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$18 million for health, education, projects

By Gorethy Kenneth PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 2, 2010) - AUSTRALIA’S AusAID program supports the Autonomous Bougainville Government in a big way despite being denied tangible development in the region.

They spend more than PGK50 million [US$17.9 million] a year in the region, including consolidating the peace process, implementing its autonomy arrangements, improvinig essential service delivery and promoting economic growth.

They also look after the law and justice sector program including HIV/AIDS, education, transport, health, democratic governance and other volunteer and scholarship programs in Bougainville.

Two months ago, Regional Member of Parliament Fidelis Semoso accused donor agencies of not bringing tangible developments to the region.

During the induction of the newly elected MPs, the AusAID boss in Buka, Edwina Betts, told MPs that AusAID had about eight advisers in the region with multi-million dollar programs they had in the region.

"Support to Bougainville is delivered through a range of mechanisms including nationally-based sector programs in health, education, law and justice and infrastructure (about $14 million a year) and sub-national program, which includes the multi-donor Governance and Implementation Fund (about $3 million a year) and eight advisers to strengthen ABG’s capacity in key areas including policy, procurement, HR, planning, budget expenditure, taxation and legislative drafting," Ms Betts said.

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