3 Apr 2019

Pacific spared in cuts to Australian aid budget

4:17 pm on 3 April 2019

The Pacific has been mostly spared from large cuts to Australia's foreign aid budget.

Australia's Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg

Josh Frydenberg Photo: AAP

The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announced the government's annual budget in Canberra last night, the last before the next federal election.

The total aid budget has fallen by $US70 million, to about $US2.8 billion, but Canberra's so-called Pacific step-up is unlikely to feel the pinch.

Much of that will be given to a new Pacific infrastructure fund announced last year, which will provide loans and grants to Pacific countries.

But that comes at the expense of other regions, such as South and Southeast Asia, which have received deep cuts to their budget.

More money is also being spent on strategic infrastructure projects than development projects.

The budget also set aside $US4.2 million for a border protection programme with Fiji, and $US5.6 million has been set aside to improve services on Norfolk Island.

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