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AUSTRALIA’S AID TO NAURU CRITICIZED $27 million keeps destitute island in ‘ivory tower’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 3, 2008) – An Australian academic says that Canberra is deluding itself if it thinks its new MOU with Nauru will help the small island nation’s people and economy.

The MOU pledges around 27 million US dollars in continuing support for Nauru after the recent closure of Canberra’s detention processing camps on the island which for years helped prop up Nauru’s economy.

But Professor Helen Hughes from the think tank the Australian Centre for Independent Studies feels the MOU does little to properly address the education and public sector capacity problems which have left nauru a veritable beggar state.

She says that there’s nothing in the MOU to stop Nauruans having to leave Nauru.

"They can keep a house there, they can keep a family there, but they do have to work away from Nauru if they want a decent life. And nothing is being done to address that. They’re living in an ivory tower and the Australian technical advisors are not doing the job of saying these are the realities. That’s the problem."

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