Cuts to Aus­tralia’s aid

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Pa­cific coun­tries ap­pear to have emerged largely un­scathed af­ter the Aus­tralian govern­ment made more cuts to for­eign aid in its lat­est bud­get.

De­spite cut­ting aid by a fur­ther $US168mil­lion (F$353.61m) this year, Aus­tralia’s fund­ing for pro­grammes to coun­tries in the Pa­cific re­gion has re­mained steady. Pa­pua New Guinea also ap­pears to have es­caped pun­ish­ment for its de­ci­sion to close the de­ten­tion cen­tre on Manus Is­land.

The lat­est cuts to Aus­tral- ia’s for­eign aid pro­gramme come af­ter $US750m (F$1.5bil­lion) was slashed from last year’s bud­get. Aus­tralian aca­demic Jonathan Pryke says the Pa­cific has fared rel­a­tively well de­spite the cut­backs, with lit­tle change to bi­lat­eral fund­ing to the re­gion’s coun­tries. He says Aus­tralia pro­vides 65 per cent of aid flows to the Pa­cific and is the dom­i­nant ac­tor in the re­gion - and that’s a po­si­tion it wants to main­tain.


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