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Senator says ‘no evidence’ that Australian aid to PNG is well spent

Alex GallacherA LABOR Party senator has called for a rethink of Australian aid to Papua New Guinea, arguing it's not being well spent.

Alex Gallacher, who chaired a Senate inquiry into the effectiveness of Australia's aid program in PNG, says Australia spends an "inordinate" amount of money in PNG with questionable effectiveness.

About $5 billion in Australian aid has been given to PNG over the past decade and, until recently, the nation also experienced solid economic growth over a 15 year period.

"You have a GDP which is growing, you have a continual line of expenditure of Australian aid and unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any measurable indicators of success," Senator Gallacher told parliament on Thursday night.

"The poor are still very poor, the areas of need are getting more pertinent and I really do struggle to assess this as being a good spend of public money."

Senator Gallacher said there was difficulty in getting aid dollars where they were needed in PNG.

"I'm not saying we should reduce our aid. I'm saying we should really shake it up."


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Peter Pirape

Senator Gallacher, welcome to reality. Hope you realise that almost 2/3 of your aid money goes towards paying your chorus of overpaid advisors/consultants, while the remaining 1/3 may in fact trickle down but not to an extent where measurable outcomes are visible.

$5 billion in aid is huge money that can easily transform the nation's appalling infrastructure and service outcomes in health, education, etc but, if the end does not justify the means, then you do not need a rocket scientist to join the dots together to understand why.

But anyway, as always, thank you for the aid monies you pour in year in year out.

Philip Fitzpatrick

"If you build a road, the result is there forever, when you build a classroom there result are there forever in an educated population and a hospital there is people forever living good."

That's not quite true Baka. Australia left PNG with a huge amount of functioning infrastructure but where is it now?

Baka Bina

60% of the Australian grant should be tied to developing infrastructure in the country and where tendering process is very stringent so that there is value for money.

1 They should inject it all on roads bridges, connecting all villages,towns and provinces. It would be nice to drive from Moresby to Vanimo.

2. They should spend it on school buildings including classrooms and student dormitories, teachers houses so that there is capacity for everyone to attend and at the teacher student ratio of 30 students to one teacher.

3. They should spend it on building and upgrading hospitals, health centers and aid posts.

4.It should employ less advisers (it costs one adviser around K 20 000) a month. the figures for 500 of these advisers are it costs K 10 million a month and K 260 million in a year.

The grant is already spent by the advisers before it hits the ground running.the budget supplement should be in the infrastructure and not in governance programmers that tries to shove down our throats what these advisers say are best practices but these best practices have the backing of good budgetary and financing backing.

We just don't have the capacity beyond the program and when the program ends we are back to the first base and Australia wonders where are the results.

If you build a road, the result is there forever, when you build a classroom , there result are there forever in an educated population and a hospital there is people forever living good. RAEME was good in Southern Highlands, they need to come back en-mass working with the PNGDF engineering unit all over the country and they should be the project managers on all the works that are mushrooming every where.

5. The program if any should be to revive the Cadet scheme and get all youths in some service either, defense, police, CS or fire Service. That is where good governance will start.

.....but its going to be another talking point forever.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Wow! What insight!

Just a tad late. About 25 years maybe.

Paul Oates

What have we been saying for years? Has the Senator not read our submission?

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