5 Sep 2003

Australia to review options after ministerial visit to PNG delayed

9:35 am on 5 September 2003

Australia's foreign ministry is now considering its options after Papua New Guinea asked that next week's planned visit by the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, be deferred.

The visit was to focus on Australian aid which Canberra wants to review amid demands that recipients meet standards of governance acceptable to Australia.

A spokesman for Mr Downer says no new dates have been set as the minister has to accommodate commitments in parliament and overseas.

Meanwhile, the prime minister, John Howard, says it's no secret that his government has adopted a firmer policy in relation to requiring an absence of corruption in return for a maintenance of aid.

And Mr Howard says Australians deserve to get a return on their money.