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Australia pledges to help Pacific Islands with maritime, cyber security

THE Australian Government has announced more support for maritime patrols, cyber security and  climate change mitigation measures as part of its commitment to  Pacific Island nations.

Prime Minister Tony Abbot made the announcements last week at the 46th Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby, New Guinea. 

“The Pacific Islands Forum discussed practical ways Pacific Island countries can grow their economies, including through securing sustainable economic returns from their fisheries and maximising the potential of information technology,” Mr Abbott said.

“I was pleased to announce that, in addition to our $2 billion Pacific patrol boat replacement programme, Australia will provide around $19 million per year to further enhance maritime surveillance and coordination in the region,” he said.

“If countries can more easily identify and target illegal fishers and other transnational criminals, it will help ensure ongoing returns from Pacific fisheries.”

Mr Abbott said Pacific Island nations were accelerating their economic development through new internet technologies and Australia could assist.

“Improved internet access will help drive our region’s economic prosperity,” Mr Abbott said.

“To take advantage of this potential, we need to work together to ensure trust, confidence and stability in cyberspace. Australia will help train regional business leaders to improve their defences against cybercrime.”

One of the flashpoints of the forum was the debate of climate change and fears of rising sea levels that may result.

“The Pacific is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” Mr Abbott said.

“The forum leaders agreed that the Paris climate change meeting needs to advance long-term global climate action. Australia’s contribution – an emissions reduction target of 26-28 percent on 2005 levels by 2030 – is strong, responsible and achievable.

“Through actions such as these, the 46th Pacific Islands Forum has advanced the goal of a safer, stronger and more prosperous Pacific.”

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