Media release by: Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Morrison Government welcomes the passing of legislation that will significantly boost Australia's ability to support infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region.
The passage of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) Amendment (Support for Infrastructure Financing) Bill 2019, with the support of Labor, significantly expands the range of infrastructure financing tools available to the Government.
The amendments provide Australia’s export credit agency, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), with a new overseas infrastructure financing power and an extra $1 billion in callable capital. The changes also enable Efic to use the name Export Finance Australia.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the changes will help address the infrastructure needs of the Indo-Pacific region, and enable the timely implementation of the $2.0 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP).
"These changes ensure Efic can more actively support Australia’s step-up in the Pacific and our agenda for an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific," Minister Birmingham said.
"We’re stepping up support for regional infrastructure development because we know that well-planned, well-built and well-maintained infrastructure can boost sustainable economic growth, enhance economic integration and deliver broader development outcomes.
“The changes will also be good for Australian businesses, large and small, who will be able to take advantage of the economic opportunities in our region that better infrastructure will bring.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said better infrastructure would contribute to the economic development of individual Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste.
"The Government's commitment to the Pacific is long-standing and enduring. These new infrastructure financing tools will complement our existing and substantial support for infrastructure policy reform in the region through our aid program,” Minister Payne said.
"We want to remain an enabler of economic opportunity for our neighbors and work with them to build a Pacific region that is secure strategically, stable economically and sovereign politically.”
The passage of this Bill will allow the AIFFP to be operational by 1 July as planned.
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