21 May 2009

Salaries paid to consultants in PNG can't be justified says AIDWATCH

10:45 am on 21 May 2009

A body that monitors aid spending says the very high salaries paid to consultants employed by the Australian Government aid agency, AusAID, in Papua New Guinea cannot be justified.

Last month the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was criticial of how much of the aid budget went to consultants instead of towards basic services such as health, education and infrastructure.

Senior consultants employed by AusAID in Papua New Guinea are paid nearly three hundred thousand US dollars tax free.

AusAID says the allowances are comparable with rates for this kind of work around the world but the director of AIDWATCH, Lara Daley, says not only is is unjustifiable, the spending is often ineffective.

She says a new approach is needed.

"I would like to see Australia setting targets for reducing the amount of aid that is spent through foreign consultants and looking to increase the amount of aid that is going to local NGOs and local companies instead."

Lara Daley of AIDWATCH.