”
Ms Wong later unveiled Australia’s push to “co-host a future UN Conference of the Parties with Pacific Island countries”, who she noted “have so much to lose in a warming planet”.
While in French Polynesia, the Foreign Affairs Minister will open the Australian Consulate-General in Papeete.
“This now makes Australia the only country in the world with a diplomatic presence in every Pacific Islands Forum member country or territory,” Ms Wong said.
“There is no clearer demonstration of Australia’s commitment to the Pacific as a whole
Comment by Nelle-these people are without doubt woke lunatics -have no help coming for our own people but plenty for woke lunacy-all at the Tax-payers expense