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Governments budget allocates $187.7 million

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 13, 2009) – Australia’s combined bilateral and regional development assistance to Solomon Islands will increase by AUD9.8 million [US$7.5 million] to AUD246.2 million [US$187.7 million] in 2009-10. This is despite the fact that the global economic downturn will likely mean negative growth in Australia’s economy in the coming year. The increase was part of the Australian Government’s 2009-10 Budget announced on 12 May.

Australia’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Frank Ingruber, said "The increase reflects the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.5 per cent of Gross national Income by 2015."

Australia’s ODA/GNI ratio is forecast to reach 0.34 per cent in 2009-10, up from 0.33 per cent in 2009-10.

Australia’s development assistance to Solomon Islands is delivered through its bilateral program and through its contributions to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Australia's bilateral aid to Solomon Islands in 2009-10 is expected to be over AUD45 million, an increase of AUD5 million on the previous year.

The 2009-10 Budget increase underlines Australia’s ongoing commitment to development in Solomon Islands and allows it to progress initiatives on food security through rural development, economic infrastructure and assistance to improve economic and financial management.

"These are priority areas under the Solomon Islands-Australia Partnership for Development signed by Prime Ministers Rudd and Sikua in January this year," said Mr. Ingruber. "These measures will help address the impact of the global economic crisis in Solomon Islands and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals."

"Australia looks forward to working with the Solomon Islands Government, as one of Australia’s key Pacific Development partners, to ensure Australia’s aid funding achieves the best results for the people of Solomon Islands," Ingruber said.

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