15 Jan 2004

Australia pledges more support to Nauru hospital

7:39 am on 15 January 2004

Australia has agreed to boost the resources of the hospital in Nauru which had come under pressure during a recent hunger strike by Afghan asylum seekers in an Australian detention centre on the island.

Its foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says more help will be given to Nauru following the preliminary findings of an official team sent to the country this week, but the minister gave no details.

A refugee support group, A Just Australia, says the quick reaction by Canberra shows that the situation on Nauru is dire and is an attempt to buy further support for Nauru to prop up the detention centre.

The opposition leader, Mark Latham, has promised to abandon the the policy of running off-shore detention camps if he wins office in this year's election, describing the so-called Pacific Solution a 500 million dollar disaster.