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New Memorandum of Understanding signed with Nauru.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA 04 018 5 March 2004

New Memorandum of Understanding Signed with Nauru

Australia has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nauru that will help address Nauru's longer-term challenges alongside the management of the Offshore Processing Centre.

The MOU is effective until June 2005 and signals an increased level of cooperation between the two countries.

As part of the MOU, Australia has committed an additional $22.5 million in development assistance to help Nauru stabilise the country's economy and strengthen law and order.

In keeping with the Australian Government's focus on good governance in the Pacific, Australia was pleased to respond positively to Nauru's request for additional assistance including the placement of a number of Australian officials in key in-line areas.

Australia will provide an in-line Secretary of Finance and, subject to a scoping study, a Police Commissioner as key measures to address Nauru's most serious and immediate challenges.

The Secretary of Finance will be looking at issues including reforms to Nauru's budget processes, exploring new revenue sources, improving revenue collection, and seeking better value for money on all government sector expenditure and activities.

Nauru's remaining assets and liabilities will also be assessed before the commencement of an appropriate re-structure is undertaken.

We welcome Nauru's continuing commitment to work in close cooperation with Australia and together we will work to ensure appropriate legislation is adopted to guarantee that Australian officials have the necessary powers required to effect the reforms Nauru so urgently needs.

Media contacts: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 or 0419 206 890 Jo Elsom (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489