13 May 2010

Australia reviews aid advisors over spending criticism

2:30 pm on 13 May 2010

Australia has announced a review of the advisors working in its aid program, following criticism of the money it spends on consultants.

As part of its budget, the government's announced that AusAID will work with partner governments to ensure that each adviser is providing the most effective, value-for-money response to meet the countries' needs.

This follows revelations that almost half of Australia's foreign aid budget has been going back to Australian companies and Australian experts working tax-free as highly paid consultants.

In April, the Papua New Guinea government said it wanted an overhaul of Australia's aid because too much was wasted on consultants.

The Australian Parliamentary Secretary for International Development, Bob Mc Mullan, says the review will respond to those concerns.

"Sometimes technical assistance is exactly what is asked for by a partner government and therefore its what we supply, but we are not sure that we are doing it as rigorously, and efficiently and effectively as we might."

Bob McMullan says the review will start with PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and East Timor.