16 May 2008

Fiji NGO saddened by no increase in Australian aid

9:31 am on 16 May 2008

Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum says it's saddened that Australia will maintain its aid to Fiji at the same level as last year.

Australia's Annual Aid budget was released this week, with an overall increase in support for the Pacific region by 75 million US dollars from last year.

Fiji's aid allocation, which was cut after the coup, was not increased and will remain at 25 million US dollars.

The Australian High Commission says an increase in the amount of aid for Fiji is subject to an early return to democratic rule.

The forum's Executive Director, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says he hoped for more.

"That's a pity. It would be good if it's restored to what it used to be or even increased. We had looked forward to Kevin Rudd's government. We have looked forward to the change and it looks like they are a bit slow in getting to know the rules, how things are done. So we're looking forward to more encouraging relationship."