Australia wants more influence in the Pacific

The Australian government is making a fresh push to establish itself as the dominant nation in the South Pacific and offset the rise of China in the region.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is using a trip to Papua New Guinea and Tonga to tell Pacific nations that they are Australia's biggest beneficiaries.

Speaking in the PNG province of New Ireland, Ms Bishop said Australia is funding programmes which promote good governance and would strengthen relationships.

"We believe that we are the natural partner of choice along with New Zealand for the islands of the Pacific where we work across a whole range of areas," she said.