24 Jul 2007

Australia's Labour Party commits to big spending battling climate change in Pacific

7:21 pm on 24 July 2007

Australia's opposition Labour Party says it will spend 130 million US dollars on dealing with the effects of climate change in the Pacific, if it wins government.

The party's spokesman for international development, Bob McMullan, says all Pacific nations will be able to apply for the funding, as far west as East Timor.

Mr McMullan says nations such as Tuvalu and Kiribati in particular have inadequate weather monitoring and gaps in research on how they'd be affected by rising sea levels.

He says Australia will take its lead from the Pacific.

"We can't just sit in Australia and say this is what people should do. We can only offer support, but we'd be offering support to develop plans, to implement the plans, to do the research. There are a lot of non-government organisations in the region already working actively in this area, and we'd want to assist them to do more."

Bob McMullan says an Australian Labour government would allocate the funding over three years.

Rising sea levels are projected to displace up to 80 million people across the south Asia and Pacific island region by 2080.