20 Dec 2003

Australia gives Nauru 890 thousand dollars to pay public servants

8:31 am on 20 December 2003

The Australian government has given Nauru 890 thousand US dollars to cover the wages of the island's public servants up until Christmas.

Radio Australia says foreign minister, Alexander Downer, announced the gift while being questioned about his request to officials for advice on how the government could help the island's people.

Nauru is bankrupt and dependent on the income from immigration detention facilitates set up as part of Australia's so-called Pacific Solution to deter asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat.

In answer to another question, Mr Downer described as "fanciful" a suggestion that Nauru's ten thousand people might be offered Australian citizenship.