28 Mar 2011

Stop hammering Australian aid programme says PNG High Commissioner

8:55 am on 28 March 2011

Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner to Australia says it's time to stop hammering the Australian aid programme over ineffective use of taxpayer money.

Reports of corruption and fraud have dogged the country's four-point-five billion US dollar aid budget and prompted a review, to be made public next month, of how the money's spent.

Charles Lepani admits that half of the four-hundred-and-50 million dollars of annual Australian aid to his country has been ineffectively spent.

But he says steps are being taken to rectify the issue.

"There is a review and also the two Prime Ministers, the former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Somare, have agreed that some of these funds should be redirected to private sector and NGOs who can do a better job of delivering services to rural Papua New Guinea. So on both sides there are problems. But right now both sides are working to eliminate those so we should not hammer the effort."