The Australian government is eyeing to have about eight individuals from the Pacific who will work with three other Australian analysts to become part of the staff of the Pacific Fusion Center (PFC), a facility that will serve as an information and technology-sharing hub among Pacific island countries to help combat illegal fishing and transnational crimes in the region.

Australian Ambassador to Palau George Fraser said in an interview that the move is part of Australia’s initiative to step up its presence in the Pacific.

Fraser said that the PFC will be temporarily situated in Canberra while discussions on where to place the permanent office of the center in the Pacific are still to take place during the upcoming PFC reference group meeting in Canberra on July 19.

The PFC reference group will also tackle the governance aspect of the center, the ambassador said.

During the meeting, the reference group will also be exposed to some of the products that the center can deliver, among which include analysis.

Fraser said that Australia will also train the analysts to equip them with knowledge that they can use in government decision making upon return to their respective countries.

“We will be training the analysts so that when they go back to where they come from they will be able to use these analytical things in their government,” Fraser said.

Fraser said that the PFC will be about “looking at open source, getting them together, making analysis, and send them back to the government to be able to make decisions.”

The Australian government had previously sent a representative to Palau to talk about the establishment of the PFC in the region in response to the requests from Pacific island nations for cooperation on information sharing to address security threats.

Palau is eyeing to be the permanent site of the Pacific Fusion Centre, saying that it will be helpful in combating transnational crimes.

The Pacific Fusion Centre aims to fuse information from open and unclassified sources within the center, distribute security intelligence analytical products, build capacity for security analysis, and provide additional support to national and regional security organizations. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)