20 Feb 2003

Australia promises Fiji millions of dollars to upgrade justice system

11:51 am on 20 February 2003

Australia is to spend millions of dollars over a five year period to upgrade Fiji's justice system.

The Fiji Times reports the money will go towards police, prisons, the prosecution office, social welfare and legal aid.

The Australian High Commissioner, Susan Boyd, has told a meeting of the Fiji Employers Federation that cases of armed robberies of business premises and individuals and the creation of a climate of insecurity and fear are not good for business confidence.

Ms Boyd says it is also a major contributing factor to the brain drain as professional people move to a more secure environment to bring up their families.

She says Australia will spend millions of dollars every year over five years with the funds going throughout the law and justice system according to the long-term needs identified by a team which will arrive in Fiji shortly.

Ms Boyd says at the end of the programme, Fiji and its institutions will be better positioned to deal with crime and its underlying causes and the delivery of justice.

She says by working with governments such as Fiji, Australia could also protect its own citizens from modern day threats such as drugs, money laundering, arms smuggling and terrorism.