5 Dec 2008

Australia loosens approach to push Pacific development

4:28 pm on 5 December 2008

The Australian government says it will not penalise Pacific countries that fail to meet development targets.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Duncan Kerr, says the Rudd government won't repeat the Howard government's big stick approach in dealing with countries such as PNG.

He says Australia is not into penalties, but rather measurable outcomes.

Mr Kerr says his Government is not expecting miracles but it is expecting measurable progress.

A progress report by the United Nations Development Programme has found PNG is very unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

The goals were set to help countries such as PNG work towards improving social indicators by reducing poverty and tackling health issues like HIV/AIDS.

Mr Kerr says it is a mixed story across all the Pacific countries and Canberra has structured its programmes so that they can be matched against those aspirational targets.