23 Aug 2010

Doubts that extra funds for Indonesian province will get to Papuan people

11:32 am on 23 August 2010

An Australia-based Papua specialist says it remains to be seen whether an increase in state funding for Indonesia's Papua region will have any benefit for indigenous people.

Indonesia's President has announced a 63 per cent increase of special autonomy and regional funds allocated to Papua, West Papua and Aceh for 2011.

About a fifth of the money would be for public service, with Papua receiving US$340-million and West Papua receiving US$130 million.

The two provinces would get additional 150-million US dollars for regional infrastructure as well as more money for education.

Jim Elmslie of Sydney University's West Papua Project says from the outset in 2001, Special Autonomy has sent large sums of funding to Papua.

"But very little of that funding has gone to actual services on the ground, to improve schools and aid posts and so. It's been gobbled up in the bureaucracy so the general level of health and education services is very poor."