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ALOFI, Niue (February 11, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Niue's Premier, Sani Lakatani, says Australian golfer Greg Norman and golf course architects John Darcy Associates have proposed building a $38 million golf resort on the island.

Mr. Lakatani told the government-owned Niue television service that banks in Australia, New Zealand and the United States are backing the project.

He said the resort could provide a crucial source of income for the island's ailing economy.

Niue, the world's largest coral island, is struggling for economic and social survival, after its population plunged from 5,000 to 1,700 in 20 years, because of a lack of employment and significant investment opportunities.

Attempts to promote tourism have so far failed.

Less than a thousand tourists visited Niue in 1999, and local hotels said their occupancy rate was down to 10 percent from 15 percent in 1998.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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