Development, Economics and finance | Australia, The Pacific, The World

2 August 2019

This week on Policy Forum Pod, we discuss how governments can best facilitate private sector investment in the Pacific and how to identify bankable projects, while taking a closer look at some recent examples of effective public-private investment projects with Frank Yourn, Sally McCutchan, and Milissa Day.

In November last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the establishment of an Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific worth $2 billion. Despite its well-intentioned goal, the initiative has also attracted criticism for not considering the private sector enough in its strategic approach. On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, we hear from three private investment experts – Frank Yourn, Sally McCutchan, and Milissa Day – about the massive infrastructure needs of the Pacific in the face of climate change, and why the role of governments should be focused on enabling private investment instead of crowding it out. We also ask the panel about what projects they would fund in Pacific Island nations if they had $3 billion to spend. Listen here:

Pod hosts Jill Sheppard and Julia Ahrens also chat to Roland Rich about voter suppression – what it is, why parties do it, and how to tackle it. They also discuss some of your comments and suggestions for future episodes.

Milissa Day is Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific at the International Finance Corporation. She supports investment across fragile, conflict-affected, and poor countries across the East Asia and Pacific region, and leads Pacific business development. She is also the representative for countries in the Pacific including Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

Sally McCutchan is Executive Director and CEO at Impact Investing Australia. She has extensive experience in finance, funds management, and strategy, and has spent many years working in and understanding Asia Pacific markets.

Frank Yourn is Executive Director at the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Council, the Australia-Fiji Business Council, and the Australia-Pacific Islands Business Council. Previously, he served in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where his service included overseas postings in Egypt, Japan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji, as well as assignments in Canberra and in the Department’s Victorian State Office.

Paul Wyrwoll is an environmental and resources economist at Crawford School. Previously, Paul was General Manager of the FE2W Network and Managing Editor of the Global Water Forum.

Roland Rich is Assistant Teaching Professor at Rutgers University. He was Executive Head of the UN Democracy Fund and Director of the UN Office for Partnerships.

Jill Sheppard is a political scientist at the School of Politics and International Relations at the ANU. Her research focuses on why people participate in politics, what opinions they hold and why, and how both are shaped by political institutions and systems.

Julia Ahrens is a presenter on Policy Forum Pod.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

Republicans and restrictions on voting in the US

Asia-Pacific countries amongst most vulnerable to the effects of climate change

Australian infrastructure development bank for the Pacific

Solomon Islands and hydro-power

Pacific Investment Forum

2040 (documentary)

Democracy Sausage podcast: Transparency, trust, and talking politics with children

New Zealand’s push for Maori language education

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