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Old 27-11-2002, 10:00 PM
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Australia renews major commitment to South Pacific


AA 02 071 27 Nov 2002

Australia renews major commitment to South Pacific

One of Australia's major commitments to the Pacific region was formally renewed at a ceremony in Noumea today.

The agreement between Australia and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is for a further three years of development programs that will be managed by SPC for its membership of 22 Pacific island countries and territories.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Chris Gallus, said that a Memorandum of Understanding with SPC commits Australia to provide $8.2 million per year for the three years from 2003-2005 for development programs.

'Australia has a long and productive relationship with Pacific island countries and with the Secretariat for the Pacific Community,' said Mrs Gallus.

'Today we reinforce this relationship with our commitment of funds to an organisation of significant importance to the Pacific island region.

'SPC is a major vehicle for delivery of technical assistance to its developing country members, drawing on funding from member contributions and from donors both within and outside the region,' said Mrs Gallus

Australia's commitment will support a number of SPC's ongoing priority programs, which provide technical advice and other assistance on fisheries, public health, education and training, demography and statistics, forestry and the Pacific Women's Bureau.

The agreement came into force with the signing of a MOU in Noumea at 11 am today. The MOU was signed for Australia by the Consul-General in Noumea, Ms Denise Fisher and for SPC by the Director-General, Ms Lourdes Pangelinan.

Media contacts:

Craig Bildstien (Office of Mrs Gallus) 0407 604 437
Jo Elsom (AusAID) (02) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489
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