15 Oct 2010

Australia to slash advisers on PNG aid

12:26 pm on 15 October 2010

Australia is to sack more than a third of the advisers directing aid to Papua New Guinea in an attempt to eliminate waste in the nation's US$450 million PNG assistance program.

The Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says he has advised his PNG counterpart Sam Abal of the government's decision to make big cuts in the ranks of the 487 Australian advisers working on PNG aid.

He says a review of the PNG-Australia Development Cooperation Treaty has found widespread dissatisfaction with the aid program and that the capacity building through advisers model is not working.

A string of negative reports about Australia's PNG aid program have pointed to a pattern of waste through spending on consultancies and training, as well as exorbitant salaries.

Mr Rudd did not provide details of which positions would be axed, but says PNG and Australia have now agreed that over one-third of positions will be phased out within two years.