29 May 2020
Australia is committed to working with Indonesia to overcome the challenge posed by COVID-19 and has today made important changes to our partnership that will strengthen the response to this unprecedented event.
Australia has reoriented its development program in Indonesia to respond directly to COVID-19, including an immediate additional AUD 21 million to support Indonesia’s health, humanitarian and economic response.
Working with international health partners, Australia is supporting Indonesia’s national COVID-19 task force to mitigate the spread of the virus and manage the response. This includes helping to strengthen surveillance and infection prevention, boost laboratory capacity and increase protection for health workers.
“Australia and Indonesia are well positioned to face this challenge together,” Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesian, Gary Quinlan, said. “As neighbours, our cooperation is crucial to the development of a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”
The impact on Indonesian communities and families of COVID-19 is significant. Together, Australia and Indonesia are supporting the enhanced delivery of Indonesia’s social protection programs and working with civil society partners – including NU, Muhammadiyah and the Indonesian Red Cross - to ensure the most vulnerable groups, especially women and girls, can access support and find alternative employment opportunities.
To ensure Indonesia can return to its economic growth trajectory, we are helping to provide economic policy advice to the highest levels of government; accelerating infrastructure projects to stimulate growth; adapting education to online and at-home learning; and helping farmers maintain production to shore up food supplies. We are also supporting the work of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank in many of these areas.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Women, Senator Marise Payne, is working with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to convene virtual regional dialogues to ensure Australia and Indonesia contribute to the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
“Australia and Indonesia have a history of coming to each other’s aid in challenging times,” Ambassador Quinlan said. “Together we can help respond to COVID-19 and build a stronger future for our neighbourhood.”
In total, Australia has redirected more than AUD 280 million from its global development program to support the critical medical and humanitarian needs of Pacific neighbours, Timor-Leste, and other partner countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia.