12 Dec 2003

Australia and PNG sign five year aid package

11:31 am on 12 December 2003

Australia has announced a nearly 600 million US dollar five year package to help bring stability to Papua New Guinea.

Both Governments ratified the deal in Adelaide yesterday.

It is in addition to Australia's current annual aid programme of 260 million US dollars.

The Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says 230 Australian police will be sent to PNG including up to 150 federal officers.

In addition up to 18 Australian judicial specialists would be sent, including four judges, a solicitor-general and five prosecutors.

Mr Downer said around another 36 would be sent to work in economic, financial and planning agencies, and 10 immigration officers would be deployed.

He says the additional aid will make a decisive difference to the law and order situation in PNG and be crucially important for investment and the security of the people.