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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11247

CHOGM: AUSTRALIAN INITIATIVES

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/11/1999

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 11247

I am pleased to announce increased Australian funding in support of the
Commonwealth's developing country members.

First, Australia will increase its contribution to the Commonwealth Fund
for Technical Cooperation (CFTC) by 10 per cent each year for the next three
years. This will take Australia's contribution from $7.2 million in 1999-2000
to $9.5 million by 2002-03.

Australia supports the CFTC as the Commonwealth's main vehicle for strengthening
good governance in Commonwealth member countries. In particular, we value
its work in supporting democratic and legal institutions. The Fund is the
Commonwealth's main development programme and also covers fields such as
economic and debt management, trade and investment, human resource development
and public sector reform.

Second, at Edinburgh in 1997, the Commonwealth's Trade and Investment Access
Facility (TIAF) was established at my initiative with an Australian grant
of $1.5 million over three years. Britain, Canada and New Zealand also gave
the initiative strong support. It has been successful and Australia will
continue its support with an annual grant of $500,000 a year for the next
three years. TIAF helps Commonwealth developing countries manage the impact
of globalisation and make better use of the WTO to pursue trade and investment
opportunities.

Third, Australia will fund a special training programme for trade negotiators
from Africa. The programme will help African countries, including non-Commonwealth
members, maximise their benefits from the new WTO trade round. The programme
will cost $300,000.

Fourth, Australia will provide $3 million over six years in order to extend
to 2006 the Australia-South Pacific 2000 Sports Programme. The programme
was due to end in 2000, but has been extremely successful in encouraging
sports development in the South Pacific.

Lastly, in the IMF/World Bank context Australia announced in September an
additional $35 million for the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
Initiative (HIPC). A number of the countries involved are Commonwealth members.
The HIPC initiative will help provide relief from indebtedness which, matched
with essential policy reforms, can give developing countries a chance to
achieve sustainable growth.

These initiatives reflect the government's strong support for the Commonwealth
as an institution which can make a unique contribution to strengthening
good governance and supporting sustainable development.

Transcript 11247