18 Jul 2005

Australian organisation says aid to Nauru should be focussed on humanitarian efforts

3:47 pm on 18 July 2005

A non-government organisation is calling for Australian aid to Nauru to be focussed onn funding schools, health services, and its infrastructure.

The Jesuit Social Justice centre says the Australian government should stop trying to run the country and instead concentrate its aid on humanitarian efforts.

The centre has produced a report saying Nauruans have good reason to regard Australia's current assistance with suspicion because the latest aid package undermines their independence.

One of the co-authors of the report, Minh Nguyen, says one official sent by Australia has virtually taken over Nauru's finances, and the other is running the Finance and Police Departments.

He says that's a big sacrifice in terms of sovereignty.

Mr Nguyen says there's been a pattern to Australia's dealings with Nauru in terms of a larger and more powerful neighbour exploiting resources, such as phosphate and then dumping asylum seekers there.

He says all Australian aid should be funding schools, health services and the infrastructure.