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Carr should assure PNG PM that aid dollars won’t flow to Manus Is detention

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, who governs a nation struggling with poverty and ill-health, is right to be calling on the Australian government to not fund Manus Island detention centres from the aid budget, says Greens Senator and overseas aid spokesperson Lee Rhiannon (‘Fund Manus separate to aid: PNG’, AFR, p 2 today). Under questioning by Senator Rhiannon in the Senate last week Foreign Minister Bob Carr refused to rule out using the aid budget on detention facilities on Manus Is or Nauru: http://tinyurl.com/9ssu2ss “Foreign Minister Bob Carr should reassure PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neil that aid money will not be spent on offshore processing at the expense of poverty and health programs in his country,” Senator Rhiannon said. “PNG struggles with poverty, domestic violence and poor health, experiencing worrying levels of malaria and one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the region. “Aid money is rightly earmarked for programs targeted to alleviate poverty, build health and protect women in Papua New Guinea. “The government should not sneak money from the aid budget to fund offshore processing to provide the Australian government with a political fix. “Howard’s Pacific Solution was propped up by the aid budget and Labor was a critic of this in Opposition. “If aid money is to be spent on offshore processing, Minister Carr must be explicit and release details immediately so the public can debate its merits, not bury the allocation in a budget a year from now,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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