7 Mar 2008

Australia leader announces major support for fight against AIDS in Papua New Guinea

4:07 pm on 7 March 2008

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced 12 million US dollars in funding to tackle Papua New Guinea's AIDS crisis.

Mr Rudd, who is on his first visit to PNG since becoming Prime Minister, stressed the importance of both countries working together to combat HIV/AIDS.

He warns that unless strategies change PNG could have half a million people with HIV by 2025.

Mr Rudd's visit promises to herald a new chapter in relations between the nations, which became strained in the Howard years.

He says Australia will need to work harder than ever have to improve relations.

Mr Rudd also announced measures to assist rugby league in PNG, including increased funding and a match between an Australian prime minister's team and PNG's national side the Kumuls.

The prime minister has today flown to Goroka in Eastern Highlands Province to inspect Australian-funded aid projects.