13 Oct 2009

AusAID report launched in Tonga

4:34 pm on 13 October 2009

A new economic report from the Australian Government aid agency, AusAID, says creative policies in labour, trade and energy management will enable the Pacific to build economic resilience.

The report, Pacific Economic Survey 2009 - engaging with the world, has been launched in Tonga today by Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan.

it identifies areas where Pacific island countries and East Timor could strengthen their economies through greater trade diversification, labour mobility and improved energy management to reduce reliance on oil.

Mr McMullan says one such area they are looking at is greater use of solar power.

"I was talking to the Planning Minister from Solomon Islands today who is looking at an initiative about using individual solar panels in villages to replace the use of kerosene for lighting and heating, or not heating but cooking, on Malaita. And that is both a significant cost saving to the families and a significant national benefit in terms of reducing the importation, in that instance, of kerosene."

Bob McMullan, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance