14 May 2014

Watchdog says Australian aid for trade inappropriate

2:24 pm on 14 May 2014

The aid monitoring group AidWatch says the latest Australian aid budget is built for the private sector and is an inappropriate use of aid money to promote Australian businesses in the Pacific region.

The Director of AidWatch, Thulsi Narayanasamy, says the Abbott government is making its aid for trade agenda a priority.

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Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

"And just one example of that is Papua New Guinea, retaining or in fact increasing its aid budget in return for hosting Australia's Manus Island detention facility. So what we're seeing really is the furthering of Australia's foreign policy and security priorities at the expense of what the aid programme should be used for, which is poverty alleviation."

Ms Narayanasamy says details of which aid programmes will be cut in the budget are difficult to find, adding that there is a lack of transparency since the aid programme has been integrated into the Foreign Affairs Department.