Cuts to Australia’s aid
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.