Joint media statement:
- Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP
- Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women, the Hon Marise Payne
- Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, The Hon Dan Tehan MP
- Minister for Resources and Water, The Hon Keith Pitt MP
- Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, The Hon Alex Hawke MP
The Morrison Government will expand its support to Ukraine and impose further punitive actions on Russia in response to its unrelenting and illegal aggression against Ukraine. These additional measures will help ensure Russia pays a high price for its blatant violation of the UN Charter and its disregard for international humanitarian law.
Ukraine is showing remarkable courage and resilience as it endures Russia’s unprovoked war.
Following discussions between the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence and their Ukrainian counterparts, it is clear that Ukraine’s need for military assistance remains urgent and ongoing. In response, Defence has developed an additional $21 million support package of defensive military assistance for Ukrainian Armed Forces, which will bring Australia’s total military assistance so far to $91 million.
To meet Ukrainian priority requests, this package will comprise additional material from Australian Defence Force stocks.
The Government will continue to identify opportunities to provide further military assistance where it is able to provide required capability to the Ukraine Armed Forces expeditiously.
Russia is targeting civilians, causing immense suffering. Today, the Morrison Government commits to an additional $30 million in emergency humanitarian assistance. This contribution will focus on protecting women, children, the elderly and the disabled, and takes the total we have so far committed to $65 million.
To help address education and critical protection needs for children, people living with a disability and those facing risks of gender-based violence, Australia will provide $10 million through non government organisations under the Australian Humanitarian Partnership.
We will provide $8 million to the United Nations Population Fund to protect displaced women and girls from gender-based violence and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services.
To help address increasingly severe food shortages, Australia will also contribute $10 million to the World Food Programme.
And to enhance the response of Australian NGOs and their partners in the region, we will provide $2 million to the Emergency Action Alliance Ukraine Appeal – funding which will attract matched private donations.
To encourage Australians to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, we will also amend the Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme’s list of eligible countries. Donations to approved aid organisations that are directly supporting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary will be tax deductible.
Australia will continue to impose high costs on Russia. We have so far imposed a total of 476 sanctions on 443 individuals, including many oligarchs close to President Putin, and 33 entities, including most of Russia’s banking sector and all entities responsible for Russia’s sovereign debt.
The Government has overnight imposed an immediate ban on Australian exports of alumina and aluminium ores (including bauxite) to Russia, which will limit its capacity to produce aluminium – a critical export for Russia.
Aluminium is a global input across the auto, aerospace, packaging, machinery and construction sectors, and a critical input into armaments industries.
Russia relies on Australia for nearly 20 per cent of its alumina needs. The Foreign Minister has imposed the export ban under Australia’s autonomous sanctions against Russia. The Government will work closely with exporters and peak bodies that will be affected by the ban to find new and expand existing markets.
This significant step demonstrates the Morrison Government’s absolute commitment to holding the Putin regime to account for the egregious way in which it is flouting international law and the law of armed conflict by invading its neighbour without justification, and targeting innocent civilians.
Furthermore, Australia will support Ukraine’s energy security by donating at least 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal. This follows a request for assistance from the Government of Ukraine, supported by the Government of Poland, and discussions with other European partners.
The assistance will help keep the country’s coal-fired power generators operating and supplying electricity to country’s power grid, supporting the Ukrainian people by keeping lights on, homes heated, and factories running at this very difficult time.
The Australian Government has worked with the Australian coal industry to source supplies. Whitehaven Coal has quickly arranged a shipment, and the Government is now working with Whitehaven and the Ukrainian and Polish Governments to deliver the supplies at the earliest available opportunity. The cost of the coal and its delivery to the destination port will be met by the Australian
To help Ukrainians forced to flee from Russia’s military invasion, we will also make available a temporary humanitarian visa to Ukrainians who have arrived in Australia. This visa will be valid for three years and allow people to work, study and access Medicare. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, the Morrison Government has issued almost 4500 visas to Ukrainians. Over 600 Ukrainians with these visas have arrived and more are coming every day.
The Government will continue working closely with the Ukrainian-Australian community to ensure those arriving from Ukraine will be provided support throughout their stay in Australia. We have provided a grant of $450,000 to community groups to facilitate their ongoing work.
Australia stands with the people of Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine.