25 Jul 2013

PNG refugee deal with Australia leverages AusAID focus shift

7:42 pm on 25 July 2013

A specialist in Australia's aid programme in Papua New Guinea says the new refugee deal between the two countries does not feature a major overhaul of Australia's aid programme in PNG

Following the announcement of the deal, PNG's government says it can more closely align the priorities of Australia's 450 million US dollar aid programme with its own, with assistance in infrastructure and health development, set to increase.

The Australian National University's Stephen Howes says this represents a shift in direction in the aid programme to more focus on capital or high impact projects.

"Of course what we don't know is whether this is just the start of a reorientation of the aid programme and whether there are going to be a lot more of these types of announcements around capital projects and a shift away from what the aid programme has traditionally focussed on which is things like road maintenance or in the area of social sector, things like delivering drugs to health centres."

Stephen Howes