$81.5m budget support

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (2nd from left) inspects the Guard of Honor at the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Black Rock Camp in Votualevu Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The Australian Government will provide an additional $81.5 million in budget support to Fiji in the 2022/2023 financial year, bringing their total direct budget support to $364 million since 2020.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the commitment after holding bilateral talks with Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.

According to the Australian High Commission, the $A55 million was to help the Fijian Government maintain essential services, protect the most vulnerable and contribute to private sector led economic growth.

“This latest tranche is an extension of Australia’s budget support for Fiji through the pandemic, comprising over $364 million ($A243 million) since 2020,” the high commission said in a statement issued yesterday.

“This budget support was a central part of the Australian Government’s assistance for Fiji through the pandemic in addition to vaccines and health systems support.

“As part of this budget support program, Australia and Fiji have agreed on a range of reform indicators in three areas, strengthened public financial management for fiscal resilience and sustainability, enhanced climate and social resilience and improved enabling environment for resilient private sector led recovery and growth.”

The Australian Government said apart from grant budget support, Australia also committed $132 million ($A87.8 million) to Fiji for the 2022/2023 financial year in official development assistance.

“This includes $F60m ($A40m) with the remainder flowing from Australia’s global and regional aid programs.

“Australia’s aid program aims to help Fiji improve the efficiency of service delivery and promote broad based, private sector led economic growth.”

Following a traditional welcome ceremony, Mr Albanese said he was humbled and honoured by the welcome and that Australia would continue its bilateral talks with Fiji.

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