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Budget provides solid support for PNG

Kerr_duncan_2 Last night’s Commonwealth Budget provided a grant of $356 million to Papua New Guinea in 2008-09 and is supplemented by a range of programs focusing on infrastructure development, land administration and public sector capacity building.

“The new package of measures contained in this budget will sharpen the focus of Australia's development assistance program on practical development outcomes and improved quality of life,” according to Duncan Kerr [left] the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs'.

The Government says the new Pacific Partnerships for Development outlined in the Prime Minister’s March Port Moresby Declaration will provide a framework for Australia and Pacific island nations to jointly improve development outcomes. In addition Australia will invest $107 million over four years, with $6 million this year, to strengthen public sector administration in the Pacific. This funding will support management and policy reform and help to improve service delivery.

A new ‘Better Governance and Leadership’ initiative has been allocated $41 million over the next two years to improve leadership. This includes a Pacific Leadership Program overseen by a panel of eminent regional leaders. The funds will be used for civic education and raising awareness about government accountability.

In addition, the ‘Pacific Land Program’ will spend $54 million over four years to protect customary land rights, promote economic and social development and reduce the potential for instability as a result of land-related conflict in the Pacific.

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