ARCHIVED MEDIA RELEASE
PA/1/2005 7 January 2005
Tsunami disaster: AUD 1 billion Australia-Indonesia aid package for reconstruction and development
Australia has announced an AUD1 billion aid recovery package to Indonesia to counter the huge human and economic loss from the tsunami which hit the country in December.
The Australian Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, said that he and Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have agreed to form an Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development. The announcement was made in Jakarta where the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer attended the ASEAN Tsunami Disaster Summit on 6 January to discuss the rehabilitation and reconstruction of affected areas.
“This is significantly different in scale and approach from any previous aid effort,” Mr Howard said. “The partnership reflects the increasingly close relationship between our two countries and our desire to work together to help Indonesia recover from the tremendous human and economic damage it has sustained as a result of the tsunami of 26 December. It is a program of long-term, sustained cooperation and capacity building. It is focused on economic reconstruction and development,” he added.
Under the arrangement, the Australian Government would contribute AUD1 billion over five years. The funds would be additional to Australia's existing development cooperation programme and would bring Australia’s commitment to Indonesia to a total of AUD1.8 billion over five years.
Mr Howard said that while there will naturally be a clear focus on the areas devastated by the tsunami, all areas of Indonesia will be eligible for assistance under the partnership. The AUD1 billion of new money would consist of equal parts of grant assistance and highly-concessional financing.
The grant aid would be directed at areas of priority need in Indonesia and was expected to encompass small-scale reconstruction to re-establish social and economic infrastructure in affected areas, human resource development and rehabilitation. It would also include a large scholarship programme, providing support and training in areas such as engineering, health care, public administration and governance.
Mr Howard said that a joint commission will be established, with equal participation on its working groups and secretariat. “In addressing the urgent humanitarian needs of those afflicted by the tragedy, it will also serve to bring our countries and peoples closer together. It is a strategic commitment to raise the living standards of the people of Indonesia,” he said.
Prior to announcing the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development, the Australian Government had already committed AUD60 million for direct relief efforts, comprising AUD25 million announced by Foreign Minister Downer on 31 December, AUD25 million announced on 29 December and an initial immediate needs commitment of AUD10 million. This assistance includes AUD33 million for relief operations in Indonesia, AUD10 million for relief work in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, AUD5 million for international emergency relief operations in other countries and to deploy Australian relief personnel (starting with four civilian medical teams sent to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives), AUD5 million through the Australian Red Cross to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and AUD7 million through other Australian NGOs.
For additional information, please call Mr John Fisher, First Secretary, on telephone 51399997.