15 Jul 2004

PNG Foreign Minister says Professor Helen Hughes is out of date with her criticism of PNG

3:50 pm on 15 July 2004

The Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu says the spending of all aid from Australia is closely monitored by Canberra.

He was responding to a report from Professor Helen Hughes, who suggestedt that PNG is on the brink of economic collapse.

Professor Hughes claimed most aid was wasted and PNG should be forced to undertake reforms in exchange for aid.

Sir Rabbie says he welcomes constructive debate but Professor Hughes' views were negative, destructive and out of date.

He says the Government is making changes but not getting any credit.

Sir Rabbie points to the request made to Canberra to send in police and officials in the Enhanced Co-operation Package which is about to get underway.

Australia provides by far the largest portion of aid to PNG and Sir Rabbie says, since 2000, all that aid has been tied, and is closely vetted.

"all moneys that are given are administered by AUSaid, according to projects that are agreed to by both Governments in consultations before final decisions are made. And all of that is recorded and monitored by AUSaid, accounted by AUSaid and a report is submitted by the AUSaid through the Minister responsible for AUSaid to the Australia Parliament."