Australia and Papua New Guinea have hinted at plans to restructure their development cooperation.
“We agreed to chart new directions for our development assistance cooperation,” Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Stephen Smith and Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry said July 8 in a press release. “We formally received the independent review of the Development Cooperation Treaty and agreed to jointly address the review’s recommendations.”
Smith and Sherry were in Papua New Guinea July 7-8, where they met with PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration Samuel Abal, among other government officials.
Part of the independent report’s recommendations was for the two countries to focus on a fewer areas of development assistance. Both countries accepted this recommendation, Smith and Sherry said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, Australia will provide 50 million Australian dollars (USD44 million) to Papua New Guinea churches in a bid to support the delivery of education and critical health services to the poor and disadvantaged people living in the country’s remote areas.
The assistance will be disbursed over a period of six years. It will support the construction of medical centers for people living with HIV/AIDS, operation of health clinics in schools, and training of school teachers and medical workers.