9 Dec 2004

Australia promising more aid for Melanesia as it takes a so called more robust approach to aid deliv

8:45 pm on 9 December 2004

Australia is taking what it calls a more robust approach to its Pacific aid spending to help the region grow.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer outlined Canberra's new aid strategy today, saying the region could have collapsed without foreign aid, but the focus now had to be on strengthening economic growth.

He says a one percent rate of growth is too low and that is the reason for the changed approach.

Mr Downer says the aim is not to recolonise, or be excessively aggressive but to make sure Australian taxpayers are getting a better result for their spending.

He says there is a need for issues like governance and law and order to be more effectively addressed and this will ensure the aid programme is more effective than it has been in the past.

He has indicated that Australia will provide more aid for the region, particularly for the Melanesian countries.