14 Nov 2002

Pacific region economic analyst expects PNG to ask Australia for financial assistance

12:45 pm on 14 November 2002

Australia is likely to be asked to rearrange its two hundred million US dollars aid program for Papua New Guinea during top-level ministerial talks to be held in Port Moresby on Friday.

The Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer will lead a team of Ministers in discussions on all aspects of Australia's relationship with PNG.

A Pacific region economic analyst at the Australian National University, Dr Satish Chand, says foremost on a wish list for the PNG Government will be a request that Australia agree to reschedule the debt.

As well, he says, it will want help in filling some of the shortfall in the Budget, and thirdly, it will be after assistance in strengthening service delivery.

"At the moment, Australia to a large extent and I guess New Zealand to some degree, have been providing education and health support in the country.engaged in the actual delivery of the services. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to service the budget, these services will suffer. So I guess authorities in PNG would want to ensure that the support by donors, Australia paricularly, is maintained on that front as well."