In  December 2019, the Federal Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds, asked the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to inquire into and report on Australia's defence relationships with Pacific Island nations.

Key recommendations:

  • The Committee recommends that the Department of Defence seek opportunities to continually improve the capacity and capabilities of the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP), and to increase the inclusion of Pacific Islands’ representation and leadership in DCP design.
  • The Committee recommends the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, via the Office of the Pacific (OTP), continue to improve collaboration to effectively monitor, evaluate and respond to diplomatic, environmental and defence challenges in the Pacific region.
  • The Committee recommends that the Government pursue further opportunities to integrate Australian Defence Force cooperation with Australian Industry to provide capability solutions in support of the Pacific Step-up.
  • The Committee recommends the Government consider opportunities to enhance Australia’s soft-power and people-to-people ties in the Pacific, including educational exchanges and supporting Australian nongovernment organisations’ initiatives.


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