AUSTRALIA TO PROVIDE $8.3 MILLION FOR PNG ELECTIONS

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SYDNEY, Australia (Australian Broadcasting Corp. May 10) – The Australian Government will draw on an AU$10 million [US$8.3 million] financial package to help Papua New Guinea (PNG) conduct a free and fair national election in June.

The three-year assistance package started in 2005 with 16 long-term advisers helping the PNG electoral commission.

The 2002 elections collapsed in the highlands amid violence and corruption.

Australian Government officials are pleased with PNG's aim to stagger voting in the highlands provinces to ensure better security.

The Australian Government will also place one accountant in each of PNG's 20 provinces to oversee electoral commission budgets.

ABC News Online: http://www.abc.net.au/news/ © 2006 ABC. All Rights Reserved

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