2020-21 Budget - Protecting Australia's National Interests and Trade Relations

  • Media release

As part of our Economic Recovery Plan for Australia, the 2020-21 Budget continues the Morrison Government’s commitment to delivering for all Australians and advancing Australia’s national interests in response to the health and economic crisis created by COVID-19.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne, says “COVID-19 is having a profound impact on our region. The growth, openness and stability of the Indo-Pacific, which has underpinned Australia’s prosperity and security for decades, is challenged by these impacts.”

The Government has pivoted Australia’s development program through the Partnerships for Recovery strategy, with a focus on three pillars – health security, stability and economic recovery.

As part of our response, the Government has committed to procure and deliver COVID-19 Vaccines to our partners in the Pacific, Timor-Leste and Southeast Asia.

“Facilitating early access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines will save lives and underpin Australia’s security by promoting regional stability and economic recovery,” Minister Payne said.

Australia is also providing $80 million to support the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment to improve vaccine access for Pacific and Southeast Asian countries.

The COVID-induced economic crisis in the Pacific is severe, and the road to recovery uncertain. Pacific governments face significant financing and service delivery challenges. The Government will establish a $304.7 million COVID-19 Recovery Fund over two years as part of our Pacific Step-up, to help address the economic and social costs of the pandemic in the Pacific and Timor-Leste, helping to underpin our region’s stability and economic recovery.

These temporary and targeted initiatives complement the Government’s $4 billion Official Development Assistance program and are additional to our Pacific Step-up ODA allocations for 2020-21, which are available on the DFAT website.

Australia’s diplomatic network will receive a further investment of $55.5 million for security upgrades. This will include sustainment of the Government’s armoured vehicle fleet, security upgrades to buildings including embassies and residences, and increasing the number of security personnel. This investment will help protect Australian Government staff, as well as Australians who visit our overseas missions for consular and passport assistance.

Our embassies and high commissions around the world continue to provide support to Australians overseas who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, and to help Australians return home.

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