Tuesday, 18 March 2014
International Development Assistance
The Australian government strongly refutes the assertion that the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a verbal commitment to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to not reduce Australian development assistance. The official records of the meetings between the minister and her Solomon Islands and Vanuatu counterparts do not support the assertion. In the case of Nauru, the foreign minister committed that the proposed 2013-14 budget would be met and has kept this promise.
The government notes that Ms Plibersek and Mr Thistlethwaite were invited to tour the Pacific with an official delegation as part of a longstanding tradition of a bipartisan nature initiated by the Howard government. The false assertions levelled by the opposition with regard to meetings to which they were invited clearly undermined the bipartisan spirit of this tour. As announced before the election, the government are refocusing our aid, trade and diplomatic efforts in our region where our national interest is and where we have the most capacity to make a difference.