The Liberal-National Government has today welcomed the passing of Legislation through the House of Representatives that will boost Australia's support for infrastructure development in the region.

The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) Amendment (Support for Infrastructure Financing) Bill 2019 Bill, that passed with the support of Labor, will provide Efic with a more flexible infrastructure financing power to support initiatives which benefit the region and have a broad national benefit for Australia. 

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the Bill would help address the infrastructure needs especially of the Pacific, and enable the timely implementation of the $2.0 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). 

"This Bill forms part of our Government's strong commitment to the region. It takes our engagement with the Pacific to a new level," Minister Birmingham said.

"We know the infrastructure needs of the Pacific are significant, with the Asian Development Bank estimating the region needs US$46 billion in investment by 2030.

"This Bill will also deliver benefits to Australia, including businesses through their direct involvement in major infrastructure projects and supply chains.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said better infrastructure will not only help with the economic development of individual Pacific countries, but across the wider region including in Australia. 

"The Liberal-National Government's commitment to the Pacific is long-standing and enduring with Australia expected to provide an estimated $1.3 billion in official development assistance to the Pacific in 2018-19, in addition to the AIFFP.  

"We will continue to engage closely with Pacific governments in the design process to ensure this new facility supports appropriate development priorities of Pacific countries."

The ability of Efic to help finance infrastructure projects is enhanced by granting it a new overseas infrastructure financing power and increasing its callable capital from $200 million to $1.2 billion.  A larger capital base will allow Efic to provide more commercially meaningful financing offers. It will give Efic the commercial flexibility and credibility it requires.

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