Australian aid to Asia-Pacific region increases


BAI logo no textAustralia’s aid program will increase by 10 per cent or about A$500 million (K1,091) million in the 2013-14 budget to a record AUD$5.7 billion (K12.4 billion)—the equivalent of 0.37 per cent of gross national income (GNI).

However, government plans to spend 0.5 per cent of GNI have been deferred as been delayed by a year to 2017-18, a measure that is expected to save $1.9 billion (K 4.14 billion) over the forward estimates.

The government is also diverting $375 million (K818 million) of aid money to support some of the costs of asylum seekers in Australia in 2013-14.

While the overall aid budget is up 10 per cent, that increase is spread around Australia’s commitment. The Asia-Pacific region will receive about 86 per cent of country-specific aid in 2013-14.

Story continues after advertisment...

“The total Pacific aid budget goes up, but only from AUD$1.10 billion to A$1.13 billion – there’s a few countries that go up and a few countries that go down, but nothing really stands out,’ Professor Stephen Howes from the Australian National University told the ABC.

Fiji gains an extra A$9 million. Its aid rises from A$49.2 million to A$58.2 million. Papua New Guinea will receive A$507.2 million (K1,105 million), and Solomon Islands A$187.9 million.

Other funding initiatives include A$480.7 million over four years to continue Australia’s support to Solomon Islands during the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) transition phase and to support key development programs in the law and justice, and governance sectors.