Australia partners with the Philippines on quality infrastructure

Ambassador Yu, Dr Diokno and Mr Moore at P4I launch in the Philippines
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, HK Yu PSM, with Dr. Benjamin E. Diokno, Secretary of the Department of Finance in the Philippines, and Australia’s Special Envoy for Southeast Asia, Mr Nicolas Moore

The Australian Government’s Partnerships for Infrastructure (P4I) initiative has officially launched in the Philippines to drive sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth through quality infrastructure.

Held in Manila on 24 March, the event was hosted by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu PSM, who was joined by Dr. Benjamin E. Diokno, Secretary of the Department of Finance in the Philippines, and Australia’s Special Envoy for Southeast Asia, Mr Nicholas Moore.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Yu said P4I will build on Australia’s enduring relationship with the Philippines which spans more than 75 years and supports the government’s infrastructure commitment to ‘Build, Better, More’.

“Infrastructure was featured prominently in the Philippine Development Plan. And in true Australian style, we decided that the best way to assist the Philippines is to form partnerships – to share our own experiences in infrastructure and investment – both good and bad – and to bring people with the right expertise together to work on problems and issues,” said Ambassador Yu.

We want partnerships that build enduring relationships – not just between one country and another – but a multi-country program that brings even more experiences, techniques and skills to the table. So, P4I was born,” the Ambassador added.

Through P4I, the Philippine Government can access a range of experts to support infrastructure decision-making and practice, particularly in the early stages of the infrastructure lifecycle.

During his keynote address, Dr. Diokno said the opportunities available through P4I will build on the Philippine Government’s planned infrastructure expansion.

“The government has made investment in infrastructure a top priority. We look to Australia’s example in many of the infrastructure investments we seek to implement,” said Dr. Diokno.

“Australia has been a responsive partner in helping the Philippines through knowledge-sharing, capacity-building, and other forms of assistance.”

Mr Moore noted that building greater connections between businesses and people is essential to deepening our economic relationships.

“Australia is strengthening links with the Philippines and the region by delivering a Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, which will set out a pathway to help unlock two-way trade and investment opportunities for business for the next two decades,” said Mr Moore.

Following the ceremonial launch of P4I, a panel discussion was held on new approaches to help bridge the infrastructure financing gap. Moderated by news anchor, Rico Hizon, the panel featured representatives from the Philippine and Australian Governments and the private sector.

Ahead of the launch, P4I has been working with the Philippine Government to advance quality infrastructure through a range of initiatives. 

P4I advised on rail investment prioritisation and financing with the Department of Transportation. P4I is now supporting a new partnership between the Australian Treasury’s Infrastructure and Commercial Advisory Office and the PPP Center, which commenced on 22 March with a policy roundtable. P4I is also working with the Government Procurement Policy Board to update infrastructure procurement guidance. Through the World Bank, P4I funded studies analysing approaches to hybrid off-grid electricity systems for remote communities and energy efficiency, and project preparation to improve transport connectivity in Mindanao.

In addition to the Philippines, P4I partners with Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Partners can access flexible and responsive expertise in infrastructure planning and prioritisation, procurement, and sector policy and regulation across the transport, energy, utilities and telecommunications sectors.

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