6 Sep 2018

Australia to improve Pacific access to security information

5:53 pm on 6 September 2018

Australia has announced it will help its regional neighbours to set up what it calls a Pacific Fusion Centre, to strengthen the ability of Pacific governments to enforce their laws and protect their sovereignty.

Pacific Islands Forum leaders gather for a group photo ahead of their retreat.

Pacific Islands Forum leaders gather for a group photo ahead of their retreat. Photo: Nauru Government

Australian foreign minister Marise Payne, announced the new centre during the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru on Wednesday.

The centre will fuse information from multiple sources, including Australia, to help Pacific decision makers better identify and respond to security threats, such as illegal fishing, people smuggling and narcotics trafficking.

The initiative follows repeated calls from Pacific leaders for improve information sharing to guide their security responses.

The Pacific Fusion Centre, to be established by the middle of next year, will provide strategic analysis of information to help strengthen maritime domain awareness and provide security alerts and advice for Pacific security agencies.

It's coupled with Australia's Pacific Maritime Security Programme, which provides 21 new patrol boats to the Pacific over the next five years, and an aerial surveillance package.

Ms Payne said her government was also establishing, in early 2019, an Australia Pacific Security College, to provide senior level training, support strategic policy development and to strengthen networks among senior Pacific security officials.