Defence Cooperation Program – South Pacific

Defence Cooperation Program – South Pacific


Australia’s Defence Coperation Program (DCP) in the Pacific islands includes a range of assistance, including ADF advisers, a range of training initiatives and bilateral exercises, capacity building initiatives, and equipment and infrastructure projects. A major commitment since the 1980s has been the Pacific Patrol Boat Program, with the provision of patrol boats, material support and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) maritime advisers to Pacific island nations.

In recent years, the Australian government has provided over $10 million in DCP to Papua New Guinea per annum and over $30 million per annum to other island states in the Pacific, along with deployments of Australian personnel in Timor, Tonga, Solomon Islands and other nations.

DCP costs in the South Pacific amounted to $36.55 million (2005-06), $33.44 million (2006-07) and $35.86 million (2007-08).

Government sources


Budget Estimates Hearing, Opening Statement, Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, Wednesday 3 June 2009.

Our Defence Cooperation Program is complementing the efforts of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. Examples are the recent refurbishment of the Honiara Wharf, explosive ordnance disposal training and Airport Airside Driver Training.”


Defence Report 2007-08, Volume 1, Department of Defence, p83

In 2007-08, Defence engagement in the South Pacific focused on capacity development and assisting the professional development of the region’s security forces. Defence Cooperation assistance to the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu totalled $35.9m, including training for 232 people. The DCP is supported by 32 ADF personnel who are posted in-country as advisers working closely with South Pacific counterparts to foster and support regional stability. Defence engagement with Fiji remains suspended.”

Defence Cooperation Overview, Budget papers 2007-08, Chapter 5, pp184-5

“The aims and objectives of the Defence Cooperation Program are to support the Government’s strategic objectives by:

    • contributing to the maintenance of regional security;
    • working with allies, regional partners and others to shape the global and regional environment in a way favourable to Australia and the ADF;
    • consolidating acceptance of Australia as an obvious and legitimate participant in deliberations on issues that affect regional security; and
    • encouraging and assisting with the development of defence self-reliance of regional countries.

“These objectives are enhanced through assistance to regional security forces in the areas of defence reform, strategic planning, command and control, counter terrorism, maritime security, peacekeeping, disaster relief, communications, logistic support and education and training.

“A key element of the Defence Cooperation Program is the Pacific patrol boat program, through which ongoing support is provided to the participating 12 nations, to whom Australia has provided 22 vessels. The program, which engages Pacific navies and police maritime wings, is designed to help Pacific island countries improve their ability to independently police their maritime zones.

“Through assisting ‘the development of professional and sustainable defence forces and Pacific police forces in the region, the Defence Cooperation Program is improving the ability of regional countries to contribute to national and regional security objectives. Two important areas of focus are the development of the East Timor Defence Force and the Papua New Guinea Defence Reform Program. Australian assistance includes ADF advisers, a range of training initiatives and bilateral exercises, capacity building initiatives, and equipment and infrastructure projects.”

DCP 2007
Defence Co-operation Program (DCP) South Pacific 2007<br /> Source: Budget papers 2007-08, Chapter 5, p185

2004 – 2007 Defence cooperation in the South Pacific

Defence spending 2004-07
Australian defence expenditure in the Pacific 2004-07<br /> Source: Department of Defence Annual Report 2006-07, Vol.1, p71

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