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Development assistance in the Pacific

Pacific Regional – COVID-19 Response Packages

Pacific COVID-19 Response Package

$304.7 million, 2020-21 to 2021-22

The economic and fiscal impacts of the pandemic continue to affect livelihoods in the Pacific. Pacific governments face significant financing and service delivery challenges as they start the road to recovery.  In response, as announced in the October 2020 budget, Australia will provide new funding of $304.7 million for a COVID-19 Response Package over two years.

This builds on Australia’s $100 million Pacific and Timor-Leste Response Package delivered in 2019-20 that provided immediate crisis financing. This additional support recognises that COVID-19 continues to impact the economic stability of Australia’s region.

The Response Package will provide support to the Pacific and Timor-Leste to deliver temporary and targeted economic and fiscal assistance to address pandemic impacts, including to maintain essential health and other services, and protect the most vulnerable, with a focus on women and girls.

It will also work with the Pacific to support the re-establishment of safe, reliable, affordable and financially sustainable air connectivity in the region. 

The response package builds on our existing bilateral partnerships and Pacific Step-up initiatives.

Eligible countries are Timor-Leste, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu.

Further details on implementation of this package will be provided as allocation decisions are made.

Pacific and Timor-Leste COVID-19 Immediate Response Package

$100 million, 2019-20

COVID-19 produced an immediate economic shock in the Pacific including declines in government revenue, foreign reserves and cash balances. Governments faced the potential of not being able to pay for salaries, goods and services. In response, Australia reprioritised its development cooperation programs in the Pacific to provide an immediate injection of $100 million of grant financing.

Australia’s responsive support enabled Pacific governments to continue to deliver health services, purchase medical supplies and other consumables and assisted in maintaining liquidity as the virus hit. Australia coordinated closely with New Zealand, the international financial institutions and other donors to understand where the needs were most pressing.

The key success measure for this package was to respond quickly; to minimise risks to Pacific Governments, retain essential services and safeguard social stability. Australia used existing budget support mechanisms and programs to deliver money where it was needed fast.  

The immediate response package delivered:

  • Over $50 million in General Budget Support for fiscal support and economic recovery.
  • Over $37 million in earmarked Budget Support for Health Departments and COVID-19 preparedness activities.
  • Over $5.5 million to Humanitarian Partners and NGOs
    • of this over $700 thousand was directed towards programs for vulnerable people including women and girls.
  • Over $4 million to in-country NGOs thorough bilateral arrangements or Partner Government systems
    • of this, over $1.5 million was directed towards programs for the vulnerable, including women and girls.
  • $2 million was delivered through the World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Preparedness Plan Phase II.

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