14 Dec 2004

Australian aid continuing to fail Papua New Guinea says think tank

9:20 pm on 14 December 2004

An elaborate Australian aid programme aiming to restore law and order and help rebuild the public service in Papua New Guinea may not work.

That's the view of a thinktank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which says Canberra and PNG need to collaboratively develop a plan to build effective government and create a sense of nationhood.

Earlier this year Australia launched its Enhanced Cooperation Programme, which provides PNG with an additional 600 million US dollars of assistance over five years.

A co-author of the report, Professor Hugh White of the Australian National University, says the ECP is not big enough to make a long term difference.

"if you look at the senior bureaucrats, for example, who have gone into the finance department in Port Moresby, the long term experience around the world is that while people like that can make a short term difference to an institution, if they leave after two years or three years, things very much slip back to normal after they go or even get worst because of some of the good local people who had been there become disempowered or discouraged or move on."