Australia and Papua New Guinea have agreed to phase out more than a third of adviser positions within two years in the Australian aid program for the Pacific nation.
The move followed a review that examined the role of 487 adviser positions to determine “that its allocation was an effective response to meeting agreed development needs and priorities,” according to an AusAID press release.
“The Australian Government is committed to strengthening the aid program and ensuring value-for-money across all the development assistance programs,” Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said in the release.
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Australia’s aid program in Papua New Guinea has been criticized for its reliance on technical assistance for AusAID projects in the Pacific country.
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Deployed in “a targeted and cost-effective way,” advisers can be “a valued and effective part” of Australia’s aid program in Papua New Guinea, AusAID said, citing the review’s outcome.
“Australia remains committed to assisting PNG with the effective delivery of the [liquefied natural gas] project, and will continue to work separately with PNG on addressing some immediate capacity gaps,” Rudd said.
Adviser reviews in Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are being finalized. A report outlining the findings of the overall Australian aid program adviser review will be considered by the Australian government “in due course,” according to the AusAID statement.