Australia increases Philippines aid to $100 million to tackle poverty

AA 07 42

Australia has renewed its commitment to assist the Republic of the Philippines to reduce poverty, enhance economic opportunities and maintain national stability.

The Philippines is an important regional partner with significant development challenges - poverty rates are high, economic growth has lagged behind others in East Asia.

Thirty per cent of the Philippine population live below the poverty line and longstanding conflicts take a toll on people's lives and opportunities.

During the past three years, economic growth in the Philippines has risen to over five per cent a year. While this is very promising, Australia recognises the need to work with the Philippines to build on this growth and cement long-term improvements in governance and growth, which are critical for reducing poverty.

Australia's $100.6 million in aid to the Philippines in 2007-08 was announced in the Budget and represents a $31.8 million increase on the 2006-07 figure.

We will support investment in infrastructure - especially much-needed road improvements - and help the Philippines build a better education system for all children, with a particular focus on improving access to schools and better teaching in Mindanao and the Visayas. We will also improve health services for women and children in Mindanao.

Our increased aid will allow us to provide assistance to counter corruption. It also recognises the importance of building democratic institutions.

Our two countries will work together through the new Australia-Philippines Development Assistance Strategy (2007-11) to improve development outcomes in the Philippines.

Media contacts:

Malcolm Cole (Minister's Office) 02 6277 7500

AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590