9 Jul 2019

Australia's Pacific security hub to set up in Canberra

6:40 am on 9 July 2019

Australia will establish its planned Pacific security hub in Canberra, while it looks at a possible permanent location in the region.

Australia's Parliament buildings, in Canberra.

Australia's Parliament buildings, in Canberra. Photo: AFP

The future of the Pacific Fusion Centre will be discussed today in the capital.

Last week, Australia's ambassador to North Pacific states, George Fraser, held talks on the Pacific Fusion Centre in Palau.

There, Palauan officials told Mr Fraser they hoped the information-sharing centre would be set up in Palau or the North Pacific.

But in an interview, Mr Fraser said it would be temporarily put in Canberra and staffed by about 10 analysts, most of whom will be from the Pacific.

The Fusion Centre is due to be established in the middle of the year and Mr Fraser said it would share open source information with governments and local law enforcement.

"There is absolutely no obligation on governments to share any of their own information," Mr Fraser added.

He said a reference group was meeting in Canberra on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the hub's governance, which would be broadly based on the values of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Australia was treating the North Pacific with more "emphasis" as part of its Pacific Step Up policy, Mr Fraser said.