Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Leaked docs show Australia’s Pacific selfinterest

The Pacific Area Network on Globalization (PANG) tells us:

Leaked documents put spotlight on Australia’s self interest in Pacific


21 Sep 2015 | Lee Rhiannon

International Aid & Development

Following the leaking of text from the Pacific free trade talks, the [Australian] Greens are calling on the Australian government to end negotiations and undertake the necessary social and environmental impact assessments.

A draft chapter titled "Development and Economic Cooperation" from the regional free trade agreement known as PACER-Plus has been leaked by the Pacific Islands News Association.


"The leaked material confirms that Australia is using its aid program against Pacific nations, offering only weak voluntary commitments under PACER-Plus whilst demanding ever growing market access for Australian companies," said Greens spokesperson for international aid and development Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"The proposals the government is pushing ensures Australia has control over decisions about local development and limits the amount of aid assistance provided.

"The draft chapter contains proposals by Australia that would limit the scope of funding assistance to only implementing commitments under PACER-Plus.

"This is an attempt by Australia to decide what projects are in the interests of the Pacific, and attempts to lower the level of financial assistance by asking Pacific nations to also fund the projects.

"If Australia has ever been genuine about supporting the Pacific through its overseas development programs it would start by scrapping a development nightmare like PACER-Plus and listening to the needs of the Pacific Islands," said Senator Rhiannon.