Australia boosts funding for Pacific to counter China

Australia will spend an extra $206 million to boost ties and increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific as a counter to China’s growing influence in the region.

Canberra is increasing its footprint through security deals and infrastructure development in countries such as the Solomon Islands, which struck a controversial security pact with China in 2022.

These efforts were also bolstered through the additional funding in the 2024/25 federal budget for the expansion and upgrading of property in the region.

This will include $5.5 million to extend the Australian Federal Police deployment to the Solomon Islands, which looked to Beijing for its security needs after the 2022 pact was signed.

Another package – an undisclosed amount due to financial arrangements with third parties – will support the development of telecommunications infrastructure in the Solomon Islands.

The budget also locks in a business package for Southeast Asia, which includes $2 billion in loans, guarantees, equity and insurance managed by Export Finance Australia.

A further $254.2 million over four years will be spent to boost the nation’s diplomatic service.

As countries increasingly face cyber attacks from malicious state and non-state organisations, $187.8 million will be set aside to upgrade IT and security at Department of Foreign Affairs buildings.

The government’s buildings abroad will be allocated $40 million over two years from the next financial year.

In trade, $14.4 million will be spent to expand the Australia-India Business Exchange which promotes investment in the 1.4 billion-strong South Asian nation.


Tess Ikonomou
(Australian Associated Press)


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