Thursday, May 10, 2018

2018 Australian Budget aims to strengthen relationships with Pacific, including PNG

2018 Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tourism and Investment Budget
Joint media release
Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP
8 May 2018

The 2018 Budget demonstrates the Turnbull Government's commitment to ensuring Australia's economic and national security, as outlined in the Foreign Policy White Paper launched in November 2017.
We will strengthen relationships with our Pacific partners and work together to support the region's stability, security and economic opportunities.
 The region will benefit from over $1.3 billion in aid in 2018-19 - our largest ever contribution.
This includes funding for undersea telecommunications cables to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands delivering faster, cheaper and more reliable communications infrastructure, and providing economic and development benefits. 
The Budget also further delivers on the Government's largest diplomatic expansion in over 40 years and the White Paper's commitment to open more overseas missions over the next ten years, providing $10.8 million for a new Consulate-General in Kolkata, India.
The new Consulate-General will help Australian businesses access opportunities in India's growing mining sector, and protect and advance our interests in a changing Indo-Pacific.
We will also provide $8.4 million to open a High Commission in Tuvalu.
Tuvalu is a key member of the Pacific Islands Forum and an important partner in the Pacific. 
We will invest an estimated $4.2 billion in total eligible Official Development Assistance in 2018-19, including $410 million for humanitarian funding, helping those most in need after a crisis.
An additional $10 million will support the new Australian Aid: Friendship Grants scheme for Australian community groups to tackle poverty in the Indo-Pacific.
The Turnbull Government continues to seek justice for victims of the downing of MH17.
We will provide $50.3 million over four years to support the Dutch prosecution of those responsible, and assist next-of-kin to participate in court proceedings.
The White Paper committed to delivering more global opportunities for Australian businesses, which will create more jobs and economic growth.
This Budget includes a $15 million business engagement package to continue tackling non-tariff barriers on trade, which materially impact on Australian exporters.
 The package will also increase the competitiveness of our service exports and strengthen dialogue with the business community on foreign policy and security issues.
To enhance Australia's competitiveness as an international screen production destination, the Turnbull Government will provide $140 million over four years to establish the Location Incentive Funding Program.
 From 1 July 2018, the incentive will encourage more international productions to film in Australia, reinforcing our reputation as a world-class filming destination and lead to more jobs for our creative industries.
The Turnbull Government is supporting the tourism sector with $45 million in grants through the Building Better Regions Fund to help move tourists beyond the major cities.
These funds will support projects in regional areas and encourage more visits and expenditure in regional locations, creating more tourism jobs for Australians.
The Cruise sector contributes $2.7 billion to the Australian economy each year and continues to grow rapidly.
 This Budget will fund work to identify solutions to the lack of berthing infrastructure in Sydney, Australia's cruise gateway, ensuring our share of the cruise ship market continues to grow.
The Turnbull Government is also focusing on Australia's most valuable inbound tourism market, China, with the continuation of the Approved Destination Status Scheme.
 This scheme allows Chinese tourists to travel to Australia in guided groups, and plays a strong role in deepening our economic and bilateral engagement with China.
 The Turnbull Coalition Government continues to provide record funding into Tourism Australia.

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