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Third South Pacific Forum, Economic Ministers meeting, APIA, SAMOA



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Media Release THIRD SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM ECONOMIC MINISTERS MEETING, APIA, SAMOA,1-2 JULY 1999

The Minister for Financial Services & Regulation, the Hon Joe Hockey, MP said today that the Australian Government welcomed the outcomes of the 3rd South Pacific Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM)

held in Apia, Samoa on 1-2 July 1999.

The h o n . Joe Hockey m p

Minister for Financial Services & Regulation -

Parliament H ouse, . Canberra ACT 2600 Australia

Telephone (61 2) 6277 7230 Facsimile (61 2) 6273 4075

The meeting provided member countries with the opportunity to report on and review progress in the implementation of the Forum Economic Action Plan, which was adopted at FEMM 19*97 in Cairns.

www.minfsr.treasury.gov.au

Minister Hockey reported he was pleased with the outcomes of the FEMM, and the continuing commitment shown by Forum Island Countries (FICs) to implementing the Action Plan to promote economic and governance reform. He said that he was impressed by the determination shown by FIC representatives to make the hard yards

in reforming their economies - as he noted at the meeting "Australia's own experience, including most recently with tax reform, shows that there can be no gain without pain."

Minister Hockey said that the discussions reflected Ministers, strong interest in the political and practical implementation challenges thrown up in advancing the reform agenda.

This growing focus on the day-to-day work of putting the reforms into practice had encouraged Australia to explore, with its FIC partners, the usefulness of workshops targeted at key economic and private sector development issues.

At the meeting Minister Hockey formally offered Australia's support for the workshops and suggested that the first might be held in Australia followed by an island country.

Minister Hockey provided further emphasis to Australia's support for the reform agenda in the region by encouraging member countries to utilise Australia's Reform

' Partnerships Scheme, which encourages member countries to draw on each other's experiences.

Member economies reported solid progress on governance reforms. On private sector development, Ministers agreed to review commercial law regimes, address impediments to land access, and recognised the role education and training will play in private sector development. Ministers agreed also to review prudential regulation

of their financial systems to better mobilise savings to finance social and private sector development.

Minister Hockey reported also the concern among FIC members about the economic and social impacts of natural disasters. He said that Australia would take the lead in exploring the desirability and practicality of a catastrophe insurance scheme for the region, including the participation of the private sector.

Ministers welcomed the offer of the Premier of Niue to host the fourth FEMM in 2000.

5 July 1999 * NO.FSR.032/99

Media Contact: Peter Cullen, Minister's office, 02 9929 9822, Mark Sewell, Department of the Treasury, 02 6263 3075

The Minister's media releases and speeches are available on www.minfsr.treastiry.gov.au