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Australian support for Fiji islands health and tax projects



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MEDIA RELEASE ^ MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

A A 101 18 December 1998

AUSTRALIAN SUPPORT FOR FIJI ISLANDS HEALTH AND TAX PROJECTS

I am pleased to announce that Australia will help to improve the Fiji Islands health and tax systems following the signing of Memoranda o f Understanding for three bilateral aid projects.

Australia has agreed to assist the Fiji Islands in addressing basic health needs by targeting areas such as primary and preventive care and the implementation o f measures to improve the overall management and delivery o f health care services.

The Taveuni Rural and Community Health project is designed to reduce the incidence and prevalence o f diseases which contribute to high rates of morbidity and mortality, and to improve the self-reliance and social welfare o f the island community. The construction of a new hospital and nursing station will be an integral part o f the project.

The Ministry o f Health Reform Management Project will improve the overall management and delivery o f health care services and is part o f a program of comprehensive public sector reform taking place in the Fiji Islands.

The Australian Government will provide up to $18.7 million over five years for these projects which represent an important upgrade of the Fiji Islands health services.

Australia will also support a project that will help provide a more efficient and effective tax system. The Inland Revenue Restructure and Strengthening Project aims to introduce managerial and organisational change within the Department of Inland Revenue and assist in the development of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority.

A better taxation system will benefit all Fiji Islanders through a fairer distribution of the tax burden, improved taxpayer compliance and services to taxpayers. Australia will provide an estimated $1.4 million for Phase 1 of the five-year project

These projects are all expected to begin by February 1999.

I have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fiji Islands covering the activities of the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program. Under the program, young Australians will work on development projects throughout the Asia Pacific region. Up to 500 young Australians will take up assignments as Youth

Ambassadors over the next two years.

Media contacts: Innes Willox (Minister’s Office) 02 6277 7500 / 0414 206 890 Matt Francis (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 / 0417 683 126

Media releases and speeches are available from AusAID via the Internet, http://www.ausaid.gov.au